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Police State Coming to India …?

Big Brother - Coming soon to India!

Big Brother - Coming soon to India!

Sixty years should have been sufficient to get over being a ‘subject’ of the state, and to attain citizenship. The state is sovereign vis-à-vis other states, but within the country it is the people who are sovereign. All this, however, becomes empty talk when the people have to report to the state about who they marry, when they move house and where, what jobs they do, how much they earn, where they travel, what their pattern of expenditure is, and who they live with. And to make tracking easier, there are the fingerprints and the photograph.

The NPR is not an exercise undertaken under the Census Act 1948. It is being carried out under the Citizenship Act of 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003. Why should that matter? Because there is an express provision regarding `confidentiality’ in the Census Act, which is not merely missing in the Citizenship Act and Rules but there is an express objective of making the information available to the UID Authority, for instance, which marks an important distinction between the two processes. Section 15 of the Census Act categorically makes the information that we give to the census agency “not open to inspection nor admissible in evidence.” The Census Act enables the collection of information so that the state has a profile of the population; it is expressly not to profile the individual. (via The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : Implications of registering, tracking, profiling).

Gurus … and chela

The Cabinet Rank is a dubious distinction, Shri Nilekani!

The Cabinet Rank is a dubious distinction, Shri Nilekani! (Cartoon - Outlook).

The democratic West, citadels of freedom, protectors of individual rights, at the vanguard of modernization and progress have the largest number of prisoners in the world. USA, with a prison population of 2 million, is a world-leader in prison population.

What is the difference between a ‘banana republic’ where people disappear – and in the Anglo-Saxon Bloc which has the world’s largest prison population?

Maybe, my being from a backward country, stops me from understanding this great ‘progress’ that these countries seemed to have made! Large data-banks store massive DNA, finger-print, financial, geographical, employment, litigation records. The world leaders in these practices are UK and the USA.

Can India be far behind.

Asuras and Mayas

The Indian Government has initiated a similar project. The UID project, under a info-tech Czar – Nandan Nilekani. What this project will do is create ‘maya’ – an asuric’ illusion of a ‘caring State’, of an ‘efficient’ government, a ‘vision’ of an ‘effective welfare system’.

Above all it will create a logic and raison d’etre for a bloated and rampant Government. And that will be Nandan Nilekani’s job. So, while Nandan Nilekani for years, has been proposing ‘lesser government’, he will now be in the vanguard of creating a BIGGER Government.

What more! I am sure Nandan can see this. He is smart.

Small police force – Indic instinct or a matter of means

Sorry. We just noticed you've run out of toilet paper…! says Big Brother

Sorry. We just noticed you

Wishing that this will be a benign system or used for benign purposes, may be wishful thinking! India has for long been a unique society with low prison populations, low police-to-population ratios, low-to-average crime rates, high gun ownership, low death penalty rates.

Is this the beginning of the end?

Who the Gods favor … are tested first!

December 27, 2009 1 comment

The mechanics of massacres

“Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” (Kill them all, God will know his own) instructed the Abbot of Citeaux to his followers at the start of the Albigensian Crusade. And 200,000 people were killed over the next 200 hundred years in France alone.

Aggressive powers, who have used major massacres to secure their ends will need to be confronted, at some point, militarily. Apart from well documented and known military massacres , there are equally effective non-military annihilation – the Bengal Famine of 1943 being a prime example.

The encirclement of India, by UK, Norway and Australia in the climate change talks is an excellent example of pre-military preparation. The ability of the West to divert our attention with exaggerated evaluations of Chinese encirclement of India (a real threat nevertheless) – thus completely blindsiding India’s encirclement by the Anglo-Saxon Bloc, yet again.

De-humanizing soldiers

Vatican used this philosophy to lower inhibitions – amongst its soldiers. The British similarly lowered inhibitions in India with a mix of ‘rewards’ for butchery – and creating myths about their religious, racial and ideological superiority, to suppress ‘inferior’ peoples. A writer on religious and atheist matters, Austin Cline, goes further on how “the Christian Right even take advantage of tragedies” to further the ‘conversion’ agenda.

Heavily-armed members of the Blackwater fly over Baghdad on a mission (pic credit - dailymail.co.uk)

Heavily-armed members of the Blackwater fly over Baghdad on a mission (pic credit - dailymail.co.uk)

The numerous killings in the 1857 War were instigated by such announcements of rewards. In modern times, the use of such rewards have been modified. Churchill’s pronouncements about Arabs, Native American, Africans and Indians are well known to for me to repeat.

The use of the private militias, Blackwater and Halliburton in Iraq is a continuation of the same tradition. The use of American forces by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to drive out Saddam Hussein, is a similar ‘outsourcing’.

To all those who believe that the Desert Bloc has changed, need to look at the Abbott of Citeaux and this ‘modern’ poster. Same thought – but in different language, at a different point of time.

Asuras get all the boons and rewards

In Indic thought, it was always the asuras who received boons, rewards and special powers from the Indian trinity – only to loose it very soon, due to hubris. Ravana, Hiranyaksha were favored – and it was the Pandavas, Raghu Ramachandra who were sent into exile.

Before being showered by good fortune, those who the Gods favor, are tested and put through adversity first!

Interestingly ... the caption changed, after the message was highlighted!

Header image at a Christian religious website. Old caption - "If you don't matter to God, you don't matter to anyone"! Interestingly ... the caption changed, after the message was highlighted!

PS – Sadly,

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.

China is now an empire in denial – Gideon Rachman /FT.com / Columnists /

August 10, 2009 11 comments

The Soviet Union ultimately fell apart because of pressure from its different nationalities. In 1991, the USSR split up into its constituent republics.

Of course, the parallels are not exact. Ethnic Russians made up just over half the population of the USSR. The Han Chinese are over 92 per cent of the population of China. Yet Tibet and Xinjiang are exceptions. Some 90 per cent of the population of Tibet are still ethnic Tibetans. The Uighurs make up just under half the population of Xinjiang. Neither area is comfortably integrated into the rest of the country – to put it mildly. Last week’s riots in Xinjiang led to the deaths of more than 180 people, the bloodiest known civil disturbance in China since Tiananmen Square in 1989. There were also serious disturbances in Tibet just before last year’s Olympics.

In a country of more than 1.3bn people, the 2.6m in Tibet and the 20m in Xinjiang sound insignificant. But together they account for about a third of China’s land mass – and for a large proportion of its inadequate reserves of oil and gas. Just as the Russians fear Chinese influence over Siberia, so the Chinese fear that Muslim Xinjiang could drift off into Central Asia. (via FT.com / Columnists / Gideon Rachman – China is now an empire in denial).

Cheap thrills

The Western media takes great and vicarious delight in predicting such break ups. It feeds their innate (though false) sense of superiority. With Scotland wanting to breakaway, Belgium on the verge of splitting into two, Czechoslovakia split into two, Europe itself on the brink of reverting to internecine squabbles.

Chopsuey

That said, a break up of China should be no surprise.

Much like USSR’s break-up, the Chinese monolith is more fragile than apparent. Apart from the usual suspects of democracy, economic disparities, social upheavals, etc, there are 3 factors, which most Chinese analysts miss.

One, the Tibetan’s are held together by force – and no one imagines that this holding them together by force, can be in perpetuity. The Muslim provinces of Xinjiang (another one-third of China) is usually ignored. These issues are usually minimized by the current strength with which China holds these provinces together.

But possibly, the biggest issue is the share of revenues of the Chinese central governments.

Secondly, the Chinese Central Government commands less than 25% of the total tax revenues – and the 75% goes to provinces. This, possibly is why the Chinese Government cannot reduce cigarette usage in China. Most expenditures on health, education, pension, unemployment, housing etc. are borne by the local government – and hence there is patchwork of systems which run across China. Most of executions and imprisonments of bureaucrats (including the Mao’s Cultural Revolution) is to demonstrate central authority. The PLA is the only factor that keeps China together. A Chinese Lech Walesa or a Nelson Mandela could unwind China very quickly.

Significantly, and thirdly, the Chinese diaspora and Western MNCs are biggest investors in China – and also the main beneficiaries. This currently keeps resentments of the local Chinese under control – as the neighbour is not getting much richer. But at one stage the domestic Chinese will want to greater say and control over the Chinese economy. He may not be happy with just a well paying job and abundant, low quality goods.

Fences and neighbours

Modern nationalism (of the political variety) is a European construct. National boundaries have historically been ephemeral. The value of national boundaries is the ability to wage war – and disturb the boundaries of other countries.

Good fences create bad neighbours!

Where Marx comes alive – Pallavi Aiyar

August 9, 2009 1 comment

For greater good of the most many ...

For greater good of the most many ...

perhaps nothing exemplifies European socialism more than the maze of regulations governing the retail trade in Belgium. It took a panel of five young government officials from the Directorate for Regulation and Organisation of the Market, armed with pages of notes, to explain the main highlights of these to me.

This is what I learnt: In Belgium, shops can only legally go on ‘sale’ twice a year, in January and July. It is only during these periods that shops may sell goods at below cost or ‘extremely reduced’ profit. For six weeks before the sales period, shops may not advertise price reductions.

Although offering discounts (as long as these do not amount to a loss) is legal at other times of the year, for a month before the biannual sales, textiles, shoes and leather products may not be discounted at all. Moreover, the sales are reserved for the ‘seasonal renewal’ of stock, so products deemed non-seasonal may not be included in the sale. Sofas, for example, are considered seasonal but antiques are not.

To implement all of this, two hundred-odd inspectors from the Directorate wander around the country inspecting and many complaints regarding non-compliance are also phoned in.

The rationale behind this mountain of red tape is the protection of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which it is believed would go bankrupt if big retail were to be allowed to dump in an unrestrained manner. (via Pallavi Aiyar: Where Marx comes alive).

Europe has come a full circle!

The State has slowly and surely, completely taken over. The hard-fought liberties, the Magna Cartas, the Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, have been in vain. The people have just stepped up to the dias and handed over all the power back to the State. The much touted Renaissance and Reformation have all come to nought.

For the Rest of the World, what is truly a cause of anxiety is that the East seems to be embracing Western political ideology and constructs with reckless enthusiasm – in their quest for ‘progress’ and ‘modernity’. And the public sector behemoths may yet cause some damage.

Remember the East India Company – a public sector company.

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