Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Jayalalitha's diatribe from the paper called the 'Hindu'

November 24

This is the text of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa's statement: "Thiru Karunanidhi has created a new Olympic record of sorts in somersaults with his total volte-face on the arrest of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal by the Tamil Nadu police on 11.11.2004, and his statement on the encounter in which the dreaded forest brigand Veerappan was eliminated by the Tamil Nadu police on 18.10.2004.
....

http://www.sulekha.com/news/nhc.aspx?cid=408095

Firefox browser and syndication

November 24

I have switched to the Firefox browser and find it robust and user friendly. In fact, it is pretty awesome.

I find that using Firefox it is easy to subscribe to a site that has syndicated its content.

I have syndicated this blog using atom and I know how to make an active bookmark on Firefox using this. How can people still on Internet Explorer subscribe to this blog?

Rajeev

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Accused in Kanchi case recants

November 24

Guess who will be found 'hanging from the ceiling of his jail cell' next?

You got it. Kathiravan.

http://in.rediff.com/news/2004/nov/24kanchi.htm

'Dravidian' mythology

November 24

Whenever I hear of 'Dravidians' I am reminded of their sainted leader EV Ramaswamy Naicker. He is known, among his other epithets, as 'Vaikom Veerar', meaning the 'hero of Vaikom'. This refers to the Vaikom Satyagraha in 1924 in Kerala. This was to demand the right for 'lower caste' people to use the public paths around the Vaikom Mahadeva temple. This was the seminal struggle that led to the 1936 Temple Entry Proclamation that opened all temples in Travancore to all Hindus.

The implication is that Naicker was one of the heros of the Vaikom Satyagraha, if not the main man.

However, in point of fact, he came, he saw, and he was ignored. Nobody paid the slightest attention to Naicker. He was a complete nobody as far as the Vaikom Satyagraha is concerned.

Yet, according to Tamil mythmakers, he was a hero.

And how do I know this? It's because family members of mine were among the leaders of the agitation. They were the ones who were arrested, beaten up, whose bones were broken.

Naicker could be renamed 'Vaikom Visitor' or 'Vaikom Tourist' and it would be more correct.

This is a metaphor for the entire edifice of 'Dravidian' thought. It is a complete hoax, manufactured by one Bishop Caldwell.

If it is this great 'rationalist' movement, how come no 'Dravidian' hero has ever said anything against the organized religions of Islam and Christianity? And against the semi-organized religion of Marxistm? It is because 'Dravidians' are afraid of Muslims, Christians and Marxists.

'Dravidian' is like 'Piltdown Man', an enormous hoax that has fooled a lot of people. It has, however enriched many, mostly middle-caste Tamils, who now go around terrorising Dalits.

And, oh, if you are thinking the usual crap 'Dravidians' throw at me, about me being a Tamil Brahmin, forget it. I am neither Tamil nor Brahmin.

Take over Aurobindo trust, Government told

By Our Staff Reporter

PONDICHERRY, NOV. 18. The Dravida Peravai today demanded that the government take over the Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its subsidiaries....



Website on Kanchi Acharya

November 24

The website www.kanchi-sathya.org is endorsed by the Kanchi Ashram and addresses the many devotees of the Acharya and the Matham. It tries to bring out the various issues and questions that the 'media' and the 'intelligentsia' -- and I use these words loosely -- do not wish to ask.

US military largesse for Pakistan: Kaushik Kapisthalam in Washington Times

November 23

http://www.washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041122-054057-7837r.htm
)

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, NOVEMBER 23, 2004

Outside View: U.S. amnesia on Pakistan

Atlanta, GA, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Even as Pakistan's leadership was
expressing its unrestrained glee with President George W. Bush's
thumping re-election, the new Bush administration wasted no time in
making its first big move to reward Pakistan with advanced weaponry....

Reader comment: no more Mr. Nice Guy/Gal on Kashmir largesse

November 23

This is self-explanatory. Any ideas?

=======

As a tax paying citizen of this country, I am outraged at this latest
largesse to kashmir. I am part of the miniscule group that pay taxes
in this country and I have no say in how the money is spent. Everyday
I drive to work on roads with potholes that can swallow me whole!
fight traffic on narrow congested roads and have to drive around
stalled projects to build flyovers. Every time I travel I look at the
pathetic airports, railway stations that stink to high heaven.
Shouldnt we get something back for all the taxes we are paying?
Considering that the southern states, punjab, haryana and maharashtra
are the most productive states in the country, shouldnt we get back
some of that money to improve our conditions and infrastructure. Isnt
that our right?

This last thing (kashmir dole out) has kind of pushed me over the
edge. I want to do something about it. I think the ranks of the middle
class has swelled enough to be able to make our votes count and our
voices heard. The problem is that most of the middle class are
ignorant of these things and are apathetic.
I want to do something to raise the awareness on these issues in
people. But I dont really know how to do it. Can you suggest some
ways? point me to people who you know are doing these things?
Enough of sitting on my butt. I want to be heard!

Monday, November 22, 2004

My article on the UPA government taking over religious institutions

November 23

In the wake of the Kanchi atrocity, there have been a number of statements about taking over the Kanchi Matham. Presumably this would help the UPA government fund its Don Quixote projects. Well, there are very few Hindu institutions that are not already being sucked dry by the government via Devaswom boards and so forth.

What, however, about all those Christian and Muslim entities that are untouched by the government? The Christian churches collectively are the second largest landowners in the country, second only to the government. Imagine how much money taking them over will produce! I positively drool.

Just the churches in Trivandrum can probably cure the Kerala government's chronic deficit. And there are huge amounts coming in: see http://www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IER20030725140931&Page=R&Title=Kerala&rLink=0

And this is just the reported inflows.

Here is my article: http://www.rediff.com/news/2004/nov/22rajeev.htm

As to why the Kashmiris deserve all this money, them being generally bad boys, your guess is as good as mine.

Rajeev

Ramesh Rao: The Kanchi Conundrum

November 23

http://rameshnrao.com/blog/

The arrest of the Kanchi seer has become a reason for celebration and triumphalism for the Brahmin haters of Tamil Nadu, led by a writer of tawdry dramas, whose men tried to disrobe the actress who became Chief Minister, and who in turn arrested at midnight the writer of those tawdry dramas when she became Chief Minister. While the VHP, the RSS and the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha are dumbfounded by this event and have made sundry calls for bandhs, gheraos, and protests, the internet is abuzz with talk of “Hinduism is under attack”. Conspiracy theories abound, and I get back channel information from someone who heard from someone else about the Kanchi seer being this and that, or that it is a Marxist-Christian-Muslim plot to defeat Hinduism in India.

....

Protest in New York about Kanchi atrocity, Nov. 30th

November 23

Protest Demonstration in New York City by Hindus in America
Supported by VHP of America

in front of the Indian Consulate, E 63rd St

from 12:30 to 2:30 pm

on November 30th, Tuesday

to protest the mistreatment and arbitrary imprisonment of Kanchi Sankaracharya HH Jayendra Saraswati Swami

For more information:

Narain Kataria 718-478-5735, Coordinator/Organizer

The Real Shankaracharya

November 23

A beautifully written piece by Shobha Vasudevan

us.rediff.com/news/2004/nov/22guest.htm

On Diwali, the Kanchi Shankaracharya, Jayendra Saraswathi, was arrested on charges of murder. On the next day, the title of an article in a national daily read 'Seer heads 5,000 crore empire. Another article in a leading national newspaper read, 'Of high priests and their lust for more power.' He has been variously described as high profile, influential and the seventh most powerful man in India.

The Shankaracharya is in custody, the police are on a wild evidence hunt, and the media is marauding a large cut of the spoils. The seer's high profile status has somehow been conveniently used to imply that he is a goon-wielding, power kooky tycoon. The assets of the Kanchi Math are being referred to as if they were the acharya's personal possessions, and every one of his past actions is being interpreted according to the revised image that the press has decided to give him.
...

Gurumurthy on Kanchi Acharya as Abhimanyu in the chakra vyuha

November 22

As the Sankaracharya stands like Abhimanyu ...
November 22 2004
S. Gurumurthy
http://www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IEH20041121122432&Title=Top+Stories&Topic=337&

The entire polity of Tamil Nadu except the BJP is
ranged against him. Never in the history of the state
did the DMK and the AIADMK, whose leaders never meet,
ever unite on anything as they do on this issue and
against him.

...

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The legal affidavits in the Kanchi case

November 20

These were forwarded to me by the same brahmacharini.

Given the 'Hindu' newspaper's anti-Hindu bias, and the fact that N. Ram has been seen involving himself in all this, I am not sure that the webpage will have all the relevant documents or whether there is only a selection slanted in a particular way. However, for what it's worth, here is the information.

Rajeev

--------

Please find the legal affidavit documents in this link
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/nic/0034/affidavit.pdf

The origins of Tamil political oppression of Brahmins

November 20

I found the following mail from a thoughtful brahmacharini quite thought-provoking. I have withheld her name below. I would only add that 'South Indian' is the wrong term, it is peculiarly 'Tamil', the oppression described below. There is other oppression of Hindus and Brahmins in other states, for instance the Marxists have utterly impoverished the Nambudiri Brahmins of Kerala. But this particular intellectually vacuous and laughable fanaticism is a Tamil specialty.

I would urge everybody to not use 'South Indian' as a synonym for 'Tamil'.

Once again, this 'Dravidian' mythology is complete nonsense manufactured by one Bishop Caldwell. It has been highly useful for certain Tamil politicians such as EV Ramaswamy Naicker, Annadurai, Karunanidhi and so forth and their hangers-on.

Rajeev

----------

In view of the current events, the arrest and harassment of Sri Jayendra
Saraswati Swamigal, I felt a need to bring out the background of South
Indian politics for many people who are not aware of it. I am quoting a
passage from Michel Danino's book, "The Invasion That Never Was".

Respectfully,

(name withheld)

21 November 2004

Starting on page 34:

... "the "invasionist" syndrome used depths upon depths of tangled
distortion to convince Indians that this new invasion of "British
Aryans" was meant to finally save them from the aberrations that had
stemmed from the first invasion!

"Unfortunately, many of the wounds the Aryan invasion theory inflicted
on Indian society are still painfully open today, nurtured as they have
been by missionaries, Marxist historians, and politicians, who together
have made sure that divisions between castes have sharpened rather than
subsided-for the simple reason that without such divisions they would
all be out of business. A typical example of this short-sighted strategy
is the common identification of Dalits with "non-Aryans" and the use of
the word 'adivasi' (i.e., "original inhabitant" or aboriginal) to depict
the tribals, thus trying to put a stamp of evidence on the
"colonization" and "Aryanization" of India by the higher castes: for if
the former are aboriginals, what are the latter? Yet, as we will see,
the so-called Adivasis are no more "adi" than Brahmins or any other
higher castes.

Aryan-Dravidian Divide

"Another instance can be found in South Indian politics, where a
frequently heard refrain has been that the Dravidians came to India long
before the "Aryan invaders," whose Brahmin descendants have sought to
"impose their culture on all non-Aryans" and should therefore be
resisted.

"The following observation by a noted South Indian writer and academic
is a painful index of how deep those divisive doctrines have penetrated:
"Again and again Tamil has had, during its long history, to stand the
impact of alien influences and cultures, Sanskrit, Persian and Urdu,
French and English, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Christianity-these in
successive or concurrent waves have threatened to overrun the Tamil
language or destroy the character of Tamil culture. But Tamil has always
managed to assimilate the foreign matter..." Sanskrit, Buddhism or
Jainism are "foreign" to Tamil culture!! We may contrast this
astonishing statement with Swami Vivekananda: "The South had been the
repository of Vedic learning." ... many sound scholars have argued that
South Indian languages are deeply related to Sanskrit, and neither Tamil
tradition nor archaeology show any North-South or Aryan-Dravidian
conflict on the cultural level.

"Yet, a few years ago a "Dravidian" politician urged Tamilians to impose
a "social boycott of Brahmins," whom he threatened with "an intensive
movement to quit the State.""

And the book goes on giving more examples.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

13th Kumaon's Last Stand

November 17

On November 18th, let us remember the brave soldiers of C Company, 13th Kumaon Battalion, whose magnificent effort held the Chinese back in Ladakh. See us.rediff.com/news/2002/nov/19rajeev

Rajeev

PS. Claude Arpi's brilliant new book "Born in Sin: The Panchsheel Agreement, or the Sacrifice of Tibet" explains why these brave men were forced to die by an utterly incompetent Indian government.


The Center didn't know about the Kanchi arrest? Really?

November 17

It is hard to believe the UPA government was completely innocent, as it maintains. Whatever Jayalalitha's and Karunanidhi's role in the event, it is difficult to imagine anyone taking a drastic step without informing Shivraj Patil, the Home Minister. For instance, if there were a serious law-and-order problem arising from the arrest, then it would be an excuse/reason to immediately bring down the Jayalalitha government and impose central rule under article 356, and Jayalalitha is well aware of this. Karunanidhi, of course, enjoys considerable clout at the center, comparable to what Chandrababu Naidu enjoyed with the NDA government.

Arjun Singh, Prime Minister-in-waiting and rabidly anti-Hindu, has finished most of his re-toxifying work, and so has had a little time on his hands. He may had input into this, too.

Rajeev



Jethmalani on Kanchi Acharya's innocence

November 17

Forwarded by Prof RV

Rajeev

======

The Taxt of Jethmalani interview in Afternoon Courier of Mumbai

Pontiff is innocent: Jethmalani

A STAFF REPORTER | Tuesday, November 16, 2004 11:48:14 IST
Counsel for arrested Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, the
noted constitutional expert Ram Jethmalani, said that the case against
the seer was false and fabricated and motivated by the age old
anti-Brahmin agenda of the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu.
"According to me, the seer has been unfairly implicated in a false
case. This has been proved by the fact that the police are now trying
to build up the case by collecting all sorts of evidence," Jethmalani
said. He referred to the alleged telephonic conversation which the
police claimed to have obtained to prove the pontiff's involvement in
the murder case. "They can do whatever they like. But the fact remains
that my client is innocent," said Jethmalani, whose appearance as the
Sankara-charya's defence caught the prosecution by surprise. Speaking
to this newspaper last night, Jethmalani said that the reason why the
seer was dragged into the murder case was the inherent anti-Brahmin
stand of the main two Dravidian parties, the DMK and AIADMK. "This is
what the seer said," Jethmalani claimed. "Both are anti-Brahmin in
their stand. Any godman is a threat to them," he added, hinting at the
possible political gains which both parties are aiming to make during
the coming assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
Jethmalani feared the incident has already taken a serious caste turn
and stirred "the perennial conflict between the Shaivites and
Vaisnavites sects". He said he had not met the Sankaracharya after his
arrest, but his juniors were in touch with the seer.

Message from Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha on the harsh treatment of the Kanchi Acharya

November 17

This was forwarded to me. I intend to post on this blog other information and comments I receive regarding the Kanchi atrocity.

This blog has an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, so it is ready for syndication in case you know how to set it up to send you automatic alerts when new blog posts appear. I am using the Firefox browser, and in that all you have to do is to click on the little orange broadcast icon in the bottom right-hand corner to add an automatic bookmark to this blog.

You are welcome to send me at rajeev.srinivasan@gmail.com new information about the Kanchi atrocity. Those that I find credible I will post here.

Thanks
Rajeev

====================

From: R Venkatanarayanan [mailto:DAPS2322@softhome.net]
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2004 9:12 AM
Subject: Reprehensible treatment of Kanchi Sankaracharya

Here is the Statement issued on behalf of the Hindu Dharma Acharya
Sabha. Knowing our media one has to wonder how many will publish it. I
am therefore circulating this with the following requests:

1. Let this be put on the Net. I have no proficiency or facility to do
it.

2. Religious leaders and opinion builders may be requested to speak up
in public immediately.

The point to emphasise is the shabby and vindictive manner in which law
enforcement agency has behaved. The Case could have been registered and
investigated otherwise also without humiliating and inconveniencing the
Acharya in this manner. One can not escape the conclusion that vested
/inimical intertests have been and are active behind the scenes to hurt
the back bone as it were of Hindu morale and sentiments. This action may
have been intended as a warning to anyone who talks against conversion
etc. or in favour of the Hindu Society.

R.Venkatanarayanan
-----------------------
"The Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, the Apex Body of Hindu Acharyas and
Peetathipathis from all over India and which represents the unified
voice of the Hindu Society, notes with consternation and deep regret
the direction of events that have culminated in the arrest and
detention of the highly respected Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kama Koti
Pitham, Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal.The entire Hindu Society feels
overwhelmed with sadness and shock at the mode of action that has been
visited upon the great Peetathipathi. Surely requirements of law and
justice, if any, could have been met by a more considerate and benign
approach by the law enforcement agencies, keeping in view the very
great reverence that the Kanchi Peetathipathi commands among the vast
mass of Hindus of the country. It is curious that their sacred
sentiments have been treated with such little consideration. The
Acharya Sabha calls for impartial and quick investigation that is fully
credible in the eye of the public and hopes that forces which are well
known to be inimical to the concerns and legitimate interests of Hindus
in general and their religious leadership in particular, will not be
allowed to subvert impartial enquiry and application of law".

Swami Dayananda Saraswati
Convener
Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha
(The Voice of Collective Hindu Consciousness)
Dated: November 12, 2004

Secretary: R. Venkatanarayanan
Correspondence Address:
No. 22, Sector 14A
Noida (UP) 201301
Tel: 91-120-2512525
E-mail: r_vn@softhome.net / daps2322@softhome.net

Sandhya Jain from 2002 on Dalits and the Kanchi Acharya

November 17

(From the Pioneer 19th November 2002)

Dalits: Kanchi leads the way

By Sandhya Jain

The Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Swami Jayendra
Saraswati, broke a critical stalemate in the current
controversy over the merits of the Tamil Nadu ban on
conversions by force, fraud or inducement, by offering
worship at a Dalit-run temple in Madurai (The Hindu,
12 Nov. 2002). The Veerakali Amman temple, which
serves the religious needs of eighteen villages and
has a Dalit priest, lies in the Melur region where 250
Hindus were converted en masse by a Canadian priest of
the Seventh Day Adventists on 25 August 2002.
Previously, about fifteen hundred Hindus were
converted in the neighbouring areas in January 2001.
By giving the villagers an unexpected darshan, the
Shankaracharya gracefully shattered several myths and
assumptions about inequality and divisiveness in Hindu
society.

Speaking with his legendary forthrightness, the seer
told the gathering what many of us have always known,
namely, that Hindu dharma does not promote or envision
discrimination and regards people of all sections of
society as equals. He rightly stressed that Hindus
have an age-long tradition of living amicably as a
"family", as brothers and sisters. Candidly accepting
that there are always differences in society, he
advised the people not to foster discrimination on
this count, as unity has ever been the hallmark of the
dharma.

The Shankaracharya has truly led by example, with a
view to blunting the criticism of evangelizing faiths
that social discrimination compels Dalits to embrace
other faiths. Hitherto, Hindus have been rebutting
the argument by pointing out that the condition of
former Dalits does not improve upon leaving the mother
faith, and that persisting discrimination in the new
faiths has led Christian and Muslim groups to demand
the extension of reservation benefits to ex-Dalits in
their fold.

Swami Jayendra Saraswati, however, has risen above
this cacophony to remind us that we cannot seek refuge
in such specious arguments, and that it is our duty to
uphold the principle of the brotherhood of man in our
own lives. It is now enjoined upon each one of us to
be worthy followers of a worthy leader. Tamil society
in particular must rise to the occasion and accord the
Dalits the personal dignity they crave for; a
beginning must be made by doing away with the
degrading two-glass system at village dhabas. In this
regard, it may be worth noting that the Swamiji's
choice of temple was singularly apt. The Veerakali
Amman temple attracts devotees from all castes and is
also a locally renowned symbol of communal harmony as
Muslims regularly join the celebrations of its annual
festival in January.

What is most exciting about this new call from the
bastions of the mainstream tradition is that it cannot
be set aside lightly as a maverick or fringe movement.
Swami Jayendra Saraswati followed up the Madurai
initiative at Tirunelveli by categorically asserting
that Dalits have the right to enter any temple across
the State, individually, and offer prayers. This may
not make sense to many urban citizens. But what it
means is that at many important temples, Dalits from
outside the region do enter anonymously along with
other pilgrims, but local Dalits who might be
recognized would be barred or beaten for entering the
precincts.

Now an orthodox Hindu leader with unparalleled
knowledge of the shastras has ruled that "appropriate
action" would be taken against those trying to prevent
a Harijan from entering a temple. And as the cosmic
vision of the Hindus does not envisage the shallow
separation of religion and the public sphere, as
Mahatma Gandhi had intuitively understood, the
Shankaracharya has rightly asserted that religious
leaders must increasingly participate in public life
to foster a social renaissance.

Given the encouraging signs emanating from different
parts of the country, it would appear that a major
paradigm shift is in the making. Later this month,
Hindu religious leaders are slated to meet at
Kottakkal in Malappuram district, Kerala, to discuss
whether temples should open their doors to all
visitors, irrespective of religion (The Hindustan
Times, 12 Nov. 2002). Historically, there are
legitimate reasons for both the imposition of the ban,
and socially, there are valid reasons for its
revocation. A mature look at both sides of the coin
would go a long way to ensure community amity and
national harmony.

Those who contend that conversions are not an assault
upon the country's native faith and living
civilization would do well to recollect that Hindu
dharma has suffered grievously for several centuries,
and its temples have been the special foci of
sustained assault and injury. Simply put, this is the
reason for the self-protective ban on the entry of
non-believers into temple precincts. Left historian
Sanjay Subramaniam has recorded the fortuitous escape
of the famed Tirupathi shrine from annihilation at the
hands of the Portuguese. Can one imagine south India
without Tirupathi? North India was home to several
such Tirupathis; today it has only the Ganga. Yet, the
priests of Tirupathi have welcomed all devotees
provided only that they declare faith in Sri
Venkatesvara; that is why it rankles to this day that
Signora Sonia Gandhi should so arrogantly refuse this
courtesy at such a holy shrine.

Nonetheless, much water has flown under the bridge,
and communities have grown to the point that many
individuals wish to stake claim to a larger Indic
heritage. Hindu tradition is by definition inclusivist
rather than exclusionary, hence deference to the
sentiments of non-Hindu devotees would be highly
appropriate. The present move is the result of the
hurt felt by many at a perceived injustice to
celebrated singer K.J. Yesudas, a great bhakta of
Guruvayurappan, who has been denied temple entry on
account of being born in a Christian family. The poet
Yusufali Kecherry, who has written some of the best
songs in honour of Lord Krishna, has also been
excluded from Guruvayur because of his Muslim origins.

This seemingly innocuous issue came to the forefront a
couple of years ago when the Guruvayur Temple
performed a purificatory rite after the wedding of the
son of Congress leader Vyalar Ravi. The explanation
offered was that Mr. Ravi's wife was not a Hindu. But
the incident proved unacceptable to the Hindu
conscience and sparked off the present reformation
drive. Much can be expected from the conclave as the
chief of the Namboodiri sect has taken the lead in the
matter and major temples and social organizations are
expected to attend the meet. It seems reasonable to
extend freedom of entry to all devotees (or for that
matter even heritage tourists from other faiths)
provided that they show proper respect to temple
traditions and do not defile their sanctity. And it
goes without saying that this generosity must extend
to less privileged groups within the Hindu fold.

Change is already in the air. In strife-torn Bihar,
birthplace of Lord Mahavira, the apostle of
non-violence, authorities of Patna's famous Mahavira
temple have decided to increase the number of Dalit
priests after a successful experiment launched nine
years ago. A former untouchable, Suryavanshi Das, was
recruited as a priest and has been successfully
performing the traditional rituals along with the
Brahmin priests. His public acceptance is absolute.
The temple administration actively promotes equality
among human beings and maintains links with the
Ramanandi community which practiced non-discrimination
seven centuries ago.

End of matter

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Where is the US Council on International Religious Freedom?

November 17

Where is the international response to the arrest of the Kanchi Acharya?

The USCIRF did not stir a little finger. This merely supports the contention that it is not meant for religious freedom per se, but for the advancement of Christian fundamentalism.

The BBC called the Acharya a 'cleric'. Strictly speaking, this is true: a cleric is a member of a religious order. But I have never heard them call the Pope a cleric. It is always 'the pontiff' or 'the pope'. Why? I suggest that we should all call the Pope a 'cleric' from now on.

Rajeev

The presumption of guilt

November 17

The law usually considers an accused "innocent until proven guilty". However, in the case of Hindus -- and Hindus alone -- in India, it appears that the accused is "guilty until proven innocent". This is what has happened in the case of the Kanchi Acharya, and there are innumerable other cases.

In the case of others, it is "innocent even after proven guilty". For instance, there is Teesta Setalvad, who had a website with a mangled map of India (with all of Jammu and Kashmir given to Pakistan). This website was up for several years. Showing an incorrect map of India is a serious offense in India, a non-bailable, cognizable offense. However, even after it had been demonstrated that Setalvad had this on her website, no charges were pressed against her.

This merely proves that if you are a non-Hindu, you are always innocent. By definition.

Rajeev


Why the Kanchi Acharya is an obstacle to conversionists

November 17

This was forwarded to me by Reader Manoj, and I think it makes a valid point. The upliftment of Dalits and other backward communities generally takes the wind out of the sails of the missionaries as well as of the Marxists who claim Hindus do nothing for the lower castes. Incidentally, Marxists do nothing for lower castes, either. This is why Marxists say nothing about the genocide of Hindus in Bangladesh, for most of the Bangladeshis being attacked are lower caste people.

Rajeev

=============

Reading the following news item one can very well imagine why Swami
Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchi Kamakothi Peetham, is being harassed and
persecuted:

Date: 11/12/2004 08:01:53 -0800
From: Ved Chaudhary
Subject: [HICAD] Build Temples in Dalit Colonies

It is so heartening to see Hindu religious leaders speaking out and
taking steps for the preservation of Dharma in Bharat. Hindu Dharma
Acharya Sabha is providing a much needed platform for Hindu voice.
Ved Chaudhary

Build Temples in Dalit Colonies
News Report (Source: HPI)

HYDERABAD, INDIA, November 7, 2004: Swami Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchi
Kamakothi Peetham has asked for the construction of more temples in
Dalit ("untouchable") colonies to promote Hindu dharma. He said this
while taking part in a meeting on governance of temples at the
Endowments Commissionerate on Sunday. A number of Hindu seers took part
in the meet organized by the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha. The Kanchi
seer, emphasizing the need to spread Hindu culture among Dalits, said
that small get-togethers should be held in temples in Dalit colonies
regularly to erase differences between various communities.
Village-level committees should be set up to supervise the
administration of such temples and the government should extend
monetary help, he said. The Hindu religion was under threat because of
the conversions which took place since Independence, said the Kanchi
seer. "We cannot expect those who have gone away to come back," he
said. "But we have to take measures to stop further degeneration."

In other proceedings at the meeting, Nrusimha Bharati Swamy of
Pushpagiri Peetham opposed government control in managing temples.
Pejawar Swamy of Pejawar Mutt in Karnataka also suggested that the
government should not interfere in the affairs of Peethams. Acharya
Sabha convenor, Dayananda Saraswati, and Chinna Jeeyar Swamy, who sent
a message, also demanded that the government withdraw from temples
administration.
--

Monday, November 15, 2004

Hinduism in Danger: The Humiliation of the Kanchi Acharya

November 12

Hinduism in Danger

Rajeev Srinivasan on the tremendous threat to Hindus

Here is some advice for the UPA government and the media in India on
how best to destroy Hinduism. Not that they need the advice, they have
done quite well on their own:

· On the holiest night in the Hindu calendar, Diwali, the night when
good triumphs over evil, arrest the most visible, revered, and
respectable Hindu religious leader in the country on murder charges
· Announce a troop withdrawal from J&K at the same time that yet
another murderous terrorist attack on a CRP camp is going on
http://in.rediff.com/news/2004/nov/11pm.htm
· Have one of your central cabinet ministers announce at a Christian
fundamentalists' meet that he is 'ashamed to have been born a Hindu'
· Take over Hindu shrines like the Shirdi Ashram, temples in Uttar
Pradesh; target the Tirupati temple and cause problems there over the
demolition of the 1,000-pillar hall
· Arrest a Hindu sanyasini because she had raised the Indian flag
· The media should continue to attack Hinduism while never uttering a
word against the damage being done to it by the State. On the day
after the arrest of the Sankaracharya, instead of shock and disbelief,
the Indian media should be full of teary-eyed hagiographies of Yasser
Arafat, a dubious statesman at best

In contrast, here is what happens with respect to other faiths:
· In Kerala, Muslim League Minister Kunjalikutty, accused of what is
probably statutory rape (sex with a minor girl), refuses to step down.
A mob of Muslims attacks media people just because an interview with
the girl was broadcast
· In Hyderabad, some low-level maulana is arrested, and a Muslim mob
riots and attacks the police station to try and release him

And people still ask me how Hindus are oppressed in India. If even a
single Muslim or Christian or Marxist is arrested, the cry goes up:
"Islam in danger!", "Secularism in danger!" or something along those
lines. But this doesn't apply to Hinduism, clearly.

How would Catholic Christians like it if on Christmas night the Pope
were arrested for murder? The arrest of the venerable Sri Jayendra
Saraswati, Sankaracharya on Kanchi, on Diwali night, is the equivalent
of that http://in.rediff.com/news/2004/nov/11tn.htm . Yet, I don't see
masses of Hindus out there rioting to get the Sankaracharya released.
This, I personally believe, is a character flaw on the part of Hindus.
They should be out there rioting, then their religion would not be in
danger all the time. The sentiments of millions of devout Hindus are
being trampled upon because the UPA government knows Hindus will not
react violently.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Bush White House 'celebrated'
Diwali. Indian-Americans, who had contributed significant amounts to
the Bush campaign, were disappointed because neither Bush, his wife,
nor any of his senior staff bothered to attend the function. Former
Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill – a lame duck, as he has resigned
– did attend, and he weasel-worded that Bush would not attend a
country-specific function.

This is nonsense, because Hindus are in at least a hundred countries
around the world: Hinduism is not a country-specific religion. In
reality, in a stinging reminder of the relative importance of Hindus,
Bush did attend, just a few hours later, a Muslim iftar party. Bush is
afraid of Muslims, he is not worried about Hindus.

I actually understand Bush's reasons quite well. As Christian
fundamentalists, he and his pals necessarily despise Hindus. They
despise Muslims too, but they are afraid of Muslims, so they pay at
least lip-service to Islam. Besides, many of his cohorts, oil men,
have some connection to Saudi oil and money. But the Hindus, they can
be discarded like used tissue paper. Money talks, of course. Oil talks
even louder.

Kindly note that 'Bobby' Jindal, the Great Brown Hope, also did not
attend the Diwali function at the White House. So much for the
expectation that Jindal was going to do a lot for India. No, as a
fiery converted Christian, Jindal has no interest in the 'heathen'
religion of his ancestors, or by extension, in India's affairs. Why am
I not in the least bit surprised? Converts are the worst, as they have
to prove their conversion correct.

It has become the role of Hindus to be the under-class, the
water-carriers and wood-cutters for Christians and Muslims. Thus the
Christian fundamentalists will happily take money from rich
Hindu-Americans, but there is no quid pro quo. The Hindu-American
doctors and engineers who give their money are being taken for a ride.

In India, there is circumstantial evidence: whenever I am in Kerala, I
read Malayalam newspapers, and I have noticed a trend, and admittedly
this is only a sample. A number of soldiers from Kerala have been
killed in battle or terrorist attacks, and every single one of them I
can remember has been a Hindu. Not one Muslim or Christian that I have
noticed, over several years. What does this mean? Only Hindus are poor
enough to need to take up dangerous work like in the military, for
lack of better opportunities. So they die, defending the Muslims and
Christians, who get a free ride.

Similarly, when T R Baalu announced at a Christian fundamentalist
meeting (this must have thrilled them no end) that he was ashamed to
have been born Hindu, the UPA worthies did not scold him for being an
obnoxious person. In a truly secular state, no religion should be
insulted by a government official. But I forgot, India is only a
'secular' state, which means it is an anti-Hindu State. See my earlier
column on the perversion of secularism.

Wait, there is more. Instead of pronouncing a death threat to Baalu,
some Hindus proceeded to peacefully excommunicate him. Now the State
swung into motion, and arrested the would-be excommunicators! See
http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/july182004/n6.asp Logically,
if a person is ashamed of being part of a group, doesn't that group
have the right to exclude him? I guess not, if they are Hindus: they
must swallow the insult silently.

But other religions have the right to do so. For instance, when some
Muslims pronounced a fatwa on Salman Rushdie and asked for his head, I
don't remember the State arresting them. Similarly, I suspect that
when Malayalam writer Ponkunnam Varkey was expelled from the Catholic
church, the police did not show up and demand that he be reinstated.
Naturally, I guess, because only Hindus are subject to being
controlled by the State. Others are above the law.

The DMK openly exulted at the arrest of the Sankaracharya. The DMK
have specialized in anti-Hindu polemic partly because the entire
edifice of their belief, of some sui generis 'Dravidian' culture, is
complete hogwash. It was manufactured by a Christian priest, one
Bishop Caldwell, with the intent of divide-and-rule. In reality, Tamil
culture is Indic: Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, just the same as the culture
in other parts of the country.

If you look at the motives for the arrest of the Sankaracharya, the
question arises: who benefits? Clearly, the DMK, they who claim to be
'rationalists' and 'anti-religion' but even their lionized leader EV
Ramaswamy Naicker was too scared to utter a word against Muslim or
Christian practices: which means they are basically an anti-Hindu
entity because they can get away with it.

My immediate suspicion is that this is political payback for a couple
of things: one, what Jayalalitha did to Karunanidhi, two, what
Subramaniam Swamy is suggesting these days.

First, Jayalalitha had Karunanidhi arrested on a holiday, so that
there would no chance to apply for bail; and so now the Sankaracharya
is arrested on a major holiday. Jayalalitha, being a Tamil Brahmin,
would presumably be hurt because the Kanchi Matham is a Tamil Brahmin
stronghold, which the DMK has a special aversion to. Karunanidhi's
statement on November 11th about the prime suspect in the Raman murder
case being at large gives credence to this argument
http://www.sulekha.com/news/nhc.aspx?cid=407194

Second, Subramaniam Swamy has been going around with a fierce campaign
against Sonia Gandhi. For instance, he was scheduled to speak in
Chicago on November 7th on the topic of "Sonia Gandhi: A National
Security Threat to India". What better payback to Swamy than to attack
his power base, the Tamil Brahmins? It is a well-known secret that
Swamy gains much of his support and information from the Tamil Brahmin
bureaucracy at the center.

There is a third possibility: that this is a part of the ongoing
Christian missionary efforts to paint revered Hindu religious leaders
in a bad light. Every Hindu leader is accused of some wrong-doing,
without proof. They trust that by their favorite tactic of 'truth by
repeated assertion' some of it will stick (as they have demonstrated
in the mythology of the arrival of Thomas the Apostle in India, a
fabrication which is now widely believed).

I keep getting mail from some (white Christian?) Australian nut-case
about how he has evidence that the Sai Baba molested children, but the
evidence never materializes. Compare this to the hundreds, if not
thousands, of Catholic priests accused and many formally convicted in
court of large-scale pedophilia across several continents. And there
are reports from the Vatican itself of sexual slavery of, and murders
of, nuns.

Now that Christians are in power in India – just look at the cabal
around Sonia Gandhi – and the Bushies have returned to power, there
will be renewed enthusiasm from the conversion mavens of the Joshua
Project and the 10/40 Project to target Hindus. This might well be the
reason for this egregious attack on the Sankaracharya.

Whatever the reason, the UPA government should have handled this
affair with a little more sensitivity and finesse. There was really no
reason to hound the Sankaracharya, chase him around the countryside,
and arrest him with such theatrics, as though he were going to jump
bail and fly out of the country. There was no reason to humiliate this
very spiritual person. Instead, they could have put the Sankaracharya
under house arrest at the Kanchi Matham if needed. But I guess the
intention was indeed to humiliate.

Why on earth would the Sankaracharya order the murder of an
accountant? That seems to completely defy logic. The Sankaracharyas
live totally spartan lives and have no need for money. Besides, even
assuming somebody in the Kanchi Matham wanted to sweep things under
the carpet, it would have been so much easier to just bribe somebody,
rather than go out and murder someone, especially murdering them in a
temple and desecrating the place.

The sentiments of millions of Hindus do not matter to the Congress,
just as the sentiments of Sikhs didn't when they went on a murderous
rampage in 1984, nor when they appointed alleged gang-leader Jagdish
Tytler as a minister.

And where is the principal 'Hindu nationalist' party who should speak
up? In complete disarray.

The Congress is once again demonstrating that they are a party only
for Muslims and Christians. The foolish Hindus who voted for them
deserve what they get, I suppose.

Comments welcome at rajeev.srinivasan@gmail.com

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Fwd: india's dwindling IT advantage

Nov 12

As Mark Twain would have said, "the rumors of my death are
exaggerated". I don't think India's advantages are going to go away
all that quickly. If demand declines, wages will fall, too: there is
no reason salaries will continue to climb at 15%. Besides, the US
dollar plummeting will affect not only India but also all other
competing nations.

http://www.optimizemag.com/article/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=46800188

Economist survey on Outsourcing

November 11

The survey has a number of articles.

http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=3351416

This appears to be free content. That may be because it's tedious,
repetitive, cliche-ridden and ill-argued.

Rajeev

From foreignaffairs.org: Can Pakistan Work? A Country in Search of Itself

November 11

Stephen Cohen has staked out turf for himself as a leading 'South
Asia' expert. In fact, if probed, it turns out that he is alarmingly
ignorant about 'South Asia', so it is hard to take his pronouncements
very seriously. He seems to be one of the State Department's favorite
weatherwanes: they probably use him to send out trial balloons with
their views on the world. For instance, in this book, he once again
reiterates (as he has done many times) that the Pakistanis are not
such a bad lot, after all. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. They are 'our
boys'. Or to use a more pungent description employed by Tariq Ali,
they are the 'international condom', to be used and then flushed down
the toilet by the Americans.

Only, it is not quite working out that way. The Pakistanis are the
ones using the Americans, it turns out. They must be blown away by the
American largesse that came their way after 9/11, which of course they
planned and provided logistic and monetary support for. Like Christmas
in July, what?

And the Americans showed that they would wink at Pakistani 'mischief',
after the battle for Kunduz in Afghanistan, when they allowed Pakistan
to airlift a large number of their senior army officers (also known as
the Taliban -- I mean, imagine 'Islamic seminary students' flying
fighter planes and driving tanks) to safety, away from the advancing
Northern Alliance.

Thus, Pakistan is in the catbird seat. Kill 3,000 Americans on 9/11,
get $3 billion in arms, weapons and so forth, just by dangling the
occasional disposable Al Quaeda person before them, while Osama bin
Laden lives in comfort in PoK.

I also have to wonder which planet Pervez Hoodbhoy lives on: "Pakistan
has had no state-sponsored genocides unlike others I could name", says
he. Perhaps he has heard of a small war in 1971 in a place called East
Pakistan? No wonder Hoodbhoy, Kuldip Nayyar, and all the PIPFPD people
get along so well: they are really good at selective amnesia and are
big-time hypocrites. I suppose killing 3 million Bengalis didn't
count, as they were people with inferior genes compared to the robust
Punjabis, and also quite a few of them were Hindus. Of course they
tried to improve the Bengali gene pool through a sustained campaign of
rape, very kind of them.

What goddamn cant! And Foreign Affairs, no doubt influenced by Farid
Zakaria, prints this blood-libel!

Rajeev

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: rajeev
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 11:52:36 GMT
Subject: From foreignaffairs.org: Can Pakistan Work? A Country in
Search of Itself
To: rajeev


This Review Essay is from Foreign Affairs Magazine. Read it online at:

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20041101fareviewessay83611/pervez-hoodbhoy/can-pakistan-work-a-country-in-search-of-itself.html

Can Pakistan Work? A Country in Search of Itself
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004
The Idea of Pakistan. Stephen Philip Cohen. Washington: Brookings
Institution Press, 2004, 367 pp. $32.95

When he founded Pakistan in 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah-an impeccably
dressed Westernized Muslim with Victorian manners and a secular
outlook-promised the subcontinent's Muslims that they would finally be
able to fulfill their cultural and civilizational destiny. Although
the new nation arose from a bloodbath of ethnic cleansing and
sectarian violence, and its fundamental premise was that Hindus and
Muslims could never live together, its early years nevertheless held
some promise of a liberal, relatively secular polity. But with time,
Jinnah's Pakistan has grown weaker, more authoritarian, and
increasingly theocratic. Now set to become the world's fourth most
populous nation, it is all of several things: a client state of the
United States yet deeply resentful of it; a breeding ground for jihad
and al Qaeda as well as a key U.S. ally in the fight against
international terrorism; an economy and society run for the benefit of
Pakistan's warrior class, yet with a relatively free and feisty press;
a country where education and science refuse to flourish but which is
nevertheless a declared nuclear power; and an inward-looking society
that is manifestly intolerant of minorities but that has never seen
anything like the state-organized pogroms of India, Afghanistan, Iran,
or China.

In The Idea of Pakistan, Stephen Philip Cohen sets out to understand
this enigma of modern history. Cohen is the United States' leading
analyst of South Asia, and this authoritative work of broad scope and
meticulous research will surely become required reading on Pakistan.
It also provides a view from the heart of the American empire, an
analysis of how Washington can best advance its interests in South
Asia. Cohen's facts are indisputable, his logic cold and clear, and
his omissions deliberate and meaningful.

... Deleted

Fwd: From foreignaffairs.org: Is America Losing Its Edge?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: rajeev
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 11:51:42 GMT
Subject: From foreignaffairs.org: Is America Losing Its Edge?
To: rajeev


This Comment is from Foreign Affairs Magazine. Read it online at:

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20041101facomment83601/adam-segal/is-america-losing-its-edge.html

Is America Losing Its Edge?
By Adam Segal
From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004

The United States' global primacy depends in large part on its ability
to develop new technologies and industries faster than anyone else.
For the last five decades, U.S. scientific innovation and
technological entrepreneurship have ensured the country's economic
prosperity and military power. It was Americans who invented and
commercialized the semiconductor, the personal computer, and the
Internet; other countries merely followed the U.S. lead.

Today, however, this technological edge-so long taken for granted-may
be slipping, and the most serious challenge is coming from Asia.
Through competitive tax policies, increased investment in research and
development (R&D), and preferential policies for science and
technology (S&T) personnel, Asian governments are improving the
quality of their science and ensuring the exploitation of future
innovations. The percentage of patents issued to and science journal
articles published by scientists in China, Singapore, South Korea, and
Taiwan is rising. Indian companies are quickly becoming the
second-largest producers of application services in the world,
developing, supplying, and managing database and other types of
software for clients around the world. South Korea has rapidly eaten
away at the U.S. advantage in the manufacture of computer chips and
telecommunications software. And even China has made impressive gains
in advanced technologies such as lasers, biotechnology, and advanced
materials used in semiconductors, aerospace, and many other types of
manufacturing.

Although the United States' technical dominance remains solid, the
globalization of research and development is exerting considerable
pressures on the American system. Indeed, as the United States is
learning, globalization cuts both ways: it is both a potent catalyst
of U.S. technological innovation and a significant threat to it. The
United States will never be able to prevent rivals from developing new
technologies; it can remain dominant only by continuing to innovate
faster than everyone else. But this won't be easy; to keep its
privileged position in the world, the United States must get better at
fostering technological entrepreneurship at home.

PENNYWISE

At the moment, it would be premature to declare a crisis in the United
States' scientific or technological competitiveness. The United States
is still the envy of the world for reasons ranging from its ability to
fund basic scientific research to the speed with which its companies
commercialize new breakthroughs.

This year, total U.S. expenditures on R&D are expected to top $290
billion-more than twice the total for Japan, the next biggest spender.
In 2002, the U.S. R&D total exceeded that of Canada, France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom combined (although the United
States trailed Finland, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, and Sweden in the
ratio of R&D to GDP). And although scholars from other parts of the
world may write relatively more science and engineering papers than
Americans do, U.S. research continues to be cited the most.

The United States also leads the major global technology markets,
holding commanding market shares in aerospace, scientific instruments,
computers and office machinery, and communications instruments. U.S.
information and communications technology producers lead almost every
sector. And for the last two decades, U.S. firms have been the top
providers of high-technology services, accounting for about one-third
of the world's total.

These strengths, however, should not obscure the existence of new
threats to the long-term health of science and innovation in the
United States. A record $422 billion budget deficit, for example, may
undermine future government support for R&D. Recent shifts in federal
spending will leave basic research-that driven by scientific curiosity
rather than specific commercial applications-underfunded, depriving
the economy of the building blocks of future innovation. Although
federal expenditures on R&D are expected to reach $132 billion in
fiscal year 2005 and $137.5 billion in 2009, new spending will be
concentrated in the fields of defense, homeland security, and the
space program. Funding for all other R&D programs, meanwhile, will
remain flat this year and decline in real terms over the next five
years.

In July, Congress approved a record-breaking $70.3 billion for R&D for
the Defense Department in 2005, a 7.1 percent increase from last year
and more than the Pentagon had asked for (in fact, the department's
top brass had asked to cut R&D spending). Such largesse makes it
likely that the Pentagon will be able to continue innovation in the
near term. Its longer-term prospects, however, are more worrying.
According to five-year projections by the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the Defense Department will focus more and
more on weapons development while neglecting basic and applied
research.

Privately funded industrial R&D, meanwhile-which accounts for over 60
percent of the U.S. total-is also starting to slip as a result of the
current economic slowdown. Private industry cut R&D spending by 1.7
percent in 2001, 4.5 percent in 2002, and 0.7 percent in 2003. This
year, R&D spending is expected to increase-but by less than one
percent, which is less than the inflation rate. Furthermore, with less
than 10 percent of its R&D spending dedicated to basic research,
industry will not be able to fill in the gaps created by the
government's shift of funding to defense and homeland security-related
research.

These funding decreases may be exacerbated by a coming labor shortage.
The number of Americans pursuing advanced degrees in the sciences and
engineering is declining, and university science and engineering
programs are growing more dependent on foreign-born talent.
Thirty-eight percent of the nation's scientists and engineers with
doctorates were born outside the country. And of the Ph.D.'s in
science and engineering awarded to foreign students in the United
States from 1985 to 2000, more than half went to students from China,
India, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Such dependence on foreign talent could become a critical weakness for
the United States in the future, especially as foreign applications to
U.S. science and engineering graduate programs decline. With booming
economies and improving educational opportunities in their countries,
staying at home is an increasingly attractive option for Chinese and
Indian scientists. In addition, visa restrictions put in place after
the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have created new barriers
for foreign students trying to enter the United States. Surveys
conducted by the Association of American Universities, the American
Council on Education, and other education groups have blamed
repetitive security checks, inefficient visa-renewal processes, and a
lack of transparency for significant drops in applications to U.S.
graduate programs this year.

ENGINEERING BIOSYSTEMS

The real test for the United States' future will be whether it can
maintain and improve its environment for innovation. For the last 30
years, U.S. companies have led in the invention of new products while
Asian firms have played a secondary role, lowering the costs to
manufacture U.S. inventions. But Asian firms have begun to challenge
that division of labor and are no longer content simply to follow.

This shift has resulted in part from a change in the way U.S.
companies work. During the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. technology producers
started collaborating more with colleagues around the world. Private
industry found that R&D had become too costly and risky for a single
lab at a large company to undertake alone. Instead, cutting-edge
companies began to cooperate with a wide network of other firms,
universities, and industry-government consortia to develop new
products. Such activity flourished in places such as Silicon Valley,
the Route 128 corridor in Boston, and in Austin, Texas-hothouses of
innovation where scientists, venture capitalists, and technology
managers meet and share information. The result has been a shift in
the locus of innovation from individual corporate labs to networks of
technology firms, capital markets, and research universities.

Cheaper communications technologies have also allowed U.S. companies
to operate more globally, dividing production into discrete functions,
contracting out to producers in different countries, and transferring
technological know-how to foreign partners. Contrary to conventional
wisdom, not just labor-intensive manufacturing is being moved
offshore; Microsoft, Intel, Bell Labs, Motorola, and other firms
increasingly perform advanced research abroad.

The attraction of emerging technology clusters in places such as
Shanghai, China, Bangalore, India, and Hsinchu, Taiwan, was at first
based on their cheap labor supply. But as local technology companies
have developed, new research institutes have been founded, and
scientists and engineers from such countries have returned home after
training and working in the United States, these hubs have started
supporting innovation of their own. Craig Barrett of Intel has said
that the Chinese are now "capable of doing any engineering, any
software job, any managerial job that people in the United States are
capable of." And Microsoft has reportedly contracted with the Indian
companies Infosys and Satyam not only to do simple software coding,
but also to provide highly skilled software architects.

No longer content to dominate labor-intensive manufacturing, Asian
governments are also actively promoting technological innovation.
Japan and South Korea each currently spend 3 percent of GDP on R&D
(compared to 2.7 percent in the United States) and Beijing is trying
to reach an R&D spending target of 1.5 percent of GDP in 2005 (up from
0.6 percent in 1996). Asian countries are also trying to take the lead
in three areas that are likely to generate the next wave of
innovation: biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology.
Governments have increased their support for all three areas, and Asia
now spends as much as the United States and Europe combined on
nanotechnology. South Korea, China, and Japan have all established
national offices to coordinate research and are spending significant
private and public resources on new developments.

In addition to increasing science and R&D budgets, China, India, South
Korea, and Taiwan are shifting from top-down, state-directed
technology policies to more flexible, market-oriented approaches that
foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Regional governments are using
tax, education, and fiscal policies to create clusters of domestic
start-ups. They are encouraging students, scientists, and technology
managers to return from Silicon Valley to set up their own companies
in Shanghai or Bangalore. And by offering tax holidays as well as
priority access to water, land, and electricity, they are attracting
high-tech companies from the United States, Europe, and Japan.

All of these changes in Asia highlight one of the paradoxical outcomes
of globalization: geography has become both less and more important to
innovation. Technology firms can now locate anywhere. Production that
was once tied to a specific place can be picked up and moved to other
parts of the world. But to remain competitive, technology companies
need knowledge-and information-rich regions; firms are likely to be
drawn to technology hubs that provide the concentration of ideas,
talent, and capital needed for future innovation. Globalization has
therefore not eliminated geography as a concern, but rather increased
the leverage of those regions that can successfully assemble the
components of innovation.

RAPID RESPONSE

Before rushing to address these challenges, Washington should
understand the limits of the data used to describe S&T trends.
Predictions of labor shortages in the sciences have been frequently
wrong before, graduate school enrollment can change from year to year,
and other data can counterbalance bad news. Although the number of
Ph.D. students coming to the United States has dropped, for example,
the proportion of those choosing to remain after their studies has
increased substantially. Moreover, a bachelor's degree may now be more
relevant to innovation than before, and the number of American
students getting such degrees in science and engineering has increased
over the last decade.

Policymakers should therefore be careful not to focus too much on any
particular statistic. Dollars spent on R&D or research papers
published are easy to measure, but innovation involves many other
factors. The speed at which new technologies such as broadband are
adopted and diffused, the flexibility of labor markets, and the ease
with which new companies can enter and exit technology markets all
affect the ability of innovators to flourish in a particular
economy-yet such factors usually fall outside the parameters of
traditional S&T policy.

The double-edged phenomenon of globalization, which can both
strengthen U.S. technology companies and threaten the innovation
system, makes the task of supporting innovation through policy much
more difficult. Proximity to consumers gives firms a better sense of
potential new markets and allows them to rapidly respond to changing
customer demands. Yet a move overseas, although it might seem good for
shareholders, could also destabilize the complex interactions between
firms and universities that drive technological discovery in the
United States. Removing any one element from a technology cluster can
diminish its ability to generate new ideas. Send manufacturing jobs to
Asia and you risk exporting important components of your innovation
infrastructure.

The United States cannot and should not prevent the emergence of new
technology clusters in Asia. Instead, it should prepare to develop and
absorb new technologies as they emerge elsewhere. The ability to make
good use of diverse ideas and systems remains one of the United
States' most important comparative advantages, and U.S. companies must
make sure that good ideas, no matter where they are developed, are
brought to market in the United States first.

U.S. private industry may want to follow the example of the nation's
armed forces. Washington's military dominance no longer depends on it
denying others access to critical technologies. Many of the sensors
that the U.S. military now uses to detect ships or aircraft beyond
visual range or to provide targeting information are off-the-shelf
items produced by companies around the world. Unable to prevent the
spread of these technologies to potential enemies, the United States
has maintained its military superiority by making sure it is better
than any other country at using such tools, integrating sensor input,
and creating sensor networks. In the commercial sphere, U.S. firms
should similarly strive to maintain their advantage by adopting and
integrating new technologies more rapidly than their competitors.

Maintaining such speed will require that U.S. companies have a
presence in Asian markets to track, develop, and invest in the most
promising new ideas. Washington must continue to pressure its trading
partners-especially Beijing-to meet the terms of current trade
agreements and allow such access. The United States must also promote
voluntary and open technology standards. In March 2004, the Bush
administration protested regulations requiring all wireless imports to
China to contain data-encryption technology produced only by Chinese
companies. Beijing has since withdrawn the regulations, but given
China's interest in developing new technology standards, the United
States should watch for future attempts of a similar nature.

At home, Washington should not strive to identify the next big thing.
Rather, policymakers should ensure that the United States remains the
most dynamic innovation system. Funding for science and education must
be maintained. Although it might be tempting to shrink the budget
deficit by reducing discretionary funding for the sciences, this would
weaken one of the pillars of the country's future economic and
technological health. Money for basic research, especially in the
physical sciences and engineering, and support for the National
Science Foundation should therefore be maintained at current levels or
increased.

Of equal importance, policymakers must also reinforce the United
States' entrepreneurial climate, its greatest asset. The building
blocks of American innovation-flexible capital and labor markets,
transparent government regulation, and a business environment that
rewards risk-need to be strengthened. Making the R&D tax credit
permanent and expanding it to include more types of collaborative
research, for example, would help provide incentives for innovation in
as many technological sectors as possible.

With innovative capacity rapidly spreading across the Pacific, the
United States cannot simply assume that it will remain the epicenter
of scientific research and technological innovation. Instead, it
should meet the challenge from Asia head-on. The United States must
actively engage with new centers of innovation and prepare itself to
integrate rapidly and build on new ideas emerging in China, India, and
South Korea. Above all, it must not assume that future innovation will
occur automatically. Only through renewed attention to science
funding, educational reform, the health of labor and capital markets,
and the vitality of the business environment can the United States
maintain its edge-and the most innovative economy in the world.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Diwali, by Vikram Seth

I send this poem out every year at Diwali time.

I would like to share it with you this year for the festive season.

"And when an alap of Marwa
Swims on slow flute-notes over
The neighbours' roofs at sunset
Wordlessly like a lover

It holds me-till the strain
Of exile, here or there,
Subverts the trance, the fear
Of fear found everywhere. "

Happy Diwali to all of you who are "abroad abroad" and "not at home at home".

Here's a toast to all of us exiles.

Rajeev Srinivasan

===========================

DIWALI --- Vikram Seth


Three years of neurotic
Guy Fawkes Days-I recall
That lonely hankering-
But I am home after all.

Home. These walls, this sky
Splintered with wakes of light
These mud-lamps beaded round
The eaves, this festive night,

These streets, these voices...yet
The old insensate dread,
Abeyant as that love,
Once more shifts in my head.

Five? Six? generations ago
Somewhere in the Punjab
My father's family,farmers,
Perhaps had a small shop

And two generations later
Could send a son to a school
To gain the conqueror's
Authoritarian seal:

English! Six-armed god,
Key to a job, to power,
Snobbery, the good life,
This separateness, this fear.

English: beloved language
of Jonson, Wordsworth's tongue-
These my "meridian names"
Whose grooves I crawl along.

The Moghuls fought and ruled
And settled. Even while
They hungered for musk-melon,
Rose, peach, nightingale,

The land assumed their love.
At sixty they could not
Retire westwards. The British
Made us the Orient.

How could an Englishman say
About the divan-e-khas
"If there is heaven on earth
It is this; it is this; it is this."?

Macaulay the prophet of learning
Chewed at his pen: one taste
Of Western wisdom "surpasses
All the books of the East,"

And Kalidas, Shankaracharya,
Panini, Bhaskar, Kabir,
Surdas sank, and we welcomed
The reign of Shakespeare.

The undigested Hobbes,
The Mill who later ground
(Through talk of liberty)
The Raj out of the land ...

O happy breed of Babus,
I march on with your purpose;
We will have railways, common law
And a good postal service-

And I twist along
Those grooves from image to image,
Violet, elm-tree, swan,
Pork-pie, gable, scrimmage

And as we title our memoirs
"Roses in December"
Though we all know that here
Roses *grow* in December

And we import songs
Composed in the U.S
For Vietnam (not even
Our local horrors grip us)

And as, over gin at the Club,
I note that egregious member
Strut just perceptibly more
When with a foreigner,

I know that the whole world
Means exile of our breed
Who are not home at home
And are abroad abroad,

Huddled in towns, while around:
"He died last week. My boys
Are starving. Daily we dig
The ground for sweet potatoes."

"The landlord's hirelings broke
My husband's ribs-and I
Grow blind in the smoke of the hearth."
"Who will take care of me

When I am old? No-one
Is left." So it goes on,
The cyclic shadow-play
Under the sinister sun;

That sun that, were there water,
Could bless the dispirited land,
Coaxing three crops a year
From this same yieldless ground.

Yet would these parched wraiths still
Starve in their ruins, while
"Silkworms around them grow
Into fat cocoons?", Sad soil,

This may as well be my home.
Because no other nation
Moves me thus? What of that?
Cause for congratulation?

This could well be my home;
I am too used to the flavor
Of tenous fixity;
I have been brought to savour

Its phases: the winter wheat-
The flowers of Har-ki-Doon -
The sal forests - the hills
Inflamed with rhododendron -

The first smell of the Rains
On the baked earth-the peaks
Snow-drowned in permanence--
The single mountain lakes.

What if my tongue is warped?
I need no words to gaze
At Ajanta, those flaked caves,
Or at the tomb of Mumtaz;

And when an alap of Marwa
Swims on slow flute-notes over
The neighbours' roofs at sunset
Wordlessly like a lover

It holds me-till the strain
Of exile, here or there,
Subverts the trance, the fear
Of fear found everywhere.

"But freedom?" the notes would sing...
Parole is enough. Tonight
Below the fire-crossed sky
Of the Festival of Light.

Give your soul leave to feel
What distilled peace it can;
In lieu of joy, at least
This lapsing anodyne.

"The world is a bridge. Pass over it,
Building no house upon it."
Acceptance may come with time;
Rest, then disquieted heart.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A clue to Bush II's foreign affairs perspective

November 5
 
In a word, more of the same. Deja vu all over again, in Yogi Berra's immortal words.
 
 
Richard Haas is supposedly a 'South Asia' expert and was influential in Bush I.
 
Note that India doesn't figure in the 'major powers', which are China and Russia.
 
India does figure in the 'big powers', which are China, Russia, India and Japan. Since Henry Kissinger has the same list, this must now be the default option.
 
But then immediately after that, Haas goes into India-Pakistan-equal-equal.
 
Therefore, Bush II is going to be 'South Asia' oriented: Musharraf as Major Non Nato Ally, India as a country to keep down. The very term 'South Asia' is intended to inflate Pakistan's importance and reduce India's. Otherwise, the area should naturally be called the Indian subcontinent.
 
Note that among the nine major items Haas suggests, there is nothing of great importance for India. For instance:
Control of proliferation of nuclear weapons by China and Pakistan
Managing Afghanistan so that the Pakistani Army (also known as the Taliban) do not infiltrate the country again
Human rights issues in Tibet
The Maoist inflitration into Nepal (and by extension into India via the PWG)
Islamist terrorism in Bangladesh
 
India, as usual, has to fight its own battles.
 
The one good thing about Bush is that we will not have to listen to lectures from East-coast pundits about Atlanticism and proliferation.
 
Rajeev

problems with blogspot's mail interface

Nov 6

There seems to be some problem with posts mailed to blogger: they are showing up much later than when posted. This is a problem, and will slow down my posts to this blog.

Rajeev

Thursday, November 04, 2004

business journalists on india-china comparison

November 4

A new benchmark in the race between India and China

http://www.iht.com/articles/2004/11/04/bloomberg/sxmuk.html

If these guys think Manmohan and co are going to improve the business environment, they must be smoking some high-quality stuff. Yeah, especially with the Marxist monkey on their shoulders. I guess all the propaganda about Manmohan being the 'father' of liberalization has made the difference. (Like Nehru is the 'uncle' to all children. In fact he hated children.) And of course there's P Chidambaram who successfully brought down the rate of growth to the Nehruvian Rate of Growth of 3% in his last stint.

I was most entertained to see the following from Chidambaram, though:

UPA finance minister P. Chidambaram allows that Nehruism wrought havoc on India. A report in the Asian Age dated 8th September 2004 (“PC blames Nehru”) appears to suggest the unthinkable, that Nehruvian Stalinism has been an economic crime against humanity: an idea for which I regularly get abused by the Old Left and their running-dogs. Amazing that Chidambaram should say this publicly, considering that he is beholden to the Dynasty for his job.



Anyway Chidambaram pulled no punches, it appears, and I quote:



“Colossal damage was done in these 30 years [the first 30 years post-independence when Nehruvian Stalinism ruled unchallenged – Ed.] as the heavy hand of state intervention destroyed all sense of responsibility and private enterprise, specially among the rural people.”



“The disappearance of individual enterprise resulted in the people losing their sense of responsibility and pride in attending to development work in their villages. They, instead, look for State intervention at all levels, even desilting a village pond. The effect of this attitude of alienation, particularly among the rural people, contributed significantly to Indian poverty as a majority of its billion people lived in villages.”



“We paid a heavy price for this. It will take 200 years to wipe out poverty.”



Amen to that. He was of course referring to the 2-3% growth in GDP, the Nehruvian Rate of Growth. The result? 250 million Indians condemned to remain below the poverty line: this is otherwise known as the Nehruvian Penalty.

Rajeev

Save this poor Tibetan monk's life

November 4


----- Original Message -----
From: "Friends of Tibet (INDIA)"
To:
Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 2004 5:21 PM
Subject: 'Save Tenzin Delek Rinpoche'


> 'Save Tenzin Delek Rinpoche'
> (Bombay | November 5-9, 2004)
>
> Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (53), an influential Buddhist teacher was arrested
> on April 7, 2002, and charged with involvement in a series of bombings. On
> December 2, 2002, he was found guilty of "inciting separatism, committing
> crimes of explosions, and illegal possession of guns and ammunition". He
> was not accorded due process because of the denial of representation by
> independent lawyers at his trial and reliance on his conviction being
> reliant on a confession by his relative and co-defendant Lobsang Dhondup
> that was reportedly given during torture. Despite international outcry,
> Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's death sentence was upheld. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
> is being imprisoned in Chuandong prison, a high security prison in Sichuan
> Province. Chinese government may execute him at any time this December.
>
> Probably you can help save Tenzin Delek Rinpoche from execution by
> participating in campaigns in India. We request your participation in the
> 'Save Tenzin Delek Rinpoche Campaign' Tibetan Youth Congress is planning
> in Bombay in association with Friends of Tibet (India). To know more or to
> get involved with the campaign scheduled in Bombay from November 5-9,
> 2004, call: Aspi Mistry: (0) 9820491350 / Jigme Gadong: (0) 9819588690 /
> Tenzin Tsundue: (0) 9819252229 / Email: tyc@vsnl.com /
> support@friendsoftibet.org.
>
> ...............
> Friends of Tibet (INDIA)
> PO Box 16674, Bombay 400050
> Email: support@friendsoftibet.org
> Web: www.friendsoftibet.org
> ...............

Kissinger on tectonic shifts in power

November 4

Good old war criminal Henry Kissinger is back at it again.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/opinion/2004/November/opinion_November2.xml§ion=opinion&col=

Interesting that he is willing (now) to treat India as more or less on par with China, Russia and Japan. And note that he did not bring in the usual India-Pakistan-equal-equal nonsense. If this indicates a new realism in US State Dept thinking, I'd be quite amazed. After all, K has been the grey eminence advising State all these years, come Republican or Democratic administrations.

I also liked his characterization of Kerry as an 'Atlanticist'. I have been saying for some time that NATO-centrism is a major error people have been making. The Economist is the official mouthpiece of this view. Good to have a name for it: Atlanticism.

In the century of the Pacific, Atlanticists are going to be the creatures that time forgot.

Rajeev

Re: UK Guardian on the nation state

dear martin,

my sincere condolences about harinder and my apologies for having assumed you were not victimized by chinese racism (as a white person, you normally wouldn't be). no, i did not know about harinder's tragic death due to racism. i will read up on the various items brought up by google. i will also read your article on the global hierarchy of race, and i do believe this is an important topic. i would like to have a dialog with you on this topic: there is currently a debate in indian circles about 'white studies' and the all-too-pervasive eagerness of indians, like other immigrants, to be 'almost white' in the us (and presumably in the uk).

thanks
rajeev
----- Original Message -----
From: Martinjacques1@aol.com
To: rajeevs@rediff.co.in
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2004 10:15 PM
Subject: Re: UK Guardian on the nation state


dear rajeev,

thank you for your email. i can assure you that i am not starry-eyed about china, least of all about chinese racism. indeed, i think this will pose a profound problem for the world and already does - and has done - for east asia. my wife - who was indian-malaysian - died in a hong kong hospital in 2000 at the age of 33, the victim of chinese racism. if you don't know about this case, then you should do because it because it received international coverage, including in south asia. it led to a campaign in hong kong for anti-racist legislation which eventually forced the hk govt to concede and announce that for the first time it would introduce such legislation. my wife's name is harinder veriah. if you go onto google and put her name into advanced search you will find lots and lots of material. you well also be interested in an article i wrote in the guardian in sept last year entitled the global hierarchy of race. you can find it on the guardian website by putting my name into archive search. this covers many of these issues.

best wishes,

martin

UK Guardian on the nation state

November 3

"Strength in numbers" UK Guardian October 23

http://www.sulekha.com/news/nhc.aspx?cid=406567

This is an interesting perspective and I agree with the premise that the nation-state's obituary is a little premature.

While it is true that power is inexorably shifting away from the European Union -- partly a function of aging and partly of internal dissent -- Martin Jacques does go a little ga-ga about China. I suppose this is not suprising considering that the Guardian is a left-wing paper, and China is about the only Old Left success story there is these days.

But I take exception to the quote from Jared Diamond that Jacques nods approvingly to. Diamond, although he does make a lot of good points in "Guns, Germs and Steel", tends to be irritatingly focused on the (sometimes imagined) glories of South-east Asia (esp. Papua New Guinea) and China. I think he is simply ignorant of Indian culture and civilization. For instance, according to him Indian languages are derived from Sino-Tibetan, which is a fairly absurd proposition. Unlike the other five or six large (in population) nations, India has a distinct, unbroken cultural heritage going back at least 5,000 years. This is despite the best efforts of Muslim and Christian imperialists.

In contrast, China is a Han tyranny, a monoculture that is not sustainable in the long run: for instance, look at the riots last week where Hui Muslims revolted and 150 people were killed. If you applaud China's cohesiveness and attribute it to the Han majority, then you are pretty close to endorsing racism (you have to be a non-yellow Asian and live in Singapore or Hong Kong or Shanghai to understand Chinese racism: they are as racist and color-conscious as they accuse the Japanese of being). There seems to be an imperial-hangover tendency on the side of the Old Left to admire China's successful and brutal colonialism: sort of like, sigh, in the good old days, we used to do this too!

Besides, China's cultural continuity has been decisively broken by the Marxists. The only thing that remains from the olden days is a rather alarming sense of imperialism: a new 'manifest destiny' if you will. You see this in practice in colonial attacks on Tibet, the Spratlys, Mischief Reef, Senkaku Islands, and now the attempt to claim Korea as theirs. You folks in the West are deluding yourselves about China, just as some of you (Kim Philby leaps to mind) deluded yourselves about the Soviet Union. We Asians know the beast better. This is a brutal, totalitarian dictatorship, and "China's peaceful rise" is a smoke-screen.

I am copying Martin Jacques on this mail as well. Mr. Jacques, I am a columnist for rediff.com, India's largest web portal. My web page is www.rediff.com/news/srinivas.htm

Rajeev