Friday, August 27, 2004

Economist on Maoists in Nepal: ROTFL

August 27

The Economist India stringer is a would-be comedian.

"The Maoists' politics are a far cry from anything the Chairman would
recognise. They want to overthrow the monarchy and replace it with a
genuine democratic system—not one, as at present, in which the king
can dismiss the government at his royal whim. But if their ostensible
aim is noble enough, their tactics are often brutal. And as this
month's blockade shows, their stunts can easily backfire, worsening
the lives of the very people they seek to rally to their cause."

bwahahahahahahahahahaha: "replace the monarchy with a genuine
democratic system". yeah: "one man, one vote, one time", just like in
W Bengal. after all, the maoist head is one bhattarai, trained at the

isn't it also interesting that this fellow (and all other white
reporters too) keeps on asserting that the Maoists in Nepal have
nothing -- nothing whatsoever, shocking you should think they might --
with China? he must be from the N Ram school of thought.

==== Excepts:

Bombs on the tennis courts; no petrol in the pumps

Aug 26th 2004
From The Economist print edition

Maoist rebels show their power


Better stay at home

Potatoes usually cost 25 rupees (35 cents) a sack on the streets of
Katmandu. But during a week-long blockade by Maoist rebels, prices
doubled, and even tripled. Most other foodstuffs followed suit, fuel
was rationed at petrol stations and buses in and out of the Nepalese
capital were suspended. The blockade was eventually lifted on August
24th after calls from businesses, human-rights groups and, above all,
ordinary citizens.

... deleted

On the whole, the Nepalese economy has shown amazing resilience in the
face of the many disturbances it has endured. But growth has
undoubtedly been slowed by the conflict. Nepal's finance minister
admitted as much in his 2003-04 economic survey, released last month,
though he was still able to record an impressive (in the
circumstances) growth figure of 3.6% for the previous fiscal year.

Tourism, on which some 1.25m people depend, is also suffering.
Although there are no reports of direct attacks on tourists, incidents
such as the four bombs dropped on the tennis courts of the Soaltee
Crowne Plaza hotel on August 16th hardly make good publicity. Since a
record high of 500,000 visitors in 1999, tourism has steadily declined
as the conflict has escalated: by 2002, the number had fallen to
215,000. Since then, the situation had begun to look more promising,
with arrivals up by a quarter last year and by a further third this
year. But recent events hardly bode well for the post-monsoon season.

The conflict-ridden areas, notably most of the western half of the
country, are bone poor. A recent survey found that less than 37% of
children were vaccinated in two districts affected by the rebellion,
compared with a national average of 75%. Education is also affected.
Attacks on teachers have forced many to leave, and charities have
reported security difficulties in remote areas.

... deleted

Instead, the economic mainstay of the kingdom has become the money
sent home by young Nepalis abroad. Hard statistics are scarce, but
remittances are thought to comprise 12% of GDP, and the figure is

The Maoists' politics are a far cry from anything the Chairman would
recognise. They want to overthrow the monarchy and replace it with a
genuine democratic system—not one, as at present, in which the king
can dismiss the government at his royal whim. But if their ostensible
aim is noble enough, their tactics are often brutal. And as this
month's blockade shows, their stunts can easily backfire, worsening
the lives of the very people they seek to rally to their cause

more india-pak equal-equal trash from the Economist

August 27

The Economist's India stringer is an ardent India-hater. Here's more
of his usual, banal attempts at equating India with Pakistan by
comparing the two PMs, both of whom are economists.

Why does the Economist not run a similar article comparing the US and
Saudi Arabia? Both are run by lunatic-fringe religious crazies.

Actually, the Indo-Pak comparison is correct in a wholly unintended
way: both PMs are shikhandis, kept in power merely as masks and
whitewash for the behind-the-scenes, sinister Svengalis: Antonia and
Musharraf. That part is true.

Only excerpts posted, to honor the Economist's copyright on a premium article.

India and Pakistan

The technocrats take over

Aug 26th 2004

India and Pakistan both have technocrats in charge. This is only
partly a good thing


SHAUKAT AZIZ, a banker turned administrator who serves his country
free of charge, was due to be sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan
on August 28th. His elevation brings a curious, and in many ways
pleasing, symmetry to governance in the sub-continent's two
nuclear-armed giants. Both will now have prime ministers who are
technocrats: Mr Aziz hails from Citibank; India's Manmohan Singh was a
much-respected academic economist. Both men were drafted into politics
late in life as finance ministers before getting the top job. Neither
is a politician in the conventional sense. Mr Singh has never won a
democratic election: he sits in India's nominated and indirectly
elected upper house. Mr Aziz did not enter Pakistan's lower house
until last week, when he won two safe by-elections expressly called
for the purpose of installing him as prime minister.

... deleted

In many ways, yes. Although ultimate power in Pakistan will continue
to rest with General Musharraf, it is reasonable to expect continued
good economic management on both sides of the India-Pakistan border.
And the fact that two such even-tempered and practical people are in
charge should bring a more profound recognition of the huge benefits,
in the form of trade and investment, that could accrue to both
countries if their relations were conditioned more by economics and
less by the destructive politics of Kashmir.

Yet Mr Aziz's appointment, good on the economic front though it may
be, looks in many ways like inept politics. General Musharraf has
promised that by the end of this year he will relinquish the post of
army chief, while hanging on to his president's hat and his
chairmanship of the National Security Council. He has already shown
signs of resiling from this commitment.

... deleted

The situation is less dire in India, because the system there contains
more than enough democracy to compensate for Mr Singh's unorthodox
route to power. Even so, there is already the beginning of a worry.
Brilliant technocrat he may be: but does Mr Singh possess the gutsy
political skills he needs to hold together his ramshackle coalition,
and the communicative ability to sell uncomfortable changes to the
electorate? So far, the signs are not encouraging. The cabinet
contains some frighteningly useless coalition members, and the
government's first budget was uninspiring, ducking most of the tough
issues and promising more handouts, not fewer. Officials are already
muttering that Mr Singh needs to get out more and sell his ideas to
the country. But they don't teach you how to do that in banks or
universities. You learn it on the stump.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Economist: cover story on China's growing pains

August 26

A number of articles, all about China, in the same issue, dated Aug 19th.

Here's one that's free to read, about pollution problems: ("A great wall of waste")

Another free article ("Managing the mandarins", about how a private firm actually won a lawsuit against the Chinese government):

Other, premium articles include "Growing pains":

On the health care system collapsing:

On the completely unbelievable statistics about their economy:

Steinbeck and "The Log from the Sea of Cortez"

26 August

Some years ago, i read the fascinating 'Log from the Sea of Cortez' by John Steinbeck. awesome stuff. here is a new expedition with some stanford people retracing the path of that voyage of discovery.

Documenting sea life, life at sea aboard the Gus D

i must have read everything steinbeck wrote. my favorite of all time is what i consider his understated masterpiece, 'In Dubious Battle', which others see only as a prelude to 'The Grapes of Wrath'.

i enjoyed going down to Steinbeck County (i have a lavish coffee-table book of the same title) -- such as Monterey -- with my parents.

Chinese hand in Manipur?

August 26th

This is the first time I have heard such allegations of the
involvement of the Chinese in Manipur, but it does not surprise me.
Worth reading. Lebensraum is the name of the game for the Chinese, as
it was for the Germans.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sharma Sanjeev
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 14:38:00 +0100
Subject: Chinese hand in Manipur
To: ""

Dear Rajeev

Here is a link for you to ponder and expose through your columns...


China wants to do a Tibet to Koguryo

August 26

Make dubious historical claims, and then grab the land. Standard Chinese tactic.

China Fears Once and Future Kingdom


Monday, August 23, 2004

Fwd: WAVES, announcement, 8th India conference, Dec. 31, 2004 to Jan. 2, 2005

August 23

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Srinivasan Kalyanaraman
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2004 06:05:34 +0530
Subject: WAVES, announcement, 8th India conference, Dec. 31, 2004 to
Jan. 2, 2005

World Association for Vedic Studies, Inc.
India Branch
A Multidisciplinary Academic Society, Tax Exempt in USA

(Former Sr. Executive, Asian Devel Bank;
Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp, Akhila Bharateeya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana)
5 Temple Avenue, Srinagar Colony,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu- 600015, India
Tel. (044) 22350557; Fax. (044) 24996380

(Former Director, Bhartiya Jyanpeeth)
B-409, Sector 19, NOIDA-201301, UP
(0120) 2533397 (R)

(Reader in Sanskrit, Maitreyi College, D.U.)
54 Saakshara Apartments, A-3 Pashcim Vihar, New Delhi - 110063
(011) 25265237 (R)

(Reader, Sanskrit, Laxmibai College, D. U.)
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A-19, Press Encl, Saket, New Delhi-110017
(011) 26517295,26867700(R)

Sharda Niketan Chowk, Saraswati Vihar, Delhi-110034, (011) 27017601,
27012565 (R),

(Former Reader, SCERT, Delhi)
D/E 128,Tagore Garden, N. Delhi-110027
(011) 25194255, 25428986 (R)

(Professor & Dean, University of Pondicherry)
Res: # 28, 3 Main Road, Kumaran Nagar Ext.,
Lawspet, Pondicherry –605008, (413)-2252-389 (R), (0413)-2655991/333

(Professor, Dept. of Business Economics
South Campus, University of Delhi)
C –140, Sector 19, NOIDA –201301, UP
(0120)-2523346 (R),

(Professor and Head, Sanskrit Department, University of Delhi), AP-72
A, Pitam Pura,
New Delhi-110088, (011) 27317331 (R)

(Librarian, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Delhi)
Flat No. 154, Sector 1, Pocket 2, Dwarka, New Delhi-110045, (011) 25083511 (R)

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10/98, Sector 3,Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, UP (0120) 24631153 (R)

(Former V C, Darbhanga & Varanasi Uni.s)
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(Krishak P G College, Mawana)
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Vice-Chancellor, S L B S Rashriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Katwariya
Sarai, N. Delhi-110016
(011) 26851250 (R), 26851253 (O)
8th India Conference
31st December 2004 to 2nd January 2005
Kannada Bhavana Auditorium
University of Agricultural Sciences,
Bellary Road, Old Campus, Bangalore, India
Call for Papers
Abstracts of papers and proposal for holding symposia are invited.
The conference is eighth in a series of annual conferences held in
India. Previous two conferences have been held at New Delhi (2002) and
Pondicherry (2003). WAVES is a USA based academic society open to all
scholarly views and for participation of all persons irrespective of
their caste, creed and country of origin. The aim of the conference is
to exchange ideas and to explore new insights in any field of Indian /
Vedic studies in an academic environment.
Papers on any aspect of Indian studies are welcome for presentation at
the conference. There shall be papers with special focus on
Scientific and Technological Information in Vedic Texts, Upanishads,
Gita, Ramayana, Smritis and other ancient texts.
Submission of Abstracts: Last date –15th November, 2004
Abstracts of papers (in about 150 words), be submitted to : -
(1) Professor Shashi Tiwari, Secretary,
India Branch, WAVES,, (011) 25265237 (R)
Address: 54 Saakshara Apartments, A-3 Pashcim Vihar, New Delhi – 110063
(2) Professor C.L.Prabhakar, President,
Bangalore Chapter, WAVES, Ph: 080-26592489 (R)
Address: 234, 11th, B-cross, 20th Main, JP Nagar, Phase 2,Bangalore-78
{Full length paper may be submitted during Conference
after presentation.}
Local Organizing Committee:
CHAIRMAN- Professor C L Prabhakar, Address as above.
MEMBERS -Professor D. B. Ghare,Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore;,,; Prof. R. L. Kashyap,
Dr. Kamala Aurora, Ph 080-25280155, Prof. Sangeeta Menon,
Shri Vaidyanatha Prabhakar, Ph: 080-26591508;Shri Ramaprasad, Ph 080-26596318;
Prof. Seetharamalaxmi; Dr. T. Srinivas; Shri L. Subramanyam, Ph: 080-25839012
Presidents / Conveners of the Indian Chapters of the WAVES :
1. Professor V.D. Misra (Proctor, Lucknow University) Ph. :
(0522)2326893 (R),
2. Professor Chhaya Rai (Deptt. of Philosophy, Jabalpur, M.P.) Ph.
(90761) 2316831 (R),
3. Professor Ram Gopal (JNV University, Jodhpur) 0291-2511057,
4. Dr. Sumangal Prakash (Head of the Dept. of History, Meerut College)
5. Professor R. R. Pandey (Vice Chancellor, Gorakhpur University),
0551-2340458 (R)
6. Shri Rakesh Pandey, (Director, Boston College, Gwalior )
International enquiries may be directed to:

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Economist on CK Prahalad

For a change, a thoughtful article in the Economist. That's because it
is not written by their India stringer, and the intent is not to demean India or

Prahalad seems to have latched on to a good thing. There is plenty of
money to be made by selling to the lower end of the market. He is the
inspiration behind the recent Tata Hotels venture, IndiOne, a Rs. 1000
business hotel chain, the first of which has come up in Bangalore.
Great idea. Indian hotels are among the most expensive in the world,
with big-city hotels costing upwards of $200 for rooms that are poor
value for the money. At sub-Rs. 1000, I believe demand will zoom. Just
as for the budget airlines.

The example of Bangladesh's Grameen Bank is also instructive


Profits and poverty

Aug 19th 2004
From The Economist print edition

C.K. Prahalad thinks there can be a win-win relationship between
business and the poor

"IF WE stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start
recognising them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and
value-conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open
up." That "simple proposition" begins a controversial new management
book that seems destined to be read not just in boardrooms but also in
government offices. "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.
Eradicating Poverty Through Profits" (Wharton School Publishing), is
essentially a rallying cry for big business to put serving the world's
5 billion or so poorest people at the heart of their profit-making
strategies. It has already been praised by everyone from Bill Gates—"a
blueprint for fighting poverty"—to a former American secretary of
state, Madeleine Albright—"if you are looking for fresh thinking about
emerging markets, your search is ended."

Its author, C.K. Prahalad, is accustomed to rave reviews. (The C is
for Coimbatore, the Indian town of his birth, the K for Krishnarao,
his father's name.) After becoming a management professor at the
University of Michigan via a job at Union Carbide and study at the
Indian Institute of Management and Harvard, he wrote "Competing for
the Future" (Harvard Business School Press) with Gary Hamel in 1994.
This tome was regarded as perhaps the best business book of the
1990s—an accolade that, admittedly, may be less than it sounds, given
the amount of rubbish published by the business-book trade (see

As the two gurus searched for their next hit, Mr Hamel stumbled across
Enron, a then-thriving energy conglomerate that he eulogised in
"Leading the Revolution" (Harvard Business School Press). Mr Prahalad,
by contrast, "after searching for a couple of years, saw that the big
idea was creating wealth at the bottom of the pyramid". He has been
evolving his ideas about how firms should focus on the bottom of the
pyramid—a phrase he shortens to BOP, to contrast with those wealthy
folk at the TOP—since 1997, despite a spell running Praja, a
business-activity-monitoring software firm that later had to be sold
when it could not raise the capital it needed in the aftermath of the
tech bubble. "Badly timed, but taught me a lot," claims Mr Prahalad.

... deleted

Mr Prahalad reckons that there are huge potential profits to be made
from serving the 4 billion-5 billion people on under $2 a day—an
economic opportunity he values globally at $13 trillion a year. The
win for the poor of being served by big business includes, he says,
being empowered by choice and being freed from having to pay the
currently widespread "poverty penalty". In shanty towns near Mumbai,
for example, the poor pay a premium on everything from rice to
credit—often five to 25 times what the rich pay for the same services.
Driving down these premiums can make serving the BOP more profitable
than serving the top, he argues, and points to a growing number of
leading firms—from Unilever in India to Cemex in Mexico and Casas
Bahia in Brazil—that are profiting by doing precisely that.

BOP till you drop
But to be profitable, firms cannot simply edge down market fine-tuning
the products they already sell to rich customers. Instead, they must
thoroughly re-engineer products to reflect the very different
economics of BOP: small unit packages, low margin per unit, high
volume. Big business needs to swap its usual incremental approach for
an entrepreneurial mindset, because BOP markets need to be built not
simply entered. Products will have to be made available in affordable
units—most sales of shampoo in India, for example, are of single
sachets. Distribution networks may need to be rethought, not least to
involve entrepreneurs from among the poor. Customers may need to be
educated in how to consume, and even why—about credit, say, or even
about the benefits of washed hands. The corruption now widespread in
poor countries must be tackled (about which Mr Prahalad has penned a
particularly useful chapter).

... deleted

Another challenge will be to persuade development experts to support a
profit-driven strategy. Mr Prahalad worries that firms may be deterred
from BOP strategies by fear of attracting criticism from activists. If
a large international bank were to start lending to the poor at
interest rates, reflecting higher risks and start-up costs, of say 20%
(compared with around 10% in rich countries), "the whole
anti-globalisation lobby would probably be against it. Yet the
alternative is for the poor to borrow at 500% from a money lender.
Whose side are the activists on?" If you are on the side of the poor,
he says, "surely you need to help get rates down from 500% to 20%.
After that, you can work on getting them from 20% to 10% like in the
rich world."

Economist: Kashmir troubles

More gleefulness from the Economist as India suffers. See how much trouble we Brits
created for you Indians with our siding with the Pakistanis over

Habibullah (he ordered biriyani for terrorists holed up in a mosque in J&K) is
certainly fishing in troubled waters, isn't he? Now that the Hurriyat
has lost favor with the US State Dept, is Habibullah the new golden
boy? His star is certainly on the rise, as he is close to the "inner
voice", apparently.

Note: the following is an excerpt, protecting copyright


Kashmir's peace process

Over before it began

Aug 19th 2004 DELHI
From The Economist print edition

A promised new dawn in Kashmir looks more like sunset


Uncompromising Geelani

RAISED hopes this year for peace in Kashmir's 15-year insurgency rest
on two flimsy props. The first is an elaborate peace process between
India and Pakistan, the two nuclear-armed neighbours that contest
sovereignty there. The second is a parallel dialogue between the
government in Delhi and moderate separatists in Indian-controlled
Kashmir. The first prop has apparently survived India's change of
government in May, and will next month bring direct talks between the
two countries' foreign ministers. But, after just two rounds of
exploratory talks before the elections, the second is crumbling, with
worrying implications for the broader peace process.

A big part of the trouble is the worsening rift within the
separatists' forum, the All-Party Hurriyat Conference. Always split
over whether or not to talk to the Delhi government, one of its
leading lights is now giving warning of "civil war". A "unity force"
set up to bring the factions back together this month dissolved itself
in despair. A few days later, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Hurriyat's
most uncompromising leader, launched a new party. Mr Geelani, who
believes that in 1947 Kashmir's Muslim majority was cheated of its
birthright—accession to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan—remains
steadfastly opposed to talks with India.

... deleted

In talking to India at all, the moderates ran the risk of reprisals by
extremists, and also of undermining their own credibility and
perpetuating the split in the Hurriyat. Indeed, cynical Kashmiris see
these as India's aims all along. But, in the short term at least, the
winner in local politics has been the pro-Pakistan, Islamist tendency
represented by Mr Geelani. The losers have been the moderates and
those nationalist groups that want independence from both India and

Violence persists, in a war that continues to claim 3,000 lives a
year. India says Pakistan has reneged on its pledge to stop the
infiltration of militants across the line of control. This week, the
Home Ministry's annual report accused Pakistan of continuing the
practice of "exporting cross-border terrorism as an instrument of
state policy". Few doubt that Pakistan is continuing to fuel the
conflict. But most of the militants are young native Kashmiris.

"Kashmir's children live in a state of perpetual anger and
frustration," according to a report by Wajahat Habibullah, a senior
Indian civil servant. That report, written when the author was on
sabbatical at the Institute of Peace, a think-tank in Washington, DC,
has stirred up a controversy in India. It suggests that America, which
is regarded by Kashmiris as an "honest broker", could facilitate a
settlement to the conflict. And so it might—except that this comes
close to what Indian opinion has always regarded as an unacceptable
heresy: the "internationalisation" of the Kashmir dispute.

Since Mr Habibullah is seen as close to the family of Sonia Gandhi,
leader of the ruling Congress party, India's opposition Bharatiya
Janata Party saw a chance to make political capital out of his subtle
and balanced analysis, and labelled it "anti-India". This does not
bode well for the future of India's bipartisan consensus on the peace
process with Pakistan, and hence may spell trouble for the process

Troubles in Manipur and Assam: Economist is gleeful

The Economist India stringer can scarcely contain his glee. The subtext: the Northeast
is going to secede. That, of course is what the Baptists and the
Islamists want. It'd be most interesting to see what happens if the
Northeast does secede. Will the Christians (with headhunting
traditions) win or will the Muslims (with jihad traditions) win?


India's north-east

Fraying at the edges

Aug 19th 2004 DELHI
From The Economist print edition

Trouble beyond the chicken's neck

IT IS not just in Kashmir that India's independence day celebrations
on August 15th provoke mixed feelings. In the north-east of the
country, seven states linked to the rest of India by a narrow
"chicken's neck" skirting Bangladesh, secessionist movements are rife.
A gruesome reminder of this was a bomb explosion in Assam on the day
itself. Most of the 18 dead were school children. The United
Liberation Front of Asom has claimed responsibility.

Unfortunately for the Indian government, however, ULFA is just one of
dozens of militant outfits sparring with its forces across the region.
Closest to outright revolt is the small state of Manipur, sandwiched
between Assam and Myanmar, with a population of about 2.5m and a
patchwork of ethnic rivalries. These have been set aside, in a
concerted campaign against Indian rule. The spark was the death last
month of a 32-year-old woman. The authorities say she was a member of
the armed underground, and was shot trying to escape.


The immediate demand is for the lifting of the Armed Forces (Special
Powers) Act, which gives the army in Manipur and much of the rest of
the north-east sweeping powers to search, detain and shoot. The state
government, which like its federal master in Delhi is a coalition led
by the Congress party, has taken Imphal, the state capital, out of the
act's scope. This has not satisfied protesters, but it has irritated
the central government. But ministers in Delhi have not been speaking
with one voice. The turmoil constitutes one of the first crises to
confront the new government. So far, it has not given any sign of
knowing what to do, beyond waiting and seeing.


Economist pontificates on Gujarat

This is from the Aug 12 edition. Yeah, right, Harsh Mander, "activist
and writer". Yes, writer of lurid fiction -- he made up a lot about

And, yes, 'hideous accident'. Just like the dropping of the atomic bomb on
Hiroshima was a 'hideous accident'. And the massacre of 3,000 Sikhs in
Delhi in 1984 was a 'hideous accident'.

'Final Solution' is probably crude propaganda. It fits in with the Old Left
imperative, so they give it lots of awards.

The Economist is consistently anti-India. Their stringer in Delhi appears in
to be one of those blimpish Britons who believe the empire still
exists. Is it a coincidence that British journalists in India are the
worst racists and the most anti-India? John Burns of the NY Times,
Peter Popham of the Independent, Luke Harding of the Guardian, all
come to mind as sterling examples.

There are other articles in the Aug 19 edition that are also anti-India.

When I post stuff from the paid section of the Economist, I only post excerpts, so as to honor their copyright.


Sectarian tension in India

It still hurts

Aug 12th 2004 AHMEDABAD
From The Economist print edition


Truth and justice, like reconciliation, prove elusive in Gujarat

Get article background

THE scar left by the pogrom directed at the Muslim minority in the
Indian state of Gujarat in February and March 2002 has yet to heal.
That is partly because not a single murderer has been convicted,
although perhaps 2,000 people died. The state government is under
pressure from local activists, human-rights groups and India's
staunchly interventionist Supreme Court to see that justice is at last
done. But it continues to act less like a scourge of illegal violence
than its sponsor.

This week, the Supreme Court rebuked the state government's prosecutor
for his failure to secure the arrest of ten of 21 Hindus accused in an
infamous court case arising from the violence: the burning to death of
14 Muslims in a bakery. The accused have already been acquitted once,
after witnesses withdrew their evidence. Prosecutors appealed, but in
April the Supreme Court ruled that a fair retrial was impossible in
Gujarat and moved the case to the neighbouring state of Maharashtra.

... deleted

The government has, however, acted against those accused of the
horrific "crime" that sparked the carnage. Using the controversial
Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), it has charged 123 Muslims and
detained nearly 100 over a fire in a train compartment, which took
place in the town of Godhra. Of the 58 people asphyxiated or burned to
death, many were Hindu devotees, returning from a gathering at the
contested site of a temple in the holy town of Ayodhya. A Muslim mob
was alleged to have doused the carriage with petrol, ignited it and
locked the doors.

Revenge for this massacre was the BJP's explanation for the slaughter
that followed. Even Atal Behari Vajpayee, the BJP's leader and, at the
time, prime minister, seen as a moderate, asked "Who lit the fire
first?". That foreigners and the liberal English-language press in
Delhi largely ignored the Godhra massacre, concentrating on the
killings of Muslims—some 9-10% of Gujarat's 50m population—heightened
the sense of grievance. It helped Mr Modi lead the BJP to a landslide
victory in state elections in December 2002.

Yet forensic analysis and eyewitnesses have cast doubt on the
government's theory of a preplanned arson attack. A hideous accident
seems more likely. Last month, the railway minister in the government
that came to power in Delhi in May, Laloo Prasad Yadav, announced an
enquiry into the Godhra incident.

... deleted

Harsh Mander, an activist and writer, says that if the government
fails to do more it risks "missing a moment in history", when it has a
chance "to make amends for past injustices". It may already be too
late, however, to rebuild trust between Hindus and Muslims. The
killing accelerated their segregation—a process, says Hanif Lakdawala,
a prominent social worker, that is now 90% complete.

An example is the expanding ghetto behind the Bombay Hotel in
Ahmedabad, Gujarat's main city. A warren of crude redbrick houses—much
of it, during the present monsoon, under water—it is now home to some
4,000 Muslim families, mostly fugitives from the 2002 violence.

... deleted

Communal relations in Gujarat raise concerns far beyond the state.
This month, India's film censors refused a certificate to "Final
Solution", a documentary on the 2002 pogrom and its aftermath, which
has won prizes at film festivals from Berlin to Zanzibar. The censors
accused the film of promoting "communal disharmony". Its maker, Rakesh
Sharma, says they have become politically partisan.

The BJP itself has been in some disarray since its election defeat.
Some members partly blame the setback on the stigma of the Gujarat
pogrom. But the BJP's more fervent supporters—who idolise Mr
Modi—accuse the party of having compromised its core "Hindu"
principles to court moderate support. In Gujarat itself, Mr Modi has
survived, for now, a rebellion from within the local party. His job
was in jeopardy not because of his hardline views but because his
high-handed manner has alienated many state legislators. For this
reason, many in Ahmedabad still expect him to go later this year. The
debate in the BJP over how to assess his rule, however, will go on
much longer. So, sadly, will its effects on Gujarat's communal

Fwd: The Myth Behind China's Miracle

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Malolan Cadambi
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 06:51:24 +0100 (BST)
Subject: The Myth Behind China's Miracle
To: Indian Civilization , Rajeev

"Second, the business risks inherent in China's unreformed political
system have bred a response among many Chinese managers -- an
"industrial strategic culture" -- that encourages them to seek
short-term profits, local autonomy, and excessive diversification.
With a few exceptions, Chinese firms focus on developing privileged
relations with officials in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
hierarchy, spurn horizontal association and broad networking with
each other, and forgo investment in long-term technology development
and diffusion. Chinese firms continue to rely heavily on imported
foreign technology and components -- ****severely limiting the
country's ability to wield technological or trading power for
unilateral gains.**** "

Look at it this way - the tectonic shifts taking place in the
outsourcing sector are solely dependent on the scientific and
managerial skills of Indians. The Chinese couldn't hold a candle to
Indian firms because of their low trust society - so profusely
documented by Francis Fukuyama in his book on Trust. China and Italy
are low trust societies, no wonder fraud in Italy is a way of life.
Given our Prime Minister 'renunciate' who faked her degree from
Cambridge University.

China too is at a risk. Just as Business Process Outsourcing is
competing with the American/British service sector, 'Manufacturing
Process Outsourcing' will eventually compete with the Chinese
'prowess'. As wages rise in China, India still has a better distinct
advantage. Littoral states like Gujarat are located very close to the
Suez Canal - therefore even substantially cutting costs for freight.

Moreover, thanks to demographics, China's labour force is bound to
shrink. Despite it's huge size, only 50% of China is inhabitable.
Moroever, it does not produce enough grain to sustain it's
population. It 'stealthily' imports rice - yes, rice - from countries
such as Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and from India. India is
one of the few countries that have a TRADE SURPLUS with China.

Come on my fellow countrymen, shake off the myth that you are
pussycats, you are tigers. - Swami Vivekananda.

Mahatma Gandhi said that we need one million indians doing one
million different things. Deng Xiaoping is making one million chinese
do only one thing.

To hell with China.

Yahoo! Messenger - all new features - even more fun!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Moi in Outlook doing a spot of China-bashing :-)

August 14th

What If India Had Won The 1962 War Against China?

Tibet would have been liberated; the loss of face would have made
China retreat into its shell instead of becoming an aggressive
imperialist....and of course India's Marxists would have been


Indians have been conditioned to believe that we had not a ghost of a
chance against China in 1962; but that's simply not true. If the
Indian government had not been so blasé; if the military leadership
had not been so ineffectual; if the Indian Air Force had not been
grounded, ill-advisedly; well, all historic ifs, but the outcome would
have been very different. China's army is a lot less than invincible,
as the battle-hardened Vietnamese proved by thrashing it in 1979.

Even the timing was propitious for India, yet we fumbled. In 1962,
China had just experienced four years of decreasing foodgrain
production and a major famine.
Chinese supply lines to the Indo-Tibet border were stretched thin, and
could have been disrupted from the air. If only the Indian political
and military leadership had not been criminally negligent—which is why
the Henderson-Brooks Report on the war has been suppressed, for it
would implicate too many in high places—India could have won.

The end results would have been dramatic: Tibet would have been
liberated; Indians would not have been starry-eyed about China; the
loss of face would have made China retreat into its shell instead of
becoming an aggressive imperialist.

Tibet was an avoidable catastrophe. First is the decimation of a
vibrant Indic culture, that of the Tibetan Buddhists. They have been
doubly unfortunate. For, Tibetan Buddhism owes its traditions to the
few monks who escaped being beheaded by Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1197 when
he sacked Nalanda. And now, in a repeat, they are being exterminated
once again, this time by fascist Han Chinese.

In 1962, China was quite weak militarily. If India had created a
coalition with Western powers, who worried about the Soviet-China
axis, the Han Chinese could have been ejected, and Tibet saved from
genocide. The Americans would have cooperated; in those Domino Theory
days, they even trained a group of Tibetans for a guerrilla resistance
movement back home. India, instead, chose to be gullible "useful
idiots", in Chou En-Lai's dismissive phrase.

However, in addition to altruistic concern for a sister culture, India
would have gained concrete things from Tibetan freedom. The plateau is
the source of many of the rivers in Asia, and benign Tibetan control
over them would have given much of Asia water security: the Indus, the
Brahmaputra, the Mekong and the Irrawaddy all originate there.

Instead, China plans to divert the Brahmaputra northwards from Tibet.
If so, the Ganga-Brahmaputra doab would dry up, and civilisation as we
know it would end in North India. This is a national security issue of
the highest order, and Indians ignore it at their peril.

Chinese dams across the Mekong are already causing drought in
downstream riparian states like Laos and Cambodia. The Chinese
deliberately created floods on the Brahmaputra in Arunachal not too
long ago. There is every reason to believe China will proceed with
diverting water, ignoring India's objections.

This water war India could absolutely have avoided by routing China in
1962. Similarly, Chinese nuclear missiles in Tibet's high plains, as
well as the dumping of nuclear waste therein, both have serious
security and environmental implications for India.

On a more subtle level, the 'loss of face' to China would have had
incalculable value in geopolitics. At that time, China was viewed with
disdain. They got into the UN Security Council only because Nehru, in
his infinite wisdom, gave them the seat offered to India! Bizarre
experiments with fundamentalist Leninism/Stalinism, including the
Great Leap Forward, caused most observers to view China as a freak

Another side-effect—and in a way, this might have been the greatest
benefit to India—would have been the defanging of India's Marxists.
These evangelists for the Church of Marx would have been laughed out
of court if they plugged the sayings of Chairman Mao immediately after
China had been defeated by India. This would have prevented Marxist
infiltration into academia, institutions and the media, which urgently
need to be de-toxified from their baleful influence. Furthermore, both
West Bengal and Kerala would have been spared decades of
under-development and degeneration.

Thus, winning the 1962 war would have made an enormous difference to
India. But there is no mistaking the civilisational conflict between
India and China. In this millennia-old Grand Narrative, 1962 is a mere
skirmish. India colonised Asia softly: with a few exceptions, without
military conquest or migration. China colonised by demographic

Indic ideas went everywhere—West Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia,
Tibet; even China and through it, Korea and Japan. The ideas were
enormously influential, and they included religion and philosophy,
martial arts, mathematics, language, architecture and mythology.
China, on the other hand, depended on demographic thrusts: periodic
emigration of Han Chinese took their culture and their industrial arts
with them. They were looking for survival, for lebensraum: for China
has poor land, and either too little or too much water. This process
has continued to the present, with the large Chinese diaspora.

The last word in this monumental competition has not been
written.China may be leading right now, but India is surely no
pushover any more.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Koenrad Elst responds to Meera Nanda's diatribe on ecology

August 13

David Frawley has noted the fact that the New Left in the West has a
lot in common with the Hindu Right. (The New Left is to be contrasted
with the antedilivian Old Left, which is what all of India's Marxists
and Nehruvian Stalinists are). I have remarked on this too.

Meera Nanda, one of the shikhandi women popular with Marxist Indians
in the US as shields, wrote a hysterical essay recently on how the
darn pagan Hindus were influencing the ecological movement.

Here is Koenraad Elst's response to the same. She had named him, en
passant, as one of the hated Hindu-lovers. Elst, even though the
narrative is a little stream-of-consciousness, massacres Nanda.

Nanda's philippic:

Elst's response:

Hindu Memorial Day and moment of silence

August 13th

Got this in the mail.



To observe a minute of silence


Hindu Balidan Smaran Diwas
(Hindu Memorial Day)


Hindu Holocaust Day

August 14th, 2004


7:00 PM Indian Time
(other local times: see below)

[Ref: ]

Freedom lovers around the world, and Hindus in particular, are
requested to observe a minute of silence precisely at 7:00 PM Indian
Standard Time on August 14th, 2004. Your minute of silence at this precise
time around the world will go a long way in remembering all those who gave
up their lives in the defense of Hindu civilization, including the ones
that die everyday on the remote mountains and valleys of Kashmir, and
plains of Bangladesh. Your minute will also remember all the victims of
religion-inspired barbarism that was unleashed on unsuspecting Hindus
around 712 CE, that is continuing even today. The ugly face of this
barbarism can be seen in Bangladesh where scores of Hindus and Buddhists
are being tormented on a daily basis.

August 14th is significant, as on this day 56 years ago, a weak
and timid Hindu leadership finally capitulated in front of the
ideological monster. They vivisected the beloved Matrubhumi and
Devabhumi of the Hindus, Bharatvarsha, believing that that would satiate
the lust of the monster. Proved wrong they have been, as the same
monster, demands more blood, particularly in Kashmir and Bangladesh.
Before August 14th, 1947, Hindu leaders might have lost control of the
land, which they regained later, but they never accepted defeat,
mentally or physically. However, 1947 proved to be an anomaly in the
long freedom struggle. The only motherland of the Hindus was brutally
chopped off by its own unworthy sons, and the flesh of Mother India was
offered on a platter to the monster.

With a minute of silence Hindus all over the world must also
resolve to end this nightmare. Once and for all!

Minute of Silence must be observed at the following precise time:

USA (Pacific) - 6:30 A.M.
USA (Central) - 8:30 A.M.
USA (Eastern) - 9:30 A.M.
UK - 2:30 P.M.
India - 7:00 PM
Suva (Fiji) - 6:00 AM (next day on Aug. 15th)
Other local times : please calculate [help:]

On-Line Resources:


Hindu Balidan Smaran Diwas (Hindu Memorial Day) has been instituted by the
Hindu Mahasabha of America, Inc. All Hindu organizations, temple societies
and associations are requested to propagate this appeal under their
respective umbrellas. Feel free to customize the text of the appeal
without changing the title or the intent.

For further information and help, please contact:

Raj Dave
Tel. 847-274-0459


Hindu Mahasabha of America, Inc.
Central Office
Tustin, CA
Tel: (714) 508-0000
Fax: (714) 508-0411

The Chinese are buying, the Chinese are buying

August 13

It used to be: "The Chinese economy is growing at 10%!" Now it is,
"The Chinese consumer is going to rescue us". How convenient!

More groupthink by the NATO establishment which has stars in its eyes
about China. As Claude mentioned elsewhere, there are lots of people
who simply dont believe China can fail. And most of them are not
Chinese! This is the kind of extraordinary propaganda success they
have had. Indian nationalists need to learn from the Chinese about the
art of fooling all the people all the time.

From the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Is consumption the next big thing?


With the Chinese economy's chances of achieving a "soft landing" so
much in the news, economists and executives from Beijing to Boston are
closely watching all-important investment growth for signs of a
cool-down. But as the effects of administrative measures to restrain
investment become more visible, and the overall economy slows, a new
force--the revival of private consumption--is likely to be viewed
increasingly as the country's next great driver of economic growth.
The question is, can it deliver?

The short answer is yes, but only to a limited extent. Investment is
already slowing and will undoubtedly slow further, either because the
authorities' measures to engineer a soft landing succeed--which the
Economist Intelligence Unit believes is most likely--or because
continued rapid growth will eventually make a sharp correction or
"hard landing" inevitable. Assuming a soft landing, consumer activity
will grow more rapidly and begin to make a slightly bigger
contribution to GDP growth in the next few years. The contribution
from fixed investment, meanwhile, will fall sharply, to under 4
percentage points from 2005--less than half last year's estimated
8-point contribution.

However, while consumer spending will take up some of the slack left
by slowing investment, its impact will remain relatively modest.
Private consumption will certainly not be the same dynamic force as
fixed investment has been over the past three to four years. We
forecast that, with investment slowing, real GDP growth in 2005-07
will average around 8%, relatively paltry by China's recent standards.

This is not entirely bad news, as the authorities want economic growth
to slow to a more sustainable level. And part of the expected rise in
private consumption will, in any case, be a natural rebound after
three sluggish (again, only by China's sizzling standards of growth)
years. Private consumption is thought to have grown by an annual
average of just 6.3% in 2001-03, the slowest rate since the three-year
economic downturn that accompanied the political turmoil of 1989.

The relative weakness of consumption growth in the last three years
might itself cause some surprise. After all, haven't foreign
multinational companies been becoming increasingly excited about
China's emergent domestic market? This cannot be attributed merely to
the China hype that has often afflicted foreign firms. Fairly reliable
statistics indicate a surge in consumer sales of electronics goods and
cars in recent years, and visitors to China will attest that urban
high streets and shopping malls are anything but sleepy.

A nation of savers

However, an important factor has restrained--and will continue to
restrain--private consumption, despite rising household incomes, and
that is the growth of personal savings. China's urban residents are
indeed becoming eager consumers, but official statistics suggest they
are becoming even more eager savers. According to the results of
China's household survey (which has a sample size of more than
40,000), real urban per-capita incomes rose by an average of 10.8% a
year in 1999-2003. But the same statistics suggest that in recent
years the propensity to consume in towns and cities has been falling
rapidly. Household survey figures, which cover expenditure as well as
income per head, indicate that the savings ratio in urban areas has
risen from around 20% in 1998 to nearer 30%.

China's household survey statistics need to be treated with a degree
of caution, but even so the trend of a rising savings ratio makes
intuitive sense. In recent years the "iron rice bowl" welfare system
provided to workers in state-owned entities has broken down. This is
partly because the majority of workers are no longer working for
state-owned enterprises (SOEs): the non-state sector now employs
almost 75% of urban workers, up from just 30% in the early 1980s. It
is also because SOEs themselves, under pressure to operate more like
profit-seeking companies, have been seeking to shed their
social-welfare responsibilities. The result? Workers themselves now
have to buy their own housing, and make much more financial provision
for education and healthcare.

A second factor pushing up savings rates in urban areas has been
rising unemployment. Since 1998 around 30m workers have been laid-off
from SOEs. Official figures show unemployment in towns and cities has
risen from 3% in 1996 to 4.3% now, but in reality the unemployment
rate is likely to be much higher still.

Beneficially for private consumption growth, savings rates will not
trend upwards indefinitely, which should ensure that after a certain
point consumers will feel more comfortable increasing their
expenditure on luxuries and discretionary items. In addition, it is
possible that urban unemployment will ease as the government's
increasingly vigorous attempts to encourage the growth of the private
sector, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, raise the
rate of job creation. This again will support more robust consumption

Despite this, it is inconceivable that the iron rice bowl will make a
comeback. Urban residents will continue to have to save to meet future
possible welfare commitments. Thus, while the Economist Intelligence
Unit does expect some levelling out of the savings ratio in urban
areas in the coming years, we are not expecting an outright fall.

Counting on the countryside

In this case, should China's retailers--and macroeconomic planners--be
placing their hopes on the rural consumer? In the late 1990s the rural
economy in China slumped, with annual growth in rural per-capita
incomes (again using data from the household survey) sliding from
double-digit rates in 1995-96 to nearly zero in 1998. Farmers and
their families have also had to deal with the collapse of a rural
welfare provision system that was already skeletal, and the increasing
avarice of cash-starved local governments and officials. Put simply,
rural residents have not had much money, and they have had good reason
to hold on to the small amounts they have managed to accumulate.

This situation is changing. Since 2000, and even more so following the
accession of a new leadership in 2002-03, the government has become
increasingly worried about the depressed state of the agricultural
sector. This concern has led to the launch of a whole raft of policies
aimed at reviving the rural economy. The central government is trying
to reduce the tax burden facing farmers, their land rights have been
strengthened, attempts have been made to improve the provision of
health and education facilities in rural areas, and the government has
begun for the first time to subsidise directly producers of grain.

All of these changes should boost rural private consumption in the
long term. In the short term, a different factor--surging rural
product prices- -is already having a beneficial effect. In both the
final quarter of 2003 and the first quarter of 2004 rural income
growth outpaced that in towns and cities. While the government's
policy initiatives may have played some part in this development, the
main cause has been higher grain prices. According to consumer price
index (CPI) data, grain prices began to rise in October 2003, and
since March 2004 have been increasing by more than 30% year on year.
This has led to a sharp increase in the income farmers have been able
to generate through the sale of agricultural goods (revenue from which
still accounts for 20-25% of total household income in rural areas).

Any rise in rural incomes is potentially very significant for total
nationwide consumption. Urbanisation has been proceeding apace in
recent years, but most people in China still live in the countryside.
As a result, despite having much lower incomes per head, rural
dwellers were responsible for over two-fifths of China's nationwide
nominal private consumption in 2003. Indeed, every 1-percentage-point
increase in the growth of real per-capita rural incomes would raise
the growth rate of nationwide private consumption by 30-40 basis


So what will happen to rural incomes? The revival of the rural economy
looks like a structural rather than a cyclical phenomenon. The
stagnant year of 1998 seems to have marked the nadir of the downturn
in the countryside, and rural income growth has strengthened fairly
consistently since then. With the serious attention the government is
now paying to the problems in the countryside, it can be expected that
this trend will continue in the next few years.

Having said this, the sharp price-induced rise in incomes experienced
this year is likely to prove temporary. While no doubt pleased to see
rural incomes rising, the government is worried both about the
consequences and cause of the upsurge in grain prices: respectively,
wider inflationary pressures and a shortfall in the grain supply, a
development which is troubling for a government that has historically
attached much importance to food self-sufficiency. Given this context,
it should be no surprise that officials are now rushing to encourage
grain production. As a result, while remaining firm, grain prices are
not expected to continue increasing at their current pace.

Government attempts to slow the investment-driven boom at a nationwide
level will also have some negative effect on rural income growth.
Money sent back home by family members temporarily working in cities
has become an increasingly important source of income for rural
communities in recent years. Construction sites are particularly rich
sources of employment for migrant workers, but they were also the
first target of the government's recent tightening drive. Activity in
the property development sector has slowed in recent months.

Overall, the immediate outlook for consumption is for a bounce in both
rural and urban spending. This is because of a low base effect: the
outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the second
quarter of last year depressed both rural and urban consumption. As
consumers in the countryside spend again, real rural per-capita
consumption is likely to grow by 7% this year, the fastest rate of
growth since 1996. Growth will ease next year but probably only to a
still-robust 6.5%.

Forecasting growth in urban areas is trickier because the historical
trend is less clearly defined. SARS temporarily depressed incomes in
2003, but statistics suggest the year before was also an anomaly,
although this was because of excess on the upside rather than the
downside. Still, given the overall context it would be reasonable to
expect urban consumption per head to grow by 8% in 2004-05.

Being based on household survey data rather than national accounts,
none of these figures are directly comparable with our GDP forecast
for private consumption growth. The general trends do suggest that
private consumption growth will on average be higher in 2004-05 than
it has been in recent years. But they do not indicate that private
consumption is about to boom, and nor by consequence do they indicate
that China's consumers can offset fully the expected sharp slowdown in
growth of capital expenditure. Stronger private consumption will only
soften, not prevent, China's impending economic slowdown.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Interview with Swami Dayananda Saraswati: 'Secular State has to protect every religion including Hinduism'

'Secular State has to protect every religion including Hinduism'
Aug 6, 2004

Swami Dayananda Saraswati is in many ways like the Hindu religion
itself of manifold purpose and use. An articulate spokesperson of all
things religion. A profound thinker on issues of human importance. A
sage of wealthy wisdom. A catalyst for social welfare. A global
messenger of peace and prosperity. He is all these plus some more.

It is always edifying and educating to hear him speak on
matters that the nation is faced with. Editor T R Jawahar certainly
found him at his eloquent and acute best during his conversation with
the seasoned seer a few days ago.

Excerpts from the interview

Q: You have initiated and started this Hindu Dharma Acharya
Sabha with high expectations and lofty goals. What has been its track
record and how successful has it been in bringing together the
various disparate sections of the Hindu society?
Ans: Whatever were the objectives of the Hindu Dharma Acharya
Sabha, they have been accomplished. One of the objectives was to
bring all of them (the various leaders of the Hindu society) together
and we brought them together. It has been done. And we wanted to
evolve a common programme for which we will all work together. We
discussed and made certain resolutions. Some of them are long-
reaching resolutions. They are not immediately subject to
fulfillment. The resolutions like getting the Hindu Religious
Endowment Board relieved from the hold of the State Government is a
commitment the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha has and we are working
towards that very vigorously and we will achieve that. Another
resolution is we will stem the erosion of values. That is also a
continuous one. We also resolved to work against conversions and that
too is a long process. And so we are working and the Acharyas are
aware of this. We are going to meet again. We are constantly in
touch. So it is successful.

Q: The Tamilnadu Government has announced the repeal of the
Anti-forcible Conversion Act. But the opposition to the repeal has
been very muted from the Hindu society, particularly from the
Acharyas' side. There have not been many big voices of indignation
against that.
Ans: The repeal of Conversion Act has done more damage than
any good; you know the damage is much more than the damage that was
there before the introduction of the Act. Therefore what I say is
this: Repeal of the Act was a mistake. There may be some reasons but
it has done damage to us. It is a tremendous damage. And I have
written a letter on behalf of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha to the
Chief Minister asking her to take a courageous stand to stem this
aggression of conversion. And I consider, as I said before,
conversion is violence and this violence has to be stopped. And we
have got on even without this Act. Laws were there. Even human rights
act is there. Therefore we don't need a new act. But introducion of
the Act and then repealing it is not good. It was done to stop mass
conversions etc. Fine. But the Act was never acted upon. Lot of cases
were reported but no action was taken. And then, the repeal reads as
though there is a new sanction for everything. This is not true.
Therefore something has to be done by the government to neutralise
that kind of a feeling.

Q: But do you really think, Swamiji, conversions could be
stopped by laws or with the help of the State? Is it not the duty of
the Hindu society at large and the Acharyas to address the problem?
Ans: That is one thing. Hindu religion basically is not a
converting religion. It does not perpetrate aggression towards any
culture, any religion. In fact it has got a certain intrinsic
accommodation for other religions to pursue their own forms of
prayer, worship etc. and it is not aggressive. It is its own genius,
its own culture. It is not aggressive, it won't be aggressive.

Q: So there is no question of getting into any kind
of 'competitive religiosity' to counter this violence you are talking
Ans: No, Hindu Dharma does not allow that that. Therefore,
there is you on one side, with a non-fighting, non-aggressive, non-
violent religious tradition. Then there are two aggressive religious
traditions and they are trying to get this non-fighting religious
people- they are trying to get their share.

Q: Is it an unequal battle...
Ans: In a way, yes. So they are eating into our tradition. We
are only defensive. And what you talk about the Hindu fundamentalism
and all that is not true. There are no Hindu fundamentalists, there
are some Hindus who realize this and therefore they are only
asking 'Hey, come on, leave us alone'. Are they fundamentalist? They
want themselves to be left alone. That is not fundamentalism. You
have got a right to protect yourself. The State is supposed to
protect, being secular, all religions. I want the State to be totally
secular. And if it has got to be secular it needs to protect all
religions, which includes unfortunately Hindu religion also. And the
State doesn't have any right, being secular, to manage the properties
of Hindu temples and spend crores of rupees in administration of the
temple. Therefore, we want everything to be left alone. Be secular.
Totally secular means, protect Islam, protect Christianity, Protect
Hinduism. PROTECT. All the way, protect all the main traditions-
protect them.

Q: Okay, but is not a fact that many practices in Hinduism lend
themselves as alibis for these kinds of activities, for poaching and
generally criticising Hinduism? As Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha how do
you propose to regulate and reform these?
Ans: See, a converting person can make use of anything. And,
in fact, a responsible religious person should pursue his or her
religion and leave other persons alone. If they have problems and if
you think you can help them, then help them solve. Or else, just
allow them to solve it by themselves. The Acharyas, of course have
looked into some of them. Then among the Acharyas there are very
orthodox ones, there are people who are not orthodox but they are
ready to come out of these orthodoxical big walls and try to do
something. So it is a long way. There is a long way to go. But that
is our internal problem and we are trying to solve it. We will solve

Q: Another bane of the Hindu society, Swamiji, particularly
relevent to Acharayas and Gurus is that we see so many charlatans and
all kinds of dubious characters going around in the garb of sadhus
and vitiating the religious atmosphere. Does not the Acharya sabha
have some kind of a role in keeping the people on their guard, from
being exploited by such fakes ...
Ans: There are people who have difficulties in conforming to
dharma. Rather, they are given to adharma. In the pursuit of adharma
they can use anything. They can use religion; they can use religious
robes. That doesn't mean that religious people are committing crime.
There are people committing crimes and when they commit crimes they
use religion also. So it is going on. So, a seemingly religious
person need not be totally ethical and an ethical person need not be
religious. Again, you can see such persons in all religions, not just
among Hindus.

Q: But is there something in the Hindu psyche that makes people
susceptible to these kind of characters? Is it because of a basic
lack of understanding about religion itself Swamiji? Have benefit-
oriented rituals and blind faith clouded a proper understanding?
Ans: There are lot of real things. Suppose there are certain
rituals that are meant for neutralising certain problems. There is a
discipline called astrology that also can help us in some ways. So we
have a lot of things. We are a very rich and vast culture. And
therefore there will be areas where people are ignorant. In all areas
there are people who are ignorant and therefore in all areas there
can be exploiters of gullibility.

Q: Swamiji, a Christian is not ignorant of the bible, a Muslim
is not ignorant of his Quaran but when you take an average Hindu his
ignorance of his religion and scriptures is very very high . How do
you account for that Swamiji?
Ans: You don't know if every Christian is knowledgeable of
his bible or if every Muslim is knowledgeable of his Quaran but then
they all hear something about them because it is a congregational
religion. So where there is a congregational discipline naturally
there can be somebody who can explain and that advantage we don't
have. But we have some advantage also, because a Hindu imbibes from
his parents in terms of religion and culture and if he wants to know
something more he has to go to a teacher. Again the flow is vertical.
There is no lateral control. Naturally a temple is unlike a place of
assembly, like a church or a mosque where people assemble for prayer.
But here a temple is a place of worship; it is an altar of worship.
An altar of worship is entirely different from an assembly hall.
It is amazing. And being an altar of worship, anybody can
come anytime and offer his or her worship and go away. And certain
other temples may have priests and certain other temples may not have
priests. You will find in many temples in the North there are no
priests. We ourselves are priests; the devotees themselves are
priests. That is because of our concept of Isvara. It is complete, we
say every form is Isvara's form. And the world is a manifestation of
Isvara. Therefore we can invoke Isvara in any form and therefore we
have a ritual of worship. They don't have that advantage because the
world for them is created by God for your consumption and world is
not a manifestation of Isvara. World, for them, is created by God
sitting in heaven and he dropped these planets as doughnuts.
Therefore this concept being defective, they are the losers. And
therefore we should never compare Hindu religious forms to any other

Q: The last two decades, politically and socially,has been
dominated by debates on Hindutva, communalism, secularism, pseudo
secularism and all these kind of jargons. Now, has this debate
reached the dead end with the fall of the BJP government at the
Centre or do you see it taking a different tone?
Ans: They were not really (the BJP) doing the propaganda of
Hindutva perhaps properly. Hindutvam also is not understood by the
one who propagates or by the one who listens to the propaganda. The
emphasis has to be recast and redone properly. There is a national
culture and it is from this land. It is our bharatiya culture and
people need to respect it. And the one who respects this culture is
the one who is a bharatiya. Therefore, we need to really talk about
our bharatiya culture, bharatiya religion and Bharat as a nation. Not
this partial secularism of not protecting the Hindu religion. We need
to protect Hindu religion, we need to protect Islam, we need to
protect Christianity and for which we should practice real
secularism. And therefore the Bharatiya Janata Party should address
itself to that secularism.
Every media, every means of propaganda, we need to make use
of to tell exactly what is secularism. And every Indian should know
this. They need to protect all religions. That means no erosion of
Hindu religion. Hindus have to be preserved, Hinduism has to be
preserved, and Hindu culture is to be preserved. It will protect him.
So allow it to thrive.

Q: All political parties eye what is called the minority vote
bank. Is the consolidation of the Hindu vote bank, the dream of many
people, is it a pipe dream or a possibility?
Ans: Why should we consolidate any one's bank? They are
consolidating their own banks. We need not consolidate but we NEED TO
KNOW that others are consolidating their votes. And the votes
consolidated are used against the people who love their religion,
their tradition, their native culture. Therefore, this is the

Q: But BJP during the last two decades rose to political power
only because of the so called Hindu consolidation on the Ayodhya
issue and various other issues and then...
Ans: Not at all. There was no Hindu consolidation at all.
They had given us certain hopes. And those hopes we want to realise.
It is a Bharatiya party. It has Nationalism. Bharatiya means it has a
certain nationalistic heart, which is having a deep reverence,
respect for our native culture, which does not mean it is against any
other religion. Love for my religion does not amount to hatred for
others. Love for your children does not mean you have hatred for
other children. But here it is interpreted like that. Love for my
religion means hatred for other religion and that is how it is
interpreted. Therefore, we need to emphasise. The Bharatiya Janata
party gave us a hope that it may represent the cause of native
cutlure, native religious protection over promotion.

Q: There have been, when the BJP was in power and even now,
so much talk about the word saffronisation of education... of
everything. Now as a person wearing saffron clothes what do you think
about the way the word is being used or misused or bandied about?
Ans: I wish they saffronise everything. They didn't
saffronise anything.(laughs) This is just a slogan, a JNU slogan and
they always make slogans, thrive on slogans and they live on slogans.
What do you mean by saffronisation? If I chant or people chant their
prayers in Sanskrit, is it safronised? Are non-saffronised people not
chanting? WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT? This is all usual humbug.

Q: And finally, Swamiji, on the Kumbakonam tragedy. There are
lot of negligence theories and there are lot of conspiracy theories
too doing the rounds, but as a spiritual person how do you explain
this monumental agony from a religious perspective? Do not such
happenings make people lose faith in life itself?
Ans: See, this is a tragedy due to neglect ....

Q: That is on one side but from a spiritual and religious
angle, there is talk of karma and all those things, but that is no
comfort ...
Ans: No I don't accept karma in this thing. This is abuse of
one's free will. Karma is there because of free will. If you have no
free will there is no karma and when you abuse your free will you
can't quote karma. Only when you have used all your free will and in
spite of that if you find something happening then you say karma.
That is why it is abuse of free will and any human being can abuse
his free will, it can be negligence, it can be over confidence. It is
negligence of a lot of people, not one person. All are responsible,
there is no escaping that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Chinese patronize India. Yet again.

August 12

We all know that the Chinese have been dragging their feet on border
talks because it suits them to keep India under stress. With the new
UPA dispensation in place, and various China-toadies and sycophants
strutting around as big shots therein (note the bizarre Panchasheela
tribute episode a couple of weeks ago), we can expect more and more
kow-towing by India to China.

I found the imperial condescension quite in character: "as the gap
between China and India grows...". These guys truly believe that they
are going to take over the world.

As a naysayer, I am of the opinion that India has been doing about as
well as China in everything except propaganda, and that the
smoke-and-mirrors Chinese economy will collapse on the back of its
shaky banking system.


The Sino-Indian border talks have moved onto the fast track, though
dramatic achievements in the near future shouldn't be expected.

The 1962 Sino-Indian border war cast a long shadow over the bilateral
relationship, but India and China have never dropped attempts to seek
a fair and reasonable solution to their boundary issue. To date,
official-level talks and expert panels have been held many times
though no major breakthroughs have been made.

Since last year, China and India have picked up negotiation efforts,
holding three rounds of talks at the level of special representative.

Analysts believed that this time India harboured a positive attitude
towards settling the border issue, as was especially indicated by the
latest appointment of J. N. Dixit, Indian national security adviser,
as special representative for Sino-Indian boundary dialogues.

It is due to the joint efforts of the two country's leaders that the
boundary talks can now be held at such a high level. During the summit
between President Hu Jintao and then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee in Petersburg on May 31, 2003, Hu told Vajpayee that the
Chinese leadership highly regards Sino-Indian relationship and is
willing to enhance bilateral relations to a higher level. It was just
after the meeting that Vajpayee made the decision to visit China.

During his visit, Vajpayee declared that India had discovered the way
to settle the border dispute: adoption of political principles and
designation of a special representative in charge of the issue.

In fact, Mira Sinha Bhattacharjea, a renowned Indian expert on China
issues, proposed solving the border issue from the political
perspective long ago. In his eyes, without any treaty accepted by both
sides as the basis for talks, China and India can only resort to
political principles to settle the territorial disputes, because mere
legal principles are not enough to tackle highly complicated boundary

Analysts said considering that consultations carried out by experts
have failed to achieve the desired results, the Indian Government has
decided to replace the experts by putting the national security
advisor in charge of consultations, which, to some extent, reaffirmed
India's will to solve the territorial issue early.

In a sense, the major reason why India has expedited negotiations on
the border issue is that the ruling parties and opposition parties
there have converged on foreign policy and the Sino-Indian border

With the rise of China, coupled with China's sincerity showed in
developing Sino-Indian relations, India's perception of China has
changed positively and the chilly bilateral relations have warmed up.

Against this background, New Delhi has positioned Sino-Indian
relations as one of its most important bilateral ties and recognized
China to be a major power. In addition, India has softened its tone on
historical issues, defining the 1962 border war as a limited conflict
rather than as an aggression against India initiated by China.

Of course, behind India's initiative of conciliation is its assertive
national aspirations.

In recent years, India has pushed for a major power status. To this
end, India has put forward a multi-faceted diplomacy, of which
repairing relations with China is an important part.

In the past, India has considered China as its potential threat and
main strategic rival. To balance China in South Asia, India has poured
enormous amounts of resources into the military field, which, to a
large extent, has affected its efforts to enhance its comprehensive
national strength. The imbalanced input has confined the country to
South Asia and constitutes a drag on its ambition to play a larger
role in the world.

As the gap between China and India in comprehensive national strength
widens, India has come to realize that it was a smart move to
conciliate with rather than alienate China.

Also, restoration of relations with China is intended by India to use
China as a counterbalance against the United States.

To maintain Indian-US relations, New Delhi sometimes needs to play the
Beijing card when faced with pressures from the United States.

In the meantime, good Sino-Indian relations can help resolve India's
disputes with Pakistan.

After the conflict with Pakistan in 1998, India found that China's
role can contribute significantly to the improvement of its relations
with Pakistan.

It should be noted that the Russian factor cannot be overlooked when
it comes to the rapprochement between China and India.

After the foreign ministers of China, Russia and India held an
informal meeting in September 2002, Russia has persuaded India to take
a more positive attitude towards China in order to put the "strategic
triangle," put forward by Russia, into effect.

From the perspective of India, a friendly gesture towards China is
necessary to echo the appeal of Russia.

Although India and China have shown considerable sincerity and resolve
in settling the boundary issue, it still takes some time for both
sides to break the deadlock.

To this day, some people in India still list China as a potential
threat, at least a main external challenge, to India. The theory of
"China threat" will not disappear soon just because of a joint

Based on the experiences of the past talks, it would not be an easy
task for India to establish the frame of mutual interests, mutual
understanding, and mutual concession which can lead to the final
settlement of the border issue.

More importantly, 130,000 Tibetans live in India and many are
conducting separatist activities, which threatens directly the
stability of Tibet and hence adds uncertainty to the security of the
Southwest China.

Moreover, India's "parallel policy" towards China also constitutes an
obstacle to resolving the boundary disputes.

Under the policy, India regards China's concession on the issue of
boundary as a precondition for developing relations with China in
other fields.

Its intention is to exact more territorial concessions from China.

Source: China Daily

new internet threat: Phishing for your financial information

Internet Fraud: Phishers Want to Take Your Money
The scams usually begin with an e-mail telling you that you urgently
need to address some matter in one of your financial accounts. Here's
how to avoid becoming a victim.
Aug 11 2004
By David Kirkpatrick

The Internet bad guys are after your wallet. You have up to now been
inconvenienced and annoyed by spam, but the fastest-growing online
threat, and probably a more pernicious one, is phishing. Suddenly it's
on the lips of almost everyone I talk to. And the phishers want to
take your money.

Phishing refers to scams that usually begin with an e-mail telling you
that you urgently need to address some matter in one of your financial
accounts. Most often you get an e-mail saying your Citibank account
needs updating or something like that, and if you don't correct the
data your account risks being frozen. Since Citi is so big, you
probably get e-mails about Citi accounts even if you don't have one.

If you follow the links in these mails you will be taken to a
fraudulent website that will attempt to get you to input critical
personal data—account and credit card numbers, Social Security
numbers, or passwords. Once the phishers have this data, they can take
your money. And they will.

Phishing attacks grew 52% in June over May, according to Tumbleweed
Communications, a company that sells software to secure and
authenticate Internet messages. It is working with The Anti-Phishing
Working Group to compile data about the growing scams. The phishers
use fake return e-mail addresses 92% of the time, so you can't trust
what it says in the sender line. In a separate report, the Gartner
research firm recently calculated that 57 million Americans were
exposed to phishing attacks in the last year—meaning they got e-mail
from phishers. But more worrisome is that 19% of the people who are
attacked click on URLs in the e-mails, Gartner found.

"We think this is going to hurt the most deep-pocketed and
undereducated group-50- to 70-year-old computer users—the baby boom,"
says David Moll, CEO of Webroot, a software company that is about to
launch a free anti-phishing software tool for consumers in September.
When he says "undereducated" he doesn't mean people who didn't attend
college, but rather people who are technically naive. The key fact is
that these are often the people with money. "The average scam today is
about $1,200," says Moll. "What happens when it's somebody's entire

Moll says that there have been $1.2 billion in losses from phishing so
far, mostly in the last six months. The losses are being felt most by
financial institutions, since consumer liability—for instance, for
fraudulent use of credit cards—is often limited by law.

Webroot's strategy is to gain traction among consumers with its free
tool and then to become a supplier to the banks and investment
institutions who will soon want to offer anti-phishing software to
their customers.

The Pax World Fund, a socially and environmentally responsible mutual
fund, put out a release on Tuesday acknowledging that it had been the
victim of a phishing scam in June. The phishers hosted a look-alike
website that promised extra-high returns.

Pax suggests six steps consumers can take to reduce the risk of being
victimized by phishing:

1) Watch carefully for high-pressure e-mails urging you to divulge
personal financial information or to start making financial
transactions at a new website page.

2) Make sure you only conduct web transactions on a secure page, with
"https" in the address line. That "s" means secure. But Pax adds that
this check is not foolproof, because some con artists can fake such

3) Watch for suspicious website addresses that are not the same ones
you've used before. If you have any doubt, close your browser, reopen
it and go to the address you've used in the past.

4) Review statements from financial institutions carefully to see if
there may be unauthorized trades or withdrawals.

5) Use the latest technology—keep your browser and operating system
software up to date. A special Windows patch that may help protect
against phishing is available at Use
technology like Earthlink ScamBlocker, a free browser toolbar.
Webroot's tool is also likely to be useful, I'd say, and another
company called WholeSecurity claims to have a proven downloadable
toolbar that will be available next week. (This field is
hot—everything's happening all of a sudden.)

6) Report the problem by letting your financial institution know it
has been targeted.

Moll of Webroot says that while it's a good idea to alert your
financial institutions, this in itself is becoming a huge headache for
many banks, credit card companies, and investment groups. Since
phishers indiscriminately send out spam in the name of financial firms
hoping to hit someone who actually has an account there, Moll says
some institutions are finding that half of all phishing complaints are
coming from people who aren't even their customers.

One of the most scary things that Moll told me is that phishers now
have developed something called "script injection." It enables them to
control just a portion of an otherwise legitimate website. So you
might be navigating around a legitimate website, but when you put your
info into a little window on the screen, that data may go to a
fraudster. Moll told me this in part because his upcoming software
will be able to detect and prevent this.

But there is not likely to be any permanent solution, he concedes.
"It's another arms race, like with the virus writers," he says.

Another promising weapon for fighting phishing fraud will be
authenticated e-mail like Tumbleweed's, or like the Mailblocks
software recently acquired by AOL. If senders have to authenticate
themselves before sending you mail, you will presumably stop getting
the lion's share of phishing-related e-mails. But so far the
percentage of people using such tools is minuscule. Authentication
means inconveniencing, at least briefly, those who send you mail. Many
of us have, at least up until now, been reluctant to do that.

But our attitudes may start changing quickly. This is serious stuff.
Identity theft has inconvenienced and hurt hundreds of thousands of
people. Estimates range from 200,000 to 700,000 Americans annually.
And the related impacts of phishing are numerous. For example,
credit-card numbers stolen in this way are increasingly being used to
defraud online merchants. And while it's known that organized crime is
hugely involved in phishing and online fraud, there is some evidence
that terrorists may be getting in on it, too.

Some are beginning to darkly suggest that with spam, viruses, and
phishing growing at such a rapid pace, the entire future of the
Internet as a common destination may be in jeopardy. The Web is now a
huge factor in modern life. If we can no longer have confidence in the
technologies we've come to trust, the entire economy could take a hit.
You're going to be hearing a lot more about phishing and online fraud.

Petition against religious conversion

Subject: UN Declaration of Human Rights & Religous Proselytization

A small community of friends developed a recommendation to the UN
Commission on Human Rights to seek an amendment to its Declaration of
Human Rights document in order to discourage religious proselytization.
Currently the following petition on that subject can be accessed by
going to

I have signed it. I hope that you will be kind enough to consider
signing it. I would also be much obliged if you will circulate it to as
many as possible.

C. Alex Alexander, M.D.

Message reproduced from the online Petition for perusal:

To: UN High Commission for Human Rights


Addressed to: Hon. Soli Sorabjee, Chairman, UN Sub-Commission on
Promotion and Protection of Human Rights., Hon. Louise Arbour, UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights., Hon. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General,
United Nations and Heads of States of all Secular Nations.

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about inter-religious
conflicts fomented by the proselytizing activities of certain Christian
and Islamic sects, who appear to be locked in a race to convert the
entire world's population into their respective monotheistic faiths. We
believe that the large majority of Muslims and Christians do not harbor
such grand aspirations and are opposed to the proselytizing schemes of
their organized religions.

We represent a variety of religious backgrounds. We are troubled by the
likelihood of major clashes of civilizations resulting from the
exclusive truth claims of monotheistic religions. We also anticipate
such conflicts will weaken the social fabric of many countries by
pitting religions against one another and destroying indigenous
cultures. Further, we are firmly convinced that we should act now to
prevent all inter-religious conflicts and the occurrence of greater
misery, death and destruction than what we have witnessed thus far in
the course of human history, most brought about by the evils of
proselytization. Therefore we are hereby appealing to the United
Nations as a whole and the UN Commission for Human Rights in particular
to adopt an amendment to Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human
Rights by expanding it through the addition of a second sentence

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and
freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or
private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice,

In the interests of preserving world peace and harmony, and for
avoidance of religiously motivated conflict, we, the undersigned,
respectfully request that the above amendment be adopted in its
entirety by both the UN High Commission for Human Rights and the United
Nations General Assembly. We also request heads of all secular nations
and their citizenry to lend their whole-hearted support to this