Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Do not sow the winds; whirlpools surely you shall reap.

This is in response to the article published in Hindustan time of 09th Aug 2010 "Let’s reap the faith" by Mr. Fareed Zakaria (is the Editor of Newsweek and the author of The Post-American World)

"Let's reap the faith", why not Mr.Fareed Zakaria? Before we delve any further in this proposition, it would be proper to examine the statement.

Reap = Profit

Faith = Trust

Faith = Religious belief or Religion.

"As you sow, so shall you reap" is the law of the nature, laws enacted by mankind are fallible, fortunately laws of the nature do not suffer such frailty.

What you set out to correct has paradoxically resulted in another individual taking the initial step towards rigidity, and that person unfortunately is you. “Five years ago, the ADL honoured me with its Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. I was thrilled to get the award from an organisation that I had long admired. But I cannot in good conscience keep it anymore. I have returned both the handsome plaque and the $10,000 honorarium that came with it.”

Where does the radicalisation takes place? In the Mosques, Madrassas , Seminaries, in the bad lands of AF-Pak or is it on the streets of the free world?
Which community has this problem of radicalisation? Is it a phenomenon across all religions or is it in Islam?

Followers of which religion are indulging in acts of terror in the name of its religion? Is it all the religions of this world or is it Islam?
Aggrieved cannot be expected to reward the aggressor. Turmoil exists in the society which believes in Islam, we cannot correct this; all course corrections have to come from within and not without.

There is a moderate section of society in Islam. Granted; why is this section not vocal and is not exerting itself?

The moderate voices in Islam will have to engage their own, as they engage with humanity on a world wide scale. Any solution or efforts from outside would exacerbate the sense of victimhood that is often used as a justification for retaliatory violent actions from the followers of Islam.

This is an excerpt of a conversation which I had with an individual from Pakistan on a website about a couple of months back, both of us were disturbed with the venom and senseless verbal violence that many other were indulging in, this gentleman seemed a lot more reasonable in his comment so I engaged him in a conversation with the hope that I might benefit from his knowledge of Islam. This individual made very vehement statements about Vedas having predicted about the coming of Holy Prophet (PBH) and also that Bhagwat Gita mentions about the concept of Jihad. On repeatedly inquiring from this person as to which Veda has made the prediction he was initially evasive and stated that he does not remember in which Veda he had read this (Veda have been passed down from one generation to the other thru word of mouth) On my informing him that Veda did not mention anything as claimed by him or that Bhagavad Gita does not have any reference to Jihad, he turned around and asked me to listen to Dr. Zakir Naik’s lectures. This gentleman has accepted the word of another individual as gospel without applying his mind. His is the mindset that moderates would have to counter, there is complete and total acceptance of what is deemed suitable. There is a very strong case that the followers of Islam start to question what they hear from other individuals.

Another centre in the free world is not the panacea, closed societies in West Asia need to open up.

We in India who have our own brand of six sigma tested and certified secularism cannot be pontificating to the world. Every sovereign nation of the world will have to grapple with this issue and come up with an acceptable formulation most suited to the environment that exist there; There is no single size fit all solution to this issue.

The issue of mosque or a centre being built in close proximity of Ground Zero cannot be addressed on the basis of Legality and Constitutional rights of a section of the society. This would require a very liberal dose of mutual goodwill, give and take, which has already received a major setback by your own action as stated above.
Describing the reactions of those opposed to the centre as Islamophobia is over simplifying the problem and is an exercise in escapism. Push this through on the basis of legality or constitutional rights, is a sure recipe for unwanted happenings in future.

For the benefit of those who may not be fimiliar with Vedas and Bhagavad Gita.

The Four Vedas language used is Sanskrit.

1 Rigveda "the triple sacred science" of reciting hymns, were probably essentially complete by 1200 BC

2 Yajurveda performing sacrifices

3 Samaveda chanting

4 Atharvaveda is the fourth Veda. Its status has occasionally been ambiguous, probably due to its use in sorcery and healing.

Bhagavad Gita "Song of God" The teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is Lord Krishna. The content of the Gita is the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield before the start of the Kurukshetra war.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Silencing of the Lambs”

This is in response to "No spark to light our anger" By Namita Bhandare in Hindustan Times dated 06th Aug.

I just adore these sanctimonious jewels of journalism from over modern day journalists, gloss over the rot in your own house, question the actions of others, and relieve yourself of guilt temporarily. Where are the journalist with integrity and ethics? Media has morphed into PR firms. Media which is a medium of conveying the public concerns to the powers that be, is a one way street these days, these are the mouth pieces of the establishment deployed to silence the detractor and dissenter.

At what point in our collective history did we lose our capacity for outrage?” The response would have to be it still exists. Moot point is this collective outrage has no visible platform from which it can be expressed; the ostensible fourth pillar of Indian democracy is in tatters, it is corroded to an extreme level, has degenerated into crony journalism.

Post independence this country has witnessed mass protests leading to change of Government twice, first instance was 1977, that is in the aftermath of internal emergency imposed by Mrs. Indira Gandhi 1975-1977, where we had unequivocally placed our enduring faith in democracy. Print media, intrepid journalists and journalism is what engendered, directed the collective outrage of the middle class, we had still not abandoned the pre-independence values completely. This was achieved without a strong opposition in the parliament; Congress had 352 MPs in the 5th Lok Sabha (1971).

Second instance of collective outrage was witnessed in 1989 in the aftermath of the Bofors Scandal. Congress was reduced to 197 from 400 which it commanded in 1984-1985. 1984 witnessed four major events, which have left an indelible mark on our psyche. Operation Blue Star, Assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, unprovoked killing of innocent Indians (Sikhs) on the streets of Delhi and other parts of India, and Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The last 2 events in particular have not seen a closure till date, these wounds are festering.

The political discourse underwent a major change in 1989. The number of political parties increased, politics become more competitive, campaigning more shrill, divisions in the society more acute and irreversible. All this was at the cost of the national integrity; middle class watched this in complete disgust as a mute spectator. Various tools were employed by the political parties to best their opponents. Important issues were ignored, caste, creed, region, religion became the basis to seek and obtaining votes. 1991 was another watershed year, India opened it economy to the world, the euphoria of globalization and the opium of GDP growth became the buzz word, along with this came the era of coalition governments.

Media houses proliferated like the mom and dad stores. Ethics, accountability and all those factors that go into making of a responsible publication or a broadcaster became the first casualty. In their bid to stay ahead and generate profits for the promoters and share holders, newscasters became editors in most of the nascent electronic media. News was soon replaced by opinionated broadcast though the nomenclature was maintained; difference was perceptible to a discerning viewer. Somehow along the way even the nicety of maintaining the façade of neutrality was discarded and a convenient view of the events became the norm for the news 24 X 7.

The talks show became popular, Indians grew addicted to these and surfed the channels to watch the discussions, with the passage of time the novelty worn off, and it became apparent the profound views expressed by the participants more often than not supported the establishment or a particular political party. The in studio audiences were suitably manipulated to achieve the required results. When a discussion on an event which had occurred 25years. The studio audience selected, were aged no more than 30 to 35 years. Those who have no first hand experience of the event could hardly be expected to raise questions which would be uncomfortable for the perpetrators of the event long ago. It was but natural that this audience would raise issue to which they could relate, and this led to digression much to the delight of the party who was let off the hook. Guests with a contrary view point are routinely interrupted and not permitted to complete their point or rebuttal. Corruption flourished since the item on top of the list for promoting the political outfit that had contracted them.

Print media could not be left out of the loop, a similar pattern emerged, with the advent of WWW most publications went online, this provided the middle class an opportunity to vent their feelings and comment on each and every issue. However here again Freedom of Speech and Expression that is guaranteed to us by our constitution is not without fetters. All newspaper without an exception indulge in censorship, either they do not publish comment which violate their line of thought and leaning, or edit the comments suitably. Pasted below is a shining example of what is the current state of affairs with our media houses.

“Court to hear CBI's plea for Amit Shah's custody today - Hindustan Times 3 days ago
Nishit that is not correct my friend Islam does not mean terrorism. Listen yes people are indulging in terrorism in the name of Islam, this no one can deny. Do not paint all Indians who follow Islam as supporters of terror.

No I am not a Muslim I am a Hindu before that an Indian and more importantly I am a human being. I do not like what has been going on in the Media since 2002 I have often asked these questions, yet no one has been able to give the answers every one just runs away.

I will post those question, these are not for you to answer, but you can ask them every time some one raises a finger towards Mr. Modi.

What are the allegations against the Chief Minister of Gujarat?

Did he actively participate in the riots?

Did he instigate the riots?

Did he plan the riots?

Is dereliction of duty the allegation against him?

Who has the evidence?

Does the media, Congress and this section of the society; have the evidence? If yes then why is it not in public domain?

Hope some day some one will give us the answers to these questions. Until then keep asking.
This comment is awaiting approval”

Comment with much venom and vitriolic have been published on this topic, yet the publication for the last three days has not been able to make up its mind if the above comments should be published or not. What is the issue? On the basis of which these comments have not been published has still not been communicated to me.
The Political Editor of this publication does not pass a single opportunity to lampoon a particular political party, regardless of the topic of discussion, this individual cannot seem to rest unless and until he has not had a go at his favorite target. The media needs to seriously introspect and come up with answers to arrest the downward spiral that it is in. Cynicism is fast taking hold of most Indians; we have little or no faith in the electronic and print media. We read the news published backwards, listen to the broadcast with little or no attention.

Listen to your political paymasters but not with both your ears, place one ear to the ground and you shall hear the rumbling that is gathering momentum.

Latest update as on 06th Mar 2014

No channel has ever shown this video about 2002 riots. Instead have made false allegations. 

Latest update as on 02nd Jun 2013


One of the biggest disservices done by the self appointed guardians of Muslim community is that they exaggerated, overstated and distorted the events of 2002 beyond recognition solely with a view to serving partisan interests of the Congress party. Their aim has never been to ensure punishment of those guilty of murders and mayhem during the 2002 riots. Their single minded focus has been on targeting Narendra Modi. In the process, they have actually weakened their case by introducing endless lies to their narrative to project Modi as the man who personally ordered and directed mob violence against Muslims.

Just as during the festival of Holi, people take a lot of liberties with each other saying “Bura na maano, Holi hai” (please don’t mind, this is Holi), so also the new mantra of the Congress party is to respond to charges of heinous corruption, murders, mayhem, rapes and instigating riots is: “Bura na mano, we are Secular”.  However, the pranks people play on Holi are relatively innocent and the play is with colours. But the Congress is playing a very divisive and bloody game which has life and death consequences for India and its people

Latest update as on 09th April 2013

Today Modi has an active team of highly respected Muslims such as Asifa Khan, A.I. Syed, Mehboob sahib and many other credible persons.  The enlightened Muslims are with the BJP.  The Congress on the other hand prefers to have Muslims who are willing to be rubberstamps. Asifa, Syed sahib and others worked very hard during the election campaign. But they would not have been successful without BJP as a whole embracing Muslims and being proactive in garnering the support of Muslims. All those, who say that he is dictatorial and authoritarian are simply off the mark. No one who has engaged with him will say that.

Latest update as on 03rd April 2013

Those who hold this view need to hear Asifa Khan of Bharuch who joined the BJP  a few weeks before the 2012 election after spending 4 years as the Congress spokesperson in Gujarat. Asifa is a highly respected public figure and  her  joining the BJP created a real stir. She is respected not just by fellow Muslims but also enjoys high level of prestige among the Hindus. ( The full text of interview with Asifa will be posted soon).

Latest update as on 31st March 2013

Three articles are uploaded with the explicit consent of original author Mrs.Mahdu Kishwar 
When some pockets of Gujarat were convulsed by violent riots in February 2002, I too accepted the version presented by the national media as well as our activist friends and assumed that Modi was complicit in the Gujarat riots of 2002. Therefore, I too signed statements against Modi, published articles sent to Manushi indicting Gujarat government. We also raised funds for riot victims. However, I refrained from writing anything under my name because I did not get the time to visit Gujarat and experience and assess the situation first hand. My earlier experience of covering various riots as well as conflict situations in Kashmir and Punjab had taught me that media reports cannot be trusted enough to take a definitive stand on such issues since they are often coloured by the ideological prism used by the writer.  Therefore, I refrained from making statements on Gujarat.

58 train passengers, including women and little children, were charred to death on 27th February 2002 when their compartments were set on fire just as the train moved out of Godhra railway station.
The first incidents of retaliatory mob violence were reported on February 28. They continued in full intensity on 1st and 2nd March. By 3rd March situation was under control. After that small incidents were engineered in a few pockets but they were put down firmly.
I will deal with the how and why of those incidents in another article. For the moment, I am presenting a very brief overview of the actions taken by Narendra Modi to control the riots.

If you take the latest figures, the economic position Muslims have now, they never had that before. It is much better than ever before.  Here are some revealing indicators.
Zakat is the easiest indicator to judge a Muslim’s wealth profile because you pay zakat on your wealth. zakat is what you pay to the needy. It is essentially used for helping meet some poor man’s basic needs. Suppose this year I paid Rs 2500 zakat, you can immediately extrapolate that I am worth Rs 100,000. Next year if I pay Rs 5000 zakat, it means my wealth has increased from one lakh to two lakhs. Zakat has been continuously increasing in Gujarat year after year. In fact, you will find that 50% of the zakat of madarasas across the country comes from Gujarat and 50% from the rest of India. If Modi had destroyed Muslims, their share of zakat should have fallen. But in the last 10 years, the wealth of Muslims has increased.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Do we have it in us??

This is in response to "Take the battle into the enemy’s camp" by Vir Sanghvi in Hindustan Times dated Feb 23rd 2010.

Vir Sanghvi, Congratulation, you indeed have broken the mould, while majority from your profession are still advocating jawing as a viable means to overcoming a serious issue of terrorism.

The four scenarios put forward by you are absolutely valid and do not need any extra grey cells in any of us to accept these. Yes the willingness of Pakistan is an established fact known to one and all in this country.

I wish during the course of your conversation with the Prime Minister you would have reminded him that Morality is not a seasonal fruit that is available in a fixed time frame or a migratory bird which visits India and its political setup on any predetermined date. If morality was to be the bench mark of Indian government then it has failed miserably on this score. Selective use of this idiom in case of tackling terror will cause more destruction.

While a lot of Indians are going to focus on what is written by you and shall ignore the implicit message that is contained in this article. Open armed conflict with Pakistan on the issue of terror is a given it is only a matter of time and the events leading to it.

26/11 is a paradigm shift in how India is going to be challenged by the terrorists with active support from our neighbour, let us not delude ourselves any more. The level and intensity in terms of targets, causalities and prominence of the complex(s) and individuals is what will determine our response to such an event.

India must reflect in all seriousness, do we want an endless number of Indians as victims of terror, do we want to be a nation with a large number of War Widows and Orphans, or sacrifice a small number in covert actions. We are going to lose a number of Indians in this effort of containing terrorism in this country.

Is it not a better option to have trained men and women engage terrorist outside the geographical boundaries of India, rather than on our own soil. Interdiction is an acceptable option as against retribution of which we seem to be absolutely incapable due lack of political will.

India wants peace great! India does not war fantastic! India must act and create the environment for both of these desires to fructify, not by seeking assistance or merely basing it on hope! India must initiate positive action and now! Not learning from history is a sure recipe for disaster waiting to revisit us.

This is not war mongering, this is accepting and facing the challenges that our neighbour has been throwing at us for the last 3 decades or so. The time is upon us to counter this comprehensively and decisively.

Why would a journalist seek refuge and retribution from the laws of the land?

This is in response to a blog by Mr. Vir Sanghvi in Hindustan Times date July 27th 2010. "Defamations and redressals"

Mr. Sanghvi. Is unnerved, the overwhelming negative response that he receives on most occasions. This blog is the outcome of that, he wants retributions, however cannot term most negative comments as defamatory.

There are two aspects to this blog.

1. The essence or the soul. The deep seated part!

2. The printed word or the body. The superficial part!

It would be convenient to focus on the printed part express myself and move on, but that would not really do justice to what the author is attempting to say. So let us begin by addressing the first part, the essence and soul.

Mr. Sanghvi is feeling vulnerable and is unable to state so in clear terms. The monopoly of taking potshots at others over a long period of time emboldened him, he graduated to ambushes, and later to mounting all out attacks on anyone that he wished, or as commissioned by the political paymaster. A fair number of journalists made common cause and banded together into groups as Mercenaries. Their services were available to a select group willing to pay the demanded price. All this was being done from a very secure and impregnable fortress. The targeted individual was unable to strike back ; protest letter s to the Editor were summarily dismissed for want of evidence or on the basis of Freedom of Speech and Expression and at times as Journalistic creative composition. Appearance on Electronic media utterance and disparaging remarks made on other went unchallenged due to common reasons.

Spread of net and advent of Blogs now enable the aggrieved party to rebut often level counter allegations. Blogging has enabled the independent objective observer to register his protest! The game plan is all too apparent, he has jumped into the fray to correct the imbalance which individuals like Vir Sanghvi enjoyed previously.

Moderators were introduced on the web sites and Blogs ostensibly to filter offensive and objectionable post, the real purpose was to control contrarian views. Initially the positive posts were extensively used as testimonials; which was good for the business, over a period of time negative reactions from the public increased manifold, though successfully kept at bay on his web site or his Blog; has failed to instill that sense of security and immunity which was originally there. When the negative reactions are higher the payments will not be made since the desired results have not been achieved. The paymasters do not tolerate failures and this would lead to redundancy.

We thought we were up against a man who had it in him to take as good as he gave, unfortunately the turning of the tide has made him to scream in a very loud voice Defamation, Redressal and demands retribution.

Now incase these comments do not appear on this blog I am free to publish this on any site which offer free blog services. The reach of net + blog should not be subject to censorship.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Require a Large Domestic Constituency for Peace with Pakistan

This is in response to Peace cannot be built on Pak’s lies in the Hindustan Times Dated July 31st 2010.

The subject of India-Pakistan relationship cannot be addressed in piecemeal or fragmented manner. We are dealing with a hostile neighbor whose raison d’être is our destruction. We must review this subject keeping in mind the complete history of last 63 years. It bears testimony to our complete lack of policy towards this nation, we more often than not suffer cerebral seizure; Two events standout where we could have resolved the outstanding issues conclusively with Pakistan.

1. 1971 when we held more than 90,000 Prisoners of War.

2. 1999 Bus ride to Lahore by Mr. Vajpayee.

Unfortunately documents pertaining to 1971 need to be de-classified before a final judgment can be passed on what went wrong and why we missed that opportunity? 1999 is something which unfolded before our eyes, is comparatively recent, betrayal or should one say the reciprocal action from Pakistan of foisting Kargil on us has scarred our psyche to a great extent. Public hostility was limited even after this, since our well trained and capable Men in Uniform reclaimed the areas that were surreptitiously occupied by infiltrators from Pakistan.

Attack on Parliament, mobilization of troops a long stand off, followed by bomb blasts on a regular basis across India, routine statements of condemnation, usual suspects we accepted from the authorities in India, were treated with the skepticism that they deserved. The scope for improving relations with Pakistan was still very highly and the public support was there for this exercise.

Post 26/11 all this has changed decisively. The phantom of numerous bomb blasts, were visible in flesh and blood to all in India and overseas for the first time and over a period of nearly 72hours when not just Mumbai, the whole country was held hostage. Denials of Pakistan have been blown away with a firm finality. Relations with Pakistan will be bench marked henceforth with the severity of punishment, the time taken by that country to punish the culprits in its custody, as also those who remain free.

Disconnect between the people and UPA Government headed by Congress is self inflicted, this is not restricted to just the educated class. Congress took a very strident stance towards Pakistan and Terror during the general elections 2009, tough on terror and no dialogue without cession of terror from Pakistan, coercive diplomacy, paid due dividends and ensured victory at the hustings, yet it also engendered an extremely rigid public opinion, absence of retribution has further hardened the sentiments of the Indian public.
The other faux pas committed by the Government of Indian are.

1. Alacrity displayed for acceptance of Non State Actors nomenclature for the participants of 26/11.

2. Joint Terror mechanism.

3. Victim of terror tag for Pakistan is the result of generosity from our UPA Government.

4. Fiasco at Sharm-el-Shaik.

5. Introduction of Baluchistan.

6. Dialogue only way forward.

7. The latest discourse of inability to attain great power status due to hostile relationship with a small nation.

The above stated reasons are sufficient for sustaining the disconnect between the people and the Government of India.

Wikileaks have not come as a surprise to us, have we not been shouting this ad nauseum, at best it reveals the murky dealing of USA and Pakistan in Afghanistan. The latest incident in Islamabad cannot be pushed aside by either pointing a finger at Pakistan or at Mr. G.K. Pillai, this exercise in futility should never have been initiated.
UPA government has not till date come up with any confident and complete response as to what they hope to achieve thru these dialogues with Pakistan.

Terror cannot be contained by a dialogue process. Great Power status cannot be held hostage to relationship with a neighbor, it flies in the face of logic, our progress so far has not been because of assistance rendered by Pakistan. The umbilical cord was cut in 1947 or as your colleague in HT says we were “Separated at Birth” Great Power status is not defined solely in terms of economic growth, there is Military might which contributes significantly, the ability and will to exercise this might judiciously, finally the political will to propagate and view all relations thru the prism of Supreme National interest.

Improving relations with Pakistan will have to wait; in the meantime we will need to devise a comprehensive policy for this. Unfortunately this cannot come from the serving bureaucrats as most are subservient to the governing dispensation. The Political class in our perception is not equipped to formulate the foreign policy given the levels of education that they have. We need a group of individual well versed in foreign relations they could be superannuated diplomats who somehow seem to find their voice once free of the Government control to name a few Mr. Kanwar Sibal, Mr.K.C Singh, Mr.G. Parthasarthy and Mr. Lalit Manshing. In conjunction with defence analysts like Mr. Raja Mohan, Mr. Bramha Chellany, Mr. Maruf Raza and a few retired Generals and High Rank officers from Indian Air Force and Navy could come up with a policy document which could be implemented by this government, foreign policy is a continuous process and not something that can be changed by the future Governments, they may change tack or focus the substance cannot change.

Finally the domestic political discourse also must be moderated; the shrillness, the viciousness and the Secular Vs Communal debate must end for it does not contribute to our unity at all. To become a great power we require Rule of Law, higher level rating on Human development indices, eradicate corruption, education, health and infrastructure. GDP growth alone will not be the correct measure of Great Power we have 500 million Indians whose status is below the poorest of the poor on the African continent.

Entry to Parliament and Primer Minster’s post is possible sans popular support; peace with Pakistan would require that ingredient in a very wholesome measure. Hoping for a pragmatic rather, than a dogmatic approach from the UPA and its media brigade!