Friday, September 30, 2011

thanks! we just hit a milestone on this blog: 10,000 posts. kudos to the team of: Ghostwriter, san, KapiDhwaja, AGWorld, Darkstorm, karyakarta92

30th sept 2011 CE

thanks to the team that has been posting here: Ghostwriter, san, KapiDhwaja, AGWorld, Darkstorm, karyakarta92

and thanks to the audience and followers for their comments. we have so far had around 24,000 comments.

i am going to invite some new posters to join the group esp those who have contributed a lot of good comments.

can we say 'useful idiot', #pakistan ? 'all-weather friend' #china snubs pak, pulls out of $19 billion deal: wsj

Thursday, September 29, 2011

would you buy a used car/computer from this man? mr. zero-value sells new snake oil

this is indian silver. why isn't everybody screaming for it to be returned? compare them wanting to get their paws on ananthapadmanabha swamy's gold.

sep 29th, 2011 CE

to all the communists and seculars eager to get their hands on the gold saved by the kingdom of travancore -- why is there utter silence on this?

since it was going from calcutta to london, what are the chances that this silver was loot from india? or do you really think it was *british* silver being sailed around the oceans during world war 2?

Hitchens: Call Pak an Enemy

Christopher Hitchens again eloquently writes on why a spade must be called a spade, and Pakistan needs to be called an enemy.

Greece & Eurozone: Trapped Without An Exit?

Stratfor summarizes why Greece and its shaky creditors have no way out of their current crisis:



My suggestion: Greece should partner with Israel in exploring and exploiting hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. The EU should back them on this. If the Turks get in the way - well, there's nothing like a good war to get an economy out of the doldrums.

Petrobras: Brazil's Investment in the Future

In contrast to the Indian govt's empty showboating, the Brazilians have been forging ahead and down deep, in making deep investment's in their country's economic future through the exploitation of deep-ocean oil reserves.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

autonomy (to be bought by HP for $10 billion) takes one on the chin from oracle :-)

28th sept 2011 CE

a british software company? whoever heard of such a thing? the brits make one thing well: scotch whiskey. and maybe burberry raincoats. that's pretty much it. 

very clearly leo apotheker overestimated the value of autonomy.

i do like how oracle totally pulverized this poor man from autonomy. 

impact of demographics on GDP growth in asia. some hope for india? @economist http://econ.st/qmxlrG

Diebold voting machines can be hacked by remote control - 2012 Elections - Salon.com

sep 28th, 2011 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: A

Mr Rajeev,

This is disturbing; a direct indictment of the weakness in the electronic voting machine. The existing system in India is based on opaque operating system. God knows how the sarkari coding monkeys have messed up the EVM's. Unfortunately, as you have insisted, there is no paper trail either.

where are india's scholastic achievements? nowhere, as the neros fiddle and delhi burns.

sep 28th, 2011 CE

http://www.economist.com/node/21529014

look at the chinese students' scores, and weep.

india lost out first by ignoring primary education and thus creating generations of ill-equipped factory labor; now it is losing by ignoring tertiary education and forfeiting a chance at the knowledge economy.

the worst is in the all-important humanities, where india's presence is basically nil. at least in the applied sciences there are a few decent universities. pure sciences suck, too. 

and the sad thing is that humanities are the key; technical solutions are merely appendages to policy matters. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

US-Pakistan Tensions -- China's Cautious Stance by B Raman

sep 27th, 2011 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev nayyar


The Chinese support the Pakis in every way, the U.S. knows that. So does China gain anything by going public in its support of a Terror Group.
 
 

US-Pakistan Tensions: China’s Cautious Stance

By B. Raman 27/9/2011

The Chinese media have started informing the Chinese people of the tensions in Pakistan’s ties with the US without any editorial comment so far.  There have been no comments from the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry either till now.

2. On September 27, 2011, the “People’s Liberation Army Daily” carried a report of the State-owned Xinhua news agency datelined Islamabad stating that Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had gone to Saudi Arabia for talks with his Saudi counterparts.

3. The Xinhua despatch said that the decision to send Lt. Gen. Pasha to Saudi Arabia was taken on the recommendation of the Corps Commanders of the Pakistan Army, who met at Islamabad on September 25, “to brief Saudi leaders on the Pakistan-U.S. tension.”  However, the Pakistani military spokesman Maj Gen Ather Abbas denied that Lt. Gen. Pasha had gone to Saudi Arabia and insisted that Lt. Gen Pasha was in Islamabad.

4. The Xinhua report added: “Pakistan is likely to send envoys to other friendly countries in view of the tension with the U.S., sources said.”

5. The party-owned “Global Times” carried two reports of the AFP/Reuters news agencies relating, inter alia, to the unconnected visits of General James Mattis, the US CENTCOM Commander, and Mr. Meng Jianzhu, the Chinese Minister For Public Security, to Islamabad and the cancellation of the visit of Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), to London.


... deleted

pranab EXPECTS INDIA TO SUSTAIN 8-9% GROWTH OVER NEXT 30 YEARS. yes, there's a tooth fairy too

sep 27th, 2011 CE

and former FM chidambaram expects to stay out of jail, too. actually i thought he expected to be FM-for-life.

famous last words.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ram Narayanan
Date: Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM
Subject: INDIAN FINANCE MINISTER EXPECTS INDIA TO SUSTAIN 8-9% GROWTH OVER NEXT 30 YEARS
To: 


http://www.indiainfoline.com/Markets/News/India-can-sustain-8-9-percent-growth-over-next-30-years-FM/5249280575  

India can sustain 8-9% growth over next 30 years: FM 

India Infoline News Service / 18:26 , Sep 22, 2011

Indeed, we seek your engagement in all aspects of economic activities in India, and likewise look for similar engagement for Indian enterprise in this land of opportunities.

Following is the text of the Address of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at USIBC-FICCI Round Table Meeting at Metropolitan Club in New York,USA on 21st September, 2011.

“I am extremely pleased to be here this evening and have this opportunity to share some thoughts with investors, business leaders and industry captains of the two countries and the global community. Indeed, we seek your engagement in all aspects of economic activities in India, and likewise look for similar engagement for Indian enterprise in this land of opportunities.

No country has been immune to the contagion from the fallout of global financial crisis in 2008. Though the economic downturn was moderated and growth resumed in the second half of 2009 in most economies, the pace of recovery remained uneven. Advanced economies grew more slowly than before, while emerging economies like China and India led the way, with Latin America and Africa following closely. It appeared that policy makers had learnt their lessons from history by honing and harmonising the use of macro-economic policy and keeping markets open. At the same time, countries in the developed and the developing world adopted revival strategies, in keeping with the needs of their respective contexts, though with varying degree of success. 


... deleted

Pakistani Troops Ambushed US Troops Repeatedly

Reports leaked from the US show that Pakistani troops ambushed US forces repeatedly, in what amounted to a pattern of behavior.

more innocent pakistanis being investigated for terrorism, this time in birminghamistan, untied kingdom

sep 27th, 2011 CE

i do wish the pesky brits would stop harassing perfectly innocent people of pakistani origin. 

i also expect india's prime minister man mohan singh to lose sleep over these poor innocent people being accused of terrorism.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

chidambaram is going to be put out to pasture. not a minute too soon.

sep 25th, 2011 CE


and now sonia gandhi has refused to meet him. (lest she be tainted? that is delicious irony).

which means the good chettiar is going down. 

rajbala dies: victim of fascist congress government

sep 25th, 2011 CE

she was critically injured in the unprovoked attack on swami ramdev's followers in june.

but then she's a hindu, so it's her duty to die. the government of india does not care.

explaining shifts in mobile phones: it is a rout for dumb phones, market moving fast to apple/android smartphones

sep 25th, 2011 CE

interesting charts and data on this site. http://www.asymco.com/2011/09/14/biggest-mobile-loser/

intriguing: it is not that symbian is being wiped out by android and apple, it is that there is a tipping point in sight as smartphones overwhelm dumb phones. 

this will happen in india too, as android phones are coming in at around rs. 6000 now, and many others are offering low-cost tablets.

btw, whatever happened to notionink and their ADAM tablet?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

meg whitman will be named CEO of HP today: san jose merc news. does that mean webOS will stage a comeback?

sep 22nd, 2011 CE

i think anybody other than leo apotheker is good for HP. the guy has been bad news.

i wonder if this means HP will say, "never mind" and bring the touchpad back? they should. those who snagged them for $99 will look like champs!

as far as apotheker is concerned, i guess love says never having to say you're sorry. he'll be leaving with $35 million after he slashed and burned his way through. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Indian Economy to Surpass Japan by PPP This Year

India's economy will surpass Japan's by Purchasing Power Parity measurement this year, becoming the world's 3rd-largest economy by PPP, says Crisil.

Obama Bows to China, Avoids Selling New F16s to Taiwan

Apparently, perfidious Pakistan can get new F16s, but Taiwan which is protected by the US-Taiwan Relations Act, cannot. In a capitulation to China, the Obama admin has announced that it will not sell Taiwan new F16s, but will simply help to upgrade their existing fleet.

palestine issue: india should shut up and keep quiet as NAM is dead if not buried

sep 21st, 2011 CE

why on earth is india interfering in someone else's affairs? india is not a global leader of the banana republics any more. that died when tito's yugoslavia, sadat's egypt, sukarno's indonesia all abandoned NAM. 

india does not have a dog in this fight between arabs and jews. india should piously wish all of them well and exhort them to act for world peace, that's about it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

India's arms build-up - China's People's Daily explains why india must not arm itself

sep 20th, 2011 CE

india cannot be a global power via arms buildup, but of course china can.

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


India cannot become a global power via arms buildup

By Hu Zhiyong (Jiefang Daily)

Edited and translated People's Daily Online, 19/9/2011

India’s military has used China’s rising comprehensive strength as a cover for its non-stop military buildup in the recent years. India has sought to be a “military power” through active military buildup and budget increases in an attempt to continue to cement its leading position in South Asia and around the Indian Ocean, and develop from a regional power to an influential “global power”.

India has already become the world’s largest arms importing country. India will spend 30 billion U.S. dollars purchasing advanced arms by 2012, including 126 advanced fighters for its air force, Russian-made aircraft carriers and ship-borne weapons for the navy, and main battle tanks and anti-tank missiles for its land force.

India has so far refused to sign the “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty” and its strategic missile capacity has markedly improved. India has developed “Agni” strategic missiles that have three ranges of 700 kilometers, 2,500 kilometers and 3,500 kilometers and can cover all of its neighboring regions. India also started building its 25th nuclear power reactor in July 2011 and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. plans to put the new nuclear power reactor into commercial operations by June 2016.

India decided at the end of 2010 to spend up to 5 billion U.S. dollars buying four long-range patrol aircraft and four amphibious warships, and purchase 250 to 300 fifth-generation jet fighters from Russia. India’s second independently developed stealth frigate “INS Satpura” commenced service on Aug. 20, 2011, marking a substantial improvement in the combat capacity of India’s navy. The third stealth frigate “INS Sahyadri” is expected to be put into service in 2012 and will be equipped with domestically made and imported weapon systems and sensors. The development and service of Shivalik-class frigates have marked that India has been among a few countries that can build stealth frigates.

In addition, the navy of India is also planning to cope with future emergencies by building two aircraft carrier battle groups and equipping itself with several stealth battleships, submarines and long-range reconnaissance planes. Currently, India has mastered the technology of producing high-quality ship-body steel and therefore do not depend on foreign resources as much as before.

The navy of India already possesses an aircraft named “Virat” bought from the United Kingdom, and is rebuilding and upgrading another named “Vikramaditya”, which will be completed and launched in December of 2012. In August of 2011, the Defense Minister of India A.K. Anthony said that, in addition to the six submarines being built, the navy of India would purchase another six “seventy-five plan” submarines to strengthen the battle effectiveness of its submarine force. Recently, Russia said that it would deliver the Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine named “Cheetah” to India at the end of 2012. According to the contract, India will rent the submarine for 10 years.

Now, India is still a big regional power and its political influence and military strength are limited in the world. Taking the so-called "China Threat" as an excuse, India is expanding its military strength, but it is still uncertain that whether India will realize its dream of being a leading power, because India's weak economy is severely unmatched with the image of a leading military power.

In addition, international communities and India's surrounding countries are all suspecting and even being on guard against this kind of unbalanced development mode. Considering it in the viewpoint of geopolitical strategy and regional security, international communities do not want to see a severe military imbalance in South Asia. International communities generally believe that a relatively balanced military situation in the South Asia and the normalization of the India-Pakistan relations are helpful for the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific Region.


light entertainment: modi and harappan philosopher-king separated at birth?

20th sep 2011 CE

the afghan situation is going from bad to worse

sep 20th, 2011 CE

with the audacious assassination of rabbani, former president of the northern alliance, the taliban (ie. the ISI) are showing that they have absolutely no interest in anything other than total victory on their terms.

rabbani was a close ally of india's best friend in the region, the tajik military genius ahmed shah massoud, who was also assassinated by the taliban, the day before 9/11/2001.

see my article a few months ago from firstpost. http://www.firstpost.com/politics/us-exit-from-kabul-means-india-has-to-back-tajik-alliance-40040.html/2

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

Tricky questions and troop transfers in Afghanistan

By Ronald Neumann Description: <a href=http://www.foreignpolicy.com/images/091022_meta_block.gif" width="14" />Friday, September 16, 2011

Ronald E. Neumann was U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2005 until 2007 and has visited regularly since. He is author of The Other War; Winning and Losing in Afghanistan.

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

Military commanders deciding how to reposition and withdraw U.S. forces in Afghanistan are now confronting decisions where mistakes could doom the war effort. NATO has achieved considerable success after brutal combat in the southern Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. Violent incident rates are running in excess of 20 percent lower than during a comparable time period in 2010. Local Afghan government, for all its weakness, is expanding into districts that were long controlled by the Taliban. Even recruitment of southern Pashtuns into local police and security forces is going up in some districts that last year saw the local population watching passively while Americans fought Taliban insurgents. While such recruitment for the army is still well below what is desired, there are scattered reports, both in print and from local sources, of larger numbers of Pashtuns joining local police forces.

However, violence in eastern Afghanistan is not dropping. The threat from the Haqqani  Network forces supported from bases in Pakistan has increased, as have Haqqani Network-originated spectacular attacks aimed at Kabul. The combination of apparent success in the south combined with the threat of eastern violence produce a strong argument for rapidly shifting forces east to mount a major campaign there before hard deadlines for U.S.troop withdrawals next year diminish the offensive power international forces can wield. Yet this military logic conceals critical political risks that deserve close attention.

The southern surge was intended to create conditions that would allow Afghan forces to take over population security and the expansion of governance and development. Claims by some serving and retired American generals that security gains in southern Afghanistan are irreversible seriously overstate the situation. None of my many Afghan contacts fully accept this view. Only half the mission is accomplished. Afghan Army performance has improved, and army units are supported by some police and a few small units of local village defense of varying political and military reliability. But nowhere have Afghan forces yet stood largely on their own.  Their ability to do so remains an unproven theory, not an established fact. 

The decisive battles for the south have also yet to begin. They will occur as U.S. forces thin out and insurgents try to regain control of the population. The Taliban's inability to confront Afghan security forces backed up by residual U.S. and NATO forces will not be the measure of success. Rather, success will only come when Afghan forces have the ability to maintain security for assistance workers, Afghan civil servants, and tribal leaders who have returned to their districts and cooperated with us and their government. All of them will be targeted by the Taliban, using threats and assassinations to intimidate others who might be on the fence. The struggle for control of the population will be the decisive battle.

The battlefield will also be psychological as much as physical. After 30 years of war, Afghans have a high pain threshold. If they believe they are on a winning side, they can and will put up with sacrifice, and replace assassinated officials. But if they become convinced that overall security is declining then we will again see local officials deserting their posts or living ineffectually in protected compounds. Tribal leaders will again flee to the cities. Confidence that has been slowly built in the south will be quickly destroyed. Worst of all, the word will spread rapidly that those who put their faith in improved Western- and Afghan-created security are taking suicidal risks, especially with the impending NATO force reductions. If this message goes forth it will undercut any possible military gains from repositioning forces.

These dangers do not mean that no forces can be withdrawn or repositioned. Indeed, transfer of control must occur if the whole strategy of Afghan forces taking over responsibility for security by 2014 is to achieve credibility. Further, it is important to expand secure areas in the east and diminish the threats to Kabul. The need for troops in both the east and the south is real.  The time to make decisions has been reduced by President Obama's accelerated withdrawal schedule for 2012. Risk, as my military colleagues always remind me, must be taken somewhere. The point is that the risks must be considered in political and psychological terms far more than on a strictly military basis if we are not to waste the major gains of the last two years. Such considerations demand great prudence in two areas that must be worked out by our civilian and military leaders on the ground.

One is that turn over must be undertaken slowly enough that Afghan security forces can be tested when we still have the ability to correct after setbacks. War is a hard school taught by a capable and reactive enemy. There will be bad days. We must ensure that we retain the margin to work with our Afghan allies to rebound from problems, not let them be shattered by them.

Second, risk must be decided jointly with Afghan civilian and military authorities. They bear the ultimate cost of failure, and their confidence in the possibility of success is crucial to strategic credibility and their willingness to take the losses required to succeed. More progress has been made in the last two years than many Americans recognize. It must be solidified before it is excessively risked.


Taliban Assassinate Rabbani After Gaining His Trust

Former Afghan President and Jamiat-i-Islami leader Burhanuddin Rabbani has been assassinated. I'm reminded of that moment 10 years ago when news came forth that his close associate Ahmad Shah Masood had been assassinated by Taliban ally AlQaeda. This was of course the day before the 9/11 attacks.

Here too, the Taliban say that an elaborate ruse had been created to gain Rabbani's trust by leading him into a pretense of negotiations. This enabled a pair of suicide bombers to gain close access to Rabbani, before detonating their hidden explosives.

This is a severe blow which shows that Taliban/ISI can never be trusted, especially when they claim to want to negotiate.

my piece in firstpost about why the robber-barons don't like modi, but don't mind anna. http://bit.ly/p0SY8q

sep 20th, 2011 CE

anna was compromised by the same PLU entrepreneurs who have latched on to the mammaries of the welfare state. 

modi does not allow them to do their usual blood-sucking. ergo, they do not like him. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

minority rights in pak: hindus kidnapped/ransomed, forced to convert. http://bit.ly/ouyAre

sep 18th, 2011 CE

according to a report in the pak express tribune, hindus in particular and other minorities subject to kidnapping, ransoming, forced conversion in baluchistan.

For @ketpan quote from Wapo by Teesta justifying Godhra http://tinyurl.com/3duct8b RT @sandy1234321

sep 18th, 2011 CE

here is the direct quote:

begin quote:

Teesta Setalvad, head of Communalism Combat, a group that opposes religious extremism in India, said that "while I condemn today's gruesome attack, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilization to build a temple and deliberately provoke the Muslims in India."

Five stages of appropriation of Indic traditions: pankaj paraphrases Rajiv Malhotra

sep 18th, 2011 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri venkat
Date: Sat, Sep 17, 2011 at 3:54 PM
Subject: Five stages of appropriation of Indic traditions: Rajiv Malhotra
To:


Please go to this interesting link to read more
the http://barnard.edu/arx/html/hinduismhere/pankaj.html


Rajiv Malhotra has termed it as the U-Turn Theory. According to this
theory[16]: "Appropriation occurs in the following five stages:

1.    Student/Disciple: In the first stage, the Westerner is loyal to
the Indic traditions, and writes with the deepest respect. Many such
scholars have genuinely tried and aspired to give up their Western
identities and adopt Hinduism/Buddhism very sincerely. In many
instances, India has helped the person to "find" himself/herself. A
large number of scholars remain in this stage for life, while others
move on to subsequent stages, not necessarily in the exact sequence
below.

2.    Neutral/New Age/Perennial Repackaging: In this stage, Indic
traditions are repackaged as "original" discoveries by the scholar, or
relocated by interpolating within obscure Greek, Christian or other
"Western" texts, or assumed to be generic thoughts found in all
cultures. In many instances, this is the scholar's personal brand
management to expand the market for the books, tapes and seminars, by
distancing oneself from the negative brands of the "caste, cows and
curry" traditions.


3.    Hero's return to his/her original tradition: Once the ego takes
over and the scholar's native identity reasserts itself, he/she
returns to the Eurocentric tradition, typically Judaism or
Christianity, with bounties of knowledge to enrich it. Alternatively,
the scholar repackages the material in secular vernacular, such as
"Western psychology" or "phenomenology" or a "scientific" framework.
Now the sales mushroom, as the Western audiences congratulate
themselves for their culture's sophistication. In some cases, this
happens to Indians also who reject their Indian identity after gaining
enough mileage out of Indic sources.

4.    Denigrating the source: In this stage, into which only some
scholars proceed intentionally, they denigrate the source Indic
traditions. It furthers their claims of "originality" and absolves
them from links to denigrated traditions. In some instance, stages 3
and 4 are in reverse sequence.[17]


5.    Mobilizing the sepoys and becharis: This is the phenomenon
whereby Indians become proxies for Western sponsors. Bechari is
typically an Indian woman who perpetuates the idea that the Indian
traditions are oppressive of women and only the Western feminism are
liberating, so as to get some kind of recognition or gain in the West.
These gains could be in the form of jobs, recognition as a scholar,
invitation to conferences etc. The perpetuation of 'becharihood' of
Indian women is used as a justification for 'white woman's burden'.
The sepoys also push the Eurocentric agenda and fight against the
natives, just like British hirelings did in 1857. They are the result
of the Lord McCauley's agenda of "producing Indians with Western ways
of thinking." Often they claim to be championing the subaltern causes,
using this stage to gain recognition in the West. Becharis and sepoys
tend to prove native cultures as the social criminal. This legitimizes
the subversion of native culture in the name of human rights and hence
becomes the civilizing mission for Western powers.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Stratfor's Friedman on the Taliban Strategy

George Friedman of Stratfor gives his analysis of the Taliban strategy, following the recent Taliban attack on the US embassy in Kabul:

recommended: rajiv malhotra's new book. ANNOUNCING: Provocative New Book on Indian/Western Civilizations

sep 16th, 2011 CE

should be most interesting, going by what rajiv has done before.

it is truly a paradigm shift to look at the west's through the lens of dharma. 

i haven't read this yet, but will do so.

btw, i also recommend rajiv's earlier book, 'breaking india'. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rajiv Malhotra <rajivmalhotra2011@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Sep 17, 2011 at 3:16 AM
Subject: ANNOUNCING: Provocative New Book on Indian/Western Civilizations
To: 


ANNOUNCING A PROVOCATIVE NEW BOOK

 

BEING DIFFERENT
An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism

 

"A fitting and major response to Samuel Huntington's position on 'who are we?' as the West...This deserves to be one of the defining books of the age." 

- John M. Hobson, Univ. of Sheffield, UK

 

 

Harper Collins Publishers India ~ Price: $25

For Details or to Purchase, visit www.beingdifferentbook.com

Book Tour is Planned for Different Cities in India during November 2011

Details will be Announced at a Later Date

Rajiv Malhotra's BEING DIFFERENT is a path breaking book filled with original insights. It reverses the gaze to look at the West, repositioning dharmic civilization from being the observed to being the observer. Rajiv's goal is to generate debates on the following propositions:

 

  • Western claims of universalism are based on its own myth of history, as opposed to the multi-civilizational worldview needed today.
     
  • Historical revelations are the foundations of western religions, as opposed to dharma's emphasis on individual self-realization in the body here and now.
     
  • The synthetic unity of western thought and history is in contrast with the integral unity that underpins dharma’s worldview.
     
  • The West’s anxiety over difference and need for order is unlike the dharmic embrace of the creative role of chaos.
     
  • Common translations of many Sanskrit words are seriously misleading because these words are non-translatable for sound and meaning.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING DIFFERENT

FOR  WESTERNERS  FROM  TRADITIONAL  RELIGIOUS  BACKGROUNDS:

 It  shows  the  way  to  liberation  from  religious  institutions,  dependence  on historical prophets, fear of sin and damnation, and fixations with bloodlines  and divisive identities.

 

FOR  PRACTITIONERS  WHO  ARE  “SPIRITUAL  BUT  NOT  RELIGIOUS”:

It critiques the cafeteria approach that “all paths are the same” by explaining key non-negotiable principles of dharma.

 

FOR  PHILOSOPHERS  OF  RELIGION  AND  SCIENCE:

It  contrasts  the  deep philosophical and metaphysical assumptions underlying dharma and western civilizations. This critique brings out western fixations on historicity and the weakness of the synthetic unity built into its underlying cosmology. The reasons for the West’s unresolved splits between reason and revelation, and science and religion become clear.
 

FOR INTERFAITH DIALOGUE PARTICIPANTS: 

It criticizes religious “tolerance” as a patronizing posture, and explains the far more profound principle of mutual respect. “Tolerance” is exposed as a ploy to protect claims of exclusivity and unique historicity.
 

FOR POSTMODERN THINKERS:

It deepens the understanding of the roots of western hegemony and  parochial claims of universalism, while avoiding the nihilistic tendencies in postmodern discourse. It introduces original insights on “chaos” as a source of creativity and use in shaping non-oppressive identities.
 

FOR PRACTICING HINDUS:

It offers a novel way to understand Hinduism in terms of how it differs from Western religions and philosophies, and thereby prevents Hinduism’s digestion into Western frameworks, wrongly characterized as “universal.” This envisions Hinduism as an open architecture of diverse paths.

 

"Being Different is a provocative and important book for two distinct reasons. First, the book is one of the few attempts by an Indian intellectual to challenge seriously the assumptions and presuppositions of the field of India and/or South Asian studies tout ensemble, including not only the work of European and American scholarship but as well the neocolonialist, postmodernist and subaltern ressentiment so typical of contemporary Indian intellectuals. Second, and perhaps of greater significance, is Malhotra’s attempt to analyse the meaning and significance of Indic culture from within the indigenous presuppositions of India’s own intellectual traditions, including the ontological claims of Indic cosmology, the epistemology of yogic experience, the unique Indic appreciation for complexity, and the nuances of Sanskritic expression. The book will be controversial on many different levels and will undoubtedly elicit rigorous critical response."

– GERALD JAMES LARSON, Rabindranath Tagore Professor Emeritus, Indiana University, Bloomington, and Professor Emeritus, Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

 

PURVA PAKSHA: REVERSING THE GAZE

The book employs the venerable tradition of purva-paksha, a dharmic technique where a debater must first authentically appreciate the opponent’s perspective, test the merits of that point  of view and only then put forth his own position. Purva-paksha encourages individuals to become truly knowledgeable about alternative perspectives, to approach the other side with respect and to forego  the desire to simply “win.” It also demands that all sides be willing to embrace the shifts in thinking, risky and controversial as they may be.

 

It is through Western categories, and hence the Western “gaze,” that the people who constitute the Judeo-Christian traditions see the world. This gives the Western perspective a de facto status as arbiter of what  is considered universally true. As long as one remains in the privileged position of subject, looking at  others and not being gazed at oneself, one can assume that one’s positions and assumptions represent the universal norm. Purva-paksha is the corrective to this mistaken view. In purva-paksha one does not look away, so to speak, from real differences, but attempts to clarify them, without anxiety, but also without  the pretence of sameness. There is more to this practice than meets the eye. It involves not only a firm  intent but considerable self-mastery (i.e., a movement beyond ego) combined with an understanding of the magnitude of the issues at stake.

 

"Indian spiritual exemplars had a strong tradition of studying competing schools of thoughts and debating them vigorously. In some ways, Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan did “reverse the gaze” on the West. Now, for the 21st century, Rajiv Malhotra has launched the renaissance of this old tradition, and examines the West as the 'other' through the lens of dharma.  He thereby identifies the signature principles of Indian civilization. This work should become a textbook and it can galvanize a new generation to start a thought revolution (vichar-kranti)."

- Dr. Pranav Pandya, Head of All World Gayatri Pariwar and Chancellor, Dev Sanskriti University, Haridwar.

 

"BEING DIFFERENT’S new purva paksha tries to deconstruct the metaphysical ruptures in the Western epistemology, bringing out the discrepancies among different kinds of universals, grand narratives and logocentric positions. It is well structured, exploring not only what is different but also deconstructing the philosophical, cultural and cosmological differences that have not been adequately examined for centuries."

- R.P. Sing, Professor & Chairperson, Centre for Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

 

"Rajiv Malhotra’s work is a kind of yajna that reverses the gaze upon the West through the lens of Indian knowledge systems. This process is traditionally called purva paksha, a distinctive feature of exegsis in Sanskrit, and in Rajiv's work it is given a new importance. BEING DIFFERENT breaks new ground in that direction. The result is a highly original and sincere attempt to compare the basic paradigms of Indian and Western thought. This book is an eye-opener."

– DR. SATYA NARAYAN DAS, Founder of Jiva Institute of Vedic Studies, Vrindavan.

 

"BEING DIFFERENT offers crucial strategic perspectives for Indian civilization, a civilization that is only now emerging from centuries of oppression and slavery. This book is a “must read” for those who care about India and its future."
– MAKARAND R. PARANJAPE, Professor of English, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

 

 

 

"Malhotra writes with passion from within an avowed dharmic stance and with the intention of undermining the attempts to domesticate and expropriate the Indian traditions in a process of inter-religious dialogue that is ultimately based on a western cosmological framework and religious assumptions. In drawing out the contrast between "tolerance of other religions" and "mutual respect between religions" in chapter one, he brilliantly exposes the pretence in western affirmations of cultural pluralism. He shows that accepting western cultural assumptions is not essential to participation in the benefits of the globalization process. This book is essential reading for western scholars engaged in cross-cultural studies."

- Don Wiebe, Prof. of Divinity, Trinity College in the University of Toronto; and past president of the North American Association for the Study of Religion.

 

"This work commands an amazingly wide scholarship across Indian civilization, Western civilization, and comparative philosophy and religion.  I know of no work on this subject which even remotely matches this."

- Ramakrishna Puligandla, Emeritus professor of Philosophy, University of Toledo.

 

"Honest, provocative and wide-ranging, this book gives us (westerners) a rare opportunity to see ourselves through the lens of another worldview. It cuts to the heart of the problems created by Christian beliefs about unique historical revelation, and by the West’s consistent investment in a set of linear historical narratives purporting to offer universal salvation but fueled by particular western needs and anxieties. Informed by postmodernism, but moving beyond it, the book levels the playing field for a genuine encounter between East and West and raises issues that any serious revision of Christian theology must address."
– CLEO KEARNS, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and Infinity Foundation.

 

"What I found particularly informative and original in Being Different is the discussion on the positive role of chaos in the Indic world as compared to the West’s abhorrence of it. The book explains Hegel’s deep-rooted fear of chaos and uncertainty. He privileged order in Western aesthetics, ethics, religions, society, and politics and classified Oriental traditions into “pantheism”, “polytheism”, and “monotheism” as “world historical categories”. Hegel developed a system of equivalences to assign relative meaning and value to each culture, thereby defining the contours of the “West” and the “Rest.’ These became the conceptual tools for epistemic subjugation of the non-West in the name of order. The dharmic worldview is more relaxed about chaos, seeing it as a creative catalyst built into the cosmos to balance out order that could otherwise become
stultifying."
– SHRINIVAS TILAK, Independent scholar, Montreal.

 

"With stunning honesty, Being Different alerts the reader to the grave dangers of a difference-negating “sameness” that is marketed worldwide by secular and religious streams in Western culture. This is a very important and highly accessible book in the discourse on the interaction between civilizations."
– RITA SHERMA, Executive Director, Confluence School of Faith Studies; co-editor, Hermeneutics and Hindu Thought: Towards a Fusion of Horizons.

 

"Rajiv Malhotra does not restrict himself to abstract theoretical discussion. His insistence on preserving difference with mutual respect – not with mere ‘tolerance’ – is more pertinent today when the notion of a single universalism is being propounded. There can be no single universalism even if it assimilates or, in the author’s words, ‘digests’ elements from other civilizations. The book is engaging, and it can be disturbing or received with celebration depending upon one’s attitude to difference. I have no doubt that its contents will stimulate a meaningful introspection."

- Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Independent scholar and Member of Rajya Sabha.

 

 

 

EXCERPTS FROM BEING DIFFERENT

Introduction


This book is about how India differs from the West. It aims to challenge certain cherished notions, such as the assumptions that Western paradigms are universal and that the dharmic traditions teach ‘the same thing’ as Jewish and Christian ones. For while the Vedas say, truth is one, paths are many’, the differences among those paths are not inconsequential. I argue that the dharmic traditions, while not perfect, offer perspectives and techniques for a genuinely pluralistic social order and a full integration of many different faiths, including atheism and science. They also offer models for environmental sustainability and education for the whole being that are invaluable to our emerging world. The book hopes to set the terms for a deeper and more informed engagement between dharmic and Western civilizations.
 

India itself cannot be viewed only as a bundle of the old and the new, accidentally and uncomfortably pieced together, an artificial construct without a natural unity. Nor is she just a repository of quaint, fashionable accessories to Western lifestyles; nor a junior partner in a global capitalist world. India is its own distinct and unified civilization with a proven ability to manage profound differences, engage creatively with various cultures, religions and philosophies, and peacefully integrate many diverse streams of humanity. These values are based on ideas about divinity, the cosmos and humanity that stand in contrast to the fundamental assumptions of Western civilization. This book explores those ideas and assumptions.

 

1: The Audacity Of Difference

The distinct cultural and spiritual matrix of dharma is under siege, not only from unsustainable and inequitable development internally but also from something more insidious: its widespread dismantling, rearrangement and digestion into Western frameworks, disingenuously characterized as ‘universal’. Much of what is celebrated as an explicit Indian influence on the West is actually threatening to deplete and exhaust the very roots on which it draws. Talk of global culture and universalism often creates the sunny impression that the fusion of cultures is always equitable. This assumption ignores the many distortions and unacknowledged appropriations on the Western side, as well as the highly destructive influences of fundamentalist Christianity, Marxism, capitalist expansionism, and myopic secularism.
 

2: Yoga: Freedom From History

All civilizations ask existential questions such as: Who are we? Why are we here? What happens when we die? Can we transcend death and if so, how? What is the ultimate reality or truth, and how can we reach it? The approaches to these questions and the answers offered by the two civilizations differ profoundly. In the Judeo-Christian traditions, revelation comes ‘from above’. It is initiated by God, and its content is strictly God-given. Human receptiveness is required, but this alone is insufficient. God is transcendent and must personally intervene in history from without in order for human beings to discern the truth. The bedrock of such religions is this historical event. This leads to an obsession with compiling and studying the historical details of such ancient interventions and makes them what I call ‘history-centric’. According to the dharmic traditions, man is not born into original sin, though he is burdened by his past conditioning, which makes him unaware of his true nature. Fortunately, he has the innate capacity to transcend this condition and achieve sat-chit-ananda in this life. Since the ultimate truth is attained experientially and passed from practitioner to practitioner, it follows that knowledge of the divine is varied and that more than one lineage may be true. I refer to this concept of the origin and transmission of truth as ‘embodied knowing’.
 

3:  Integral Unity And Synthetic Unity

The dharmic traditions are steeped in the metaphysics of the non-separation of all reality from the divine – what I refer to as ‘integral unity’. Their central concerns are how and why seemingly separate entities emerge out of this unity. In spite of important differences in theory and praxis, all dharma schools share the belief in this innate oneness and offer elaborate theories and processes of embodiment for achieving it. This is in complete contrast to the approach in Western religions, which start with the assumption of separateness – of matter, life and the divine.
 

The spiritual goal in the Judeo-Christian faiths is to achieve unity where none existed before. These religions presume intrinsic cleavages: God and humans are separated by sin and utterly removed from one another, the universe is an agglomeration of atomistic particles, and so forth. Furthermore, the reliance on historical and prophetic revelation ties humans to the past, while the lure of salvation keeps them fixated on the future, resulting in dissonance in the present moment. Such a worldview may achieve unity but it is a tentative unity, tenuous and artificial at best. Moreover, force and domination are often used to achieve it. I refer to this as ‘synthetic unity’.
 

4: Order And Chaos

People from dharmic cultures tend to be more accepting of difference, unpredictability and uncertainty than westerners. The dharmic view is that so-called ‘chaos’ is natural and normal; it needs, of course, to be balanced by order, but there is no compelling need to control or eliminate it entirely nor to force external cohesion. The West, conversely, sees chaos as a profound threat that needs to be eradicated either by des

France Bans Muslim Street Prayers

The government of France has banned Muslim street prayers, as a threat to the secular values of the French republic.

India and Vietnam Ignore Chinese Warnings On South China Sea

India and Vietnam will continue to explore oil and gas resources in the South China Sea, despite China's warning against it.

Well, what do they expect us to do, when they are moving ahead in putting men and materiel into POK? If they move into our yard, then we'll move in on theirs.

Thorium and India's energy independence: forbes. So far India has managed to screw up royally on fast-breeders, of course

sep 16th, 2011 CE

my suspicion is that there isn't enough money to be made (yet) in thorium reactors. as far as the politicians are concerned, it's a lot easier to make the big bucks via corruption in a) nuclear fission, b) oil. therefore, being rational economic beings, they are not interested in thorium

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harish 

Rajeev,


Thorium as the next energy source.. interesting article..

India has as you know, pretty much 2/3 of the world' deposits.. India's energy independence based on our resources

-harish


dr vijaya: Who remembers Rajbala?

sep 16th, 2011 CE

surely not the UPA. 

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Vijay Rajiva
To:
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 4:05:45 AM
Subject: Fw: Who remembers Rajbala?

'Who remembers Rajbala?'

Dr.Vijaya Rajiva (Haindava Keralam, 13/09/2011)

On June 4, 2011 there occurred a horrendous event in India. An unarmed peaceful nonviolent crowd in Delhi protesting corruption was lathi charge by the police and it resulted in serious injuries with one middle aged woman Rajbal with spine broken and all four limbs paralysed. The first pictures of these victims were provided by a Tehelka reporter. CNNIBN had all night coverage of this infamous event. In the melee old men and women were dragged out by police from the Ramlila grounds and left with their children and grandchildren on the streets of Delhi to fend for themselves. They had come from far and near to listen to the yoga guru Swami Ramdev and had spent the day in yoga, fasting, meditation, prayer and bhajan. . . . .

After the first few days of excitement the liberal press has fallen silent on the topic . . . . . As for the woman who initiated this outcome, she must make her peace with her God (her extra God as Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal described that God in an article over a year or so ago, ironically, one hopes). It is hard to believe that the Catholic god whom she prays to would condone such an event. At any rate Jesus of Nazareth would not have condoned it or the ghastly wars of conquest and violence engaged in by followers in his name. . . . . (READ MORE).

wsj: google predicts explosion in web use in india.

[FoT] Dr Nicholas Bequelin on "Human Rights in Tibet" (Report & Photos)

sep 16th, 2011 CE

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Friends of Tibet <support@friendsoftibet.org>
Date: Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 2:57 PM
Subject: [FoT] Dr Nicholas Bequelin on "Human Rights in Tibet" (Report & Photos)
To: friendsoftibet@lists.ibiblio.org



Friends of Tibet

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dr Nicholas Bequelin on "Human Rights Issues in Tibet"
(Jawaharalal Nehru University, New Delhi, August 11, 2011)

Dr Nicholas Bequelin, Senior Asia Researcher of Human Rights Watch speaking on 'Human Rights Issues in Tibet' at the Jawaharalal Nehru University campus in New Delhi at a function organised by Friends of Tibet (Delhi) and the Tibet Forum of JNU on August 11, 2011.

A report on "Human Rights Issues in Tibet" talk by Dr Nicholas Bequelin, Senior Asia Researcher of Human Rights Watch at the Jawaharalal Nehru University campus in New Delhi organised by Friends of Tibet (Delhi) and the Tibet Forum of JNU on August 11, 2011.

New Delhi: The talk by Dr Nicholas Bequelin, Senior Asia Researcher of Human Rights Watch at the Jawaharalal Nehru University campus in New Delhi was of mostly surrounding the details that the recent bouts of violence Chinese-occupied Tibet had witnessed. Giving a brief overview of the incidents that led to the monks setting themselves on fire, in retaliation to specific demands that the Chinese government was making on the Tibetan monasteries, the talk centered on the significance of these acts of resistance in today's context. He was speaking on "Human Rights Issues in Tibet" at a function organised by Friends of Tibet (Delhi) and the Tibet Forum of Jawaharalal Nehru University at the JNU, New Delhi on August 11, 2011.

Dr Bequelin was also able to show, simultaneously, why the reports like the ones Human Rights Watch bring out in such systemic and drawn out acts of violence that the Chinese are carrying on, over the Tibetan people, play very important roles in the way China's perception in world continues to remain negative. It is on the bases of the data that the HRW Report provided Human Rights organisations can still try to take a strong stand against China's policies today, given the illegitimate economic clout it currently enjoys.

In response to the persecution of the monks in the Kirti Monastery, Dr Bequelin stated that "the judicial sentences on the monks were patently unjust verdict and the outcome of a purely political prosecution, and that it comes against a background of unprecedented persecution against the Monastery of Kirti, from where the Chinese government has already taken into arbitrary detention dozens of monks."

Dr Bequelin's audience was mostly the research scholars of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and the group mostly consisted of the younger generation of Tibetans who are born in exile. Most Tibetan Students are enrolled in the School of Languages, mostly Chinese, and the School of International Studies. The group calls itself the Tibet Forum, and so, the talk was co-hosted by the Tibet Forum and Friends of Tibet. In the coming few years, therefore, we will get to see a fresh take on Tibet and China, from the perspective of these young exiles. Researching and understanding China, is thus, gradually taking on very interesting tones, as the nation-less nationals are beginning to talk back. The discussion with Dr Bequelin, in such a scenario, becomes doubly significant, as he brings together several profound insights that would help their field of research. Thus, the notion of politically charged research is finally making its way into the field of Chinese Studies in India.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dr Nicholas Bequelin, Senior Asia Researcher of Human Rights WatchAbout the Speaker: Nicholas Bequelin is a senior researcher on China at Human Rights Watch, based in Hong Kong, and a fellow at the Universities Service Centre for Chinese Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He obtained his PhD in History from the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS,) Paris, in 2001, and is a graduate in Chinese from the School of Oriental Languages and Civilisations (INALCO), also in Paris. His publications have appeared in The China Journal, The China Quarterly, Asian Studies as well as many newspaper and magazines such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The International Herald Tribune. He is a regular interviewee of major international media on legal, political, and human rights developments in China. Dr. Bequelin's former speaking engagements include The Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House, Jardines Matheson, and Yale University, where he was a visiting scholar in spring 2010. (For more on Human Rights Watch reporting on China, please visit: www.hrw.org/china)

Dr Nicholas Bequelin, Senior Asia Researcher of Human Rights Watch speaking on 'Human Rights Issues in Tibet' at the Jawaharalal Nehru University campus in New Delhi at a function organised by Friends of Tibet (Delhi) and the Tibet Forum of JNU on August 11, 2011.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friends of Tibet (India)

Friends of Tibet is a people's movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet through direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China's occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends of Tibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people for independence. Friends of Tibet is also one of the principal organisers of World Tibet Day around the world. 


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