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Posts Tagged ‘India’

Hindu Muslim Bhai-Bhai – End of an Era

September 1, 2011 1 comment

Urbane, educated, certain local and foreign elements served the British, Pakistani leaders, Indian princes, appealed to Hindus, Muslims using religion – and gained everywhere. But in each case, India lost.

Bhishma on the Bed of Arrows (image source and courtesy - http://www.harekrsna.com). Click for larger image.

Bhishma on the Bed of Arrows (image source and courtesy - http://www.harekrsna.com). Click for larger image.

My grateful  acknowledgments are due to His Highness the Nizam and His  Highness the ruler of Mysore for their princely donations. The  Nizam is a Mahomedan prince. Any contribution coming from him in aid of a work like the Mahabharata could not but  indicate His Highness’s enlightened sympathy for literature in  general, irrespective of the nation or the creed which that  literature represents.  As an administrator, Sir Asman Jah promises to rival the  fame of Sir Salar Jung. So long also as an officer like  Nawab Sayyed Ali Bilgrami is about the person of His Highness … (from the foreword of The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (Anusasana Parva) Translated into English prose Published and distributed by Pratapa Chandra Ray Published 1893 by Bharata Press in Calcutta . Written in English).

What’s religion got to do with this?

Soon after the 1857 Anglo-Indian War of 1857, we had the remarkable instance of the Baroda Gaikwad commissioning a ‘Basra’ pearl carpet for the prophet’s tomb at Medina, which was recently auctioned for US$5.5 million.

And here we have the case of a Muslim king, the Nizam of Hyderabad, who partly funded the translation and publication of the Mahabharata in English.

Coming storm

But, this was soon to change.

In 1905, Bengal was partitioned along religious lines, by Lord Curzon. West Bengal, Orissa, and Bihar on one side and the erstwhile East Bengal and Assam were divided into the other part. All India Muslim League and All India Hindu Mahasabha followed. The official logic was that Bengal was too large a province to be administered by a single governor.

An India that seemed possible and probable was brokento two pieces - and a Kashmir legacy left behind.

An India that seemed possible and probable was broken in to two pieces - and a Kashmir legacy left.

This explanation did not account for communal boundaries – and did not explain Curzon’s tour of East Bengal in February 1904, where he promised a separate zone for Muslim Bengalis.

Protests against this partition in the form of Arandhan (no food was cooked across Bengal), boycott of British goods, and Tagore suggested that Raksha Bandhan would be observed in a spirit of brotherhood between Muslims and Hindus. Lord Minto’s ‘reforms’ in 1909, was the next major step in division of India along religious lines.

Simultaneously, soon after the publication of Tarana-e-Hind (Song of India) in 1905, of the sare-jahaan-se-achcha hai-hindustan-hamaraa fame, Iqbal was sponsored by British authorities for ‘modern’ studies in Europe in 1906. In England Allama Iqbal joined with Major Syed Hassan Bilgrami, ex-Indian Medical Service, to form and promote the Muslim League in England, in 1908.

The mechanics of divide et impera

Major Syed Ali Bilgrami wrote the text for Simla deputation, headed by the Sir Sultan Muhammad (the Aga Khan), who with seventy ‘representatives’ of the Muslim community, asked the Viceroy for elections along communal lines.

The immediate cause for the Simla deputation was the matter of language. Soon after 1857, at Benares in 1867, with the expanding role of the State, a case for using Devnagari script was made. This issue simmered and in 1900, the Urdu-Nagri Resolution was notified by Sir Anthony Macdonald, Lieutenant-Governor, United Provinces, in April 1900 giving parity to Hindi as a official-language along with Urdu in UP. Muslim paranoia was watered and nurtured by the British.

By creating claims and supporting counter-claims, responding to alternate parties, the British administration created frenzy around a simple administrative issue. Pakistani historians to this day see this as “the machination of Dr. Feelan, District Inspector of Schools and Anthony Mac Donald, then Collector of Muzaffarpur, the two bitterest antagonists of Urdu”.

Major Syed Ali Bilgrami wrote the Simla address - presented to the Viceroy on October 1st, 1906, calling for separate electorates. (Image source and courtesy - storyofpakistan.com).

Major Syed Ali Bilgrami wrote the Simla address - presented to the Viceroy on October 1st, 1906, calling for communal electorates. (Image source and courtesy - storyofpakistan.com).

The rest of the story, most of us know.

Behind the man

Major Syed Hassan Bilgrami, an academic from Lucknow, was also from the same family as Sayyed Ali Bilgrami. Sayyed Ali Bilgrami was selected for employment by Salar Jung, one of the nobles in Nizam’s kingdom.

Syed Ali Bilgrami (Image source and courtesy - themuslims.in).

Syed Ali Bilgrami (Image source and courtesy - themuslims.in).

Designated as Imud ul-Mulk Bahadur, he presided over the setting up of Dairatul-Maarifil-Osmania, Hyderabad (or the Osmania Oriental Publications Bureau) in 1888. For some time, he was the tutor to the future Nizam of Hyderabad,

Connections everywhere

Sayyed Ali Bilgrami donated his own collection of books, manuscripts and texts to form a core for the Asafia State Library (1891). Of the initial nearly 24,000 volumes, nearly 16,000 were Persian, Arabic or Urdu. Some 7600 were in English and other European languages. There was, of course, no place for any books in Hindi, Telugu, Sanskrit, Marathi, Kannada – which was the languages used by more than 95% of the Nizam Kingdom’s population.

Sayyed Ali Bilgrami studied at Kolkatta where he also learned Sanskrit – and later translated the Atharva Veda. That possibly explains Sayyed Ali Bilgrami links to Kisari Mohan Ganguli and the publication of Mahabharata by Pratapa Chandra Ray – and funding through the Nizam Government.

Soon after 1905, Sayyed Ali Bilgrami became an activist in affairs of Urdu and Muslim affairs. Another member of the family, active academically, was Syed Asghar Ali Bilgrami who published Ma ‘athir-i-Dakan (Hyderabad, 1925) in Urdu and another study in English, called Landmarks of the Deccan (Hyderabad, 1927).

Collaboration Chronicles

Urbane, educated, the Bilgramis served the British, Pakistan, Indian princes, appealed to Hindus, Muslims – and gained everywhere. Post-independence, some of the Bilgramis moved to Pakistan. A few members of the family chose to remain in Hyderabad, and other parts of India. Today, they can be found in the UK, Germany, UAE – and many emigrated to the US.

This translation of the Mahabharata, by Kisari Mohan Ganguli and publication by Pratapa Chandra Ray, for which one of the Bilgramis arranged funding, remains the most popular and accessible work of the last 100 years.

Below are book extracts from a rather revealing and well-researched work on British colonialism in India.

Chronicles of Collaboration. Excerpts from Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic identity: the search for Saladin  By Akbar S. Ahmed, pages 56 and 64). Click to go source at books.google.com

Chronicles of Collaboration. Excerpts from Jinnah, Pakistan and Islāmic identity: the search for Saladin By Akbar S. Ahmed, pages 56 and 64). Click to go source at books.google.com

Kashmir – How US Supported Pakistan Subversion

August 25, 2011 1 comment

Patrick French’s recent tweets are interesting footnotes to India’s tortured foreign policy, lurching between Nehru-Eisenhower friendship, to the US-Western support for Pakistan’s anti-India activities.

An Englishman named French

Patrick French has written two successful books on India – and is seen as another well-intentioned Indo-phile. His rather patronizing view of Indian leadership (refers to Indian MPs as HMPs – hereditary MPs) has become rather famous in Indian media. Unfortunately his view of Indian MPs as HMPs – hereditary MPs) displays a singular lack in understanding of Western demographics – and Indian society.

But then, he can be equally good, when he is mocking Michael Heseltine’s daughter, too!

Behind the bizarre policies of the Pakistani State are the dollars and mal-intentions of Pax Americana. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 15th April, 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

Behind the bizarre policies of the Pakistani State are the dollars and mal-intentions of Pax Americana. (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 15th April, 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

Soldiers of fortune

Such as his ‘understanding’ is, he has been smart enough to hitch his career to Rising India than  Empty-Shell Britain, his native country.

Much like his other British colleague, William Dalrymple. Or British ‘traders’ who came to India to make a living – and later, looted, instead.

India’s new religion

The Dalrymples and the Frenchs receive a rather warm welcome in India due to their soft-push of liberal-progressive ideas. The same ideas that are behind India’s new religion – Westernization.

So enamored with the new religion of ‘Westernization’ are Indians, that no criticism is accepted or tolerated.

The ‘progressive liberal’ establishment of the West is viewed benignly in India – and seen as ‘well wishers’ of India. Many such ideas are welcomed in India without analysis, as the source of such initiatives is seen as well-intentioned. A ‘tolerant’ and ‘open’ society like India can be a complacent victim to Trojan horses.

After the dust settles

Much like how Marathas continued to ‘accept’ Mughal position of rulers of India, long after the claim had expired. Modern India too, accepts Western ‘achievements’. Compared to the ‘co-operation’ with the Islāmic plunderers our ‘collaboration’ with the West is in no way less damaging or in any way less culpable.

In this context, French’s report of this conversation is a rather interesting and independent confirmation of rather malignant (OK, unfriendly, if you will) Western intentions regarding India.


Lethargy As Opinion

August 16, 2011 3 comments

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

Colonial motivations

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

Seems like in India, too

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image source and courtesy - economist.com.

Image source and courtesy - economist.com.

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

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

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

MF Husain was Hindu

July 3, 2011 3 comments
M. F. Hussain gets Qatar nationality announces the editor of Hindu - N. Ram (Image courtesy - hindu.com). Click for larger image

M. F. Hussain gets Qatar nationality announces the editor of Hindu - N. Ram (Image courtesy - hindu.com). Click for larger image

Says Pritish Nandy

Maqbool Fida Hussain never said ‘I am a ‘Hindu”. Yet, Pritish Nandy insists on claiming Hussain for ‘Hinduism’. But then, Pritish Nandy for one is not a ‘Hindu’ – in mind, spirit or thought.

Not, if he cannot understand, that what Pritish Nandy calls ‘Hinduism’ does not require everyone to go by One book, belong to One Faith, worship One god or believe in any One thing. ‘Hinduism’ would have been absolutely comfortable with MF Hussain being a Muslim. And everyone includes Maqbool Fida Hussain also.

‘Hinduism’ does not believe or accept that it  is ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ to any other body of belief. The only one thing that ‘Hinduism’ does not accept is अधर्म adharma. Injustice to any man.

Everything else goes.

‘Hinduism’ is public property

At this point here, Farrukh Dhondy joins the debate. Dhondy implies ‘Hinduism’ is public property. MF Hussain has a perfect right to do whatever he wants with ‘Hinduism’ – believes our Mr.Dhondy.

When Mother Teresa became an object of media-adulation, Hussain turned to Moter Teresa. (Image courtesy - indiatimes.com.) Click for larger image.

When Mother Teresa became an object of media-adulation, Hussain turned to Moter Teresa. (Image courtesy - indiatimes.com.) Click for larger image.

The Hindus don’t have a single book and certainly not one that sanctions attacks for depicting one or the other goddess and using an imaginary or live model’s form and features to do it. Those who hounded MF were barking up the wrong walking stick.

It has happened before. Raja Ravi Verma was castigated, mobbed and prosecuted for using his mistress as a model for paintings of Hindu goddesses and heroines from the epics. Ketan Mehta’s film may shed some light on how and why a notion of heresy invaded the beliefs of Hinduism.  Hinduism, should be free from such an idea.

The demolition of the temple of Somnath may be seen as insults and affronts to the communities that built them and worshipped there but not in any sense is it heresy. Breaking icons is certainly insulting. But surely MF Husain was making them? (via Indian idol maker – Hindustan Times; parts excised for brevity).

Logically, Dhondy must understand that all idol-breaking or form-distortion can happen only at ‘Hindu’ sufferance – or tolerance, if you wish. ‘Hindu’ intellectual capital is available – at no cost.

To subscribers only.

23-May After Mamata Banerjee’s victory in West Bengal assembly elections, MF Hussain sent a sketch to Hindustan Times. (Image courtesy - hindustantimes.com). Click for larger image.

23-May After Mamata Banerjee’s victory in West Bengal assembly elections, MF Hussain sent a sketch to Hindustan Times. (Image courtesy - hindustantimes.com). Click for larger image.

No ‘free’ lunch at ‘Hindu’ expense

I don’t subscribe to FT.com. I don’t talk-up, talk-down, talk-about FT.com. FT.com does not want me. Separate ways. Good for both of us.

Same thing with ‘Hinduism’, I thought.

Without being a subscriber to ‘Hinduism’, others can use, accept ‘Hindu’ ideas, concepts, standards, clearly at ‘Hindu’ sufferance. Especially if an ‘artist’ wishes to make commercial profit by using ‘Hindu’ capital. Maqbool Fida Hussain wants to combine ‘Hindu’ sufferance, (or tolerance, maybe broad-mindedness), with Islāmic sensitivity (blasphemy, no idols and portraits), for his personal gain.

Hussain painted freely and frankly – nude goddesses, dark monks, rib-lined horses, elephants playing veenas, nations in distress – in canvases executed with style and showmanship, spreading artistic excitement across society.

But never an Islāmic theme – unless you want to count Meenaxi as an Islāmic theme! Why?

Now, Maqbool Fida Hussain used and adopted Islāmic standards, when it came to Islām. He should have stayed with Islāmic standards. Don’t portray any gods and goddesses.

MF Hussain sketches Madhuri Dixit from the film - Dil to Pagal Hai.

MF Hussain sketches Madhuri Dixit from the film - Dil to Pagal Hai.

Even Maqbool Fida Hussain cannot be chalk and cheese.

Everything to everyone

Maqbool Fida Hussain rode on the coat tails of  every media-star to gain publicity for himself. Vijay Tendulkar to Madhuri Dixit, Anushka Sharma to Mother Teresa. From Prabhu Deva to MS Subbalakshmi. He quickly made out a silly painting of Mamta Banerji’s election victory in Bengal – to keep himself in media-focus.

Maqbool Fida Hussain has always blown in whichever direction, the wind blows. He tried to be an admirer of playwright Tendulkar (and Sakharam Binder) when Vijay Tendulkar was bigger than Sachin Tendulkar – and supported Indira Gandhi’s Emergency when she was in power. Nandyभाई, Maqbool Fida Hussain cannot be ‘Hindu’ in spirit – and admire Mother Teresa’s blatant superior ‘Christian conversion’ therapy for  inferior ‘Hindus’.

Year - 2006; Bharatmata (Mother India) as a nude woman displayed at an exhibition by Nafisa Ali - an actress-turned-social-worker. (Image courtesy - indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Year - 2006; Bharatmata (Mother India) as a nude woman displayed at an exhibition by Nafisa Ali - an actress-turned-social-worker. (Image courtesy - indiatimes.com). Click for larger image.

Did I miss MF Hussain standing up for artistic freedom of the Prophet Mohammed cartoonist – or oppose Sarkozy’s hijab ban? Not a word in support of Salman Rushdie? Or why his ‘voluntary’ restraint from subjects that Islam forbids – which was Maqbool Fida Hussain’s own religion?

Did I see a single painting by Maqbool Fida Hussain on Muslim themes – maybe a Battle of Karbala, or Prophet Mohammed’s return to Mecca? Why is it that he wanted all his ‘freedom’ to caricature भारत माता Bharat-mata (Mother India) and ‘teen-deviyaan’?

In India, against ‘Hindus’?

In Qatar he found freedom

Maqbool Fida Hussain, in the same breath, cannot admire भारत माता Bharat-mata, take Qatari citizenship, and in death prefer to be buried in London (actually just outside London). By these actions, Maqbool Fida Hussain proved that all his claims of ‘artistic’ integrity and ‘artistic’ freedom were that much hot air. India lost nothing. It was for Maqbool Fida Hussian to decide if he was losing anything, by going away from भारत माता Bharat-mata.

Maqbool Fida Hussain choice of Qatar as his new country of residence, would not have given him more freedom. Qatar (pop. 3,00,000 lakhs approx.) is slightly larger than Maqbool Fida Hussain’s hometown of Pandharpur (pop. 1,00,000 approx.) but has a GDP which is 10% of India’s GDP – anchored to oil earnings. Did he raise his voice against Qatar’s support to Saudi Arabian troops sent to crush dissent in Bahrain? Or against the forced deportation by Qatar, of Libyan dissident, Eman al-Obeidi – back to Benghazi, Libya?

Picasso’s Art & Practices

Picasso’s (1881-1973) greatest skill was in his self publicity and the way the prices for his paintings were managed. This publicity and price manipulation operation was initially managed by promoters like André Level of the La Peau de l’Ours Art Club (Skin of the Bear group) – for a 20% cut to the artist. Picasso dealt with a number of agents initially – but mainly, Clovis Sagot, Ambroise Vollard, Wilhelm Uhde and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler.

Later this promotions were managed by Picasso himself and Paul Rosenberg, his chief agent and a close cabal of people who used media effectively. First among 20th century artists, ‘Picasso was a gifted self-publicist who knew the rules of media manipulation. He openly encouraged a few hand-picked photographers to inhabit the house and studio.’

Family of Saltimbanques |  Pablo Picasso  |  1905 |  Chester Dale Collection 1963.10.190   | Image courtesy - Copyright © 2011 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC  | Click for larger image.

Family of Saltimbanques | Pablo Picasso | 1905 | Chester Dale Collection 1963.10.190 | Image courtesy - Copyright © 2011 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC | Click for larger image.

He fairly flattened journalists by the display of his wealth and connections. Nearly forty years later, Christian Zervos, an art historian and writer, recalls Picasso’s wealth, kept in the vaults of Banque de France. After the Great Depression, when many great fortunes in Europe and USA, had been wiped out, Picassos wealth was in ‘packages, piled one atop another to the height, say, of Picasso . . . And do you know what there was inside? Banknotes! Yes, sir, banknotes, the largest denomination that existed in France then, which was enormous.’

Picasso was an ‘extremely rich and famous man who came pretty near to doing whatever he wanted. The Picasso of the 1920s could charm the king of Spain, mesmerise Proust, shrug off Hemingway. He was news wherever he appeared.’ He could switch between various styles – and painted in ‘Neoclassical styles’ to attract “the patronage of aristocratic circles he encountered through his friendships with two impresarios, the poet Jean Cocteau and Eugenia Errazuriz, a woman of great taste and social prestige.’

Not above making compromises between cubism and surrealism, as his buyers and patrons wanted, he rarely gave press conferences. Instead he plied impresarios, journalists with his socializing, and with his ‘uncanny party trick of drawing a portrait upside-down while sitting opposite its subject so that, as the drawing unfolded, it would appear right-side-up to his inevitably amused subject.’ Hundreds of these Picasso drawings and sketches are scattered across Europe and USA, which he gave way for free.

Femme aux cheveux jaunes, December 1931 | From the Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society, New York/Gagosian Gallery | Image courtesy - online.wsj.com | Click for larger image.

Femme aux cheveux jaunes, December 1931 | From the Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society, New York/Gagosian Gallery | Image courtesy - online.wsj.com | Click for larger image.

In this he was ably assisted by the presence of his ballerina wife, Olga Khokhlova, a pretty ballerina from St Petersburg, with Diaghlieff’s ballet company, and his agent Paul Rosenberg.

Paul Rosenburg (also an agent of Georges Braque and Henri Matisse) left behind a huge fortune in paintings. Even after losing a vast number of these paintings to the Nazis. Through his son, Alexandre, Paul Rosenberg is the grandfather-in-law of one-time IMF chief, Dominique Strauss Kahn. Picasso’s other significant agents were Ambroise Vollard, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Leonce Rosenberg, and Georges Wildenstein.

Picasso’s mistress of eight years, Marie-Thérèse Walter (who he met at a Paris Metro station) and his wife were also the subject of his many paintings. In recent times, Picasso has even been compared to Princess Diana for his self-publicity. The many women in Picasso’s life added a patina of glamour that many of his competitors lacked.

The French artist Fernande Olivier, as model and muse, bridged Picasso’s Rose Period to Cubism. Miss Khokhlova, in the 1920s, stirred his return to Neo-classicism. The photographer Dora Maar documented and inspired Picasso’s involvement with the Spanish Civil War, including “Guernica” (1937). And the painter and author Françoise Gilot was his chief consort during his postwar period. From 1953 until Picasso’s death, at age 92 in 1973, Jacqueline Roque attended the artist during his ferocious, erotic and peace-loving late phase, in which “Hippie” Picasso, anticipating 1980s Neo-Expressionism, reimagined the Old Masters.

Now, as for paying off the critics, do it. Yes, as much as some critics pretend to not be on the take, they are — in some way or another. The best art critics accepted gifts: Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg. Artists frequently offer me a gift after I’ve written them up. I just take it. I feel I’d insult them or be condescending and inhuman if I said something like, “It’s my policy not to accept gifts.” Lighten up. We’re all in the family.

So be generous in giving gifts, but beware of the greedy opportunists who expect a gift without having the intention of reciprocating, like people attending your openings who ask for a “quick sketch” instead of just an autograph. If you do one, they’ll all line up expecting a freebie. With other artists, it’s best to do straightforward trades instead of gifts. And with friends outside the art world, wait for their birthday or Christmas. (via artnet.com Magazine Features – Ask Mark Kostabi).

Leave alone Prophet Mohammed’s portrait, could he have done a Battle of Karbala painting in Qatar?

Money made him contemptuous of India – and Indians

Maqbool Fida Hussain’s disregard of Indian judicial norms antagonized the courts. His refusal to acknowledge his ‘unwarranted’ liberties with ‘Hinduism’, precipitated matters. A simple statement that he will ‘explore’ ‘Hindu’ themes within norms would have been enough. His arrogant and rough shod dismissal of ‘Hindu’ sentiment, gave an opening to right-wing ‘Hindu’ sentiment.

No double-standards. The simple point that the ‘Hindu’ Brigade wanted. Usually this hunting with hounds and running with hares is called hypocrisy.

Though no one ever accused MF Hussain of being a hypocrite.

Gobbling publicity like Pac-man

Maqbool Fida Hussain never evolved from being a hoardings painter. Except when it came to publicity. His dual standards, his blatant contradictions would have easily made him an object of ridicule. Instead he managed respect and consideration. To manage this amount of media attention, Government attention – even international attention, surely, is some evolution. For one single man.

Maqbool Fida Hussain was finally a gargantuan machine that consumed huge amounts of media attention. His ‘artistic’ talents were surely hugely surpassed by his media management. This publicity and MF Hussain strutting his commercial exploitation of ‘Hindu’ constructs provoked the ‘Hindu’ Brigade’s backlash. His cars, or the striptease that he organized on his birthday (some 25 years ago), reeked of ostentation. Private displays of wealth in India will not arouse reaction. But such ceaseless publicity-seeking …

No wonder people called him India’s Picasso.

Reaction on Ground Zero

Indian Muslims have ignored this issue of ‘artistic freedom’ for ‘Muslims’ at ‘Hindu’ expense. But Indian liberal-progressives, steeped in Western polity, see confrontation and conflict as the answer to such ‘artistic’ restrictions.

Negotiated ‘freedom’ as in भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, is seen as a cop-out.

Related articles

Does India ignore Sikhs?

June 17, 2011 3 comments
Births and deaths in Mumbai city (Graphic courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for a larger copy.

Births and deaths in Mumbai city (Graphic courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for a larger copy.

Bending backwards

Christian community in the city recorded negative population growth as against Hindus and Muslims who are growing at a faster rate, birth and death figures from the civic health department showed.

Last year, 3,763 infants were born to Christians while 3,887 members of the community died, indicating a fall in growth rate. (via Mumbai’s Christian population falls – The Times of India).

Tales from the table

Now the same study also showed that in absolute numbers, Sikh births had reduced from 315 to 298. Whereas Christian births had increased by a nominal number – from 3749 to 3763. All other communities showed increase in absolute number of births – except Sikhs and (Others).

If Delhi has too many Sikhs, Mumbai needs some Sikhs. Their can-do attitude, their jugaad, is something that seems to be bubbling forever. Every city in the world needs some Sikhs.

But this report does not mention the decline in Sikh births at all. Not once. In fact the word Sikh does not appear even once in the post. When it comes to Sikhs, whether it is the 1984 riots or attacks on Sikhs in USA, we all seem to be keeping quiet.

What’s with us?

Racial attacks on Sikhs in USA continue

June 16, 2011 5 comments
Legal or illegal immigrants - Xenophobia Rules ("Illegal Immigrants" Named "Texan Of The Year" by Dallas Morning News; Cartoon by Daryl Cagle; courtesy - cagematch.dvorak.org). Click for larger image.

Legal or illegal immigrants - Xenophobia Rules ("Illegal Immigrants" Named "Texan Of The Year" by Dallas Morning News; Cartoon by Daryl Cagle; courtesy - cagematch.dvorak.org). Click for larger image.

A Sikh Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee was sucker-punched by a man in Brooklyn who accused him of being related to Osama Bin Laden.

Jiwan Singh, 59, an Indian immigrant, was riding a Brooklyn train from his home in Richmond Hill, when the incident took place, the New York Daily News reports.

“He said, “You are the brother of Osama, and I replied, “I am not Osama. I have nothing to do with him,” said Singh, who lost three teeth from the blows. (via Sikh loses three teeth in ‘Osama’s brother’ racial attack in New York – Times Of India).

West – Thy middle name is freedom

In the Land of The Free, Home of the Brave, in the years after 9/11, more than 200 attacks occurred in the US. Among 500,000 Sikhs, in an US population of 30 crores (300 million).

I am not even counting attacks on ‘guilty’ Arabs and other Muslims. Let us not even talk about the Afghan and Iraqi invasions by the US – after 9/11.

Truth of prejudice is stranger than fiction of freedom. (Cartoon By Joe Heller, Published by Green Bay Press-Gazette  -  4/26/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Truth of prejudice is stranger than fiction of freedom. (Cartoon By Joe Heller, Published by Green Bay Press-Gazette - 4/26/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

West does not need immi-grunts – for now

A serious problem is many believe that the Western world is about freedom, choice, individual rights, et al. After all even Kasab wants to go to Yumm-rika!

When the West wanted cheap labour from the Rest of the World they changed laws – and made a charade of change. During the Great Recession, with economic stagnation – they no longer need immi-grunts.

If this was not bad enough

These attacks are worse than the 1984 Sikh riots in India – which were not spontaneous, but engineered by political elements. These incidents in the US are obviously spontaneous. Osama was on the opposite side of the world. What could a New Yorker – of any race, colour, have to do with him?

Melting pot, eh?

PS – Thanks for the story, Poonam.

Why does Gujarat-Godhra riots get special treatments from the Supreme Court? Cartoon courtesy - churumuri.wordpress.com). Click for larger image

Why does Gujarat-Godhra riots get special treatments from the Supreme Court? Cartoon courtesy - churumuri.wordpress.com). Click for larger image

News related to 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots

The Hindu : News / National : Anti-Sikh riots: Supreme Court to give verdict on Sajjan’s appeal

CBI had filed two chargesheets against Kumar and others on January 13 in the riots cases registered in 2005 on the recommendation of Justice G. T. Nanavati Commission which inquired into the sequence of events leading to the riots.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Trial to continue against Sajjan Kumar, says Supreme Court | The India Daily

The Supreme Court today refused to quash the charges of murder and other offences against senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and said the trial will continue against him in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Show details of compensation to 1984 Sikh riot victims: HC – Times Of India

The high court on Friday summoned the secretary concerned, dealing with the payment of compensation to victims of Sikh riots of 1984, on December 22 with records, inquiry reports and list of persons to whom compensation has been paid. The court also appointed a local government lawyer as amicus curiae to extend assistance to it in the matter.

The order was passed by a division bench of Justice D P Singh and Justice S C Chaurasia on a petition of victim, Amar Singh Virk. The petitioner was aggrieved by the meagre payment of compensation to the member of the family, who had died in riots that had occurred in 1984.

A nation of immigrants hates 'immigrunts'! (Cartoon By Dario Castillejos, Dario La Crisis  -  6/9/2010 12:00:00 AM : courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

A nation of immigrants hates 'immigrunts'! (Cartoon By Dario Castillejos, Dario La Crisis - 6/9/2010 12:00:00 AM : courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Related Posts – Racial Attacks on Sikh in USA

Sikh youth brutally assaulted in ‘racial’ attack in US : World: India Today.

A Sikh student was “racially abused” and brutally assaulted after being thrown into a swimming pool in west Texas, the Sikh Coalition, an advocacy group for the community in the United States, said.

Four men brutally assaulted the unnamed graduate Sikh student, who works as a part-time pizza delivery person, the advocacy group said.

US: FBI to probe attack on two elderly Sikhs – Rediff.com India News

A troubled Sikh community shocked by the shooting of their two elderly members on Monday offered a reward of US $ 30,000 for any information leading to the culprits, as the local police said they suspected it to bea hate crime and have called in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to join the manhunt.

The West Sacramento Police in California said they suspect that the tradition turbans worn by the Surinder Singh, 68, and Gurmej Atwal, 78, could have become beacons for an attack on them.

NY Sikh Victim of Brutal Racial Attack May Lose Vision

Jasmir Singh, a 21-year-old Sikh college student was savagely attacked and stabbed in his left eye during an unprovoked attack on Sunday outside a grocery store in Queens, New York by three young men wielding a glass bottle. Jasmir sustained injuries to his left-eye, head, face, and back, and has not regained his vision after undergoing a five hour surgery where he received 18 stitches to his eye.

Police arrested two of the suspected attackers nearby, but the third remains at large. The two arrested have been charged with assault in the first degree and robbery in the first degree, both serious felony charges. United Sikhs is working with the NYPD Community Affairs Liaison to urge police to charge the attackers additionally with hate/bias crime charges.

Big Business gets Big money

Big Business supports Big Banks who support Big Government ... all of whom depend on us to to fund them ... (Cartoon by Alex Hughes; courtesy - http://alexhughescartoons.co.uk). Click for larger image.

Big Business supports Big Banks who support Big Government ... all of whom depend on us to to fund them ... (Cartoon by Alex Hughes; courtesy - http://alexhughescartoons.co.uk). Click for larger image.

Country’s largest bank SBI has breached RBI’s credit exposure norms during three consecutive years with regard to its loans provided to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

This is the third straight year when SBI has exceeded the single-borrower ceiling with regard to RIL, as per the bank’s annual reports for the past three financial years.

However, the bank brought down its exposure to RIL within the limit on the last date of the previous fiscal, i.e March 31, 2011, according to the SBI annual report.

The public sector lender had provided credit in excess of prudential norms to RIL during 2009-10 and 2008-09 also.

During the year 2009-10, the bank’s credit exposure was in excess of prudential limits for Reliance Industries, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), BHEL and Tata Group.

As per RBI guidelines, the exposure ceiling limits are 15 per cent of capital funds in case of a single borrower. However, the credit exposure to a single borrower can go up to 20 per cent, if the additional 5 per cent exposure is on account of extension of credit to infrastructure projects. (via SBI breaches RBI norms on loans to Reliance – Times Of India).

Follow the leaders

A few days later another report showed that ICICI, the second largest bank in the country is also in the same boat. SBI and its subsidiaries are slightly less than 25% of the Indian banking industry. ICICI is less than 10%. Together these two banks are 30%-33%of the banking industry.

Four companies are getting more than 15%, i.e. 60% of the total lending by SBI – and one company in case of ICICI. The report also confirms that there was window dressing. Borrowings were brought down to RBI norms on the day of reporting. We are not even started on the Birla groups, the Essar, Adani group, L&T, plus other public sector companies.

Behind closed closed doors or out in the open. Reliance alone gets more money from SBI and ICICI than Indian agriculture sector. (Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Courtesy of Politicalcartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Behind closed closed doors or out in the open. Reliance alone gets more money from SBI and ICICI than Indian agriculture sector. (Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Courtesy of Politicalcartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Sense of priority

Priority sector lending target has been fixed as a percentage of total lending. Banks are targeted to lend 18 % of their lendings to agriculture and 12 % of their NBC as export credit.

Just Reliance alone gets more money from SBI and ICICI than the entire agricultural community in this country – or the exporters.

Presumably this a pattern with the banking industry. Larger business groups get larger amounts of funding – and the smaller customers get the leftovers.

I am not using oligarchy as an adjective anywhere, at all.

Remember.

Points of view

For banks, the cost of doing business with an RIL, BHEL or a IOC is that much cheaper – because costs of servicing these accounts are not equal to the costs of servicing small clients. But then, the margin from these lendings is also well below average lending rates. So, overall, it is unclear, if it is just laziness or a government policy or good business practice.

There is a place for Big Business in India – but can Big Business replace Indian agriculture or the exporter segment.

Pranab-da?

Democracy – How Think tanks shape policy making

June 15, 2011 3 comments
Finally, less than 100,000 people have the power to shape the world in a manner they deem fit. Concentration of power. (Cartoon BY - ANDY SINGER, Courtesy - POLITICALCARTOONS.COM  -  2/4/2010 12:00:00 AM). Click for larger image.

Finally, less than 100,000 people have the power to shape the world in a manner they deem fit. Concentration of power. (Cartoon BY - ANDY SINGER, Courtesy - POLITICALCARTOONS.COM - 2/4/2010 12:00:00 AM). Click for larger image.

Old boys club

Council on Foreign Relations sounds like a pretty harmless group, which has a few academics that potter around – and release an occasional irrelevant paper.

Not quite. If not harmful, they are atleast pretty powerful.

In 1952, Eisenhower and Richard Nixon became the first CFR members to be elected President and Vice President of the USA.

Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic candidate beaten by Eisenhower and Nixon, was also a CFR member.

‘The Council was starting to dominate American politics at the highest levels,’ write Burnett and Games.

‘The pattern would be repeated four years later, with Stevenson again losing out to Eisenhower and Nixon.

‘Although Nixon was to narrowly lose the next election in 1960 against John F Kennedy, the charismatic Bostonian was another member of the CFR.

‘Nixon would return in 1968 to defeat fellow CFR member Hubert Humphrey, and win again in 1972 against George McGovern.

‘Although not a CFR member in 1972, McGovern saw the light and joined afterwards.’ (via Southern Times – Why Africa needs secret societies).

Red herrings – the challenge ahead

English language media at least, is dominated by a few news agencies like Reuters, Bloomberg, API, and AFP. These agencies in turn are fed by various think tanks and reserch organizations, which then dominate global debate.  In the last few years, top 10 websites control 75% of the web traffic. Hollywood dominates the big screen.

For instance the highly flawed model of Transparency International promotes a narrative of corrupt Africa and Asia. To dominate the debate, censorship is not the only solution. It is not even a preferred solution.

More noise is equally effective. 

Finally a few media conglomerates drive the global mindset. Usually censorship is not needed. More noise is equally effective. (Cartoonist - Ares, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons, www.caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Finally a few media conglomerates drive the global mindset. Usually censorship is not needed. More noise is equally effective. (Cartoonist - Ares, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons, http://www.caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Capture and exploit

After this kind of media capture, the West drives the narrative. And exploits this narrative. To get over the ‘problem’ of economic stagnation, the West has created artificial ‘crisis’ situations.

These are major diplomatic offensives using media, academia, events and situations, to

  • Maintain superior negotiating positions
  • Define the agenda – which usually means non-substantive issues.

But for an India to match the trade and tariff barriers, propaganda and diplomatic offensives, calls for more resources.

The image of corrupt politician, Congressman, has become easy to promote, driven by Transparency International's flawed data. The role of these Think Tanks gets concealed. (Cartoon - BY PAT BAGLEY, Published by SALT LAKE TRIBUNE  -  1/27/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

The image of corrupt politician, Congressman, has become easy to promote, driven by Transparency International's flawed data. The role of these Think Tanks gets concealed. (Cartoon - BY PAT BAGLEY, Published by SALT LAKE TRIBUNE - 1/27/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Benign designs?

The manner of funding Indian NGOs by external sources, especially the West, is not benign anymore. More than 33 lakh NGOs operate in India, with foreign funding that is estimated at US$4 billion. This figure is double the official Government figure that is based on declared receipts, which reports say, are under-declared.

In times to come

Is the West aiming to capture these Indian ‘think-tanks’? The promotion of Western Climate Change agenda by Amartya Sen, under the auspices of the Aspen Institute India is indication of times to come.

Mechanics of माया maya?

War on drugs – Call it off say leaders

June 15, 2011 2 comments
The War on Drugs has now been on for 50 years. No success. (Cartoon by Barry Deutsch; Courtesy - leftycartoons.com). Click for larger image.

The War on Drugs has now been on for 50 years. No success. (Cartoon by Barry Deutsch; Courtesy - leftycartoons.com). Click for larger image.

A high-level international panel slammed the war on drugs as a failure. Compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the report concludes that criminalization and repressive measures have failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. It called on governments to undertake experiments to decriminalize the use of drugs, especially marijuana, to undermine the power of organized crime.

The 19-member commission includes former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, Greece’s prime minister, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. officials George P. Schultz and Paul Volcker, the writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, and British billionaire Richard Branson.

At a news conference launching the report, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who chairs the commission, said ending the war on drugs does not imply complete liberalization.

Instead of punishing drug users, the commission argues that governments should “end the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.”

Cardoso said the commission called for regulation rather than legalization “because we don’t think that’s the moment’s come for legalization.” Even regulation and decriminalization are not a solution, he said, unless they are accompanied by information, publicity campaigns, and improved health care and treatment. (via High-level commission calls drug war a failure, recommends legal regulation of marijuana – The Washington Post).

Options, anyone?

With 2 crore (20 million) drug users in the USA, prisons overflowing with more than 20 lakh (2 million) prisoners, the American policy establishment is stuck for answers. The 2 crore (20 million) figure is more than 16% of the working-age, labour population of the USA – which stands at 16 crores (160 million). Similarly, when drugs became cheap and abundant in China, thanks to the British, China became the largest consumer of opium in the world.

But …

Interesting case

Why has drugs never become a big problem in India? Even, as Indians are significant producers, Indians themselves are not high on consumption lists – or have significantly profited from it.

2 million prisoners - and another 5 million on trial, parole etc. Does this war make sense? (cartoon courtesy - hightowerlowdown.org). Click for larger image.

2 million prisoners - and another 5 million on trial, parole etc. Does this war make sense? (cartoon courtesy - hightowerlowdown.org). Click for larger image.

The police actions against drug cartels have given little benefit. The heavy-handed legal approach of criminalizing possession of drugs too has yielded no results either.

in the past 40 years, the U.S. government has spent over $2.5 trillion dollars fighting the War on Drugs. Despite the ad campaigns, increased incarceration rates and a crackdown on smuggling, the number of illicit drug users in America has risen over the years and now sits at 19.9 million Americans.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair declare(d) last week that the Mexican government had lost control of its own territory. President Felipe Calderón responded by pointing out that his nation shared a border with “the biggest consumer of drugs in the world and the largest supplier of weapons in the world.” (via The War on Drugs).

Touché!

Tendu leaves – How Maoist-Govt Cabal loot Adivasis

June 13, 2011 3 comments
The Maoists-Naxals are fighting the Government for rights to extract from the adivasi. The adivasis have a choice. Pay protection money to the Government or to Maoists-Naxals. (Cartoon by Morparia; courtesy - development-dialogues.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

The Maoists-Naxals are fighting the Government for rights to 'exploit' the adivasi. The adivasis have a choice. Pay protection money to the Government or to Maoists-Naxals. Right now they are paying both - the State and the Maoist Naxal. (Cartoon by Morparia; courtesy - development-dialogues.blogspot.com). Click for larger image.

Dried tendu leaf used fo rolling bidis.

Dried tendu leaf used fo rolling bidis.

Governments and tobacco

Globally four major companies and government monopolies control a US$400 billion trade in cigarettes. These cigarette monopolies, directly or indirectly controlled by governments, take away US$1 from every  US$175 that people earn. China and USA are leaders in this extortion game.

Tobacco – India Govt.’s ‘innovation’

The Indian State also, on a much smaller scale,  replicates this same mechanism. Since Indians consume tobacco in a traditional, non-industrial manner, the Indian State changes the method of extortion. Apart from tobacco, the main ingredient of bidis, is tendu leaf. Tendu leaf is used to roll the tobacco in. While tobacco farmers are exempt from income tax, adivasis have to sell all their produce to the State. For which the State pays them wages. A newspaper reports

TENDU LEAVES, A major forest produce used for making bidis, is the main source of income for the tribal people in Chhattisgarh.  (Photo source and courtesy - hinduonnet.com).

TENDU LEAVES, A major forest produce used for making bidis, is the main source of income for the tribal people in Chhattisgarh. (Photo source and courtesy - hinduonnet.com).

Over the last two decades, the graph of tendu patta wages has shot up. This year, the Chhattisgarh government raised the wage rate from 70 paise to 80 paise per bundle of 50 leaves. But collectors like Bargu earned higher wages (Rs 1.05 paise) courtesy the Maoists. As the parallel authority in large parts of Bastar, they fix wages and even a system of wage payment.

For instance, officially, the state government’s minor forest produce federation auctions each lot of tendu leaves. Traders or contractors pay a sale price to the federation. A portion is sent to the federation’s field managers, who are supposed to disburse it as wages to the adivasis. But, in reality, the managers simply hand the money back to the contractor, who adds an extra wage amount fixed by the Maoists and sends his own staff to pay off the collectors.

“In our areas, we bargain with the contractor every year, and get a higher price for the adivasis,” says Gudsa Usendi, Maoist spokesperson. ”Last year, it was Re 1. This year it’s between Re 1.05 to Re 1.20. This way, we have stopped the exploitation of adivasis.”

That’s not an empty boast — but it’s only partially true. The Maoists have wrangled higher wages for the adivasis and expanded their support base, but they have also obtained higher levies for themselves. Most traders refused to divulge exact amounts, some reluctantly offered a rough range: 5-10% of the sale price. For one Rs 1 crore, that works out to Rs 5-10 lakh.

“The market of tendu leaves is not less than Rs 2,000 crore,” says K Sadavijaya Kumar, of the Association of Beedi leaf traders. Given that at least a quarter of the tendu growing areas appears to be under Maoist control, the amount of levies could run into crores.

By maintaining a monopoly over the ownership and sale of leaves, the state earns revenue. In 2009, Chhattisgarh Minor Forest Produce Federation made Rs 256 crore from tendu leaves. Rs 189 crore was paid to the collectors, and Rs 66 crore retained by the federation. (via Tendu leaves little hope for tribals – The Times of India).

Tendu leaves

Tendu leaves

And the Maoist- Naxalites are fighting with the State for ‘exploitation-of-adivasis‘ rights. From being owners of India’s forests, under भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, the adivasis have become wage earners. By this one single action, the State has impoverished crores of adivasis. Such are the reasons for Indian poverty – The Indian State.

And the Maoist- Naxalites are fighting with the State for ‘exploitation-of-adivasis‘ rights.

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