Thursday, August 31, 2017
- In Kaangress era: India never intervened or even raised its voice in the past, about numerous Chinese incursions into the Bhutanese side, including the more serious road-building activities. This is because they did not affect Indian security, unlike Doklam.
- Indian role in Afghanistan: An India-Japan-South Korea consortium (with the US as an absent partner) could revive the Chabahar route to Afghanistan and, perhaps, manage the crucial supply chain to support US operations in the region.
- Induced seismicity: A 2010 study by the China Earthquake Administration found that Three Gorges Dam had triggered about 3,400 earthquakes from mid-2003 to the end of 2009, as well as numerous landslides, representing a 30-fold increase in seismicity. Human induced earthquakes
- Nano EV: Nano not to be phased out; Tata Motors to re-position it as electric vehicle
- David Shulman: The notion that there was a pure Tamil that had no Sanksrit in it is a complete fantasy. There are Prakrit and Sanskrit words in the earliest Tamil Brahmi inscriptions we have. The Tamil Brahmi script has some features peculiar to it, but it’s deeply interwoven with the Sanskrit system.”
- Padma Shri Aruna Sairam: Darbar Music Festival
- Greece, China's colony in Europe: “While the Europeans are acting towards Greece like medieval leeches, the Chinese keep bringing money”
“Unlike democratic nations that change politicians every few years, the Chinese have a long and steady strategic view. They know what they want”.
Last summer, Greece helped stop the EU from issuing a unified statement against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. This June, Athens prevented the bloc from condemning China’s human rights record. Days later it opposed tougher screening of Chinese investments in Europe
As Greece struggles through record joblessness, Chinese companies use subcontractors on short-term contracts at wages far below what unionized Greek dockworkers are paid.
- Missionary schools will grab lakhs of poor students from Dera run schools:
- Jayanthi Sampathkumar, manager at Microsoft:.Ran a marathon in a saree to promote handloom.
Missionary schools will grab lakhs of poor students from Dera run schools. Anyone thinking of issues beyond one man's scandal?— Rajiv Malhotra (@RajivMessage) August 28, 2017
This ends ISRO's run of 36 consecutive successful launches with PSLV over the past 20 years.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017
Meanwhile, Chinese investment in Africa seems to have peaked, as more return home from there:
From: Sanjeev Nayyar
The need for a support system and to be part of a larger community was felt.
It is this vacuum that deras like Sacha Sauda filled.
They made the poor feel secure, cared for, loved, provided a support system and gave them dignity, says Sanjeev Nayyar.
The violence and deaths that followed Gurmeet Ram Rahim's arrest were unfortunate. My heart goes out to the poor who lost their near and dear ones and those who were injured in the violence.
The question one has heard asked over the weekend is how and why a convicted rapist like Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a Jat Sikh, has amassed such a huge following.
The honest answer, however, must start with British rule.
The British were grateful to the Sikh princes for assistance received during the 1857 mutiny, and seeing the bravery of the Sikh armies realised they could be an effective buffer between Afghanistan and India.
They replaced Bengali soldiers with loyal Sikhs and Punjabi Muslims, but insisted that only those Sikhs who sported the five Ks, or symbols of Sikhism, could join the army.
The British enforced rigid occupational boundaries by creating 'traditional agriculturists', 'martial races' and 'trading castes'.
The Jats were classified as traditional agriculturists and came to dominate the ownership of land as well.
The other dominant community, Khatris or Kshatriyas, took to education and business. They had also been landholders till the Punjab Land Alienation Act of 1900 forbade them to do so as they were declared a 'non-agricultural' tribe.
Many families got around this artificially imposed caste barrier by raising one or more son as a Sikh, chiefly by having them adopt the name Singh and grow hair/beard to match.
British policy supported forces that divided Punjab into Hindu and Sikh http://www.esamskriti.com/e/
Their objective was met with the passage of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee Act in 1925, which resulted in the Akalis having control over gurdwaras in Punjab, and heralded the irrevocable tradition of mixing religion and politics in Punjab.
It also made Jat Sikhs a powerful community.
Backward classes were declared a non-agricultural caste. Thus, they could not own land and had to work as farm labour.
Punjab and Haryana became states in 1966.
Power invariably alternated between the Akalis and Congress in Punjab. However, irrespective of the party, Jats ruled Punjab.
In spite of backward classes believed to constitute over 30 per cent of the state's population, Jats were the dominant political class.
The Green Revolution of the late 1960s benefited Jats the most as they were the dominant agricultural caste.
In the prosperity that followed, the backward classes and poor were left out.
To add to their woes was the insecurities caused by the extremely violent Khalistan movement of the 1980s.
Deras existed earlier too, but the external environment increased the insecurity. The need for a support system and to be part of a larger community was felt.
It is this vacuum that deras like Sacha Sauda filled.
They made the poor feel secure, cared for, loved, provided a support system and gave them dignity.
Put yourself in the shoes of a poor devotee.
It is natural for the poor to seek the blessings of the guru who helps them.
Remember, it is in the DNA of Indians to consciously surrender to a person who they call their guru.
Why does Dera Sacha Sauda have such a huge following?
According to an August 24, 2017 report in Chandigarh's Tribune newspaper, the reasons are four-fold (external link). http://www.tribuneindia.com/
One, identities of caste and religion cease to exist in the dera.
Two, the humble ranking of dera management. A state is divided into zones, with each zone headed by a man called Bhangi Das.
Three, subsidised food and free rations.
Four, many districts close to Sirsa in Haryana are plagued by knee problems and cancer due to bad quality of water. The dera provided free treatment.2
Remember, Indian religions are not organised and rigid, but amorphous. So people across the country have always flocked to sants in their region.
Within a common spiritual framework, the guru's organisations provided spiritual and emotional support to its followers.
According to a scholar and long-time resident of Jalandhar, "Deras have done outstanding work in social, educational, medical and spiritual fields. The quantum of work done in the last 20 years far exceeds that of religious organisations."
Also, members of a dera become part of a larger community network. It helps them in business dealings, social engagements and even in finding life partners.
Conservative Sikhs oppose deras for many reasons. A person going to a dera invariably does not visit a gurdwara.
Two, there is a financial angle. The money and food-grain that would be donated to a langar at gurdwaras now goes to the dera.
While the orthodox believe in the Guru Granth Sahib as the guru, the deras focus on a personal guru without denying, in any way, the importance of scriptures.
Tension between conservative Sikhs and backward class deras resulted in the murder of Guru Sant Rama Nand in Vienna in 2009.
He belonged to the Dera Sach Khand, inspired by the 15th century spiritual leader Ravidas whose followers belong to the backward classes.
Thousands of followers went on a rampage (external link) in Punjab after the murder. http://blogs.reuters.com/
Sacha Sauda is not the only dera opposed by conservative Sikhs. Radhasoamis are also opposed because they too believe in a personal guru, and ask disciples to do simran of panj nam (five names) which they keep a secret.
They rely on the bani (word) of the Guru Granth Sahib (as also that of Saar Bachan) in satsang, but do not follow the way of devotion observed in gurdwaras.
However, whatever may be the history, violence by the followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
But, for a lasting solution, we must understand why devotees are willing to lay down their lives for their guru, rather than seeing the violence through the urban English-speaking prism.
It is debatable if the police would have fired on protestors if they were residents of south Mumbai/Delhi, sectors 2 to 11 of Chandigarh, or students of JNU.
Remember, when a rally to protest the violence against Myanmar's Rohingyas at Mumbai's Azad Maidan turned violent on August 11, 2012, in which vehicles and broadcast vans were torched, policewomen were molested, and weapons were snatched from the police, the state government of the day did not allow the police to open fire on the violent rioters. http://www.rediff.com/news/
This is what former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro had to say about the incident (external link). http://www.dnaindia.com/
Now let us look at the political aspects of the dera.
As India liberalised and with the advent of the cell phone, the new generation of backward classes felt confident enough to break free from the Jat-dominated politics of Punjab and Haryana.
With awareness dawned the realisation of the power of their votes.
Jat politicians too sensed the change.
So around 2007, the Haryana and Punjab chief ministers, namely Om Parkash Chautala and Parkash Singh Badal, visited the Sacha Sauda's Sirsa headquarters.
Five years later, Captain Amarinder Singh again sought the baba's 'blessings'.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, a late comer in Haryana's political game, too adopted the same strategy.
So every political party has wooed the Jat Sikh Baba.
The mixture of religion with politics, which started with the passing of the SGPC Act in 1925, continues to this day.
In fact, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was provided Z-plus security by the United Progressive Alliance government.
Note that it was competitive vote-bank politics between the Akalis and the Congress that gave rise to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and a major reason for the terrorism that engulfed Punjab in the 1980s.
Having realised the power of their votes, the poor wanted to break the Jat hegemony over politics.
They tasted blood in Haryana when the BJP appointed M L Khattar -- a non-Jat -- as chief minister.
Unable to deal with loss of power, some hit back through the violent Jat agitation in Haryana.
The Congress in Punjab and the SGPC dislike the Dera Sacha Sauda for various reasons.
One, the Dera supported the BJP-Akali combine in the last assembly election.
Two, in a caste-ridden Punjabi society, 'dera life provides an equal status to all castes'.
Three, the dera unites Hindus and Sikhs, something that conservative Sikhs are against.
Prem Insaan, a resident of Bathinda, said, "Different communities and castes have their own temples and gurdwaras in Punjab and Haryana, but at our dera all are equal."
"The dera advocates humanity. We may be Hindu, Sikh or anything else, but we have failed to end caste divisions in society."
During the recent violence Captain Amarinder Singh has presented himself as an able administrator in comparison to Haryana's Khattar.
Breaking the back of this dera would please the SGPC and conservative Sikhs no end.
Recent events have to be viewed against this backdrop.
The Congress is working to a plan. It desperately wants to win back Haryana, a state where land is highly valued.
After the BJP outsourced Punjab to the Akalis, its supporters had no option but to vote for the Congress.
Unless the BJP becomes active in Punjab and has a chief minister in Haryana who understands that religion and power are intertwined in Punjab and Haryana and finds a way to counter the Jats, the Congress will return to power in 2019.
The affluent classes and political parties must bring the backward classes into the mainstream.
Sanjeev Nayar is an independent columnist, founder, www.esamskriti.com and author of How the British sowed the seeds for the Khalistani Movement before the Indians took over.
He tweets @sanjeev1927
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Friday, August 25, 2017
It's interesting to note that director Ridley Scott's other famous movie franchise, Alien, is also set in the same story universe as Blade Runner. The Tyrell Corporation which manufactures Replicants in the Blade Runner storyline is apparently a competitor to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation which manufactures the androids in the Alien storyline.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
- Muharram has right-of-way: Mamata Banerjee says no Durga idol immersion on Muharram
- Ghar wapsi in quota case: Conversion good, ghar-wapsi bad according to All India Catholic Union and John Dayal.
- Overdue: OBC list to be sub-categorised
- Chinese threat: India tightens power grid, telecom rules. Local firms have long argued against Chinese involvement in the power sector, raising security concerns and saying they get no reciprocal access to Chinese markets.
- China role in floods? "There was no unnatural rain in neighboring Arunachal Pradesh to trigger such a massive flooding in Assam. We need to know where the water came from. There was also no warning from China. Unnatural release of river water could be a ticking hydrogen bomb".
- Killbots: Elon Musk urges the UN to limit AI weapons
- HCCI Explained:
- Lesson for Modi Sarkar: Economists still can’t decide whether the minimum wage is a good thing. A recent study found that a sharp rise in the minimum wage in Seattle led to job losses and fewer hours for low-wage workers—exactly what supply and demand theory would predict
- Targeting India, specifically women:
Both tobacco industry and liquor industry are now targeting India, & specifically women, for growth. https://t.co/ErZb6ys0nY— Oldtimer (@auldtimer) August 19, 2017
The show is styled as a Tom Clancy-esque techno-thriller and is very well-written, with fast-pacing, lots of plot twists and intrigue adding to the suspense. It also has a surprising amount of references to current politics and culture, including an Elon Musk type of hero with a powerful rocket and a vision for Mars colonization, tensions between the superpowers, a volatile US president snarling against the "Deep State", and even covers ISRO cooperating with NASA. The casting for the show is also very good, and even includes some young Indian-American actors in the mix. Microsoft and Amazon are among the sponsors of this TV production.
Fwd: The way around China+Afghan reality check+Floods in India+Drones and UAV Swarming+US misreads rhetoric for reality on North Korea
From: Sanjeev Nayyar
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017
What was interesting is how it's spurring Mathematicians, Data Scientists, and AI programmers to come up with algorithms and strategies to beat the stock market. There's a direct financial reward and profit motivation here.
Rajeev was talking about how India is behind on AI - well, maybe financially incentivized pursuits like this could be a way to get the naturally competitive Indians into developing their AI talents. It could be a way to tap our natural human resource talent pool for beneficial progress.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
- Trump’s Request for India’s Help Rattles Pakistan: “By inviting India to be more active in Afghanistan, Trump has confirmed the worst fears of Pakistan’s generals”.
- Afghan women in 1972: This 1972 photo of women in Afghanistan helped persuade Trump to commit to war in Afghanistan
- Comment on NYT: "Where did you get the bit about the US paying billions to India? A quick google search should help clear this up. India has spent billions of its own in Afghanistan to build roads and infrastructure" - nytcalif.
- India already helps: India has given $3 billion in assistance since the Taliban government was toppled by coalition forces in 2001. And over the years India, Afghanistan’s biggest regional donor, has built more than 2,500 miles of roads, dams, hydropower plants and the country’s new parliament building
- Another Comment on NYT: Pradeep Bangalore, India:
Thin ray of hope for India always comes from Republicans. Right from JFK, Democrats have unpleasant relationship with New Delhi. Bill Clinton's obsession with Kashmir followed by hard sanctions post nuclear tests hurt Indians. Obama's failure to throttle strategic partnership has propelled Indians to hope the hard hitting current President will do some constructive damage to Pakistan vis-a-vis declaring it a paraiah state.
Republicans however, other than Nixon, have not failed to recognize India as a strategic Partner. Regan's negotiations to help India find nuclear suppliers is not forgotten. Bush Jr accepted India as a nuclear power by concluding 123 agreement, a watershed moment for India's strategic posture.
India already gives Afghanistan billions in aid. Now Trump says India must 'help us more.' https://t.co/3le2UakUgH— Annie Gowen (@anniegowen) August 22, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
In case you hadn't seen…
Lutyens moles work to damage PM Modi
By Madhav Nalapat | New Delhi | 18 December, 2016
… According to the Lutyens duo, "out of 11 senior bureaucrats who were involved for 17 weeks prior to 8 November in the planning of the currency switch", two are still "100% loyal to the Lutyens Zone" and therefore gave the government "advice that will boomerang on the government". An example was the decision to replace the Rs 1,000 denomination note with a Rs 2,000 substitute. This "went against the logic of the metric system, where the deferred number mathematical theory points to 1, 2, 5 and 10". It was pointed out by the strategists that throughout the globe, 1, 2, 5 and 10 (i.e. 10, 20, 50 and 100 or 100, 200, 500, 1000) are used to fix the value of currency. "By arbitrarily fixing 2000 and 100 as the two effective bands, the first has become useless in several transactions, while the latter is being hoarded", a Lutyens Zone strategist pointed out, adding that the particular civil servant who recommended the Rs 2,000 note and withdrawal of the Rs 1,000 note "would get a Governorship when we take office by mid-2019 latest". …
From: Rajiv Malhotra
From: Rajiv Malhotra
Sunday, August 20, 2017
How we clean up the inevitable mistakes in an economy is important and as Jaitley says, doing so before business assets devalue to nothing is the point and purpose of an insolvency and bankruptcy system--India's system is getting better by being faster.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
- Nepal uses India-China rivalry to fund its railway network: Delhi is funding the reconstruction of the Janakpur line that will allow it to connect to the rest of the subcontinent's expansive rail network. Beijing pledged USD 8.3 billion to build roads and hydropower plants in Nepal, dwarfing India's commitments of USD 317 million. Feasibility studies are also underway for a Beijing- backed railway connecting Kathmandu to Lhasa in Tibet, cutting straight through the Himalayas at an estimated cost of $8 billion.
- China refuses to share hydrological data: China has also blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra river in Tibet as part of the construction of its hydro project, which is causing concern in India.
- Leaking data: Government asks 21 smartphone makers, most of them Chinese, to share security information.
- Defense tech: China's making major progress with its aircraft carrier tech
- Racial purity: White supremacists have stumbled into a huge issue -- Genetic Ancestry Testing
- Violation of anti-smoking laws: Govt threatens Philip Morris with ‘punitive action
- Winning the meeting:
Friday, August 18, 2017
Bannon's friends are saying that he's now ready to "go nuclear", unleashing attacks on other Trump advisors and GOP moderates who are insufficiently reform-minded and too entrenched in status quo politics:
“He’s going nuclear,” said another friend. “You have no idea. This is gonna be really fucking bad.”
This could work in India's favor, given that America's status quo politics, including its Deep State, are totally anchored in Atlanticism, giving priority to perpetual confrontation with Russia over real dangers like the twin threats of rising Islamist militancy and Chinese hegemony.
This is too bad - like Flynn, he had an ideological tilt that was very beneficial for India, including a strong tilt against Islamic fundamentalism and Chinese expansionism.
His departure could mean a deepy and possibly fatal wound for the Trump administration, since Bannon was a key favorite among the nationalists who form Trump's base. Bannon had apparently already submitted his resignation on August 7, so his recent leaked remarks to the media were made in the wake of his own departure decision. Breitbart's news site are of course close surrogates of Bannon, so their reaction is likely to be highly critical of Trump.
On the other hand, Bannon will be back to cultivating his media-driven movement again:
BrahMos is a 1-shot-1-kill weapon -- once the missile comes into detection range, the target has less than 6 seconds to react.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
“I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in,” Bannon told The American Prospect, a liberal magazine, in a candid interview. “I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State.”
At issue in the interview are Bannon’s views toward China—“We’re at economic war with China”—and what he sees as its inadequate help reining in North Korea. (“On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow.” He also said he doesn’t believe there’s a military solution for North Korea.)
“To me,” Bannon said, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, 10 years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.”
Pushing his get-tough-with-China approach is “a fight I fight every day here.” At least part of his strategy, he said, would be to change out staff members at the State Department and Department of Defense, specifically naming one official he planned to remove.
|The video features a Chinese actor in costume mimicking an Indian accent|
Stay classy, China. 😒
Meanwhile, Congress mouthpiece Prem Shankar Jha attempts an even worse caricature:
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Brahma Chellaney warns that China certainly wants war:
- Imports of electronics and IT products from China: "Many of the devices transmit, or store, data back into Chinese servers, which could pose a security risk. Also, online transactions using many of these devices and platforms can be tracked back to Chinese servers, which can create security issues for the country".
- Sigh!: India’s exports to China include iron ore, cotton yarn, petroleum products, copper and chemicals, while imports include telecom instruments, electronic components, computer hardware, industrial machinery and chemicals.
- Hindus offended: Gelatin derived from beef is used in a variety of Kellogg cereal products.
- White Jesus: Too many Christian pastors are silent on Charlottesville violence
- Sikhs in America: For more than a century, Sikhs in the U.S. have faced hate and violence.
- On Hinduism:
Hinduism gave itself no name, because it set itself no sectarian limits; it claimed no universal adhesion, asserted no sole infallible dogma, set up no single narrow path or gate of salvation; it was less a creed or cult than a continuously enlarging tradition of the God ward endeavor of the human spirit. An immense many-sided and many staged provision for a spiritual self-building and self-finding, it had some right to speak of itself by the only name it knew, the eternal religion, Santana Dharma.
Now just here is the first baffling difficulty over which the European mind stumbles; for it finds itself unable to make out what Hindu religion is.... How can there be a religion which has no rigid dogmas demanding belief on pain of eternal damnation, no theological postulates, even no fixed theology, no credo, distinguishing it from antagonistic or rival religions? How can there be a religion which has no papal head, no governing ecclesiastic body, no church, chapel or congregational system, no binding religious form of any kind obligatory on all its adherents, no one administration and discipline? For the Hindu priests are mere ceremonial officiants without any ecclesiastical authority or disciplinary powers and the Pundits are mere interpreters of the Shastra, not the law-givers of the religion or its rulers.
How again can Hinduism be called a religion when it admits all beliefs, allowing even a kind of high-reaching atheism and agnosticism and permits all possible spiritual experiences, all kinds of religious adventures? -- Sri Aurobindo, India's Rebirth