Sunday, January 31, 2010

superb elucidation of hindu trinity by mythologist devdutt pattanaik

jan 31st, 2010

i once met devdutt -- spellbinding storyteller. joseph campbell would have met his match with devdutt. (guy was trained as a doctor, then was a marketer for pharma, now i think he does mythology fulltime).

good elucidation of hindu trinity by devdutt pattanaik in mint:
 via Seesmic

"Kumar for Congress"

jan 31st, 2010

more research on kumar from readers. thanks for the due diligence. a bobby jindal in sheep's clothing? i don't know, and i am glad i don't have to campaign for kumar. 

i do remember one peter mathews (desi christist) who ran for congress from los angeles some time ago. he showed up in the bay area, and the most memorable thing he did was to hit on a friend of mine (admittedly she was gorgeous!)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: K

"In 1983, Vijay married Robin Minix, a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky. In keeping with his conservative family values, Vijay and Robin have been married for twenty-seven years. The Kumar family attends Bellevue Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee."
Apparently he came from a "Marxist family" i.e. nominally Hindu family (only a guess, one can't tell for sure).   
"I was a Leftist, a bleeding heart liberal until a few years ago.  I came from a Marxist family in India." 
He has openly opposed sharia etc., and even said that Islam wreaked havoc on India, but Hindus still need to be careful and hard-nosed with this guy.  Otherwise, he might well turn out to be another Bobby J.
If this guy was indeed born a Hindu (can't tell for sure because these days the missions have all "gone native" with names - acculturation), his case shows how Indian communism softens up Hindus in preparation for the "lord's advent."  After all, if communism is indeed a Christian heresy (vide Bertrand Russell), there are bound to be thinkers who prefer the original article to the counterfeit one.

my article on the glaciergate scandal and what's behind it

jan 31st, 2010

all the pachauri-bashing is coming from the limeys

jan 31st, 2010

the current debate is nuts! even if there are 100's of errors in the IPCC reports, that is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater: there is little question that there is climate change. by focusing on climategate, glaciergate, amazongate, watervaporgate (this is a good one. i think the answer is called 'rain') and other crap, they are trying to divert attention away from the main issue, which is that all this burning of oil and coal is affecting the environment. 

for a moment, let us leave aside the substantive issues of whether the IPCC lied or whatever.

isn't it strange that all the noise about rajendra pachauri's malfeasanance and calls for his head, and a breathless report about how he -- gasp! -- rode in a car! (daily mail, UK), are all coming from the limeys?

my conclusion: the hans have hired the limeys to discredit IPCC, and thus the entire idea of global warming.

if they succeed, then the chinese (and the yanks) don't have to do anything to cut down on greenhouse gas emission.

the burden of global warming (rising seas, agricultural losses) will fall disproportionately on india and other innocent bystanders.

bloody fiendish, i tell you.

where are the pink-panty loose women association types now?

jan 31st, 2010

they must be celebrating the deaths of these two people. that nisha susan gal was an abominable shrew: she was the one who waxed so eloquent about the so-called rights of loose women (by which i assume women with mustaches who couldn't get a date if their lives depended on it) to drink in pubs. why on earth anybody would want to encourage people to drink i shall never know. 

drunk gal speeds, kills 2 incl cop in mumbai. no outrage because she's emancipated modern woman or mohammedan? 
 via Seesmic

the bribe part

jan 31st, 2010

craven cave-in to taliban and ISI. yanks ought to be ashamed of themselves

good taliban == ISI's friends

bad taliban == not friendly with the ISI right now, but possibly in future

phase 2 of 'surge, bribe, declare victory, run like hell': obama's afpak 2.0 strategy. kanchan in pioneer
 via Seesmic

taliban love-fest

jan 31st, 2010

all for a 'kuttan'!

creepingsharia  Six Afghans beheaded in dispute over "boy toy"#sharia #glbt #news #mil

ashley tellis on what the balance sheet looks like for india and us

jan 31st, 2010

this is the ashley tellis in the us government and think tanks. it is clear india is suckered and gamed by the yanks.

there is another ashley tellis at IIT hyderabad, a foul-mouthed person who advocates man-boy gay relationships. 

nambla is the north american man-boy love association. sambla, i conjecture is its 'south asia' analog.

ashley tellis (not SAMBLA guy): what india and US get from relationship. 
 answer: india gets pats on back. US all else
 via Seesmic

don't they teach these guys self-respect in the IFS academy?

jan 31st, 2010

too little, too late: energy diplomacy by india. why is this amb so diffident about china? is he a JNU product?
 via Seesmic

our good friend anand jon in the news again

jan 31st, 2010

what's with these guys? first there was paul rajendran (yes) guilty of raping an australian girl.

last year there was some kerala padre in the US who was found guilty of molesting an american girl in his church.

now more revelations about anand jon, the mass rapist. 

do we see a common thread connecting all these blokes? no? think again.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

ian buruma in wsj: why the chinese oppose free information flow

jan 30th, 2010

buruma is a very smart man. great essay.

the hans are scared that people, if they were allowed free thinking, would realize that china is not the center of the universe, after all. sort of like what galileo did to orthodoxy in medieval europe.

i couldn't help highlighting the following paragraph. all indian schoolchildren are taught this too: that china is destined for greatness, and india is not. and that there is nothing worthwhile that originated in india, everything came from either the imperial invaders or the chinese. thank you, toxifiers in the education ministries. 

=== quote ===

But the most common ideology since the early 1990s is a defensive nationalism, disseminated through museums, entertainment and school textbooks. All Chinese schoolchildren are indoctrinated with the idea that China was humiliated for centuries by foreign powers, and that support of the Communist state is the only way for China to regain its greatness and never be humiliated again.

Ashley Tellis: New Delhi, Washington: Who gets what?

jan 30th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ram 

New Delhi, Washington: Who gets what? 

Ashley Tellis

When the transformation of US-India relations was just beginning early in the Bush administration, the then US ambassador to India, Robert D Blackwill, asked a group of Americans and Indians gathered in Aspen, Colorado, a pregnant question. In Sanjaya Baru's recent retelling, Blackwill directly challenged his interlocutors: "India wants the US to invest, India wants the US to keep its markets more open, India wants more visas for its professionals, India wants us to be helpful on Kashmir and in dealing with Pakistan, India wants US support for membership of the UN Security Council, India wants this and India wants that. Tell me what will India give in return?"

... deleted

Voice of India Features Newsletter - 24 January 2009

jan 30th, 2010

i don't understand why there is any need to eulogize jyoti basu just because he's dead. he was a communist monster, a comprador, and a quisling. it's worth saying this whether he's alive or dead or embalmed to be worshiped as stalin and mao are.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: VOI Features <>
Date: Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 3:42 PM
Subject: Voice of India Features Newsletter - 24 January 2009


24 jan 2010.jpg

Editorial: Jyoti Basu and Marxism
The Editorial Team
Mass politics of Communism is on decline in India. Though political parties swearing by communism could never come to power at the centre on their own, they did play important roles in government formations at centre and in various states from time to time. Various Communist parties in the name of Left-Front are now in government in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura out of which they are expected to lose West Bengal and Kerala in the next assembly elections.
Jyoti Basu and The Unnecessary Success of Indian Communism
koenraad-est-indiatomorrow-1.jpgKoenraad Elst
Jyoti Basu's demise is not the end of an era. The heyday of Communism in India is over, that turn has already been taken some years ago, with the electoral defeat of the Communist Parties of 2009 a major step downwards. Neither is the end near, for in India Communism is far more alive and combative than in almost any other country, with a formidable presence on the ground (Northeast, Jharkhand-Telengana corridor), in the trade-unions, in academe and in the parliaments of several states. Communism's persistent grip on West Bengal in particular is very largely Jyoti Basu's own work. While the CPI supported the Emergency and took a leadershiop role in its enforcement, Jyoti Basu's CPM opposed it, and he rode the wave of anti-Emergency resistance to power in 1977. After he led the state for 23 years, his successor Buddhadev Bhattacharya is still capitalizing on the party's power position that Mr. Basu built. His personal character shines rather brightly compared with the venality of hollowness of so many Congress, casteist and even BJP politicians. Like his Kerala counterpart, the late E.M.S. Namboodiripad, he showed that Marxism-Leninism requires from its votaries a lifestyle of discipline and dedication. The Communists, both inside and outside his own party, have reason to deplore the passing of a hero of their movement

Tormented Legacy
chandan.jpgChandan Mitra
India has always defied Shakespeare's famous observation in Julius Caesar: "The good that men do are oft interred with their bones." Here, cultural norms dictate silence about a dead person's faults, no matter how glaring, while his achievements are showered with fulsome praise, even if concocted and mythical. It was not surprising therefore to be subjected to a barrage of purple prose extolling the virtues of Red baron Jyoti Basu - ranging from his contribution to the Communist movement, to success in hanging on as Chief Minister of West Bengal for 23 uninterrupted years and, finally, his allegedly Spartan lifestyle. Much of what was said by way of tribute to the 95-year-old Communist patriarch consisted of large doses of hyperbole and retrospective imagination

A Perfect Narakloka
mahendra_mathur.jpgLt. Col. (Retd.) Mahendra Mathur
Place of higher consciousness is regarded as the Devaloka and the place of lower consciousness the Narakaloka. The Devaloka is a heaven world and the Narakaloka is a hell world. The Narakaloka exists wherever violence and hurtfulness take place, whether in the inner or outer world. We see such things in action on television. Children who are born in the Narakaloka will not respond to meditation, yoga or any kind of quieting controls. Ever since Zia's Islamising policies and their fallout began ringing alarm bells in foreign capitals, Pakistan has come to be seen as the source of many problems. It is no longer viewed as part of the solution to the dilemmas of the day. Rather, its violence, terrorism and madrassas are poisoning atmosphere of the whole world. Equally importantly, India's rise as a spiritual and economic power has made the world admire and respect it. Pakistan's demand to be treated as an equal to India is considered to be frivolous. Its international agenda has been reduced to Kashmir and security issues like Islamic terrorism.

Jyoti Basu and Demise Communism
Amba Charan Vashishtha
It is an Indian tradition that we recall only the good deeds, the positive aspects of the life of a person on his death. We only eulogise that person, never find fault with him even if he had numerous. And that is what we should do on the sad demise of the veteran CPI (M) leader and former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu. He was a man of character and high principles. Although at the helm of West Bengal affairs for the longest period, yet he came out clean, without a blemish. Even his detractors could not allege his involvement in any scam or scandal. Since independence, sticking to power and chair has become a great national malaise with our political class. No leader wishes to quit office in government and not even in a political organization he leads. That is why it is now an accepted fact that in India politicians are either kicked out by the electorate or when they refuse to vacate their gaddi on their own, God makes them leave this ugly world for ever.


Your Subscription:

Change your subscription


Nitin Pai's rebuttal to BARBARA CROSSETTE rant in foreign policy

jan 30th, 2010

foreign policy magazine is ultra-hostile to india. probably has some JNU-types or pakistanis among the staff.  

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri 

The Elephant in the room,1

Rebuttal by Nitin Pai:
Why India Is No Villain
Barbara Crossette is wrong: This rising power helps solve far more problems than it creates.

According to the Financial Times' Lucy Kellaway, "Elephant in the Room" was the most popular cliché to appear in major newspapers and journals in 2009. It is perhaps appropriate then that Barbara Crossette's latest diatribe against India appeared in Foreign Policy under that headline. Although it claims to show that India causes "the most global consternation" and "gives global governance the biggest headache," it is merely a series of rants and newsroom clichés selected entirely arbitrarily to support the author's prejudice.

... deleted


jan 30th, 2010

i don't know kumar, just forwarding kataria's recommendation. but it would be good to have some hindus in the US congress. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <KatariaN



Dear friends,

I have known Vijay Kumar for nearly thirty years and has been a great  friend of mine.  He is dedicated, intellectually honest, a true visionary, and a profound political thinker.


Vijay has sensibly proclaimed that there is no such a thing as a "War on Terror" because terrorism is only a technique, a tool, a tactic in a much larger war -- Universal Jihad. Universal Jihad is a threat to the entire free word, and it is a war that can be won only if we acknowledge that it's a war against humanity.


In terms of foreign and domestic policy, he has seen up close what militant Islam can do to a country and a culture, so he uniquely understands the consequences to America and to liberal democracies all  over the world. That's why in 2008, he was the first politician to run on an anti-Sharia platform and his message was very well received.  Within two months of launching his web-site, Vijay received almost one 
third of the primary votes.


Vijay also has a realistic plan to win America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq within five years, for less than a billion dollars, and without the further loss of precious American lives. No other politician in America is proposing anything even close, because they  do not understand that it is a war  between theocracy and democracy, between fanaticism and reason.

Vijay has profound respect for the American people who have turned out in droves, at their own expense and inconvenience, to attend town hall meetings and Tea Parties and demonstrations in an effort to try and get Washington listen, only to be ignored and demeaned by the political machine and the mainstream media. He wants to take their message into the very halls of Congress and make it echo loud and clear.

I have profound respect for Vijay's intellectual honesty and moral courage. We need leaders like him. First, though, he needs to win the election. Please help him in any way you can. The greatest need in any  campaign is money to pay for ways to get the message out to the public, so any amount you can donate is deeply appreciated.


Please visit his website for further information.  www.Kumarfor


Narain Kataria

kanchan: obama sups with the taliban

jan 30th, 2010

phase 2 of 'surge, bribe, declare victory, run like hell': obama's afpak 2.0 strategy. kanchan in pioneer

The Wages of Sepoyhood

jan 30th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: K

Commonwealth Games map shows J&K, Gujarat in Pak
Time to crawl out of the colonial/ex-colonial dung heap? 
Of course, membership in said dung heap was very kindly volunteered by,
guess who?

vanity, hypocricy and indolence: the roots of indian communism

a lot of authors (including professedly Hindu ones like Girilal Jain) blame Hindu nationalists for shoving an alien conception i.e. the nation state into tolerant indic traditions

that may be true - but what about the ideological opposite i.e. Indian communists?

the psychological roots of indian communism are nearly all negative. it was founded and sustained by privileged and indolent people - and so it has remained. if these people felt so much 'sympathy'* for the poor, would it not be better for them to work to change the economic base of the country? - as opposed to shout slogans and never put in an honest day's work

* - indian communist 'sympathy' is a terrible thing. it appears as sympathy - in reality it is vanity - a sort of self-congratulation. people celebrating their own comfort and excusing themselves of real responsibility of work

Friday, January 29, 2010

dawkins: pat robertson's comment on haiti was true christism, so what's your problem?

jan 29th, 2010

pat robertson and the problems of theodicy that have never bothered christists. so why *is* yhwh so mean to poor black haitians? robertson == real, red-blooded, USDA grade A american christist.

Pak India peace, strategically impossible by Dr Subhash Kapila

jan 29th, 2010

as l'affaire IPL showed, the average indian businessman recognizes this as well. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev


By Dr. Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations

India is hardly a year removed from the horrendous Pakistan-based and Pakistan Army-facilitated commando style attacks of Mumbai 26/11 which were similar to the Pakistani attacks on the Parliament House in December 2001. India on both occasions under different political dispensations failed to hold Pakistan to account.

India's political leadership, policy establishment and its liberalist glitterati of different hues, in a total disconnect with Indian public's pronounced opinions went ahead earlier and now advocating once again the resumption of India-Pakistan Composite Peace Dialogue. There are some who have advocated Sub-Composite Peace Dialogue – whatever it means. 

Once again, in January 2010, advocacy of resumption of the Composite Peace Dialogue seems to have become the flavor of the season in India. On analysis of the trend, it emerges that there is a concerted and calibrated subtle campaign to prepare Indian public opinion for what the Indian Prime Minister might succumb to due to his his personal inclinations and external pressures for resumption of the Composite Peace Dialogue.  

Such an Indian official decision would be in total disconnect with the well-grounded Indian public opinion's suspicions on Pakistan establishment's sincerity for peace. With the Pakistan establishment not having displayed the minimum modicum for making amends on Mumbai 9/11, India's official decision for resumption of Composite Peace Dialogue would therefore be contextually insensitive to Indian public opinion and rubbing in salt into the wounds of India's public psyche brought about by Mumbai 26/11.Further, India would not be paying respect to strategic realities which militate against it. 

India's politicians need not be reminded of the public contempt which was directed at them, and which was visibly and vocally visible on Indian TV channels following Mumbai 26/11. 

Pakistan's policy postures, Pakistan Army's compulsive anti-India attitudinal fixations and its continued proxy war do not display any changes for the better justifying a change in Indian public opinion. Pakistan's adversarial postures and conflictual propensities have sharpened since Mumbai 9/11.

The danger of another Mumbai 9/11 being inflicted by Pakistani elements allied to the Pakistan Army like Al Qaeda and the Lashkar-e Toiba has been pointed out officially by the United States during the visit of US Defense Secretary to New Delhi this week. Obviously the United States has credible intelligence on this count and this public statement indicates that Pakistan Army has not taken any steps to pre-empt such an eventuality.

It is strange therefore that international seminars in New Delhi and Indian prominent political scientists and strategic analysts should be advocating resumption of peace talks with Pakistan which continues to be as intransigent and threatening to India as before.  

Peace with Pakistan is desirable and a common aspiration of the people of both India and Pakistan. The emphasis is on "the people of Pakistan". The Pakistan Army which even today controls Pakistan does not share that sentiment of the Pakistani people.  

 Sixty three years of India's persistent efforts to engage Pakistan to ensure Pakistan. -India peace have failed time and again, defeated by Pakistan Army's imperial strategic pretensions.  

Pakistan-India peace cannot be achieved by delusionary political and idealistic mindsets of India's political establishment and "Pakistan apologists" within India. 

Pakistan- India peace is impossible through the political route of political negotiations, mediation and conflict resolution processes. The Pakistan Army is both blind and deaf to such processes.  

Pakistan-India peace is strategically impossible till India recognizes the "strategic realities" that hover over and impede any achievement of realistic and lasting peace with Pakistan.  

India needs to recognize that any peace process is not a one-way street. It takes two to make peace and with mutual trust between the two as the predominant force. Regrettably, Pakistan- India mutual trust is nowhere on the horizon.  

Relevant to these two propositions this Paper examines the following aspects:

  • Pakistan's Strategic Mindsets: Major Impediment
  • Pakistan's Ideological Frontier Fixations: A Major Obstacle
  • Pakistan – India Peace Unachievable Till Pakistan Army Subjugated to Civilian Control
  • Pakistan – India Peace Realization: The China Factor in Pakistan Polices as an Impediment

 Pakistan's Strategic Mindsets: Major Impediment 

Pakistan's strategic mindsets more modulated and crafted by Pakistan Army's anti- India strategic fixations seriously impede the processes towards Pakistan- India peace whether internally stimulated in both countries or externally generated.  

Some of the major strategic myths that dominate Pakistan Army thinking and distorts its realistic view of the South Asian strategic landscape can be enumerated as follows: (1) Pakistan Army especially now with nuclear weapons arsenal is the "strategic equal" of India (2) The Pakistan Army provides muscle to Pakistan's foreign policy in relation to "strategic bargaining" with United States and China, playing "balance of power" politics. (3) Pakistan so equipped is in a position to herd South Asia's smaller nations into similar confrontations with India.  

Consequently, the Pakistan Army which determines Pakistan's foreign policy perceives India not through political prisms but through strategic perspectives. This is more true in relation to Pakistan policy perspectives on India and Afghanistan. 

The over-riding passion of the Pakistan Army is therefore the strategic diminution of India and the strategic erosion of India's strategic asymmetry with the rest of South Asia and Pakistan in particular. Galling for the Pakistan Army is that its nuclear weapons arsenal also could not reduce Pakistan's military asymmetry with India.  

Till such time Pakistan continues to view its differences with its neighbors in military terms rather than political perspectives it would be naive for India's 'Pakistan apologists' to strive for Pakistan – India peace. 

Pakistan's Ideological Frontier Fixations: A Major Obstacle

Only yesterday, the Pakistan Prime Minister was quoted by the Pakistani media that the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan Army are committed to protect Pakistan's "ideological frontiers". 

Has anybody in Pakistan realistically delineated Pakistan's ideological frontiers and especially, even if there was some political ideology like it, what was its relevance to Pakistan's continued existence and Pakistan's place in the 21st century?

Pakistan' s constant references to Pakistan's ideological frontiers can therefore be read as Pakistan's continued fixation with Jinnah's 'Two Nation Theory' and the exploitation of the fair name of Islam for political control of Pakistan and further using it as a policy tool in Pakistan Army's use of proxy was and terrorism against India.  

So what is India faced with? India has to contend with the strategic myths of the Pakistan Army with the "religious additive" to reinforce its anti-India strategies.  

Are there any "reconcilables" in this framework which India's 'Pakistan apologists' can read and which the average Indian is unable to discern?  

Pakistan – India Peace Unachievable Till Pakistan Army Subjugated to Civilian Control 

The foregoing discussion suggests amply that Pakistan – India peace is unachievable till such time Pakistan Army is subjugated to civilian control of Pakistan's political leaders. This is a very distant possibility. 

Even in the latest US-generated political experiment of civilian democratic government in Pakistan, the Pakistan Army still reigns supreme in terms of Pakistan's foreign policy towards Afghanistan and India.  

President Zardari's well meaning utterances of reconciliation towards India and that India was not a threat to Pakistan were immediately shot down by the Pakistan Army.  

President Zardari's offer to send ISI Chief to India for assistance in Mumbai 9/11 attacks investigation was overruled by Pakistan Army Chief.  

Pakistan Army's stranglehold on Pakistan's governance, foreign policy and security policies is complete. Peace with India is not on Pakistan Army's agenda.  

So however well-meaning Pakistani peace activists may be, they too should be aware that no peace process would be allowed to proceed further by the Pakistan Army. 

 Pakistanis should therefore first strive to save Pakistan from the Pakistan Army before they can aspire for peace with India. The Pakistani people have displayed in 2007 and 2009 that they can mobilize themselves in massive numbers to transform Pakistan's governance. They can mobilize to bring Pakistan Army under firm civil control to ensure peace with their neighbors.

Indian well-wishers of Pakistan aspiring for peace with Pakistan would be well-advised to pend their efforts till such time the Pakistani people bring the Pakistan Army under firm civilian political control. 

Pakistan – India Peace Realization: The China Factor in Pakistan Polices as an Impediment 

Strategically, even if Pakistan Army is brought under firm civilian control, possibilities exist that China is unlikely to relinquish its strategic hold over Pakistan in its strategic calculus.  

China would continue to be an impediment and a complication factor in Pakistan's approaches towards peace with India for many years to come. 

If Pakistan is forced to choose between China and peace with India, Pakistan would always side with China.  

China's strategic imperatives would never dictate that Pakistan – India peace should materialize. This is a strategic reality that India needs to factor in its peace formulations with Pakistan at all levels – official, political and academic.  

Concluding Observations 

Sixty three years of India's sincere engagements with Pakistan to achieve peace between the two counties stand frustrated by the Pakistan Army as a major impediment in any peace process materialization. India has tried all routes in the last sixty three years to move ahead through political dialogue, Track II diplomacy and back-door high-level interlocutors. No headway till date has been achieved in any of these multiple initiatives. 

India's "talking-shops" which champion peace with Pakistan are not being strategically realistic when they advocate peace divorced from contextual strategic realities that dominate Pakistan's decision-making space. 

On date, no indicators exist to suggest that the Pakistan Army has ceded space to Pakistan polity or Pakistani public opinion to embark on a viable peace process with India.  

This strategic reality needs to be recognized at all levels in India advocating resumption of Composite Peace Dialogue with Pakistan. India's peace approaches to Pakistan need to be modulated by India's strategic imperatives and not political or idealistic delusions or succumbing to one-way Indian appeasement polices.  

(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst.  He is the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group.  Email:

Back to the top



Fwd: Nazis and jihadis

jan 29th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: S


Below is a forward which I received today. The chap writes from the Christian viewpoint. However, his assertion that the silent (and peaceful) majority is irrelevant in the face of a vocal, virulent, scruple-free and armed minority seems spot on.

Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant
by Paul E. Marek

I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

"Very few people were true Nazis" he said, "but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories."

We are told again and again by "experts" and "talking heads" that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is, that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is, that the "peaceful majority" is the "silent majority" and it is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The Average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a war mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of Killing that included the systematic killing of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace loving".

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Bosnians, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life. 

intriguing take on the iPad: Thanks, but I'm waiting for the DroidPad

jan 29th, 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Good Morning Silicon Valley

Thanks, but I'm waiting for the DroidPad


So I was chatting with my buddy and loyal Apple customer JP yesterday, and he asked me if I would be buying an iPad, and I said ... wait, let me check the log ... I said, "Oh, heavens no. Maybe some sort of slate, someday, but on an open system." And it struck me that we'd had essentially the same exchange a few years back about the iPhone. Lovely as it may be, I just don't want to confine myself to Apple's walled garden. This is partly a philosophical thing, partly a preference for having the maximum number of options, and partly because I'm a tweaker by nature, and Apple products have never lent themselves to tweaking. No knock on Apple and no arguing with the success of its integrated approach. But for my purposes, Apple's big contribution is to keep driving new ideas into the marketplace so they can find their way into gadgets for the rest of us.

In the case of the phone, I had a long wait before the arrival of the right handset with the right operating system on the right network (and by right, I of course mean right for me). Then the Droid showed up, and I became the very happy owner of a powerful, versatile pocket computer with an open operating system, a beautiful display and apps for everything I need. In the case of tablet ... well, it's not a pressing issue for me due to certain constraints regarding disposable income, but the wait for worthy non-Apple contenders won't be nearly as long. In its form factor and niche targeting, the iPad may be a bold business move for Apple, but it's not the leap in technology and interface that the iPod and iPhone were. This time around, Apple doesn't have any secret sauce. Competitive processors, touchscreens, operating systems and content services are already out there, and manufacturers have the pieces to start pushing iPad alternatives out the pipeline almost immediately — devices that will come equipped with the features missing from the Apple tablet and will let you roam outside the garden. But, I can hear the Apple fans saying, you'll never have the cool design and elegant integration that comes out of a tightly controlled environment. Yep, that's true ... and that's just fine with me. I have no trouble accepting that life outside the wall can be grittier than life inside. The freedom to choose is worth it.

Too dramatic? Not compared to some of the commentary out there. Try this from Twitter engineer Alex Payne: "That the iPad is a closed system is harder to forgive. One of the foremost complaints about the iPhone has been Apple's iron fist when it comes to applications and the development direction of the platform. The iPad demonstrates that if Apple is listening to these complaints, they simply don't care. This is why I say that the iPad is a cynical thing: Apple can't — or won't — conceive of a future for personal computing that is both elegant and open, usable and free. ... Perhaps the iPad signals an end to the 'hacker era' of digital history. ... Maybe there's proportionally less need for freewheeling technological experimentation and platforms that allow for the same. Maybe the hypothetical mom doesn't need a real computer. ... The future of personal computing that the iPad shows us is both seductive and dystopian. It's not a future I want to bring into my home." Or this, from Holmes Wilson of the Free Software Association: "This is a huge step backward in the history of computing. If the first personal computers required permission from the manufacturer for each new program or new feature, the history of computing would be as dismally totalitarian as the milieu in Apple's famous Super Bowl ad."

And there's this from Adobe's Adrian Ludwig on Apple's unwillingness to support its widely used technologies on the iPhone and now the iPad: "It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers. Unlike many other ebook readers using the ePub file format, consumers will not be able to access ePub content with Apple's DRM technology on devices made by other manufacturers. And without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the Web. If I want to use the iPad to connect to Disney, Hulu, Miniclip, Farmville, ESPN, Kongregate, or JibJab — not to mention the millions of other sites on the web — I'll be out of luck."

Apple has said it isn't supporting Flash yet because it considers the experience sub-optimal on their products. Well thanks, Apple, but see, that's just the sort of decision I'd rather make for myself, and with Flash set to come to the Droid any day now, I'm free to do so. That's why I don't have an iPhone, and that's why I won't have an iPad.

on anti-hindu propaganda: How Free Are We?

jan 29th, 2010

salil tripathi is yet another vendor of anti-hindu sentiment in the media and academia. at one point, long ago, i used to be chummy with him, until i realized he was no different from the JNU types, except perhaps a little more sophisticated compared to their crude antics: his wharton education must count for something. 

anti-hinduism is racism by other means and a mask for imperialism (by christists and mohammedanists and communists). 

the comprador quislings/jaichands who collaborate are amply rewarded. attaching themselves to the mammaries of the nehruvian stalinist welfare state is good enough -- ask ramachandra guha or william dalyrmple. then there are the carrots of cushy academic and journalistic sinecures in the west. nice life, indeed. 

any society where an out-and-out racist, fascist tool of the church like kancha ilaiah is considered worth listening to is a sick society. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 2:01 AM
Subject: How Free Are We?
To: rajeev srinivasan

How Free Are We?

By Jakob De Roover


Yes, the rise of Hindu nationalism is indeed a major threat to intellectual freedom in the study of India, but it's also time to confront a climate of implicit censorship that leads to its own pathology.


This has been a tumultuous decade for the academic study of India. In his recent Offence: The Hindu Case (2009), Salil Tripathi provides a timely overview of the growing censorship and harassment that scholars working on India have faced. Not a pretty sight to behold: people have felt the need to ban books and terrorize authors, hassle teachers and disrupt classes, toss eggs at some and blacken others' faces. Academics now run the risk of smear campaigns, court cases and physical intimidation; all because certain groups feel offended by what they write about the Indian past or the Hindu traditions. The facts are difficult to miss. Hence, the threat that Hindu nationalism poses to academic freedom has caused commotion around the world.

According to Tripathi, the rise of Hindu nationalism is indeed the major threat to intellectual freedom in the study of India. In his essay, all Indians concerned about the representation of India and its traditions come across as bigots and prudes. The goondas who burned M.F. Husain's paintings and ransacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute are presented as the extremist fringe of a 'long arm of fundamentalism' that also embraces NRI professionals and Western Hindu sympathisers. On the other side, Tripathi places historians like Romila Thapar and religion scholars like Wendy Doniger, who (so he claims) go as far as 'the facts' take them and are attacked for doing so (75-87). These scholars are presented as spirited fighters 'arguing for academic freedom and the spirit of open inquiry in India' (86). This way of presenting things is flawed. Like most journalists, Tripathi ignores another threat to intellectual freedom in the study of India—one that may be less manifest, but is all the more insidious.

A climate of implicit censorship has long dominated this field. Not quite as spectacular as the rise of 'Hindu' censorship, this is not the stuff of juicy journalism. But this kind of censoring is as harmful: it also moulds people's minds in particular ways; it constrains their speech; it compels them to show compliance to certain dogmas in their writings; and, for the unlucky few, it may even end their careers. The difficulty is to identify the modus operandi of this form of censorship. Much like racism, it is only in certain blatant cases that one can say with certainty that it has occurred. Nonetheless, we have to try and circumscribe this obstacle standing in the way of a much-needed rejuvenation of the study of India. What follows are some impressions of the situation in contemporary Europe, India and the USA. Sometimes these may seem caricatures, but caricature is required to make the implicit explicit.

In Europe, the issue cannot be separated from the colonial past and the present state of affairs, where the old continent is losing its earlier dominance to rising Asian nations that outpace it in every way. In response, Europeans have developed a set of strategies to convince themselves that their civilization is still morally superior. Here, scholars of India have an important role to fulfil. Simply put, they are expected to do the following: acknowledge that India is indeed going through swift economic growth; next, point out that it still has tremendous poverty, the caste system, superstition, religious conflicts, gender inequality, exploitation, child labour, nepotism, bribery, revolts, incompetence...; and provide appropriate details on these flaws and the necessary footnotes or fieldwork. In this way, these scholars should contribute to what John Gray calls the 'comfort blanket against an unfamiliar world', which Europe is weaving around itself. 'Rest assured; we are still on top'.

Naturally, few scholars today would be willing to state explicitly that the European civilization is superior. Yet, while they disavow Eurocentrism, they also reproduce a deep-rooted cultural asymmetry. When European scholars describe India, they tend to connect all ills and atrocities in that society to the nature of Indian culture. One links widow-burning, dowry murder, domestic violence, female infanticide and caste discrimination to 'Hindu' foundations. Europe also loves to celebrate Indian authors whose specialty is revealing the 'dark underbelly' of Indian society. In contrast, social ills and atrocities in European societies are characterised as aberrations: racism, colonial genocide, the two World Wars, the Holocaust, sexual abuse, etc. are considered as acts that deviate from the true temper of European culture. This stance of cultural asymmetry has become the hidden premise of the European study of India. 

Historically, the situation in India has grown from much the same set of equations. The colonial state nourished an intellectual class that was expected to spell out and justify its 'civilising mission'. The intelligentsia had to show how western political theory had laid down the way forward for India and how the state was the guide on this road. It sought to demonstrate that Indian history and society—and 'Hindu religion' in particular—embodied the negation of western liberal norms: inequality, irrationality, tyranny (at a later stage, patriarchy was added). The postcolonial state inherited the institutional structures and conceptual framework of its colonial predecessor and also its tendency to treat the human sciences as instruments of the state's project to reform society. Crudely put, academics in these disciplines could play two roles: ideologues were to show the significance of some western political theory to India and characterise Indian history and society in such a way that the implementation of this political theory became the only option; fact-gatherers had to collect the data related to some problem for the state's project of reform.  

Over the years, the fashionable theories shifted from liberalism to Marxism and back again. Generally, the adherents of this approach to Indian society called themselves 'secularists' and shared one central attitude: they were allergic to 'Hinduism'. In the first five decades following Independence, these secularists dominated the Indian universities and established an intellectual and institutional hegemony. They wrote the textbooks and dominated the UGC, ICSSR or ICHR. By the 1980s, when orthodox Marxism had worn out in most places, the hegemony was so entrenched that it allowed a few universities and research institutes in Delhi and Calcutta to perform a role very similar to that of the colonial master. They imported the latest 'radical' fashions from Paris and New York to couch an old story in the newest jargon: they used Foucault's 'discourse' and 'capillary power' or Gramsci's 'hegemony' to repeat that the Indian culture promoted inequality, patriarchy and moral bankruptcy. Social scientists in the hinterland were expected to imitate the secularists from the metropolis. If they did well, they could end up in JNU or perhaps even be invited to the West. This hegemony of the secularists reproduced itself through different forms of implicit censorship: it determined what was published, where the funding went, and who got appointed.

At the same time, there was a growing sense of alienation between these intellectual classes and substantial layers of Indian society. The rise of Hindutva produced a backlash against the academic allergy to Hinduism. When the BJP came to power in the late 1990s, Hindu nationalism tried to displace secularism by attempting to take over the institutional hegemony and modes of censorship that the secularists had created. Now, Hindu nationalists took it upon themselves to write the textbooks and control the universities and the relevant government bodies. However, these people had neither the education nor the sophistication to do so in the (relatively) subtle ways of the secularists. The crudeness led to outcries in India and the West about 'rewriting history', 'the end of academic freedom' and 'the return of censorship'. The message to the Hindu nationalists must be clear: learn from the secularists how to practice the art of censorship in more implicit and subtle ways. Whatever the future may bring, the humanities in India have now been hijacked by this struggle between secularism and Hindutva.

The rise of Hindutva has also determined the current state of affairs in the American study of India and Hinduism. Here, the implicit censorship takes the form of a climate of fear: the fear to be branded 'Hindutva'. There are three central factors in US society that have contributed to this pernicious climate. One is the large-scale migration of highly-educated Indians into the US over the last few decades. Affluent Hindu-Americans have been shocked by what the American schools teach their children about 'Hinduism' and India. Turning to the universities, they discovered that these often tell the same story, albeit with more theoretical sophistication. Many Hindu-Americans are highly successful in engineering, business or other professions; many also sympathize at some level with Hindu nationalism. Shocked by the western representation of 'Hinduism', they think they can now replace this with a 'Hindu' representation. They do not realise that it takes more than intelligence and professional success to develop an alternative to five centuries of Orientalism. After retirement, some of these professionals take up the hobby of writing stories about India that no intellectual will ever take seriously.

The second factor lies in the many forms of Protestant Christianity that dominate American society. The theological framework shared by these denominations inevitably transforms the Hindu traditions into a species of false religion. Naturally, political correctness no longer allows scholars and educators to speak of 'heathen idolatry' or the 'cruelty' and 'tyranny' of 'false religion'. Therefore, they have turned to seemingly 'secular' depictions of caste, inequality, patriarchy and poverty in India to show that Hinduism is a pale and erring religion, opposed to liberal values. The earlier religious condemnation has become a social critique. Often, both go hand in hand. For instance, American evangelical organisations join forces with scholarly critics of caste to promote the idea that India should become 'post-Hindu', as in the case of Kancha Ilaiah and the Dalit Freedom Network.

The third factor is the most interesting: it is the potential for implicit censorship that seems intrinsic to the US academic world. This is difficult to pin down. The witch hunts organized by Senator McCarthy during the Cold War played a significant role in creating this atmosphere. The terror of being denounced as a 'traitor' penetrated the American humanities at a deep level. To someone who has no first-hand experience of the academic study of India in the US, it must be difficult to imagine the number of young scholars who say things like 'this is what I really think, but I will not say it in public, because I'm up for tenure'. By the time they receive tenure, they have usually conformed to the orthodoxy.

Together these factors have produced an unhappy mix. There is a cold war going on between the 'Hindu-Americans' (and a few academic sympathisers) and the mainstream scholars of Hinduism. Academics no longer fear being called 'commies', 'reds' or even 'heathens', but now 'Hindutva' has taken the place of such labels in the study of India. If one makes positive noises about the contributions of Indian culture to humanity, one runs the risk of being associated with 'Hindu nationalism' or with the NRI professionals who aggressively challenge the doyens of Hinduism studies. The popular media like to represent these doyens as valiant warriors for academic freedom, much as Tripathi does in his essay. This is far removed from reality. The dominant scholars too impose dogmatic limits that one cannot cross without provoking their ire. Because of the significance of letters of recommendation, peer pressure and plain gossip in American academic circles, their forms of implicit censorship are highly effective in making or breaking careers. This has created a widespread fear of saying 'the wrong thing', which paralyses the study of Indian culture.

In one sense, then, the picture for students of India is even grimmer than the one Tripathi sketches. In another sense, there is hope, because times of turbulence also hold the potential for intellectual change. As students of India, we will have to take seriously the growing discontent among Hindus about the ways in which their traditions have been depicted. Some of this is inspired by an attempt to sanitise the Hindu traditions according to the model of Islam and Christianity and the prudishness of middle-class morality. However, other strands express a deep sense of grievance towards the secularist hegemony and the academic allergy to Hinduism. As long as reasonable and well-educated minds do not address these grievances, Hindu nationalism will be able to tap into the growing anger among Hindus and manipulate this to its own benefit. To address such problems, one needs to work towards a climate of intellectual freedom that has too long been absent from the study of India.

Jakob De Roover is at the Research Centre Vergelijkende Cultuurwetenschap, Ghent University, Belgium