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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

Big Brother is watching you

November 27, 2009 5 comments

So, whether it is Red Rage or Green Jihad, the State just needs an excuse to extend its power – and this ‘surveillance’ raj is one part of it.

The Red Rage

There is a increasing chorus in India that a ‘surveillance’ regime is needed in India also.

There is no Pakistani hand 'here' (Image source and courtesy - www.indiatogether.org). Click for larger image.

There is no Pakistani hand 'here' (Image source and courtesy - http://www.indiatogether.org). Click for larger image.

undermanned police managed a low crime society in India till now. The excuse of terrorism is being used to advance the case for a police state in India also – like the UK, USA, China etc.

Lalgarh has proved one thing –purusharth in India is still alive and well. Moksh मोक्ष is the ultimate aim of all humans – and the meaning ofmoksh is freedom, emancipation, deliverance. Moksh is one of the four objectives (धर्म अर्थ, काम, मोक्ष) in the Indian ethical code of पुरुषार्थ.

Santhals and the British

In Lalgarh, middle aged Santhal women, armed with spears, axes and knives came out to battle a repressive state which sold out to Big Business. For nearly a 100 years, a 100 years ago, the same Santhals had fought the British Raj earlier. When so many women come out in the open, with bows and arrows, one thing is clear.

There are more where they come from.

Police States maturing across the world

There are more, where these women came from. (Image source and courtesy - indianvanguard.files.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

There are more, where these women came from. (Image source and courtesy - indianvanguard.files.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

China’s Golden Shield Project has several US corporations such as IBM, General Electric, and Honeywell working closely with the Chinese government to install millions of surveillance cameras throughout the country, along with advanced video analysis and facial recognition software, which will identify and track individuals everywhere they go. They will be connected to a centralised database and monitoring station, which will, upon completion of the project, contain a picture of the face of every person in China – over 1.3 billion people.

Law enforcement and intelligence services in the UK and the US possess technology to remotely activate the microphones in cellphones, by accessing the phone’s diagnostic/maintenance features, in order to listen to conversations that take place nearby the person who holds the phone. Mobile phones are also commonly used to collect location data.

When women come out in the open like this ... beware Chiddu Boy!

When women come out in the open like this ... beware Chiddu Boy!

In the US, for instance, under the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, all phone calls, VoIP and broadband internet traffic (emails, web traffic, instant messaging, etc) are required to be available for unimpeded real-time monitoring by federal law enforcement agencies. Computers are also a surveillance target because of the personal data stored on them. If someone is able to install software (either physically or remotely), such as the FBI’s “Magic Lantern” and Computer and IP verification (CIPAV), on a computer system, they can easily gain unauthorised access to this data. Another form of computer surveillance, known as TEMPEST, involves reading electromagnetic emanations from computing devices in order to extract data from them at distances of hundreds of meters.

Surveillance cameras are often connected to a recording device, IP network, and/or watched by a security guard/law enforcement officer. In the UK, for instance, there are about 4.2 million surveillance cameras — one camera for every 14 people. (via How other countries fare).

The excuse for extending power

Chiddu! I would be afraid. Very afraid

Chiddu! I would be afraid. Very afraid

So, whether it is Red Rage or Green Jihad, the State just needs an excuse to extend its power – and this ‘surveillance’ raj is one part of it.

In the US, for instance, more than three-quarters of young black men aged between 18 and 35 are on the system, the report said. Set up in 1995, the database contains the DNA profiles of five million citizens, eight percent of the population, making it the world’s biggest in proportion to population size. “Parliament has never formally debated the establishment of the National DNA Database and safeguards around it,” commission chairman Professor Jonathan Montgomery said in a statement.

“It has developed through amendments to laws designed to regulate the taking of fingerprints and physical evidence before DNA profiling was developed.

“It is not clear how far holding DNA profiles on a central database improves police investigations.” (via U.K. cops arrest people ‘just for the DNA’ – Europe- msnbc.com).

Big brother is definitely here

As post-WW2 European society was taking shape, one man warned the world – Big Brother Is Watching You! George Orwell’s 1984, a simple, dark and melancholic book warned the world of the spectre of a police state looming over the world.

The book was portrayed as warning against the ‘impending’ threat of Communism. George Orwell himself joined the British Government in its propaganda effort during WW2.

Would George Orwell have imagined that Britain, the ‘citadel of freedom’, itself would becoming the Mother Of Big Brother societies – with the largest number surveillance cameras and DNA data bank and a back-breaking prison population.

I wonder!

In the land of the free

The US prison population at more than 20 lakhs (2 million) is travesty of justice and humanity. The US competes with China and the erstwhile USSR, (the largest totalitarian regimes) in the world, with its rate of incarceration.

Most people are today feel assured about Big Brother's watchful presence

Most people are today feel assured about Big Brother's watchful presence

USA, with a population of 30 crores (300 million), has a criminal population of 70 lakhs (7 million) – behind bars, on probation or on parole. US Government estimates a figure of 20 lakhs (2 million) people serving prison sentences.

A concerned editorial in New York Timesnewspaper summed up the situation.

More than 1 in 100 American adults are behind bars. One in nine black men, ages 20 to 34, are serving time, as are 1 in 36 adult Hispanic men. Nationwide, the prison population … (of the US) surpasses all other countries for which there are reliable figures. The 50 states last year spent about $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections, up from nearly $11 billion in 1987. Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan and Oregon devote as much money or more to corrections as they do to higher education.

Persuading public officials to adopt a more rational, cost-effective approach to prison policy is a daunting prospect, however, not least because building and running jailhouses has become a major industry.

… the relationship between imprisonment and crime control is murky. States that lagged behind the national average in rising incarceration rates during the 1990’s actually experienced a steeper decline in crime rates than states above the national average …(ellipsis and bracketed text mine).

Across the pond

Some time back there was another report, on the state of prisons in UK.

Feeling assured? More than 40 old, this cartoon presaged the arrival of surveillance society. (Cartoonist - Ron Cobb; year of publication - 1968).

Feeling assured? More than 40 old, this cartoon presaged the arrival of surveillance society. (Cartoonist - Ron Cobb; year of publication - 1968).

There are almost 10,000 Muslims in Britain’s jails— with 90 of them serving time for terror offences … they fear more and more young lags are being converted and radicalised in prison. A … source said: “You are talking about rootless young men at the bottom of society. They’re in jail and someone gives them some purpose. ”

In top-security jails such as Whitemoor, Cambs, 35 per cent of inmates are Muslim—and they have converted numerous other prisoners to Islam. (viaMI5 spy chiefs are putting undercover officers into Britain’s jails | News Of The World).

Slice and dice …

Britain has an estimated 1.6 million Muslims – a 2.8% of the British population. Of this a 10,000 are in prison – which means about 0.6% of the British Muslim population is in prison. India has 16 crore Muslims – which a 100 times higher Islamic population than Britain.

What if …

If India were to follow the British policy of imprisonment, Indian Muslims inside prisons would number 10 lakhs (or 1 million). India’s total prison population ranges between 2.5 lakhs to 3.5 lakhs – of all peoples, of all religions, races, crimes etc.

Traditionally, Indian society handles crime vastly differently. Technically, India could create a legal system which would ease the ability of the police to imprison people, or better still hang them – and hide its social problems.

Freedom, imprisonment, racism, development, genocide

What is the difference between a ‘banana republic’ where people disappear – and in the Anglo-Saxon Bloc which has the world largest prison population? Maybe, my being from a backward country, stops me from understanding this great ‘progress’ that these countries seemed to have made!

The sight of the West, strutting as a protector of freedom on the global stage is a hoax. How can the West have a problem with Native American tribes (aka Red Indians) and the Aborigines – if there are none left. The West which has the highest levels of prison populations in the world – raucously reminds the world of lessons in freedom.

What is assimilation and integration

The West speaks of protecting individual freedom, whereas the calls for ‘assimilation’ integration are nothing but refurbished implementation of the ‘settled’ principle in the Desert Bloc of ‘cuius regio, eius religio’ (meaning whose land, his religion; CRER) – the ruler decided his people’s religion.

A US WW2 poster! Were those millions of lives wasted!!

A US WW2 poster! Were those millions of lives wasted!!

The West can speak from both sides of the mouth. Nicholas Sarkozy can tell Indians (i.e. Manmohan Singh) to respect foreign missionarieswho want to convert Indians to their religion – while the West can continue with this demonization of Islam.

Would Sarkozy like to mention any other country where such a large minority Muslim population, has greater freedom and opportunity, than in India? Would you, Mr.Sarkozy, like to suggest France instead?

This is freedom – from both sides. For the West.

U.K. cops arrest people ‘just for the DNA’

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

More than three-quarters of young black men aged between 18 and 35 are on the system, the report said. Set up in 1995, the database contains the DNA profiles of five million citizens, eight percent of the population, making it the world’s biggest in proportion to population size. “Parliament has never formally debated the establishment of the National DNA Database and safeguards around it,” commission chairman Professor Jonathan Montgomery said in a statement.

“It has developed through amendments to laws designed to regulate the taking of fingerprints and physical evidence before DNA profiling was developed.

“It is not clear how far holding DNA profiles on a central database improves police investigations.” (via U.K. cops arrest people ‘just for the DNA’ – Europe- msnbc.com).

Most people are today feel assured about Big Brother's watchful presenceBig brother is definitely here

As post-WW2 European society was taking shape, one man warned the world – Big Brother Is Watching You!

George Orwell’s 1984, a simple, dark and melancholic book warned the world of the specter of a looming police state looming. The book was portrayed as warning against the ‘impending’ threat of Communism. George Orwell himself joined the British Government in its propaganda effort, against the Germans during WW2.

Would George Orwell, a confused imperialist, have imagined that Britain, the citadel of freedom, itself would becoming the Mother Of Big Brother societies – with the largest number surveillance cameras and DNA data bank and a back-breaking prison population.

I wonder!

In the land of the free

The US prison population at more than 20 lakhs (2 million) is travesty of justice and humanity. The US competes with China and the erstwhile USSR, (the largest totalitarian regimes) in the world, with its rate of incarceration.

USA, with a population of 30 crores (300 million), has a criminal population of 70 lakhs (7 million) – behind bars, on probation or on parole. US Government estimates a figure of 20 lakhs (2 million) people serving prison sentences.

A concerned editorial in New York Times newspaper summed up the situation.

More than 1 in 100 American adults are behind bars. One in nine black men, ages 20 to 34, are serving time, as are 1 in 36 adult Hispanic men. Nationwide, the prison population … (of the US) surpasses all other countries for which there are reliable figures. The 50 states last year spent about $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections, up from nearly $11 billion in 1987. Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan and Oregon devote as much money or more to corrections as they do to higher education.

Persuading public officials to adopt a more rational, cost-effective approach to prison policy is a daunting prospect, however, not least because building and running jailhouses has become a major industry.

… the relationship between imprisonment and crime control is murky. States that lagged behind the national average in rising incarceration rates during the 1990’s actually experienced a steeper decline in crime rates than states above the national average … (ellipsis and bracketed text mine).

Feeling assuredAcross the pond

Some time back there was another report, on the state of prisons in UK.

There are almost 10,000 Muslims in Britain’s jails— with 90 of them serving time for terror offences … they fear more and more young lags are being converted and radicalised in prison. A … source said: “You are talking about rootless young men at the bottom of society. They’re in jail and someone gives them some purpose. ”

In top-security jails such as Whitemoor, Cambs, 35 per cent of inmates are Muslim—and they have converted numerous other prisoners to Islam. (via MI5 spy chiefs are putting undercover officers into Britain’s jails | News Of The World).

Slice and dice …

Britain has an estimated 1.6 million Muslims – a 2.8% of the British population. Of this a 10,000 are in prison – which means about 0.6% of the British Muslim population is in prison. India has 16 crore Muslims – which a 100 times higher population.

What if …

The British policy of imprisonment, if India were to follow, Indian Muslims inside prisons would be in 10 lakhs (or 1 million). India’s total prison population ranges between 2.5 lakhs to 3.5 lakhs – of all peoples, of all religions, races, crimes etc.

Of course, Indian society handles crime vastly differently. Technically, India could create a legal system which would ease the ability of the police to imprison people, or better still hang them – and hide its social problems.

Freedom, imprisonment, racism, development, genocide

What is the difference between a ‘banana republic’ where people disappear – and in the Anglo-Saxon Bloc which has the world largest prison population? Maybe, my being from a backward country, stops me from understanding this great ‘progress’ that these countries seemed to have made!

The sight of the West, strutting as a protector of freedom on the global stage is a hoax. How can the West have a problem with Native American tribes (aka Red Indians) and the Aborigines – if there are none left. The West which has the highest levels of prison populations in the world – raucously reminds the world of lessons in freedom.

What is assimilation and integration

The West speaks of protecting individual freedom, whereas the calls for ‘assimilation’ integration are nothing but refurbished implementation of the ‘settled’ principle in the Desert Bloc of Cuius regio, eius religio’ (meaning whose land, his religion; CRER) – the ruler decided his people’s religion.

The West can speak from both sides of the mouth. Nicholas Sarkozy can tell Indians (i.e.Manmohan Singh) to respect foreign missionaries, who want to convert Indians to their religion – while the West can continue with this demonization of Islam. Would Sarkozy 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?

This is freedom – from both sides. For the West.

Going Jinnah’s way – DAWN.COM | Columnists |

August 29, 2009 1 comment

Had Jinnah had his way, there would be no need for the pathetic lottery of Ramazan invitations. There would be no need for the Justice Sachchar Committee, set up to investigate why Indian Muslims continue to be economically and socially backward six decades after independence from colonialism. (via DAWN.COM | Columnists | Going Jinnah’s way).

Is that what has become of Pakistan?
Is that what has become of Pakistan?

Best of all worlds

The Colonial British-Muslim League narrative asserted that India was ruled by the Muslims before the British takeover from Muslim rulers at the end of the eighteenth century”. And it was asserted by the Muslim League and the supporters of the two-nation-theory that ‘how could Muslims, the ‘ex-rulers’ now become subject’ people under a Hindu Raj.’

Jawed Naqvi, the writer at The Dawn, needs to reconcile the contradiction between their (Muslim) presumed memory of their days as rulers of all (or most) of India” and the current reality of Indian Muslims being “economically and socially backward”.

Desolate and dry desert sands

I also wonder why he makes no mention of the backwardness of people from his own country, Pakistan. Is it that Indians have a greater responsibility to ensure progress of Indian Muslims – but the Pakistanis don’t have responsibility towards the Pakistani population?

Why is Naqvi holding Indians to higher standards? After all, both India and Pakistan started their post-colonial history from the same cess-pit of British colonialism. If you stretch Naqvi’s arguments far enough, the arrows land in misplaced victimhood.

And that, Naqvibhai, is a rather sad and desolate place to be in!

Muslims in India are under pressure, post-Mumbai – Economy and Politics – livemint.com

January 3, 2009 4 comments

Leaders of India’s 140-million-strong Muslim community have denounced the 26-29 November Mumbai attacks and thousands of Muslims have marched in protests against the bloodshed. It has been the strongest rejection yet of Islamist violence by Muslims.

“We have lost our children in the Mumbai attacks too. And we, as Indians, share a common grief and demand justice,” said Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi, general-secretary of the All-India Ulema Council, one of the biggest groupings of Muslim sects.

In Muslim neighbourhoods in the capital, residents observed low-key celebrations during an Islamic holiday in December.

Imran Ahmed, a bookseller, did not buy any new clothes for his children during the festival and did not distribute kebabs to neighbours as he does each year.

“So many people were killed by the terrorists. How could I celebrate?” asked the bearded bookseller, sitting outside his shop in the narrow, congested streets of Old Delhi. (via Muslims in India are under pressure, post-Mumbai – Economy and Politics – livemint.com).

Krittivas puts out some swill again

In an earlier article, Krittivas Mukherjee had written how Indian debtors were prostituting their wives to money lenders in rural India – with out any source or data or frequency of incidents.

In his latest story (now joined with another Westernized bhadralok brother, Bappa Majumdar), they write about how afraid Indian Muslims are after the 26/11 Mumbai attack. Does he have data on how many Indian Muslims were attacked by Indian Hindus after 26/11? To put that in perspective – after 9/11 in the US, more than 200 attacks occured in the US on 500,000 Sikhs in a 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.

Muslims cannot be patriotic …

When Krittivas writes “That anger is mixed with fear of a backlash” he seems to imply that Indian Muslims cannot be reasonable, patriotic – and hence their anger against these attacks and subdued celebration were forced.

His source and authority for this statement – a general statement by a (possibly senile, nearly) 80 year old journalist, whose claim to fame was his imprisonment, more than 30 years ago, by Indira Gandhi during the emergency. What is the data? None.

Their view of India …

According to Krittivas, India is, after all, “a country where Hindu nationalists often whip up anti-Muslim sentiment after such attacks.” How many such incidents have occurred where anti-Muslim sentiment in India has been whipped up? How many Muslims have been affected? No data. Sweeping statements. Would he like to mention any other country where such a large minority Muslim population, has greater freedom and opportunity.

Minorities in India

Muslims in India are persecuted as “Official figures show Muslims are under-represented in government jobs and the judiciary.”

A simple marker for persecution Krittivas, is decline in populations. Has the Muslim population in India declined? Like the Native American population has or the African-American has? Or the Jewish and and Roma Gypsy populations has (ignoring the limited population recovery of Roma Gypsies in post WW2 West). Or the genocide of the poor Congolese by the Belgian emperor. Post colonial census started with a Indian Muslim population of about 11.2% – which has now crossed 15%. Is that persecution, Mr.Krritivas? 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?

Would he also like to show that a few years ago, the richest Indian (Azim Premjee) and the highest political post (APJ Kalam) in the country were held by Muslims. Would he like to show any other country where Muslims have greater freedom – and comprise such a large population? Maybe France, where they are not allowed to dress as they please. Or Britain where 1 out of 200 Muslim (man, woman and child) is imprisoned – that is 0.6% of the British Muslim population is in prison.

Prison Population in India

Yet he does make a point how Muslims “are over-represented in the prison populations in many Indian states.” Yet does he give any comparative statistics? None! Does he mention that India anyway has the lowest prison population in the world. That Muslim prison population in India is about 75,000 from 14 crore Muslims – compared to 10,000 from 16 lakhs in Britain.

Divide et impera

His knowledge of history is further revealed when he writes how “Centuries of rule of Hindu-majority India by medieval Muslim invaders drove a wedge between the two communities”. Would he like to know how the Morley Minto reforms communalized India. How divide et impera was British state policy in India.

That the Deoband School, which he quotes earlier, which rivals the Al Ahram Mosque of Egypt in authority, was against the formation of Pakistan.

Who was responsible for the Partition …

He would however, not like to hold the British Raj responsible for “the blood-soaked birth of Pakistan, carved out from Muslim-majority areas of India in 1947.” The abdication by the Colonial British administration, its response to the communal riots, are conveniently ignored. These riots, managed by criminal elements, were given a free hand by the British administration, to ‘demonstrate’ to the world, that Hindus and Muslims could not live together. It took Gandhiji to disarm this population.

He however does not miss to write about “communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, when around 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were hacked and burnt to death” – against 200 attacks across US of the Sikhs.

Well paid hacks …

This kind of propaganda does not wash in the West anymore – but when it lands on Indian shores, and carried by Indian media, this kind of glop makes me think of censorship …

Maybe there is some merit in Shariat! And flogging …

The wonder that is the Anglo Saxon legal system …

December 22, 2008 2 comments

There are almost 10,000 Muslims in Britain’s jails— with 90 of them serving time for terror offences … they fear more and more young lags are being converted and radicalised in prison. A … source said: “You are talking about rootless young men at the bottom of society. They’re in jail and someone gives them some purpose. ”

In top-security jails such as Whitemoor, Cambs, 35 per cent of inmates are Muslim—and they have converted numerous other prisoners to Islam. (via MI5 spy chiefs are putting undercover officers into Britain’s jails | News | News Of The World).

Slice and dice …

Britain has an estimated 1.6 million Muslims – a 2.8% of the British population. Of this a 10,000 are in prison – which means about 0.6% of the British Muslim population is in prison. India has 16 crore Muslims – which a 100 times higher population.

What if …

India were to follow the British policy of imprisonment, the Indian Muslim inside prisons would be in 10 lakhs (or 1 million). India’s total prison population ranges between 2.5 lakhs to 3.5 lakhs.

Of course, Indian society handles crime vastly differently. Technically, India could create a legal system which would ease the ability of the police to imprison people, or better still hang them – and hide its social problems. Or they could handle this differently – and humanely. Which is what is happening.

Is there an alternative …

Combine this with a low police-to-population ratio and low crime rates. What you have then, is a modern Indian conundrum. This is not supposed to happen. But then, in India, there is a 4000 year of history which makes low prison population, low police to population ratio and a low crime rate possible.

The other question is this wonder called Anglo Saxon system of justice, jurisprudence et al.

These nasty figures raise a ‘orrific stink, dont they, my boy?

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