Saturday, February 18, 2006

Do US bureaucrats specialize in making enemies out of friends?

feb 18th

so much for 'natural allies'.

san, once again the yanks show their true colors. but will the indians learn?

the only antidote to all this is to be rich and powerful.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ram Narayanan <>
Date: Feb 18, 2006 7:02 AM
Subject: Do US bureaucrats specialize in making enemies out of friends?

Dear Rajeev Srinivasan:

It's important that the State Department, the lawmakers, academics and the media pay attention to this case of immature and insensitive handling of a visa issue.

How can America win more friends in India if its bureaucrats specialize in making enemies out of friends, especially on the eve of President Bush's long awaited trip to India?

Please read the following two stories.

Ram Narayanan
US-India Friendship


US at it once again 

It is arrogant towards friends and foes alike

THE Americans have put up another spectacular display of their legendary arrogance to demonstrate why it is difficult to love them. Just when their relations with India were improving, they have spoiled things once again by denying visas to two of the top Indian scientists on flimsy grounds. Not only that, they have even had the cheek to suggest that one of them, Prof Goverdhan Mehta, former Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, was working in "chemical warfare and bioterrorism". This despite the fact that all his academic research relates to "new molecular entities" and is not even remotely connected with chemical warfare. Professor Mehta is not only one of the world's top scientists in organic chemistry but also a member of Prime Minister's Scientific Advisory Committee. By denying – or delaying – visa to him, the US has all but accused the Indian government of having bioterrorists in its ranks. The US embassy's feeble clarification that no final decision has been taken on Professor Mehta's visa application pending receipt of additional information necessary to process his visa request is more by way of whitewashing.

The other scientist, Mr Placid Rodriguez, is equally eminent. The Raja Ramanna Fellow is a former Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalapakkam. Both have travelled to the US many times in the past. Even if there were certain additional visa restrictions in the wake of 9/11, these could have been easily waived in deference to their stature. But then, the US is very unflinching in its resolve to rub everyone the wrong way, be he a friend or a foe.

That is why it has more critics than admirers in the world. What it should not forget is that India is too large a country to fit under its thumb. The public opinion here is not exactly overflowing with genial feelings towards the "ugly Americans" (yes, that is how they are seen everywhere thanks to their own antics) after their ambassador issued a vote-with-us-or-else threat on the Iran issue. Such repeated provocations will only derail the strategic partnership that they want to have with this country. And all this too on the eve of President Bush's possibly, a landmark visit to India!



Scientist visa in US soup 


New Delhi, Feb. 17: The US today said it has not taken a final decision on the visa applications of two Indian scientists.

However, one of them — former Indian Institute of Science head Goverdhan Mehta — maintained that he was denied permission to travel and vowed not to reapply.

The US embassy, in a statement released here, regretted the inconvenience caused to Mehta, an expert in organic chemistry, and nuclear scientist Placid Rodriguez.

The two had applied separately for visas at the US consulate in Chennai. While Mehta was invited for a lecture at the American Chemical Society, Rodriguez was to attend a symposium at the annual meeting of the Metals, Minerals and Materials Society in March.

The US embassy came out with the statement after reports about the visa denial sparked outrage in the Indian scientific establishment.

"Although it is generally the US policy not to comment on individual cases, the US embassy feels compelled to correct the inaccuracies regarding Professor Mehta's application for a visa," said the statement.

"No final decision has been taken on Professor Mehta's application pending receipt of additional information necessary to process his visa request," it said.

An embassy official said the US has respect for the scientists of India and other countries and no one was trying to discourage visits by members of the Indian academic and scientific community.

Mehta, however, is not impressed. "I was clearly told that visa has not been granted," he said from Bangalore, where the IISc is located.

The scientist was furious at the behaviour of consulate officials. He felt humiliated when the interviewer asked him to convince him that his work was not related to chemical warfare.

"I could not answer the absurd question. Then I was told that I have not been honest. How can anyone say this to a scientist? It was not a personal humiliation," he said.

Mehta has decided not to reapply even as an official from the US consulate today requested him to do so.

The US embassy officials said Rodriguez's visa had been delayed for different reasons. They regretted that the professor was upset.

The mission was in touch with Rodriguez and was encouraging him to continue with the visa application, the officials said. Mehta was welcome to continue his application whenever he chose to, they added.


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lazysusan said...

Yes definitely US officials & their Indian lackeys are arrogant A******. If you have visited Mumbai Consulate for visa or US Library,'ll know what I am talking of.

indianpatriot said...

Knowtowing to US and earlier USSR or to Britain comes naturally to Indian politicians whether of Congress Variety or BJP variety especially Jaswanth Singh variety(Yeshwant Sinha was better when he advocated Bush negotiate with Osama or Saddam when US advocated talk with Pakistan). In the middle of some bad news here is some good news about Shabari Kumbh from India Today(which requires subscription). With MDMK coming out of UPA atleast in Tamil Nadu(consequently certain defeat for Karunanidhi in TamilNadu), I am giving UPA 3 months grace period. Let me see whether I will be correct in this.


For God's Sake

The RSS-sponsored Shabari Kumbh in the tribal-dominated Dangs district of Gujarat is a fresh attempt by the Sangh to counter conversion and bring Christian adivasis back to the Hindu fold

By Uday Mahurkar in Dangs


HINDUTVA CALLING: Modi (left) hits out at luring people for conversions

The RSS' biggest offensive against conversions in the tribal-dominated Dangs district in Gujarat finally culminated on February 13. With about five lakh people participating in the three-day long Shabari Kumbh Mela, the Sangh Parivar has claimed it was a successful endeavour. Being planned for over two years, the Shabari Kumbh was an initiative to set the ball rolling to bring Christian tribals back to the Hindu fold.

The Dangs had hit the headlines following attacks on churches and missionary schools in December 1998. The attacks, the Sangh claimed, were in response to the aggressive conversions carried out by missionary groups. The Hindutva bodies used the issue to trigger a wave of re-conversion in the Dangs. The initiative was so pronounced that in the 2001 Census the Christian population in the region came down to 5 per cent. Earlier the Christian population had risen from 1 per cent in 1991 to 12 per cent in 1998. There are about 18 Christian missionary groups active in Dangs.

At the Kumbh, elaborate arrangements were made for the pilgrims under tight security and there was no violence, contrary to apprehensions. There were as many as 31 tent townships, equipped with sleeping facility for 5,000 people, set up along an 8-km stretch of the River Purna. Around 8,000 swayamsevaks and hundreds of pracharaks managed the event.

Pilgrims first offered prayers at the Shabari Mata Mandir, built in 2004 atop a hill near Subir village, 33 km from the district headquarters of Ahwa. They then took a dip in the Pampa Sarovar, a natural pool formed by the Purna river, about 7 km from the temple. The locals believe this is the place where Shabari, an Adivasi woman, fed berries to Rama.


SEARCHING FOR FAITH: Devotees at the Pampa Sarovar ghat

The mela had considerable participation from tribals as well. A majority of the tribals were from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. When a huge pitcher filled with water from various rivers in India was poured into the Pampa Sarovar, the atmosphere became charged with religious fervour. Madhubhai Kokana, a tribal who walked almost 200 km from a village in Valsad district to reach the site, says, "This is a great event in our lives. We will never forget it." A senior RSS leader admitted, "After a period of great unease marked by the Jinnah episode, Uma Bharati's departure and the murky Sanjay Joshi scandal, the success of Shabari Kumbh has come as a whiff of fresh air for the average RSS worker."

The RSS believes the Shabari Kumbh was a necessary step to mobilise tribals for the Hindutva cause, as despite violent reactions Christian missionaries have not stopped their conversion activities. Alpha Ministry, a protestant missionary group, held a big faith-healing event in Dangs on the eve of the Kumbh. Says Kantubhai Kokani of Ambapani village in the district, "They distributed a lot of clothes and food on the occasion." In order to avail missionary freebies, Kokani wore the cross when the Christian preachers came to his village but removed it after their departure.

"It pains us that the Kumbh has been marked by hate propaganda."

Not surprisingly, Hindutva leaders spewed anti-conversion rhetoric at the Kumbh. Almost the entire top leadership of the RSS including K.S. Sudarshan and Mohanrao Bhagwat attended the event. Sudarshan, while addressing sants who had gathered on the occasion, said: "We are up against a kapat yudhha (war with cunning means) by fundamentalist Muslims and Christians. We have to match their strategy. I am confident we will be able to bring them into the mainstream ultimately. This is a period of struggle but we will see results by 2011." Bhagwat was even more vocal: "This is the beginning. Many such kumbhs will be held. Those opposing them will have their teeth broken."

Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whose government went out of its way to help organise the event, too joined the chorus: "The Constitution clearly says that getting someone to convert with inducements is a crime. Why are we being singled out when all we are trying to do is uphold the Constitution? No one can separate my tribal brothers from Lord Ram."

Earlier in the dharma sabha, a religious meeting held on the first day of the event, leading Hindu preachers including Morari Bapu, Asharam Bapu and Satyamitranandji, who has worked with the tribals, too, took an aggressive line against the alleged conversion activities of Christian missionaries and asked the converted tribals to return to the Hindu fold. The RSS plans to replicate the "success" of the event in various other tribal areas in the country.

The anti-missionary speeches, however, drew a sharp response from the Christian community. Father C.M. Raphael of Navjyot Roman Catholic School at Subir, observed, "Faith is a sacred area. It has to do with an individual's conscience and the Indian Constitution. No one should trespass this area. It pains us that the Kumbh has been marked by hate propaganda instead of being a joyful and spiritual experience." Ghelubhai Nayak, a Gandhian leader from Dangs who has been fighting against conversions countered Raphael's argument saying, "If that is so, they must remain sacred areas in case of re-conversion too."

Nevertheless, the tussle between missionaries and Hindutva bodies has done the Dangs some good. Being constantly in the limelight for all the wrong reasons, the poverty-stricken district has suddenly sprung up on the Government's development radar. Almost all the 311 villages of Dangs now get a near 24-hour power supply thanks to Gujarat Government's Jyotirgram Scheme. But that's hardly a consolation for a people torn between conversions and re-conversions.

solarpetal said...

the last statement is really stupid way of summarizing. if development is not a consolation, then what is.

Kalyani said...

"....."ugly........." (yes, that is how they are seen everywhere thanks to their own antics)"


Let some/many Indians not get excessively self congratulatory and smug too.

Indians who are so fond of *courting* Hinduism without any profound internalising of values(please don't damage your chimerical image further by asking me to *catalogue* values,much less its meaning:)), I have a question.

If x or y scientist(!)has been denied visa,take it as your karma or answer whatever questions they
want you to answer honestly.Period.

I will not carry placards for a scientist who I know nothing about.And I WILL NOT SAY ALL AMERICANS ARE blahblah...I am not a politician.

If you say,for instance, Bush with his joshua are being somewhat specific but ..."all blahblah..." well.,one who generalises generally lies!