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Vatican uses short codes to blame Hinduism for Hitler’s Holocaust

August 13, 2009 6 comments
Are you forgetting these halcyon days?

The Vatican forgets these halcyon days?

the Vatican’s 1998 apology, “We Remember.” That long-awaited document expressed regret at Christian mistreatment of Jews over the centuries but pinned the fault on some of the church’s sinful “members” while holding blameless “the church as such.”

The Vatican’s champions say it had no choice: “the church as such” is ecclesiastical shorthand for the church as bride of Christ, which partakes of divinity and must thus be without blemish. “We Remember” further contended that the Holocaust was the product not of Christianity but of a “neo-pagan” regime that had renounced the faith, but Carroll portrays Hitler as the heir to such church-sanctioned haters as St. John Chrysostom and Torquemada. (via The Church as Sinner – TIME).

Deflect ... blame ... cover up ...

Deflect ... blame ... cover up ...


Hitler … Aryan .. Pagan …

Some few years ago, the Vatican came out with a much awaited ‘apology’ for its involvement in the Holocaust. Since Hitler, though technically a Catholic, was a staunch believer in his Aryan lineage.

This the Vatican uses as an escape hatch to pin the blame on ‘neo-pagan’ beliefs. Combine Hitler’s Aryan supremacy theory, India as the citadel of ‘pagans’ and non-believers, makes Vatican’s language a short hand for Hinduism and India.

Just how did the Church think, it could palm off Hitler’s genocide onto Hinduism – and India which is the citadel of ‘paganism’. Are they forgetting the Abbott of Citeaux?

Another red-wash

“Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” (Kill them all, God will know his own) instructed the Abbot of Citeaux to followers at the start of the Albigensian Crusade.

Did the Church look at its own history? The Ustashe killings, the Albigensian Crusades, at the Hussite Wars, at its blood soaked history, at the numerous humans who were burnt at the stake, torn apart – all in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Blame the victims

And after 1500 years, blame pagans for it. Pagans, if the popery forgets, were the victims of the Church’s expansionary zeal – and Hitler’s. Maybe the ghosts of the Native Americans will whisper the truth in Vatican’s ears – who were also annihilated by brave Christian soldiers?

In the dying days of the Raj …

August 4, 2009 10 comments
Mortimer Wheeler with Barbara Cartland - both good at florid fiction

Mortimer Wheeler with Barbara Cartland - both good at florid fiction

One evening in early August 1943, Brigadier General Mortimer Wheeler was resting in his tent after a long day of poring over maps, drawing up plans for invasion of Sicily. Mortimer Wheeler was invited to become the director general of archaeology by the India Office of the British government in its last years of rule in South Asia …Summoning a general from the battlefields of Europe was an extraordinary measure, an admission both of the desperate condition of Indian archaeology and an acknowledgment of its vital importance. (from The Strides of Vishnu: Hindu Culture … – Google Books).

Amazing!

The fictitious Maj.Martin in Operation Mincemeat

The body of Glyndwr Michael, a Welsh vagrant, who was made into a fictitious Major William Martin in Operation Mincemeat

This is one question that has long puzzled me!

Why would the glorious British Empire, on which the sun never set, struggling for its very existence, in the middle of WW2, suddenly pull a general back from the battlefield – and put him into archaeology! Especially, in the middle of WW II! That too, Indian archaeology. Not Egyptian, not Greek! Just why did the world’s foremost imperial power, struggling for its very existence, put a general on to the job of digging dirt.

Dirty brown Indian dirt!

Especially, when it was clear that they would be departing from India – sooner rather than later. Remember, the deceptive Operation Mincemeat had just been completed. The Allies were readying their armies for their assault on Hitler in Europe.

The end of WW2 was still distant – and the outcome, far from certain.

Just why

Considering what theories came from Mortimer Wheeler’s rather fertile ‘imagination’ and his rigourous archaeological process, in hindsight, from a Western perspective, this was sound decision. Looking at the manner of his appointment, there is little doubt that Wheeler’s appointment had little to do with history!

Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, who appointed Sir John Marshall, was employed by the British Intelligence bureau.

As a spy!

The facts behind the story

In 1938, Sir Leonard Woolley, an expert in ‘Biblical’ archaeology, was appointed as head of review committee to report on Indian Archaeology. During WW2, Leonard Woolley became advisor to the British War Office. Woolley’s committee completed and submitted its report during WW2. Based on this report, Mortimer Wheeler was appointed as head of ASI.

Wheeler’s handler? Sir Charles Leonard Woolley!

The Biblical agenda

Sir Charles Leonard Woolley was an interesting player, closely allied with the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF). PEF, a famed ‘Biblical’ institute, and Woolley was its chief archaeologist. The excavations at Ur and Carchemish were to his ‘credit’ as was the ‘discovery’ of Biblical Abraham’s ‘birthplace’.

Along with TE Lawrence and Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, Woolley was a part of team ofintelligence agents who ventured to the land of the Bible hoping to find spiritual redemption under cover of patriotic duty.” Britain turned these “archaeologist-spies into an intelligence operation in Cairo, known as the Arab Bureau”.

History – mangled by Western spies and intelligence agents!

The political agenda

TE Lawrence, confided to his mother that these excavations were “obviously only meant as red herrings, to give an archaeological color to a political job”. In WW1, they were recruited by the British military to survey of the Negev Desert, under the garb of archaeology, funded by the Palestine Exploration Fund to search for Biblical “Wilderness of Zin”. These archaeological excavations served the purpose of intelligence gathering.

The most famous example of this intelligence work was that of TE Lawrence and Leonard Woolley who were excavating at Carchemish in Syria prior to World War I. Their archaeological endeavours seem to have been secondary and perhaps even a cover for more covert activities.

The British were hardly alone in this.

In 1940, J. Edgar Hoover decided to start “as comprehensive a programme as is possible in utilising the services of archaeologists” for the CIA. The CIA, under William Langer, recruited and “enlisted archaeologists, art historians and other academics to use their fieldwork for CIA intelligence-gathering purposes.”

History written by such ‘archaeologists’ is what India is trying to unravel!

Again … just why?

British colonialism

British colonialism

The original questions remain!

For instance, knowing that they would be leaving India, sooner rather than later, Britain nationalized Indian Railways, stopped investing in and maintaining Indian  Railways from 1925 – which steadily increased accident rates and incidents.

Just why would an imperial power, struggling for its very existence, suddenly pull a general from the battle field, in the middle of WW2 – and put him onto the job of digging dirt. Why were the British focusing on Indian history? In the middle of WW2?

It is this one incident which possibly contains answers to many unanswered questions like: –

  1. The amount of energy expended by the West in defending the Aryan Invasion /Migration Theory,
  2. The lack of access to Indian scholars of the archaeological sites in Pakistan,
  3. The many myths in Indian history,
  4. The clues to the partition of India
  5. The dating problems

et al.

There may be the facile answer that the British were after all ‘searching for history and truth’. The answer may lie in the remarks made by Mortimer Wheeler,

“They demonstrate with astonishing clarity the extent to which the brief transit of Alexander did in fact Hellenize almost instantly vast tracts of Asia populated previously by nomads or semi-nomads and villagers”

Only one explanation fits – it had to be a struggle for a existence at a higher level!

Ironically, in 1965, the Government of India, appointed another Review Committee, this time with Sir Mortimer Wheeler as Chairman. So, we now know why Indian history has changed so little from colonial version.

PS

This post provoked some interesting off-site discussions. Most of such ‘fault-finding’ was nitpicking. One comment stated that “Sicily was invaded in July 1943 so whatever Wheeler was doing in August 1943 it wasn’t drawing up plans for an invasion of Sicily.”

A quick search showed that

In September 1943, he (Mortimer Wheeler) commanded the 12th Anti-Aircraft Brigade during the landing of the Allied Forces at Salerno, Italy, which became known as Operation Avalanche. (from New World Encyclopedia)

Some others writing about the Salerno landings had this to say

The German 10th Army had come close to defeating the Salerno beachhead. The stubborn initial resistance by 16th Panzer Division’s battlegroups and the Germans’ ability to reinforce them by land quicker than the Allies could land follow-up forces by sea or air had almost tipped the battle. 5th Army planners had concentrated the main weight of its forces in X Corps on its left wing, in line with its major objective of advancing on Naples. This had left its right wing thinly manned to defend X Corps’ right flank and left a particular weakness at the corps boundary. (from Wikipedia).

In another thread the entire post was dismissed because the rank of Brigadier General was abolished after WW1. But a more knowledgeable source pointed out that “After WW 1 the War Office wanted to reduce the number of Generals … the Army obeyed orders at the same time keeping the status of their one-star Generals intact by the simple expedient of abolishing the rank of Brig-Gen and re-designating them simply as Brigadiers.”

On reader refused to take a 2ndlook, as he did not “think that there is any great puzzle here nor do I see any dastardly design to ‘invent’ the theory of European Origin for the Aryans, as the linked article seems to suggest.

Mortimer Wheeler was … 54 years old. He had taken an active part in WWI and WWII. He retired from the Army Service simply because he was 54 years old, which, I would think, is the usual age for Brigadiers to retire.  Also, by 1944 and after Normandy the rolling back of the German War Machine was well on its way. Mortimer Wheeler must have been quite pleased to get this assignment after his retirement!”

Why would this respondent think that 54 was the retirement age for a Brigadier? Even if it was, why did this posting occupy the minds of the British bureaucracy in the middle of WW2.

Roma Gypsies face Northern Ireland ethnic violence

June 18, 2009 24 comments
A frugal Romani Gypsy Camp

A frugal Romani Gypsy Camp

Police said the racist attacks started last week, with gangs smashing house windows and attacking cars. The violence flared again on Monday when youths hurling bottles and Nazi salutes attacked an anti-racism rally called to support the migrants.

Belfast City Council press officer Mark Ashby said the majority of the victims were Roma, or Gypsies, from Romania.

Marian Mandache, from the Romanian Gypsy NGO Romani Crisis, said the Northern Ireland violence was the latest in a disturbing trend of attacks across Europe.

“Starting with Italy in 2007, there have been waves of … racist attacks against Roma,” said Mandache. “Afterwards, there were attacks in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.” (via Gypsies face Northern Ireland ethnic violence).

Hitler was never alone

Hitler’s biggest mistake – he lost the war.

The genocide with which his regime was charged with was also carried out against the Native Americans in the USA, the Australian aborigines, in Congo by the Belgians. Post colonial Governments in Kenya and India have ignored the cover-up of the millions killed by the colonial rulers – in the Mau Mau operations in Kenya or the 1857 War in India.

The Romani Gypsies Sinti have been a favored European target for the last 500 years – by the Vatican, by the Protestant Church, by monarchies and by Republican Governments. In war and and in peace.

Their crime. They civilized (?) Europe. No less.

A 'campaign' to remove Roma Gypsies from camping sites in Britain

A 'campaign' to remove Roma Gypsies from camping sites in Britain

Why Europe continues to demonize and persecute the Roma

Despite the immense contribution by the Roma Gypsies to European culture and life. Is it because: –

  1. They have a different lifestyle – which is migratory and frugal. They do not wish to have permanent homes, too many possessions or jobs. They prefer living in wagons, with skills and trade that they possess.
  2. They have not ‘integrated’ into the White, Christian, European social system. They wish to remain ‘different’.
  3. They stick out like sore thumbs – in a Europe where the Jews have been annihilated, where  descendants of the African slave populations have been exterminated and the Islamic population (past and present) is not tolerated. In such a situation, the Roma Gypsies have not only survived, but have regrown (after Hitler’s concentration camps killed them by millions).

Since when, are these qualities a crime.

Recent history

A few months ago, the Italian police started a campaign of racial profiling and persecution of the Roma – based on an isolated murder of an Italian.

This disproportionate response against a community, to a crime (I am making an assumption of guilt) by a Roma individual, smacks of persecution, racism and pogroms. After all, this is how Hitler and Mussolini too started their campaigns.

In Northern Ireland, the Roma Gypsy number less than 1000. What threat, what problem could they be to the nearly 2 million people of Northern Ireland?

In Britain,

For over twenty years Erith Borough Council continually tried to remove the gypsies from the Marshes. The Council’s eviction policy even made the National Press. In 1948 the Daily Mirror ‘Ruggles’ cartoon strip featured the plight of the Belvedere Gypsy community.

Finally, in 1956 Erith Borough Council got its way. The Council minutes for that year record that “over 700 persons and 280 ramshackle structures have been removed…The clearance could now be said to be complete” thus ending over 100 years of Gypsy history living on Belvedere Marshes.

By 1965, following a campaign led by Norman Dodds, MP for Erith and Crayford, the Government commissioned a national census survey of the Gypsy community living in Great Britain. Sadly, Norman Dodds died in 1965, but James Wellbeloved who became the MP for the same seat took up Dodds’ campaign and finally, in 1968 Parliament passed the Caravans Sites Act. This Act placed a duty on all local authorities in England and Wales to provide sites on which Gypsies could place their caravans and stay, either temporarily or permanently. However this duty was repealed by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1995. (from Gypsies In Bexley: A Hundred Years On The Belvedere Marshes By Simon McKeon, 13/07/2006, from Untold London).

Unarmed, and a few of them!

PS

To all those who wanted to pin the blame for this wave of violence at the doorsteps of the Roma, better find a new and better story. It was reported that Indians, Muslims and the Poles were also warned. Leave Northern Ireland, or else.

Apply command responsibility!

May 11, 2009 1 comment

In these days of easy communication and the existence of a clear chain of authority, ignorance cannot be an excuse. In the post World-War I era, the principle of ‘Command Responsibility’ was evolved for imputation of responsibility and criminal liability to superior officers for the actions of their subordinates. This principle was most famously used to sentence to death General Yamashita of Japan for crimes committed against civilians in the Philippines, and has been included since in a number of international law instruments, including the rules for the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In the Nuremberg trials after World War II, command responsibility was undoubtedly a consideration for affixing liability, but was not really applied because the accused German ministers and officers were found to have a direct role in the atrocities committed by the instrumentalities of the Nazi state. This is a principle that has been utilised to punish those who order the commission of crimes against humanity as also those who turn a blind eye to the commission of these crimes. As defined under the Rome Statute, it can apply to both military and civil authorities, although it has mostly been used to prosecute military commanders whose troops were found to have committed offences which were within their notice. (via Apply command responsibility- Comments & Analysis-Opinion-The Economic Times).

Interesting concept

Wonder how this can be used by the Roma Gypsies against Berlusconi for persecution by the Italian police. Or against the Hungarian and Czech Governments for their complicity and inaction against the persecution of the Roma Gypsies.

This disproportionate response against a community, to a crime (I am making an assumption of guilt) by a Roma individual, smacks of persecution, racism and pogroms. After all, this is how Hitler and Mussolini too started their campaigns.

Why does Europe continue to demonize and persecute the Roma

Despite the immense contribution by the Roma Gypsies to European culture and life. Is it because: –

  1. They have a different lifestyle – which is migratory and frugal. They do not wish to have permanent homes, too many possessions or jobs. They prefer living in wagons, with skills and trade that they possess.
  2. They have not ‘integrated’ into the White, Christian, European social system. They wish to remain ‘different’.
  3. They stick out like sore thumbs – in a Europe where the Jews have been annihilated, where the descendants of Black slave populations have been exterminated and the Islamic population (past and present) is not tolerated. In such a situation, the Gypsies have not only survived, but have regrown (after Hitler’s concentration camps killed them by millions).

Since when, are these qualities a crime.

Long history

In Europe, kidnapping children was considered legal for most of 1500AD-1750AD. On one condition – you had to kidnap Roma Gypsy children! More than 25,000 children kidnapped. No problem. Everybody sleeps peacefully at night. Switzerland was doing this till 1973!

Roughly, between 1500 to 1750, it was legal in Europe to hunt human beings. Yes! Just like hunting for deer in India, or hunting buffalo in Africa or fox-hunting in Britain. Yes! You could hunt human beings. As long as the humans you hunted were Roma Gypsies.

Sharing the Nazi concentration camps with the Jews were a fringe European group – Roma Gypsies. 80% of the Romany Gypsy population – a greater percentage of Roma Gypsies died than the Jews.

Jewish Double Standards

On 16 September 1986, as Elie Wiesel addressed a wide range of audience in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, he stated

“I confess that I feel somewhat guilty towards our Roma friends. We have not done enough to listen to your voice of anguish. We have not done enough to make other people listen to your voice of sadness. I can promise you we shall do whatever we can from now on to listen better” (Tanner 1997).

Elie Wiesel confirms that he feels only somewhat guilty and will do his best to listen – just like Europe and the world does – once in while, listen to the Roma Gypsy and then revert back to complete indifference rest of the time.

Sarkozy lectures to Manmohan Singh

A few months ago, President Sarkozy was preaching to PM Manmohan Singh of India, about managing minorities. Can you, Shri Sarkozy, look at your own backyard. For a start, will you start with some Muslim North Africans, Mr.Sarkozy!

Mr.Sarkozy, recently, in the EU, Roma Gypsies, who are EU citizens, were profiled and expelled from Italy because of 1 incident (yes, one) where a White was murdered – allegedly by a Roma Gypsy. France and Italy both belong to an organization called the EU – which now wants to teach India about Human rights.

A few months ago, the Italian police started a campaign of racial profiling and persecution of the Roma – based on an isolated murder of an Italian. Till recently, France was head of EU. If you, Mr. Sarkozy, can preach to Manmohan Singh, can you start with your colleagues – in Italy, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

Do European prejudices include Roma Gypsy children, Sarkozy mahodai?

Law and order

an angry mob attacked a Roma gypsy camp outside of Naples … when a gypsy woman was accused of trying to steal a baby from a nearby apartment. Police arrested the woman, but a crowd then turned against all 800 gypsies living in the camp. “They have to go,” said one Italian. “They stink, they bother us, and they steal from us. That is why they have to go.” Tuesday night, a group of people torched the camp, forcing residents to flee under police protection. (from Italian police crack down on immigrants)

Now, this Italy. If the Italians are so brave and law-abiding, I would like to see the Italians torch the home of a Mafiosi! Even a small time hood! A low-level Mafiosi. After all, the Mafia is the biggest criminal organization in Italy! Where is this outrage, when it comes to the Mafia?

Let us face it – this is entirely because the Roma Gypsies have not taken to violence or arms! If I were an Italian, I would be careful. Like the British found out, we Indians are a peaceful lot … till …

Roma Gypsies are Indians

The Roma Gypsies came to Europe 1000 years ago, from India – and are till today considered outsiders. They are not allowed to lead their lifestyle – and the Gypsy community is accused of all misdeeds. It is the same Gypsies who civilized Europe with their music. Today, the West desperately hides the fact that Western classical music was derived and grew from Gypsy music. No longer slaves, the discrimination and persecution continues.

Zombies versus churails

Could you have an equally successful version with churails and djinns? Perhaps, but Grahame-Smith’s success is also because of the public fascination with zombies, vampires and werewolves. Werewolves come from the Old Norse vargulf, and were feared as actual threats several centuries ago. Zombies originated in Haiti, but the idea of revenants—the walking dead—was very much part of Old English folklore. Vampires, especially the Transylvanian kind, reached the peak of their popularity in the 18th century.

True zombies, vampires and werewolves have not been feared for at least two centuries. But their place in the popular imagination has been maintained by horror movies and novels as well as several generations of gamers. Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series elevated the classic vampire love story to interspecies romance, with a werewolf vying for the hand of the beautiful Bella. (via Nilanjana S Roy: Zombies versus churails).

Why are Indians so bad at horror films …

Why does the largest film production culture, i.e. India not produce Jaws, Jurassic Park (animals as malevolent monsters; justifying the extermination of huge swathes of wild life, “good that we have exterminated them). Where is the Indian Dracula or Frankenstein? In all its 25 major languages and more than 500 plus dialects, Indians don’t have a national ‘monster’ culture? The writer of this column writes, almost complainingly, how

But few have carried on the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote some of the most chilling ghost stories of all time—Khudito Pashan (The Hungry Stones) being perhaps the best of them. It’s not for lack of talent—for instance, Tarun Tejpal and Ravi Shankar Etteth have both played around with the ghost story. Ravi Shankar wrote at least one classic, featuring a busload of highly unusual passengers in war-ravaged Kashmir. In 1914, a Mr S Mukerji compiled a set of Indian ghost stories

The Ramsay family tried keeping the ‘horror’ flag flying. But most of their ‘horror’ films finally turned out to be romantic comedies – with a token presence of the ‘horror’ element.

The Indic spread

Other Indian themes have crossed languages, geographies, cultures – and spread all over the world. Witness the spread of Ramayana or how Sanskrit defined most languages of the world. After more than 1000 years of aggression, the Desert Bloc has only half the world as its adherents – though they have 80% of the world’s geography. The Indic belief systems still accounts for half the world’s population.

Why indeed does India have a scarcity of ‘monsters’. Even Indian asuras are not really monsters or devils! This columnist speculates that

perhaps something of the belief that ghost stories are for the masses, not for the purveyors of high literature, has rubbed off on to our authors. That, given India’s rich heritage of dakinis, betaals, nishibhoots and other things that go bump in the night, is a sad mistake.

To understand this better, let us look at the world’s most fertile ground for ‘monsters’ …

Medieval – Renaissance Europe

16th century Europe – specifically, Spain and Portugal. The last of the Moors had been driven out of Spain. The Christian standard was flying high. The Papal Bull divided the Earth (for the Europeans) between Spain and Portugal. White Christian rulers of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand, set historic standards in persecution and extortion. More than a million Jews were killed, crucified, burnt alive; their properties confiscated and distributed. Columbus returned to enslave the American Natives – and subsequently, work them to death.

New chapters in bloodshed were being written by conquistadors like Vasco Nunez De Balboa, Francisco Pizarro, Juan Ponce de Leon, Hernando de Soto, Hernando Cortez, et al. Not to forget the search for El Dorado led by, “above all, that prince of monsters Lope de Aquirre, colour the pages with the darkest hues of bloody emprise.” In South American memory, Francisco de Carvajal, the “demon of the Andes” remains alive. These real-life monsters set new standards in brutality, slavery and genocide.

Europe in the sixteenth century was “obsessed with questions of language, and especially so in Spain and its recently conquered American Empire (emphasis mine). This was driven by

what Marshal McLuhan called “the hypertrophy of the unconscious,” a phenomenon he associated with periods of revolution in media technology: the advent of print in the 16th century created a great need for sensational materials to be broadcast, and this need caused ideas that formerly had been only lurking in the dark recesses of men’s minds to come floating to the surface.

One of the great bestsellers of the 16th century was the Histoires prodigieuses of Pierre Boaistuau (Paris, 1560), a sort of Renaissance Ripley’s Believe-it-or-not containing marvelous tales on everything … Seventeen of the Histoires forty tales are about monsters, a fact that may explain why the book was republished anywhere from ten to twenty two times and translated into Dutch, Spanish and English. (from Popular culture in the Middle Ages By Josie P. Campbell).

Spanish literature of the Renaissance

From this hotbed of ferment, a representative of this period was Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681), the Spanish writer. Growing up in a Spain, a 100 years after the Conquistadors, benefiting from the twin advantages of fresh memory and hindsight “a century of Janus, facing backward, towards the rise of the Spanish Empire … and forward, toward its decline.” His more than a 100 plays and writings represent 17th century Spain, significantly – and even Europe.

There is probably no word that is more characteristic of Calderon de la Barca’s art than monstruo, “monster.” Rare is the play in which the word does not appear several times … (from Celestina’s brood By Roberto González Echevarría).

Calderon’s play about Semiramis, the Assyrian Empire builder, showed her in a monster mode – her hybrid character the most masculine modes and the most feminine, a monster of destruction and creation”. And Calderon was not alone. The fertile growth of monsters gave birth to a new study – teratology, the study of monsters.

“Monster lore truly becomes “popular culture” only with the Renaissance … Fresh works on the subject of teratology are written by Italians, Germans, and Frenchmen. The foreruuner of the modern newspaper, the broadside were bought at street corners and at fairs by the barely literate masses. The great reformers Luther and Melanchthon used the broadside medium to popularize their propagandistic and anti-Catholic versions of two of the most famous monsters of the Renaissance, the Monk-calf of Freiburg and the Pope-ass of Rome. (from Popular culture in the Middle Ages By Josie P. Campbell).

Some of Calderon’s plays dealt with the proselytization of the Native Americans – like his play, La Aurora En Copacabana (Dawn in the Copacabana), described as a play about “the conquest and conversion of the Indians in Peru”

The success of the conquest, therefore, is attributed to (Christian) faith which is valued as mans greatest gift to the world … Thus (Christian) conquest becomes a form of colonisation with the purpose of imposing religion and culture on a land “que habitan inhumanos” (512) and is in need of redemption and education. Finally, the play tries to harmonise irreconcilable contradictions which lie at the bottom of colonial discourse. (texts in brackets and italics mine).

With this idea, must be seen something important. That is the important element of “the escape of the monster.” In the … Monster Theory, Joel Cohen has remarked that the monster always escapes. Now combine the three elements – the newly acquired colonies of America, the proselytization (or otheriwse, the genocide) and the escape of the monster. These were the ‘monsters’ of colonialism.

A very interesting play by Calderon was La vida es sueño (Life is a dream). It tells the story of Segismundo, the Prince Of Poland, who was destined to be a monster. To forestall the prophecy, Segismundo was imprisoned by his father from the time of his birth. In adulthood, released from prison to test the prediction, Segismundo fulfills the prophecy. As a analyst of Calderon’s work summarizes,

Affirming a “better reality,” Segismundo’s message speaks as well to all of Europe: the “new European man” is the real monster. (from The subject in question By C. Christopher Soufas).

200 years after Calderon, HG Wells, in the The Island of Doctor Moreau, foretold Joseph Menegle’s experiments rather well.

Onshore genocide – The Roma Gypsies

Apart from the Jewish persecution, less known is the the persecution of the Roma Gypsy, which continues till date. In Europe, kidnapping children was considered legal for most of 1500AD-1750AD. On one condition – you had to kidnap Roma Gypsy children! More than 25,000 children kidnapped. No problem. Everybody sleeps peacefully at night. Switzerland was doing this till 1973!

Roughly, between 1500 to 1750, it was legal in Europe to hunt human beings. Yes! Just like hunting for deer in India, or hunting buffalo in Africa or fox-hunting in Britain. Yes! You could hunt human beings. As long as the humans you hunted were Roma Gypsies. In Europe you could be hung to death if you committed the crime of being born – between 1500AD-1750AD! Born as a Roma Gypsy!

Europeans, in the their age of Enlightenment and Renaissance, (1500-1750) could just pick up human slaves – yes, own them like cattle and furniture, if you found one! As long as they were Roma Gypsies. Later you could also sell them for profit!

Ship owners and captains in Europe’s Golden age, (1500-1750) could arrange galley slaves for free. No wages, no salary. You just had to feed them. Use them, abuse them, flog them, kill them, drown them. You could do anything – as long as they were Roma Gypsies.

What set off the Roma Gypsy Genocide

In 1420, a 60 year old man, blind in one eye took charge – and took on the might of the Roman Church and Roman Emperors.

Jan Zizka.

Over the next 12 months, he became completely blind. In the next 15 years, Zizka (and other Czech generals) defeated, many times, the combined armies of Germany, The Roman Church and others. His military strategy was studied for the next 500 years. Thereafter, the myth of military might of the Church was broken forever.

Jan Zizka allied himself with the Taborites (the radical Hussite wing). Zizka made Tábor in Bohemia into an armored and mobile fortress – the Wagenburgs.

Interestingly, a 100 years after the Hussite Wars, the European persecution of the Roma Gypsies began in full earnest. And during WW2, the Vatican joined with the Nazi collaborators, the Ustashe,  to extort gold and the genocide against the Roma Gyspises.

Military success

Zizka ranks with the great military innovators of all time. Zizka’s army was made up of untrained peasants and burghers (townspeople). He did not have the time or resources to train these fighters in armament and tactics of the time. Instead they used weapons like iron-tipped pikes and flails, armored farm wagons, mounted with small, howitzer type cannons.

His armored wagons, led by the Taborites, in offensive movements, broke through the enemy lines, firing as they rolled, cutting superior forces into pieces. For defense, the wagons were arranged into a tight, impregnable barrier surrounding the foot soldiers – the Wagenburg (the wagon fort), as they came to be known. The wagons also served to transport his men. Zizka thus fully initiated modern tank warfare. Zizka’s experience under various commanders was useful. At the Battle of Tannenberg (1410), Zizka fought on the Polish side , in which the famed German Teutonic Knights were defeated.

Roma Gypsy Wagon Caravan

Roma Gypsy Wagon Caravan

Coming back …

Who were the major users of the wagons in Europe then (and now?) Answer – The Roma Gypsies.

Who were the people who could pose spiritual and ecclesiastical questions to the Vatican? Answer – The Gypsies, with their Indian heritage, were not not new to spiritual dialectics (contests, discourse and debates). For instance, Mani, and his adherents, an Indic teacher of Buddhist thought, known to Christians as Manichean thought, were the nightmare for Christianity till the 15th century. When Mani called for overthrow of slavery, the Vatican at the Council of Gangra, re-affirmed its faith in slavery. European minds were occupied with the questions raised by the Hussite reformers.

Some think they (the Waldensians) had held them for centuries; some think they had learned them recently from the Taborites. If scholars insist on this latter view, we are forced back on the further question: Where did the Taborites get their advanced opinions? If the Taborites taught the Waldenses, who taught the Taborites?

Who were the people who could help the persecuted Waldensians, the Bogomils, the Cathars to escape persecution and spread out across the Europe? Answer – The Roma Gypsies – in their wagons. The same Gypsies, had earlier pioneered the Troubadour culture in the Provence Region, which provoked the Albigensian Crusade by the Vatican.

Prokop Coat Of ArmsProkop Coat Of Arms

And who was the King of the Taborites? Answer – An entire clan of leaders who called themselves as Prokop (The Shaven /Bald; The Little and The Great) were the military leaders of the Taborites.

The word and name Prokop have no meaning in any European language – except in Sanskrit, where it means vengeance, retribution, violent justice.

Mythology as History

Jan Hus initiated the Reformation in the Vatican Church. It was Jan Zizka who broke the back of Papal authority. On the back of these Czech successes, was laid the foundation of 95 Theses by Martin Luther in 1517. The British break (1533-34) with the Holy Roman Church happened due to favors by the Papal office to the Iberian Empires – in matters of trade and colonial expansion, and the impediments to divorce of Henry-VIII at the behest of the Spanish rulers.

Today, the Germans and the British are loath to be reminded about the Czech Church Reform initiatives and the defeats at the hands of the Poles and Czechs. Western historiography about the Enlightenment and Renaissance, in Britain, France and Germany, leading to the reformation is ‘mythology as history’.

Of course, the role of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Byzantine Empire in the entire Czech saga is also worth re-examining. Were the Hussite Wars, a proxy war waged by the Eastern Church against the Vatican?

Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

In the 19th century came the monster story was dubbed as Gothic – and this form of story-telling matured as a craft.

A significant array of Gothic writers emerged from Ireland (from Charles Maturin, Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker, and Oscar Wilde to the contemporary writer Patrick McGrath), in a colonial situation where a Protestant minority was the colonial occupier. (from Late Victorian Gothic tales By Roger Luckhurst)

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797–1851), wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley started writing Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, at the age of 18, and completed it one year later. First published in London, anonymously, in 1818 by small London publishing house of Harding, Mavor & Jones – after previous rejections by bigger publishers like Charles Ollier (Percy Bysshe Shelley’s publisher), and John Murray (by Byron’s publisher). The writer’s name started appearing from the second edition of 1823 onwards. The interesting aspect, lost in popular usge, is that the monster is not named – and Frankenstein was the scientist, who brought the monster to life.

In 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde was first published. This explored how ‘normal’ (Dr.Jekyll) human beings could become ‘evil’ (Mr.Hyde).

And in 1887, Bram Stoker, an Irish writer published his Dracula. The character of Dracula is based on Emperor Sigismund and his Order of the Dragon, who waged war against the Hussites – led by Jan Zizka. Infamous for his betrayal of Jan Hus, he sparked of the Hussite Wars, in which the Taborites (the Roma Gypsies) used wagons and gun powder for the first time in Europe. He founded a secret sect,  the “Dracul” called the Order of the Dragon.

Of course, these three are the most famous – but not the only ones. Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 “Carmilla“, about a lesbian vampire was another monster book of its time. An associate of Mary Shelley, John Polidori created the character of the “The Vampyre” in 1819 – on which possibly Dracula was based.

Most significantly, in 1896, was HG Well’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, which presaged Joseph Mengele – when Joseph Mengele had not even started on his higher education. A good 50 years before Joseph Mengele’s experiments were discovered by a shocked world.

The wellspring of these works is H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau. In this 1896 novel, a vivisectionist attempts to transform animals into men until the misshapen creatures revert and kill him, the forces of nature overcoming man’s civilizing artifices. From The Boys From Brazil (Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele, alive and well and cloning Hitlers at a secret lab in the Brazilian Amazon) to Jurassic Park (Richard Attenborough alive and well and cloning velociraptors), Wells’ basic formula has become familiar: an island; a Frankensteinian experiment; a Faustian scientist; something gone terribly, terribly wrong. (from Requiem for the Mad Scientist

From the 1700-1800, while Spain was in decline, for about a 100 years, Western literary field did not see too much action on the monster front. The main action was in Haiti, where zombies, the ex-murderers, the living dead became a part of the voodoo cult.

The late Victorian era was one of the most expansive phases of the empire. Britain annexed some thirty-nine separate areas around the world between 1870-1900, in competition with newly aggressive America in the Pacific or the European powers in the so-called ‘Scramble for Africa’ after the continent was divided up at the Berlin conference of 1885. (from Late Victorian Gothic tales By Roger Luckhurst)

The last of the true great monster in popular culture came from the East. Soon after WW2, as tales of Japanese atrocities started coming out and as American atrocities in Vietnam started, Godzilla came out of Japan. But a different pressure head was building up, which gave rise to a new genre – detective fiction.

Euro-Pessimism

Between 1800-1950, Western powers killed (directly or otherwise) more than 50 million people in America (the Native Americans), Africa (the Native Africans), Asia (Indians, Chinese, Arabs). This led to a situation that every other person in the West had participated in murder or massacre – unlike the few Conquistadors. Western ambiguity towards Soviet Russia on one side, Hitler on the other was itself a concern. To that add, Gandhiji’s resolute opposition to colonialism and you have a inflammable moral situation.

The deluge of blood and murder caused moral anxiety and was a matter of ethical dilemma amongst common folks. The pressure valve for this was popular fiction. Identifying murderers became a form of proxy, vicarious entertainment for ordinary folks. Enter the super detectives, who pick out the murderer from a room full of ordinary people. Enter detectives like Auguste Dupin, of ‘The Purloined Letter‘ fame, who “investigates an apparently motiveless and unsolvable double murder in the Rue Morgue.”

Murder in Popular Image

The racist imagery in Tintin.

The 'racist' imagery in Tintin.

A trend started by Edgar Allan Poe, whose first detective novel, Murders In Rue Morgue (1841) soon became an avalanche. Writers like Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple solving murders happening by the second), Georges Simenon (and his Inspector Maigret investigating brutal crimes), Ngaio Marsh (Roderick Alleyn), GK Chesterton (Father Brown), Raymond Chandler (Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe) dealt with murder. Alfred Hitchcock made horror thrillers in similar themes.

In 1887, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock series made its debut. Many of Conan Doyle’s characters came from the colonies. Many victims lived in isolated communities. Past (mis)deeds caught up. Crime, murder and malevolence hung in the air like thick smoke. Some of the stories addressed the colour prejudice. The status of England as a super-power was apparent. The intrigue and bloodshed in the India was palpable in stories like the The Sign of Four at the Pondicherry Lodge.

Tintin in Congo

Tintin in Congo

Agatha Christie’s book, filmed as Ten Little Indians, based on the book, initially released (the book) in Britain as Ten Little Niggers (later renamed as Then There None) gives the game away. Agatha Christie probably unconsciously verbalized the White desire to ensure that there should be none of the Red Indians left to tell the tale. The overt racism in Herge’s ‘Tintin in Congo’ made the world sit-up and note the pervasiveness of racism in detective fiction.

Media and academia

Jerome Delamater, Ruth Prigozy, in an essay compilation, ‘Theory and Practice of Classic Detective Fiction’, observe that Jane Marple, along with Hercule “Poirot becomes an equal opportunity detective who really believes that anyone might commit murder”. Dismissing the jaundiced view of human nature,” the writers of this book, while commenting about the detective fiction genre, do not mention slavery at all – and mention colonialism and racism once each.

One writer, Franco Moretti did half the job in book Signs Taken for Wonders: On the Sociology of Literary Forms By Franco Moretti. He writes,

“The perfect crime – the nightmare of detective fiction – is the feature-less, deindividualized crime that anyone could have committed because at this point everyone is the same.” He further writes,“Yet, if we turn to Agatha Christie, the situation is reversed.Her hundred-odd books have only one message: the criminal can be anyone …”

Detective FictionIn his entire book he does not use the words like slavery, racism, genocide, bigotry even once. The 19th century, which was based on Western bigotry, White racism, African slavery, and assorted genocides is unrecognised in Moretti’s books.

Running or hiding? Or it a case of feeling squeamish? Perhaps, a case of queasy stomach, Franco?

Another book, The Detective as Historian: History and Art in Historical Crime Fiction, by Ray Broadus Browne, Lawrence A. Kreiser does a better job. This book examines, the detective fiction genre, with some references to slavery and child prostitution.

How was this explained away

As the monsters increased, both in real life and literature, rationalizations were required. A person no less than Immanuel Kant, was pressed into service to deconstruct the ‘monster’, re-invent it and give it a positive spin.

The monster taken up by Kant in an aesthetic sense to refer to those things that exceed representation considers that the monstrous describes an entity whose life force is greater than the matter in which in which it is contained. Thus rather than something that malfunctions during the course of its production, monstrosity is associated during romanticism with “over-exuberant living matter” that extends itself beyond its natural borders in order to affect a much wider sphere. ((from The subject in question By C. Christopher Soufas).

In the twentieth century, Kant’s hypothesis finds an echo when Lord Randolph William Churchill, the ‘Bulldog’ declared

I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken their place. (from Minorities, peoples, and self-determination By Nazila Ghanea-Hercock, Nazila Ghanea, Alexandra Xanthaki, Patrick Thornberry)

In another instance, Churchill wrote how superior’ Arabs, imposed on the ‘inferior’ negroes.

The stronger race imposed its customs and language on the negroes. The vigour of their blood sensibly altered the facial appearance … (from The River War By Winston Churchill).

The Mystery of the Dying Detective

After de-colonisation, as mass murder went underground, the detective-murder mystery books genre faded. This category was replaced by a new theme – the axis of Corporation-Government-International Conspiracy.

The new category of popular fiction are represented by Ian Fleming, Arthur Hailey, Frederick Forsyth, Irving Wallace, Robert Ludlum, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, et al. More and more contrived, each conspiracy theory writer has been ‘inspired’ by real life incidents.

While Ludlum’s international-conspiracy-plot-CIA-FBI-KGB series have worn thin, the spookiness of Le Carre’s Absolute Friends and Constant Gardner still work as novels representing the West.

Western Twins – Anxiety and Paranoia

To develop this understanding further, there are two classes of films that I wish to draw attention to.

Malignant Nature

Jaws (the shark that eats humans), Jurassic Park (mad scientists, conspiring technicians let loose man eating dinos) Gremlins and Poltergiest (things that go bump in the night). This paranoid fear of nature (and natural laws) seems to be a result of the subterranean knowledge of the way in which ecological damage and pollution is happening. These films produced /directed by Steven Spielberg (who is incomparable because as Time Magazine says, “No one else has put together a more popular body of work”)

Illegal AliensVindictive Humans

The other is the thinly disguised hate and prejudice films against the poor and the victimised. ‘Aliens’ needs just one small change for the films idea to become clear. Instead of LV-426, Nostromo the space ship, receives a distress call from some country in South America or Africa (or India, if you prefer). The meaning is clear when you see the movie while conscious of the fact that alien is is the word the US Government uses for people from other countries.

As for the Indian churails

Coming to India, a writer notes how

Francesca Orsini identifies the detective  novel as one of the genres that ‘was brought into India ‘ready-made’ without the intellectual and historical substratus that had generated it in Europe’ This total lack of any indigenous roots, one could argue, makes detective  fiction a colonial imposition, and its adoption by Indian writers, clearly a case of copy-cat reproduction wherein ‘black-pens’ write ‘white-texts’ that have no identity of their own. (from Postcolonial postmortems – crime fiction from a transcultural perspective By Christine Matzke, Susanne Muehleisen, page 88).

How very true!

Ms.Christine and Susanne, you have hit the nail right in the centre of head! Your aim is truer than you imagine. Whatta shot! Though I dont know if you have hit the nail deep enough – deep into the heart of the darkness, which gave rise to these genres of Western ‘literature’.

The Indian churail (or pisach or djinni) faces similar problems as the Scandinavian myling or the Er Gui of China: they don’t translate well outside of their culture.

India may have had local incidents, where an oppressive zamindar may have created a market for horror stories and monsters – but without genocide, slavery and massacres to fall back on, popular imagination simply does not have the fodder to create ghouls and monsters.

And that is reason for Indian churails being rare – not lack of literary ability in Indians.

Military success

Zizka ranks with the great military innovators of all time. Zizka’s army was made up of untrained peasants and burghers (townspeople). He did not have the time or resources to train these fighters in armament and tactics of the time. Instead they used weapons like iron-tipped pikes and flails, armored farm wagons, mounted with small, howitzer type cannons.

His armored wagons, led by the Taborites, in offensive movements, broke through the enemy lines, firing as they rolled, cutting superior forces into pieces. For defense, the wagons were arranged into a tight, impregnable barrier surrounding the foot soldiers – the Wagenburg (the wagon fort), as they came to be known. The wagons also served to transport his men. Zizka thus fully initiated modern tank warfare. Zizka’s experience under various commanders was useful. At the battle of Tannenberg (1410), Zizka fought on the Polish side , in which the famed German Teutonic Knights were defeated.

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Roma Gypsy murder raises ethnic tension higher – BBC NEWS | World | Europe |

April 30, 2009 5 comments

A Gypsy Slave Village

“The net is tightening around the perpetrators,” says Hungarian Police Chief Jozsef Bencze. “But our main enemy now, is time.”

The short time which passes, that is, before the next lethal attack against a Roma (Gypsy) settlement.

The Hungarian police are now investigating 18 such attacks in the past 18 months, some carried out with both firebombs, and firearms. (via BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Murder raises ethnic tension higher).

A few months ago, President Sarkozy was preaching to PM Manmohan Singh of India, about managing minorities. Can you, Shri Sarkozy, look at your own backyard.

A few months ago, the Italian police started a campaign of racial profiling and persecution of the Roma – based on an isolated murder of an Italian.

This disproportionate response against a community, to a crime (I am making an assumption of guilt) by a Roma individual, smacks of persecution, racism and pogroms. After all, this is how Hitler and Mussolini too started their campaigns.

Modi fails the Kalinga test – The Economic Times

April 20, 2009 9 comments

Nothing in our modern democracy, nor anything in our political culture that is over two millennia old, permits the ascendance of a ruler who lacks compassion for the people. In our myths, our history and our practice as citizens of a free and democratic country, there is no warrant for the exercise of unbridled power, or for a leader who fails the Kalinga test. (via Modi fails the Kalinga test- Opinion-The Economic Times).

Ananya Vajpeyi, teaches at the University of Massachusets, Boston. A ‘concerned’ NRI, she is cautioning her unlettered and unsophisticated‘desi brethren’ about the dangers of electing Narendra Modi. The basis of her fears – a highly critical (of Narendra Modi) article in a US magazine The Atlantic, by a influential journalist, Robert D Kaplan (extracted and linked above).

First and foremost, फ़िकर Not! Ananya. The Indian Voter knows what he is doing.

Secondly, and sadly, the hatchet job done by Robert Kaplan suffers from many infirmities – none of which you point out. What Robert Kaplan has done is use Narendra Modi as a human shield to attack India – secure in the belief that ‘no one will dare defend Narendra Modi’.

One – ‘Free’ India made bad and the wrong choices

Look at Kaplan’s statement on India’s post colonial choices “to protect the poor against the ravages of capitalism, which benefits only the majority rather than everyone”

Same difference ...
Same difference …

No one, but no one, in their right minds, (Kaplan excepting) will ever state that Capitalism ‘benefits only the majority’. Capitalism benefited a small minority, who were allowed to concentrate and control the means of production – and enrich themselves; usually through Corporations.

The quid pro quo is that the capitalists will in turn advance the agenda of the ‘rulers’. E.g. The English East India Company. American Socialists may differentiate themselves by calling themselves as Capitalists,  may offer anecdotal evidence of a ‘trickle down effect’ – better than the Eastern European Socialists, but it can hardly be called a benefiting the majority.

Also, India could never have chosen capitalism – as that would have required vast numbers of slaves. Capitalism, which died out in 19th century, as we all know, was built on the pillars of ‘on-shore’ slavery and colonialism. Kaplan either forgets (unlikely) or does not know (surprising) that India has never used slaves – in the last 5000 years of history.

All countries are socialists today ...
All countries are socialists today …

India’s post-colonial choices were a mix of pragmatism, necessity and accepted wisdom of the times – and Western pressures and influences that are responsible for more than a fair share of guilt in these wrong choices.

Kaplan conveniently forgets that economists like JK Gailbraith, Western institutions like World Bank, IMF, stampeded India (and Nehru), into some of these bad choices – which the West now claims were India’s own choices in the first place.

For instance, one of the worst choices made by India, tied to World Bank, IMF and US aid, was to follow the infamous population control policy.

Two -India is a paradox, cannot survive

Kaplan’s ‘deadly ethnic and religious tensions’ bit is again a case of selective amnesia. Would he like to trace the role of US and its client, named Pakistan, in the religious tensions that India manages today? Would he like to account for the US$ 3 billion that Indian NGOs receive each year – mostly from the West. These NGOs mostly, are a cover for proselytization or worse still, some of them are fronts for subverting or influencing Indian public agenda.

French youths face Paris riot police in Clichy-sous-Bois - Oct. 29, 07

French youths face Paris riot police in Clichy-sous-Bois - Oct. 29, '07

Or would he like to posit the fact that the West today has the lowest levels of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity – and persecutes whatever little is left, like the Roma Gypsies for example. Would he like to mention any other country where such a large minority Muslim population, has greater freedom and opportunity, than in India? Would you like to suggest France instead?

India manages the aspirations of nearly 17 crore Muslims – which is equal to half the population of the entire US of A. Get a minority population of that size, and then Mr.Kaplan, we will talk about the Gujarat riots.

In case you don’t remember, a simple marker for persecution Kaplanbhai, is decline in populations. Has the Muslim population in India declined? Like the Native American population has or the post-bellum African-American population has declined (in comparison to the ante-bellum)? Or the Jewish and and Roma Gypsy populations has (ignoring the limited population recovery of Roma Gypsies in post WW2 West). Or the reduction due to genocide of the poor Congolese by the Belgian emperor.

Did you see such magazine covers in India, Mr.Kaplan?

Did you see such magazine covers in India, Mr.Kaplan?

Post colonial census started with a Indian Muslim population of about 11.2% – which has now crossed 15%. Is that persecution, Mr.Kaplan? Is the ‘perceived’ Muslim backwardness (as defined by the Sachar Committee report) an effect of Indian public policy or are social choices made by Indian Muslims, the cause?

All the “social homogenization that globalization engenders” I have seen in India is how Western culture and content (TV shows, Hollywood, etc.) continues to remain a flop show!

I have no clue where Kaplan gets his data or opinions from?

Three -The argumentative Indian

The Kalinga effect.

I always thought Ashoka’s change in heart was a universal lesson – especially for the war-mongering Desert Bloc killlers – like George Bush! Modi looked away while some (estimated) 2000 Muslims were killed in riots. George Bush was looking, everyday, at more people getting killed in Afghanistan and Iraq (20 lakhs (2 million) at last count) than in Gujarat. What about the various US Governors who looked away as more than 2000 killed in riots at Queens, Bronx and Haarlem?

Is it that only Indians (especially Hindus) are supposed to be moral, Bhai Kaplan? King Ashoka is a lesson in history for all war mongers – and not Indians alone, Mr.Kaplan! Is it that Indians will be always be held to higher standards – while the West (and the Desert Bloc in general) can keep getting away with murder, genocide and massacres?

Four -Kaplan ko kyon gussa aata hai or (If only Narendra Modi would apologize) …

Kaplanbhai has a brilliant idea for Indians!

He is suggesting we let Mr.Modi get away with the Gujarat riots, if he says sorry! By making a proforma apology!

Worry about the West, Kaplanbhai!

Worry about the West, Kaplanbhai!

Like the many false apologies, made or not made, after the genocide of Jews, Native Americans, or the Roma Gypsies or the Australian aborigines, and then get on with life. Ananya, you should know Indians better than Kaplan.

A common derisive Indian response to apologies is अँगरेज़ तो चले गए लेकिन, येह सॉरी शब्द यहीं छोड़ गए (the English have left, but they have left behind this word sorry). Indians will accept a change – complete and total change in behaviour! Satori! The flash! Indians will give a second chance to even criminals and robbers – without an apology!!

But empty apologies? Bad idea! Like Valmiki (the writer of Ramayana) did not apologize – but, instead he reformed! Or the many dacoits (Phoolan Devi et al) in the recent past, who were elected to the Indian Parliament.

Five -Kaplan in knots

Kaplan’s finds “migrants … Muslim, from throughout India have been streaming into Gujarat” and Kaplan also “encountered … alienation from India, evidenced by their withdrawal into their own communities …”

Two comments spaced a few paragraphs apart, and the contradictions become clear. If he cannot understand this anecdotal  ‘inconsistency’ he should either flag it or exclude it. What he is doing, is hiding it!

Six -The best of the trash

Obama and Modi comparison! Now that is interesting!

This is the only bit I liked in that entire article. Leaving his (one-legged, Godhra riots based) commentary aside, I would like to see a second Black person become a President of the USA. Just like there never has been a Catholic President, ever – except once, who was murdered!

Obama is tokenism.

In the last 60  years, in 15 US elections, only one bald US president has been elected – and only 5 bald presidents in the 233 years of Republican US. Seemingly, the US Voter and political system selects people with a headful of hair! And we are not even started on a woman president or a Muslim President! Worry about the prejudices and biases of the American Voter, Mr.Kaplan. India has had numerous Muslims in important positions – Supreme Chief justices,  Presidents (two of them, at last count), many Central Government Ministers!

It has taken nearly 60 years for Narendra Modi’s ‘right-wing’ Indian, ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ party to come to power – and lose it. They have been given opportunities at the states – and been suitably rewarded and punished – based on performance. The Indian Voter has voted the ‘Communists’ and the ‘Fascists’, fundamentalists and liberals, of all shades and colors – in and out of power. Indian Voters are smart enough and know what is good for them.

It is the American Voter, who is the concern, Ananya!

Seven -India – defeated and divided

Kaplan takes a misguided statement of a misinformed (by propaganda as education) Indian, Vijay Chauthaiwale, a molecular biologist that “They (the Muslim) conquered … we lost. The British conquered. We lost. We were a defeated society. We needed to come together as Hindus.” This is so juicy and tempting!

Would Kaplan take the word of an American molecular biologist on history as close-to-truth. If he did, The Atlantic, would throw him out faster than he can spell history.

Is this propaganda or opinion? History, it ain’t, Mr.Kaplan!!

Let us go to the ancient world.

The expansion of the Eyptian Slave Empire, led by their Pharoah Thutmose III,  was stopped at the Battle of Megiddo (1468 BC) – by an Indo-Aryan alliance of Mittanis, Amurrus and Cannanaites. It is the Battle of Megiddo, from which the Biblical Armageddon is derived, meaning, ‘mount of Megiddo’. The alliance led by “king of Kadesh with the support of troops and money from the Mitanni, the great power to the north,” was able to take on the might of the Egytian armies under Pharaoh Thutmose III.

Or the three important battles of the ancient world. Ramesis-II at the Battle of Kadesh!! Semiramis, whose Assyrian Empire, was finally dissolved after WW1, tasted a horrific defeat in her Indian campaign. The resounding defeat of Cyrus The Great at the hands of the Indo-Scythian alliance is rarely recounted in modern history.

More recently, Alexander’s retreat from India (which Kaplan also refers to, in his subsequent post) is too well known for me to repeat. The death of Crassus at the hands of Indo-Parthian General Suren is too grisly for Western tastes – and usually covered up, delicately. As is the defeat of Justinian’s Roman armies, at the Persian borders at the hands of Indo-Persian elephant army is not usually mentioned either.

The first foreign-Islamic ruler in Delhi, Qutubuddin Aibak, was in 1206 by which time large parts of Europe were already under Islamic rule for more than 400 years, from 8th century itself. Within 200 years, by 1400, the Ashvakans (these days known as Afghans) Lodhis and the Moghuls re-took New Delhi from the Khiljis – which ended foreign rule in India. Many Indians are still victims of colonial propaganda – which shows India as  ‘defeated society’. Kaplan is either a (unlikely) victim of this propaganda or a (most probable) part of the problem? Either way, bad job!

And you Ananya, should know better.

Eight -Small things that actually mean big things

He comments on how Narendra Modi wore “traditional paijama pants and a long, elegant brown kurta—ironically, the traditional dress of India imported by the Mughals.”

I got bad news again for you, Mr.Kaplan.

India is the only culture in the world to have unisex clothing. The plainsmen and women wore the 5-yard dhoti and saree – and the hills people wore the tubular top and leggings.  And this is one of the many things that Alexander’s armies learnt in India. Macedonian national dress is the salavaria!

Nine-Where would India be without the British Raj

Kaplan can’t resist crediting the British! His desperation to credit “The British, by contrast, brought tangible development, ports and railways, that created the basis for a modern state. … the British, despite all their flaws, advanced an ideal of Indian greatness”.

His Masters Anticipation - Uncivilized Indians fighting with each other like animals

His Master's Anticipation - 'Uncivilized Indians fighting with each other like animals

At the end of WW2, Britain was a superpower, intact with its huge colonial Empire – apart from the massive debt that it owed the US. With Germany defeated and Hitler dead, Italy in shambles and Mussolini hanged, Britain sat at the head of ‘high tables’ in the post-WW2 world (with the US), deciding the fate of the nations.

On February 18th, the lowly Naval Ratings from the Royal Indian Navy rained on the British parade – by raising the flag of Indian Independence. Britain did not have the stomach to take on the Indian Colonial Army, battle hardened and exposed to warfare in all the global theatres of WW2. They acquiesced and 18 months later the British were out. From then, to …

Britain today, a shell of its former self – with its manufacturing hollowed out, its agriculture in shambles, its economy on the verge of being relegated to the Third World is a huge descent. Much like Spain after Haiti.

In a 100 years after Haiti, Spain flamed out. By 1930, it was in the throes of a Civil War. And in Spain today, prostitution is national industry.

The Masters Glee 2 - Rubbing their colonial hands in anticipation

The Master's Glee 2 - Rubbing their colonial hands in anticipation

India has in the meantime, led by ‘men of straw’, has moved from being a ‘ship-to-mouth’ basket-case, to a significant economic and political success. Yet, the British colonial administrators needed to prove that only they could rule over India. Indians were after all ‘men of straw … of whom no trace will be found after a few years’. And they were led byhalf naked fakir‘. If Britain was indeed so good at its job, why can’t they do anything to save themselves from this terminal decline.

For all this, we owe a debt of gratitude to the British, Mr.Kaplan? Can you make up a better story please, next time!

Next time, Ananya

I could have easily made it ten or even a dozen falsities by Robert Kaplan – but does he deserve so much attention or time, Ananya? Will you rise to any two-bit of writing that denigrates India – using Narendra Modi (or someone else next time) as a human shield?

Are you Ananya, suggesting that international opinion should decide who the Indian Voter will elect?

Two Books on the Monetary Horror Story That Looks Like Today’s – NYTimes.com

January 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Hjalmar Schacht (above left) and Sir Montagu Norman (right)

In the 1920s the press had been infatuated with an international foursome of elite bankers who took on the challenge of restoring global economic balance after the wreckage created by World War I. They had been called the “Most Exclusive Club in the World.”

With the angrily Prussian-mannered Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, the conniving Émile Moreau of the Banque de France and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as its other principals, and with Winston Churchill, John Maynard Keynes and Franklin D. Roosevelt among its secondary players, “Lords of Finance” tracks the shifting balance of economic power that reflected each country’s self-interested agenda. But one of the book’s most important points is that self-interest, in the world of global economic fluctuations, can be self-defeating. (via Books of The Times – Liaquat Ahamed’s ‘Lords of Finance’ – Monetary Horror Story That Looks Like Today’s – Review – NYTimes.com).

Elephants in the room

Another interesting book which covers a wide area – between the wars. The Western pre-occupation with itself, its total self absorption, at a cost to the rest of the world shows up in this book.

As is usual, it ignores other crucial elements and factors. For instance, how the Indian economy was used to meet Britain’s Post WW1 liabilities. To ‘dampen’ India’ gold demand, the Indian rupee was put on fixed, overvalued rate vis-a-vis the sterling.

Indian exports crashed, imports ballooned. Indian accounts would be settled at ‘official’ silver prices, with inflated silver released by the US under the Pittman Act. Gold prices were deflated – and Indians would therefore receive less for their gold. Thus with with a combination of inflated silver price, deflated gold price, high interest rates and an overvalued Indian rupee, the Indian economy was strangled. None of the book reviews or interview however identify this – unwittingly, or deliberately.

India funded the post WW1 recovery

The mechanics and the development is laid out in a better book, John Bullion’s Empire by By G. Balachandran. This book traces how much of India’s poverty was a result of economic policies between the two World Wars co-ordinated by these four central bankers.

On October 27th, 1931, the Ramsey Macdonald led “National” Government (Conservatives and Liberals coalition, fearful of the rising Labour Party) in Britain won a huge majority of 554 MPs of 615. The economic crisis of September 1931 (misnamed as the Indian Currency Crisis) was a result of this economic policy which reduced Indian economic activity – resulting in bankruptcy of the Colonial India Government.

Parallel Great Depression era problems in the US, the Weimar Republic problems – and other issues pushed this ‘National’ government to ram through a series of measures (page 130-131) that inflated silver prices, depressed gold prices and raised interest rates in India. The Indian rupee was pegged at a high exchange rate vis-a-vis the sterling. Indian exports crashed. To ensure that Indian farmers had no options, Indian money lenders were regulated and licensed into paralysis.

Indians were paid, with inflated and abundant silver stock, instead of gold. This silver was the same silver released by the Pittman Act. The silver buffer solution to the gold drain to India was seen as the “only buffer to protect Western gold reserves against the Indian drain (was) a silver buffer.” Of course, later the British Raj decided to settle Indian debts with promissory notes – and not even silver. It was this Indian ‘sacrifice’ which enabled the recovery of the West.

Done over the protests by Gandhiji, trade bodies and merchants and threats of resignation by the Viceroy and his Executive Council, the resulting ‘money famine’ (page 155) had the Lord Willingdon ecstatically say ‘Indians are disgorging gold‘ (page 156). Neville Chamberlain pitched in with his classic statement “The astonishing gold mine that we have discovered in India’s hordes has put us in clover.”

Crash in silver prices

New mines and increased silver production saw a crash in silver prices. US silver coinage was being depreciated due to increasing supplies of silver. On the other side, Britain had a large debt due to WW1. Britain and America stuck a deal at the cost of the Indian subjects of the British Raj. The US passed the Pittman Act which mandated silver sales at more than a dollar per ounce – double the 50c per ounce prevailing price of silver. Britain agreed to settle all Indian debts with silver. Gold prices were deflated. Interest rates in India were increased. Restrictions on gold imports on were placed and gold demand in India was ‘normalized.’

Impoverishment of India

With crashing exports and increased imports, the Indian citizenry had no option but to pay for all essentials and taxes with gold. As a quid pro quo, for this silver for gold scam, the US lent gold to Britain in 1926, which allowed Britain to revert back to the pre-War old standard.

Looking back, it was clear that this achieved nothing but the impoverishment of India. In 1948, Montagu Norman had to admit that with these maneuvers “We achieved absolutely nothing, except that we collected a lot of money from a lot of poor devils and gave it to the four winds.”

Italy will fingerprint children | Human Rights Tribune – www.humanrights-geneva.info

December 15, 2008 5 comments

According to Italian human rights organisation Opera Nomadi, approximately 160,000 Roma currently live in Italy. Most of them inhabit improvised camps on the outskirts of towns. Roughly 60,000 come from Romania, which has Europe’s largest Roma community, numbering close to 2.5 million in a population of 22 million.

The Roma are believed to have migrated to Europe from India since the 14th century.

Following several highly publicised reports of Roma, often from Romania, committing crimes in Italy, the Italian centre-right government declared a one-year state of emergency May 21 in relation to the settlements of nomad communities in the regions of Campania (capital Naples), Lombardia (Milan) and Lazio (Rome).

Ordinances accompanying the state of emergency allow the prefects of these regions to conduct identity screenings, involving fingerprinting, of all persons, even those not considered dangerous or suspected of crimes. Authorities in Naples and Milan have since declared their intention to fingerprint nomads, including minors, living in camps around the cities. (via Looking to Rome to escape the Roma | Human Rights Tribune – www.humanrights-geneva.info).

Why does Europe continue to demonize and persecute the Roma

Despite the immense contribution by the Roma Gypsies to European culture and life. Is it because: –

1. They have a different lifestyle – which is migratory and frugal. They do not wish to have permanent homes, too many possessions or jobs. They prefer living in wagons, with skills and trade that they possess.

2. They have not ‘integrated’ into the White, Christian, European social system. They wish to remain ‘different’.

3. They stick out like sore thumbs – in a Europe where the Jews have been annihilated, where  descendants of the African slave populations have been exterminated and the Islamic population (past and present) is not tolerated. In such a situation, the Roma Gypsies have not only survived, but have regrown (after Hitler’s concentration camps killed them by millions).

Since when, are these qualities a crime.

Nuremberg Trials For The King Of Belgium

February 13, 2008 2 comments

Only 90 years ago, the agents of King Leopold II of Belgium massacred 10 million Africans in the Congo. Cutting off hands as we see in Sierra Leone today, was very much part of Leopold’s repertoire. Today, Leopold’s “rubber terror” has all been swept under the carpet. Adam Hochschild calls it “the great forgetting” in his brilliant new book, King Leopold’s Ghost, recently published by Macmillan. This is a story of greed, exploitation and brutality that Africa and the world must not forget. (via The Butcher of Congo).

The colonisation of Congo – by Belgium

10 million dead. Hitler seems like an angel. At least, he used advanced decent industrial systems to kill the Jews. The Belgians just went ahead and butchered the people of Congo. It happened just 30 years before Hitler.

How come

Why is there no Nuremberg Trials against King Leopold and the Belgium. I can see One reason – race. One word – colour. Because Hitler butchered the Europeans, he is demonised. Because King Leopold did that against the Africans, he is sanctified and possibly will be cannonised.

And to think that Sonia Gandhi values medals in Leopold name.

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