Sunday, October 30, 2005

sandhya jain on us fuss about caste in india

oct 30

sandhya is on the money as always


US Dalit hearing simply scandalous


Sandhya Jain


Successive Indian governments have failed to protest America's propensity to misuse human rights issues for politically motivated calumny against nations it seeks to undermine to serve its foreign policy objectives. Shamefully, large sections of the Indian elite also betrays unseemly desperation to report against the nation to US human rights committees, usually as quid pro quo for funds for their agenda-driven NGOs.


Yet, even by the standards of its normally invasive diplomacy, the US Congress' decision to appoint a sub-committee on "India's Unfinished Agenda: Equality and Justice for 200 Million Victims of the Caste System," is simply scandalous. Not only does it construe a gross interference in our internal affairs, it is also an attempt to influence the Indian Supreme Court hearing on reservation rights for Dalit converts to religions like Christianity, which admit that they discriminate against Dalit adherents!


In these circumstances, the silence of the Indian government, remote-controlled by the Roman Catholic Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, is disturbing. So is the silence of major political parties, especially those that claim a special affinity for Dalits. In fact, the Indian political spectrum as a whole would do well to evolve a consensus on the issue of external interest in India, if the country is serious about being considered as a candidate for the Security Council. In this regard, it would be instructive to see how the Chinese government gives America tit-for-tat in the matter of its highly slanted human rights reports.


Actually, America has much to hide regarding its human rights record, particularly vis-à-vis the Native American population (what is left after the genocide by White Settlers) and the former slaves imported from Africa. The shocking delay in providing relief to Katrina hurricane victims hardly needs recalling.


China, however, does not stomach America's supercilious ways. When the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China recently released its annual report, Beijing condemned it as "wanton interference" in its internal affairs and presented its own report on the human rights situation in USA. The document is voluminous (the Chinese are thorough), but even a few cursory examples suffice to show how self-respecting nations protect their honour. The "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004," released by China's State Council on 3 March 2005, shows the dark side of the Statue of Liberty.


China points out that American society is notorious for rampant violent crimes, and that there is little security of life and liberty in that country. It cites a report of the US Department of Justice (29 November 2004) that in 2003, citizens aged 12 years and above experienced about 24 million victimizations. Giving statistics of several cities, China said America has the largest number of gun owners and gun violence increasingly takes a toll of innocent lives. About 31,000 Americans are killed and 75,000 wounded by firearms each year, which means more than 80 people are shot dead each day. Police violence is an equally serious problem.

            China has made a fascinating observation! In the past decade America spent US $ 7 billion annually to build new jails and prisons. California got one college and 21 new prisons after 1984! This is because jails are a lucrative business, with a combined staff of more than 530,000, they are the second largest employer in America after General Motors. There are over 100 private prisons in 27 states and 18 private prison companies. As a result, the value of goods and services created by inmates surged from $ 400 million in 1980 to $ 1.1 billion in 1994.

            As for jail conditions, in many states inmates are routinely stripped in front of others before being moved to a new prison. Male inmates are often made to wear women's pink underwear as a form of humiliation. New inmates are frequently beaten and sometimes made to crawl. The conditions of women prisoners are naturally worse. Sexual harassment is common. New York Times reported last October that at least 13% of inmates are sexually assaulted in prison (12 October 2004).


The Chinese government has made a detailed analysis of the political manipulation by the rich in the electoral process, the astronomical costs of elections, and the resultant favours to corporations as a result of election funding. Most poignant among the flaws in the US election system is the newly adopted Help America Vote Act of 2004, which requires voters to produce a series of documents such as a stable residence and thus effectively disenfranchises thousands of homeless people. America refuses to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and is home to poverty, hunger and homelessness, in spite of being the world's richest country. From 1970 to 2000 (adjusted for inflation), average incomes of the bottom 90% stagnated but those of the top 10% experienced an increase of nearly 90% (The Baltimore Sun, 6 July 2004).


Racial discrimination is of course very deeply ingrained and Black murder victims are five times White victims; Blacks affected by AIDS are ten times Whites (National Urban League, 24 March 2004). The number of Black people living in poverty is three times that of the Whites. Apartheid is still rampant in schools (Schools and Lives Are Still Separate, The Washington Post, May 17, 2004).


            The situation of American women and children is hardly reassuring. FBI Crime Statistics show that in 2003, there were 93,233 rape cases; virtually 63.2 in every 100,000 women are victims of assault. The number of abused women treated at First Aid Centers exceeds one million every year. More than 1,500 women in the US are killed every year by their husbands, lovers or roommates; nearly 78% American women are physically victimized at least once in their lifetime. Sex crimes are on the rise in military as well. Women soldiers have been raped or sexually harassed in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, and other military bases.


As for children, every year nearly 400,000 children in the US are forced to engage in prostitution or other sexual dealings on the streets (The USA Today, 27 February 2004). Then, there are scandals about clergymen molesting children. Actually, the list is endless.






mitra said...

Yes! How does the US dare to interfere in our internal mess? Its our own private mess; and we love it. In fact we have nurtured this mess for the last 3000 yrs (or at least 100 yrs old as per Hindutva sources). We take it out once in a while, tweak it and make sure it is in good shape. In fact we really bring it out and put it on display every five years - at the time of election.

So this grand conspiracy to try and make us part with our own beloved mess will not be tolerated at all. We believe in rights of societies to be sovereign; Indian society is a black box; and we believe that all societies should be so.

Well...ahem...except in matters of Visa. We strongly condemn the slashing of VISA quotas by western nations and percieve it as a racist, exclusivist measure which will take them away from the ideals of a plural, multicultural, tolerant, open and modern thinking society which should be the goal of all nations....except India.

Anonymous said...

anyone knows who this Mitra person is. sure seems to have lots of time on hand -- he has lots to write on so many issues, seems omniscient!

Anonymous said...

The way this Mitra Thug writes I don't belive he is an indian at all.

Prasad said...

>>sure seems to have lots of time on hand

Or is paid to do so. Of that there's no doubt.

Anonymous said...

Forget Mitra, let us discuss caste. How come Shankaracharya is not talking about it? How come BJP is not talking about it while talking about 'Hindu' all the time?

Is it true that while evangelists and other religious fanatics want Hindu 'people', BJP merely wants votes of those who are prsently 'Hindu'?

If we don't talk about it and thrash out the issue, USA will be encouraged to do so. What else?

Anonymous said...

Some people don't talk about it as they are busy doing the actual work. Please visit chennai and see the work that Shankaracharya has done for dalits. Didn't a dalit commit suicide when acharya was arrested?

mitra said...

>> How come BJP is not talking about it while talking about 'Hindu' all the time? <<

The reason why BJP-RSS are not talking about it is because it is not a part of their ideology. While the ultimate aim of any political party is to come to power, it also needs an ideology for "market share". The BJP-RSS ideology is basically oriented to high caste Hindus. Dabbling too much into problems of Caste is not only likely to alienate the high caste hindu voter, but also give it no gains from SCs etc who already have "commited" parties for this purpose. It is the same situation if BJP starts wooing Muslims. The muslims wont come to it, and the Hindus will desert it.

There is nothing wrong with this approach. The problem comes when BJP-RSS start pretending, and the supporters start believing that BJP-RSS is more than a political party and its ideology has a purpose higher than gaining power. The BJP-RSS is projecting an image of being "a way of life", a situation common to extremist parties, because their ideology is so different from what exists as "normal life". However, the Left parties are far more guilty on this account.

So BJP can only try and brush the caste problem under the carpet. This of course, leads to a dishonest approach that caste is not important or that it does not exist. The historical trend: caste as a determiner of political power is here to stay; a fact clear to all except those who dont live in India.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Only choice available to common man is to choose lesser of the two (or three evils). In that respect, BJP/NDA/RSS is an obivious choice