Mi Bodeguita del Medio

While my blog is named after a restaurant in Havana I hope to someday visit, here you will find musings, rants, political incorrectness, thoughts on Indian Nationalism, strong straight-forward opinions and tid-bits.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Here's a Funny One...


Young Gujju named Chandubhai moved to upstate New York and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.

The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.

The next day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry Chandubhai, but I have some bad news. The donkey died."

Chandubai replied, "Well then, just give me my money back."

The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."

Chandubhai said, "OK, then, just bring me the dead donkey."

The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with a dead donkey?"

Chandubhai said, "I'm going to raffle him off."

The farmer said, "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"

Chandubhai said, "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."

A month later, the farmer met up with Chandubhai and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"

Chandubhai said, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars
apiece and made a profit of $898.00."

The farmer said, "Didn't anyone complain?"

Chandubhai said, "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back."

Chandubhai still works for Morgan Stanley.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

China Conserving its India Relations....

...by selling fake medicines/drugs to African nations under the "Made in India" label. From the article:
Last week, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria issued a press release stating that a large consignment of fake anti-malarial generic pharmaceuticals labelled `Made in India' were, in fact, found to have been produced in China.

"This is a case of a Chinese company exporting fake `Made in India' labelled medicines which has been accidentally exposed, it is unlikely to be an isolated incident. Indeed there is no reason for Nigeria to be the only country to be receiving such consignments.''

Commerce ministry sources said: "We have had many complaints about such fake drugs from China being offloaded as Indian drugs in countries like Ghana, South Africa, Ivory Coast and West Africa — in general, where India has a substantial market share. But so far there has been no formal complaint. This is the first time that such a large international consignment has been seized and this will be taken up strongly with the Chinese side.''
We certainly hope so.

Wonder what the Leftists and Commies have to say to this. Hindi-Chini bhai bhai?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

After the Counting and Other Stories

I have no time to put down anything original these days. But here is a must-read article by Rajeev Srinivasan - the original can be found here.
The great fabulist O V Vijayan had a collection of short stories -- and some of the best were based on the Emergency -- titled After The Hanging And Other Stories.

I could stretch the point and suggest that democracy was hanged in India, but perhaps that is too dramatic. Democracy was already a walking wounded in India. It had been a zombie for years, with paraphernalia such as elaborate elections, but it is merely form, not substance. What passes for a democracy in India is make-believe. It is, to paraphrase that old racist Churchill, about as real as the equator.

Nevertheless, it is a little sad to see a people committing collective suicide. For, this year's election is a point of inflexion, coming as it does at a point when the unipolar world of the recent past is clearly unraveling. There is a power vacuum, as the dominant power of the previous century, the United States, is clearly suffering from imperial over-reach. Much as other imperial powers have done in the past, America is also realising that there are limits to its power to compel others.

Since nature abhors a vacuum, a new power is stepping into it: China. They have amassed, as is well known, a war chest of $2 trillion. They are making noises about replacing the US dollar as the reserve currency, and economist Nouriel Roubini (known as 'Dr Doom' for his Cassandra-like warnings about the economic crisis) wrote in The New York Times about the 'almighty renminbi' possibly replacing the almighty dollar.

This was India's chance to also make it to the top, but of course it won't with the UPA at the helm. The UPA and its coterie of leftists have a congenital inferiority complex, and they simply cannot imagine that India in fact has the potential to be one of the poles in a multi-polar world. Their imaginations have been stunted by all the dogma of non-alignment they have mouthed for decades -- and they can only imagine being a pawn and a supplicant to some superior power.

The fact is that an unfettered India which defends its interests had a very good chance of being not only one among the top ten global powers in its economic, military and innovation capability. India, if it played its cards right, would have had a non-trivial chance of being Number One, the biggest power in the world. If the intrusive Indian government did not interfere, the native genius of Indians would naturally enable the nation to flourish, as was demonstrated in sector after sector after 1991. Indians have thrived despite the government, not because of it.

The problem the Americans face is that, despite their vast continental resources, they are a waning power, as they reached the zenith of their empire in the 1950s and 1960s, and it has been downhill ever since, except for a brief moment when they became the sole hyperpower. The Chinese, on their part, have tremendous problems because, despite the acknowledged entrepreneurial capacities of its citizens, Chinese history shows that it can only do well when there is a strong imperial government. Eventually, the Communist dictatorship will collapse.

India would have had a chance, but not with the UPA in power. An old gentleman, whom I have no reason to disbelieve, once told me of an incident with a Communist leader in Kerala, who opposed prohibition. In a private conversation, this person questioned the minister about the obvious fact that the consumption of liquor by men was impoverishing their families and preventing them from rising up to the middle class. Whereupon the leader told him, in effect: "We don't want to end poverty. If there is no poverty, who needs us?" This accurately reflects the UPA's beliefs as well. Their slogans will have no takers unless there is a large, hopeless underclass.

The UPA has demonstrated that it can only think of India as a vassal state throughout the last five years of craven behaviour towards the US ('India loves you, Mr Bush,' said the PM). The opaque manner in which the nuclear deal was rammed through was preposterous. India will pay tens of billions of dollars for nuclear fission reactors from the US and its allies, and will go into 'cap, rollback and eliminate' mode as it is blackmailed into the NPT, CTBT and FMCT.

In the meantime, the Americans are giving billions to the Pakistanis, in effect supporting their new plutonium reactors, as reported by MSNBC on May 15.

It would be ironic if the Americans are taking the very same billions coming from India and giving those to the Pakistanis. That would be, as Karl Marx said, history repeating itself as tragedy: British imperialists, it may be remembered, coerced money from Indians to build the infrastructure to oppress Indians.

The energy issue is just one of many in which the UPA has not looked after India's interests. Consider China -- now that energy prices have fallen, the Chinese have locked up long-term contracts for oil and gas by waving their bankroll around, in places like Venezuela, Russia, and Angola. The UPA has done nothing, apparently complacent that Uncle Sam will ride to the rescue with uranium. The UPA couldn't even get Bangladeshi or Myanmarese gas, which the Chinese snatched up. That is nothing short of criminal.

In fact there are several reasons why the last five years of UPA rule have been disastrous. I am reminded of Ronald Reagan's famous jibe: 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' Absolutely not, in area after area:

Economy: because of disastrous populist policies, the budget deficit is around 13 to 15 per cent, one of the highest in the world. Inflation of up to 12 per cent has permanently pushed up the prices of most essential goods by a factor of 1.5 to 3x, and it will return with a vengeance because of the high deficit.

Foreign Policy: India's 'near-abroad' is a disaster, as India's sphere of influence has shrunk, and China's has grown. Nepal is now controlled by friends of China; Sri Lanka is massacring Tamils, and has leased the Hambantota naval base to China; terrorist infiltration via Bangladesh and Nepal continues apace; the Pakistani Taliban are only some 200 kilometres from Delhi .

Security: Terrorists attack Indian cities at will; the invasion of Mumbai has already been forgotten by the UPA.

Corruption and money-laundering: Gigantic amounts of money appear to be stashed away in numbered Swiss accounts -- enough to pay off the national debt; the ill-gotten gains of the Italian Quattrochi have tacitly been given to him. This makes the already corrupt Indian system even worse.

Opaqueness: The UPA lied continuously to the Indian people and Parliament about the details of the nuclear accord, which turns out to be far less attractive than was advertised; the huge bags-of-cash-for-votes scandal has been swept under the carpet.

The Indian voter is not stupid, and is exquisitely sensitive to things that affect his wallet. Therefore it is a little surprising that the average voter drank the UPA's Kool-Aid.

There is, of course, the possibility that the average voter did not in fact fall for the UPA's charms, and that this election was subject to massive fraud. I am talking about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Having spent many years in the high-tech world, I do not trust computers, especially embedded systems. Researchers in the US have shown how easy it is to break into EVMs, which is why they have not adopted them. They have realised how important it is to have a paper audit trail, hanging chads and all.

It would not be extraordinarily difficult to install a programme with a Trojan Horse in it. To outward appearances and to ordinary testing, the programme would appear normal. However, when it is fed a sequence of keystrokes by the agent of the party committing the fraud, the Trojan Horse wakes up, and then, regardless of what buttons the voter actually presses, it can assign a certain (non-suspicious-looking) percentage (not 90% but, say 45%) to the preferred party. The Trojan Horse can even be programmed to quietly delete itself when the voting is over. Nobody would know any better, as there is no paper trail.

Let me emphasise that I do not have any evidence that this happened in 2009, but it is worth investigating. There were too many surprising -- almost miraculous -- victories by certain candidates whom the casual observer would have written off. By Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is fraud. I would like to note in passing that in 2004, expecting the NDA to commit fraud, an Indian Communist in the US had prepared a suit alleging EVM fraud. Therefore it is clear that the thought has occurred to various people that there could be EVM fraud.

In any case, the 2009 elections, I repeat, were an inflexion point or a tipping point, which will mark the rapid decline of India. Looking back, historians will identify this election as the precise moment that India as a nation and a civilisation began unraveling. It is fairly likely that India would have become a dismembered state by 2025, thus fulfilling a long-felt need in certain hostile quarters -- one in which both the Communists and the West see eye to eye -- to break up India.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thought for the Day

"Those who believe its impossible should stay out of the way of those who're trying to get it done."

-- Annonymous

Friday, May 15, 2009

CFA Time

The last few weeks have been very busy and although I generally don't prefer discussing my personal life here, there is some news - I'm engaged!

I'm also currently busy preparing for the intense CFA exam. Please wish me luck!

So, I'll be gone for a few weeks.

See you soon!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Definition for the Day

With the world's largest democracy currently heading to the poll booths, here's an interesting definition of the word "Democracy" atleast in its Indian context:

"Off the people, Buy the people, Fool the people"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Brown Parrot - Aravind Adiga

I have not read Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger, nor do I plan on reading it. Just as my reading list will never include any garbage written by Arundhati Suzanne Roy.

Why I won't be reading/buying it? Read the review below to see why.

This is what Gajanan, a regular commentator on Shantanu's blog, had to say about Adiga's novel:

"A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler has the following quote: "In a dying civilization, political diagnosis is done by strange bedside manners. Awards and rewards are decoration of mediocrity by ignorance."

Amitav Ghosh wrote the Sea of Poppies which was nominated for the Booker Prize along with Adiga's novel. The literary content, the language etc was far superior to Adigas novel. Ghosh highlighted on the sins of the Raj about how Opium trade was used to make money and how India and China (Hong Kong) were exploited. This was precisely why this novel was turned down for a Booker as it exposed the cunningness of the Brits."
Here is a post from Shantanu B's blog that I'm reproducing below in full; its long but worth the read till the end.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This review of “The White Tiger” by Pankaj is one of the finest I have come across and would have easily made it to any quality magazine/ news-paper…except that it will not…

Please read further to find out why.

*** ”The Brown Parrot” by Pankaj Saksena ***

On 14th October 2008, the Booker Committee announced in London that Aravind Adiga will get the Man Booker Prize for his debut novel, ‘The White Tiger’. The writer, Aravind Adiga claims in an interview:
“At a time, when India is going through great changes and, with China, is likely to inherit the world from the West, it is important that writers like me try to highlight the brutal injustices of society”, he said, adding that the criticism by writers like Flaubert, Balzac & Dickens in the 19th century helped England and France become better societies.1
In a single breath, Adiga takes upon his young self, the huge responsibility of highlighting all the ‘brutal injustices’ of India, while feeling proud enough to compare himself with Flaubert, Balzac and Dickens.

One should be cautious while making self‐comparisons with great personalities. Dickens wrote about London & the English society as it was, with no ideology to guide him. Almost all of his characters from David Copperfield to Oliver Twist have an autobiographical ring.

Adiga, on the other hand, is thrice removed from the society and the events he talks about in his book. Born in a metropolitan, Chennai, educated in Australia, the UK, and the US, he has nothing in common with his protagonist, Balram, who is a ‘low‐caste’ driver from Bihar. But the un‐authenticity of narration doesn’t bother Adiga. In fact, he thinks it is quite a duty of a writer to go beyond his own experience; to take a leap beyond reality; to plunge into pure fantasy. He
believes in writing by remote‐sensing.
I don’t think a novelist should just write about his own experience. Yes, I am the son of a doctor. Yes, I had a rigorous formal education, but for me the challenge as a novelist is to write about people who aren’t anything like me.2
Dickens’ works are not a judgment on the English society. His worldview evolves in his works. If we put them one over other, chronologically, we can see the intellectual development of Dickens, an observant mind becoming mature.

What we see in Adiga is not a natural evolution, but a sudden ideological revelation. He is not trying to learn anything. He knows it all. The ideas are pre‐arranged. In the absence of cultural roots he has an ideology to guide him. Secularism. Fantasy and remote‐sensing makes up for reality. Worn‐out formula‐writing makes up for creativity. Adiga has hitched his wagon to a star. And in Indian heavens, there is only one star. Secularism. It is the Ideology.

Flaubert, the other writer Adiga compares himself with, is as distant from him as possible. Madame Bovary is a psychological drama of an individual, and not a statement about the
French society, while Salambo is a purely artistic venture of recapturing a remote event of history. If Adiga had read even a single work of Flaubert he wouldn’t have compared him with any writer with a social agenda. It appears that Adiga just threw some random names of writers while being interviewed, without probably having read them.

Balzac is a different story. Again, Adiga has nothing in common with Balzac in the style and the grasp of the subject matter. Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. So‐called progressive writers in India are fond of comparing themselves with great realistic writers like Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, Dickens, Flaubert, Balzac etc as they think that Indian society is in an eternal need of a Bolshevik style revolution. Taking realism as the most abject form of self‐denigration, Indian writers harp on the ‘social injustices’ of India and feel themselves to be in the proud company of great writers.

On the level of language too, Adiga falls far too short. The style of narration doesn’t match with the projected aim of the book to point out the ‘brutal injustices’ of Indian society. His style takes him nearer to the post‐modern writing, while his aim is as ambitious as of a Communist ideologue. For this purpose Adiga inserts some of the most famous secular slogans in Balram’s speeches but his style of narration being post‐modern is personal and individualistic.

Adiga betrays his ignorance of rural Indian society ‐ not that he knows urban India ‐ at many points in the novel. For instance, he asserts that many water buffalos can be bought in seven thousand rupees. Let him purchase just one!3

So according to Adiga, the salient features of India are: Every traditional Indian village has a blue‐movie (pornographic) theatre.4 No one can enter Indian malls without wearing shoes. Shoes are compulsory.5 No low‐caste man can ever enter an Indian mall. Even if he enters stealthily, he is then caught, beaten and publicly humiliated.6 In India, if an owner runs over a man with his car, his driver has to go to jail instead.7 If a servant steals anything, then his entire family, back home, is ritually lynched to death. (their women being repeatedly raped.)8 Every Indian book stall sells ‘rape magazines’.9 There are separate markets for servants.10 In Indian brothels, they take extra money from servants, called as ‘Working‐class surcharge’.11 Sadhus, are actually homosexual hookers, who get paid to be buggered by foreigners.12 A common Hindu is worse than an Islamic terrorist.13 Indian caste system is worse, or at least as bad as the secret police of a totalitarian state.14

The last claim is the central theme of the novel. The caste system of India is called the ‘Rooster Coop’. Adiga compares the caste system with the secret police of a totalitarian state. This comparison is preposterous. Communism accounted for more than twenty million deaths in USSR, sixty‐five million in China, one million in Vietnam, two million in North Korea, two million in Cambodia, one million in Eastern Europe, 1.7 million in Africa, one and a half million in Afghanistan and millions of others.15 And all this in less than seventy years! Does Indian caste system in its history of more than five thousand years, has anything even remotely comparable to equal this record?

The only place where he innovates is, in hurting the Hindu religious sentiment. Thus, the polytheism of Hindus is mocked as:
How quickly do you think you could kiss 36,000,004 arses?16
Balram is called as the ‘sidekick’ of Krishna.17 The hero goes on to murder his employers, who are earlier called as Ram & Sita! Lord Krishna is called as a ‘chauffeur’.18 About, Kali, the Hindu goddess:
…I looked at the magnetic stickers of goddess Kali with her skulls and her long red tongue – I stuck my tongue out at the old witch. I yawned.19
Hanuman is called as the slave god of Hindus, an imposition which still makes the low‐caste slaves of the upper‐caste.
Do you know about Hanuman, sir? He was the faithful servant of the god Rama, and we worship him in our temples because he is a shining example of how to serve your masters with absolute fidelity, love and devotion…. These are the kinds of gods they have foisted on us, Mr. Jiabao. Understand, now, how hard it is for a man to win his freedom in India. 20
In 1994 Christian missionary, father Augustine Kanjamala of Pune wrote an article in Deccan Chronicle titled, ‘Replies to Arun Shourie’. In the article he wrote, “Harijans worship deities of lower rank, while caste Hindus worship deities of higher rank. For instance, Hanuman is worshipped by Harijans and Rama is worshipped by upper caste in the same village…. Hanuman was the servant of Rama; Harijans are servants of higher caste Hindus. A close affinity between their hierarchy of gods and the hierarchy of society.”21

Later, indefatigable Arun Shourie had a face‐to‐face debate with father Kanjamal at Hyderabad. Arun Shourie said, “This is insinuation, it is deliberate distortion…. I can assure you that Hanuman Ji is as dear to high caste Hindus, as to low caste Hindu. If after two hundred years of Christianity in India… this is your understanding of India, much needs to be done…. But there is a question… Does the servant and master relationship, high caste and low caste relationship also apply to other Hindu gods? If not, then, how does your thesis stand? Nandi is ridden by the Shiva. Is it that the low caste people are asked to worship Nandi? And high caste should not worship Nandi? What you have written in your article is a foolish thing to write.”22

So in 1994, Arun Shourie systematically showed during the face‐to‐face debate that this insinuation ‘is a foolish thing to write’. But in 2008, we had another fool repeating the same missionary propaganda, of course recycled as literature this time.

Aravind Adiga is in the line of a new breed of writers like Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai who being Christian or having sympathy with Christianity, share a hatred of Hinduism and Hindu society. It is not a coincidence but a deliberate act of the Booker committee to award all the three. They have ignored really good novels from Pakistan. Why? Because by awarding Pakistani writers, like Mohammed Hanif and Mohsin Hamid, the Left will gain nothing in the bargain. You may call it the Booker Scandal. This is how the alliance of Marxists and the missionaries works against the Hindu society.

Writing a novel in India is neither an intellectual nor a spontaneous venture. It is organized on the lines of the formula set by the demands of secularism, seeded during the period of Independence struggle and developed and codified during the Nehruvian era.

The literary establishment in India expects from a writer: a complete submission to the Ideology, cramming all its popular slogans and clichés; choosing a story and then fit all the ‘facts’ in it; invent facts to patch up the gaping holes; and put in as many features of the formula as possible.

A writer is expected to follow the secular formula, which is to show how Hinduism is inferior to other religions; how superstitious and stupid Hindus are; how evil caste‐system is; how vile Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are and how suppressed Shudras are. Show how violent Hindu mythology is, while the very word of Islam means peace. Show that just like Islam and Christianity, Hinduism is also an import in India, having no original claim. Make Hindu history in India as short as possible. At the same time, extend the Christian and Islamic claims on Indian soil as long back in history as possible.23 Throw in some exotic stories of widow burning, caste discrimination, infanticide etc. to pepper this secular curry.

Do not, in any case, criticize Islam! Try to extol its virtues, and if not possible just keep mum about its atrocities. Show how they are extremely discriminated in every field such as education and employment. Also, do not criticize Christianity and their violent conversion activities.

Shift the focus of readers from primary problems like the Islamic destruction of India to secondary problems like corruption, poverty, population, unemployment etc.

This is the formula which guides every new book and every new writer in India. There is no new voice, no new question, nothing new under the sky. All has been discovered. Every question has been asked, every answer has been given by the Formula, and every problem has been solved by it. What remains to be done is to repeat the secular slogans again and again. For this no tigers are required. Parrots are more than enough for the job.

This formula has a history, which is very well portrayed by Dr. Ravi Shanker Kapoor in his book More Equal than Others: A Study of the Indian Left, 2000.24 The literary establishment of India is guided by the leftist intellectuals. All over the world, the Communists have always infiltrated the institutions in order to influence the public opinion. Giving these institutions a neutral veneer, they sell Communist propaganda without letting the masses know the truth behind it. They also fool some intellectuals in furthering their propaganda. So Bengal Friends of the Soviet Union (BFOTSU) was created by the blessings of Rabindranath Tagore.25

Most importantly the leftists have infiltrated all the literary, arts and fine arts institutions in India. Thus pro‐communist All India Progressive Writers’ Association (AIPWA) was formed in which eminent people like Mulk Raj Anand, Munshi Premchand, Sarojini Naidu, Kirshan Chander, KA Abbas, Shivdan Singh Chauhan, Ramananda Chatterjee and Ram Bilas Sharma participated.26 In the field of theater too, the influence of the leftists was predominant. The Indian People’s Theater Association (IPTA) is still very influential in India and continues to shape the world‐view of the youth.27

Novels in India, just like the Bollywood movies are produced according to the guidelines dictated by the establishment. If a new writer follows the secular formula, then his books will be bought by all the schools, colleges, universities and most importantly, all the libraries across the country. For a year or two he will be interviewed by the media, invited to speak on the ‘problems’ of India and their ‘solutions’. The ‘intellectual circles’ of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata will throw some parties for them where these writers will fume and fret about the evils of Indian society. Pretty secure career.

Dr. Ravi Shanker Kapoor elaborates in another of his book How India’s Intellectuals Spread Lies, (2007) 28 that the motive of all this effort is to drill guilt into the hearts and minds of the Hindu majority. So all the ills of Indian society are blamed on Hindus. Adiga too indulges in guiltmongering against Hindus. The Leftists have been largely successful in their endeavors. Hindus have been defensive.
The guilt pervades further, permeating the public debate, infecting the body‐politic, dominating the minds and hearts of those who matter… 29 In India, more than half a century of guilt‐mongering and other Leftist tricks have created a climate of opinion in which Marxist lies pass of as gospel truth.30
This is what Nobel Laureate, V S Naipaul resents when he comments about Indian writing.
Commenting on Nirad Chaudhari’s intellectual incompetence, Naipaul says:
Sixty years after Independence that problem is still there. India has no autonomous intellectual life.31
His words ring quite true in the context of Indian writers in general and Adiga in particular. There is no autonomous intellectual life in India. The literary concepts are dictated by the secular establishment.
… no national literature has been created like this at such a remove, where the books are published by people outside, judged by people outside, and read to a large extent by people outside.32
Yes! No national literature has ever been created in a foreign language. In spite of tall claims and revolutionary agenda, the paradox of Indian English writing remains. The paradox of a literature divorced from its native language. Indian writers rarely speak and never read or write in any of the Indian languages.

Most of the Indian writers who have won awards like Booker, no longer live in India or have no connections with the rural India which they claim to write about. They are rootless and hence their works lack authenticity. More the rootlessness, more the arrogance. Thus Arundhati Roy writes about the sexual attraction between zygotic brother and sister; Kiran Desai talks about non‐existent ‘Garwhali Terrorism’, but not about the existent Islamic or Naxalite terrorism; and Adiga is worried about the pornographic theatre in Indian villages.

Comparing Indian literature with Russian, Naipaul comments:
In the nineteenth century, Dostoyevsky and Turgenev and Gogol and Herzen lived for some time outside their native Russia; but they wrote in Russian for Russian readers and (for all of them except Herzen) Russia was where they were published and had their readers. Russia was where their ideas fermented.

Nineteenth‐century Russian writing created an idea of the Russian character and the Russian soul. There is no equivalent creation, or the beginning of one, in Indian writing. India remains hidden. Indian writers, to speak generally, seem to know only about their own families, and their places of work. It is the Indian way of living and consequently the Indian way of seeing. The rest of the country is taken for granted, and seen superficially, as it was even by the young Nehru…33
So true and so fitting on a writer like Adiga. The establishment prefers imitation which is safe over innovation which can be dangerous, ideology over reality, slogans and clichés over facts and truth. An ideological world‐view makes up for the ignorance of history. A concern for the ‘brutal injustices’ of India, makes up for the lack of creative writing. Of course the ‘brutal injustices’ exclude Islamic terrorism and missionary activities.

No writer is recognized by the secular establishment if he doesn’t confirm fully to the Formula. The mechanism which keeps the writer on track can be best described by Adiga’s own metaphor for the caste‐system, the ‘Rooster Coop’. This Rooster Coop is maintained by the Formula, manned by their faithful ‘intellectuals’. The Coop is full of parrots who endlessly repeat the secular slogans. Once in a while if a parrot takes courage to break out of the coop and sing a different tune, he is immediately silenced by the intellectual community, Indian media and academia. His name is tarnished, his reputation destroyed, his positions in the Coop, lost. He is made to feel the fault of his heretic ways and finally he is brought back to the fold. Almost all of those who contribute to this mechanism are themselves the captives of the Coop. But as Adiga would have it, the Coop has a mechanism of its own.

The parrots imprisoned by this Coop help the Coop to remain intact. If one of their fellow parrot ever tries to do some unparroty acts, then his legs are pulled back by his own mates. Thus no one is ever allowed to leave this Rooster Coop of Secularism. The system goes on. The Coop remains intact. There are ever new parrots in the Coop, but all of them keep parroting the old tune. Adiga is no different.

Poverty and corruption are made a fetish in Indian writing, as if they are not secondary problem having some primary cause, but the basic instinct of the Indian civilization. If a writer tries to probe the primary problems then he is immediately labeled as anti‐poor, fascist and Hindu fundamentalist. The Coop is so strong that no insider is able to see the truth. Only an outsider like Naipaul is able to perceive the reality and express it courageously. Recognizing India as a wounded civilization he goes back to medieval times to search for the primary problems of India:
There is a new kind of coming and going in the world these days. Arabia, lucky again, has spread beyond its deserts. And India is again at the periphery of this new Arabian world, as much as it had been in the eight century, when the new religion of Islam spread in all directions and the Arabs – led, it is said, by a seventeen year‐old boy – overran the Indian kingdom of Sind. That was only an episode, the historians say. But Sind is not a part of India today; India has shrunk since that Arab incursion. No civilization was so little equipped to cope with the outside world; no country was so easily raided and plundered, and learned so little from its disasters.34
Naipaul goes beyond the immediate and the superficial. He goes beyond poverty, unemployment and other clichés and finds the root of the present Indian misery in its Islamic defeat during the middle ages.
… its [India’s] independence has meant more than the going away of the British; that the India to which Independence came was a land of far older defeat; that the purely Indian past died a long time ago.35
He thinks it is necessary to go beyond these secondary causes:
An inquiry about India, even an inquiry about the Emergency has quickly to go beyond the political. It has to be an inquiry about Indian attitudes: it has to be an inquiry about the civilization itself, as it is.36
But these are untouchable subjects in the Rooster Coop of India. With every new addition in the Secular Indian tradition, the writers become even more confident of their worn‐out formula. Not surprisingly, Naipaul has this to say about Indian writers:
The education of the new Indian writers – and nowadays some of them have even been to writing schools – also gets in the way. It seems to them they have the most enormous choice when, in imitation of the successful people who have gone before, they settle down to do their own book. They are not bursting with a wish to say anything. Nothing is going to force itself out in its own way; they are guided in the main by imitation…. This is where India begins to get lost…37
Imitation is the hallmark of Indian formula‐writing. Adiga is an imitation of his predecessors like Arundhati Roy, who were an imitation of writers like Mulk Raj Anand & Nirad Chaudhary, who in turn were an imitation of yet others… a tradition of imitation going back to the times of Lord Macaulay. In fact, he inaugurated this tradition in India in his famous note to Lord Bentinck, the then Governor‐General of India ‐ Minute of Education on India in February 1835:
We must at present do our best to form a class who maybe interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; the class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.38
This defines Adiga’s intellectual ancestry. In many ways, Adiga’s book is not different from ‘Untouchable’ of Mulk Raj Anand, as artificial, as superficial, as far from reality, as incapable of asking questions, as faithful in following the intellectually bankrupt tradition of Secularism.

Looking at the ruins of the Hindu kingdom Vijaynagar, at the hands of Muslims, Naipaul reflects over the origin of the current intellectual bankruptcy of India:
…I began to wonder about the intellectual depletion that must have come to India with the invasions and conquests of the last thousand years. What happened in Vijaynagar happened, in varying degrees, in other parts of the country. In the north, ruin lies on ruin: Moslem ruin on Hindu ruin… In the history books, in the accounts of wars and conquests and plunder, the intellectual depletion passes unnoticed… India absorbs and outlasts its conquerors, Indians say. But at Vijaynagar, among the pilgrims, I wondered whether intellectually for a thousand years India hadn’t always retreated before its conquerors and whether, in its periods of apparent revival, Indian hadn’t only been making itself archaic again, intellectually smaller, always vulnerable.
The crisis of India is not only political or economic. The larger crisis is of a wounded old civilization that has at last become aware of its inadequacies and is without the intellectual means to move ahead.39
The imitation has seeped into the sub‐conscious of Indian psyche, and Indians are no longer aware of it. Thus Adiga thinks of himself as pioneer in bringing out the problems of India, but he is just parroting the secular slogans:
The middle classes think of themselves still as victims of colonial rule. But there is no point anymore in someone like me thinking of myself as a victim of a colonial oppressor.40
Commenting on India’s inability to judge, Naipaul says:
India has no means of judging. India is hard and materialist. What it knows best about Indian writers and books are their advances and their prizes. There is little discussion about the substance of a book or its literary quality or the point of view of the writer. Much keeps on being said in the Indian press about Indian writing as an aspect of the larger modern Indian success, but literary criticism is still hardly known as an art. The most important judgments of an Indian book continue to be imported.41
Nothing else can be more representative of the intellectual bankruptcy of rootless Indian writers, than the fact that they do not even realize it. India is full of parrots, green, red, white, black, brown… but none of them are conscious that they are actually parrots. Some even think that they are tigers…even white tigers!


References:


1 http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/oct/16adiga.htm October 16, 2008
2 Ibid.
3 Adiga, Aravid. 2008. The White Tiger, Harper Collins India, New Delhi, p.236
4 Ibid. p.23
5 Ibid. p.148
6 Ibid. p.152
7 Ibid. p.309
8 Ibid. p.176‐177
9 Ibid. p.149
10 Ibid. p.204
11 Ibid. p.232
12 Ibid. p.275
13 Ibid. p.293‐294, 311
14 Ibid. p.175
15 Courtois, Stephane. The Black Book of Communism, Harvard University Press, 1999, p.4
16 Adiga, Aravid. 2008. The White Tiger, Harper Collins India, New Delhi, p.9
17 Ibid. p.14
18 Ibid. p.187
19 Ibid. p.156‐157
20 Ibid. p.19
21 Arun Shourie and his Christian Critics, 1995, Voice of India, New Delhi, p.45‐46
22 Arun Shourie and his Christian Critics, 1995, Voice of India, New Delhi, p.61‐62
23 Adiga, Aravid. 2008. The White Tiger, Harper Collins India, New Delhi, p.272. The theory used here is Aryan Invasion Theory, a tool used by the British against Indians to keep them divided and to justify their presence on the Indian soil, as the theory claims that Aryans or the North Indians are also foreigners and came from Central Asia to India around 1500 BC.
24 Kapoor, Ravi Shanker More Equal than Others: A Study of the Indian Left, Vision Books, New Delhi, 2000
25 Ibid. p. 20
26 Ibid. p. 21
27 Ibid. p. 22
28 Kapoor, Ravi Shanker How India’s Intellectuals Spread Lies, Vision Books, New Delhi, 2007
29 Ibid. p. 158
30 Ibid. p. 159
31 Naipaul V S, A Writer’s People, Picador India, 2007, p. 191
32 Ibid. p. 192
33 Ibid. p. 192‐193
34 Naipaul V S, India: A Wounded Civilization, Penguin India, 1979, p. 7
35 Ibid. p. 8
36 Ibid. p. 9
37 Naipaul V S, A Writer’s People, Picador India, 2007, p. 193
38 Macaulay, T B Minute of Education on India 2nd February 1835
39 Naipaul V S, India: A Wounded Civilization, Penguin India, 1979, p. 17‐18
40 http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/oct/16adiga.htm October 16, 2008
41 Naipaul V S, A Writer’s People, Picador India, 2007, p. 193‐194

*** End ***

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day. On the occassion, I'd like to share an interesting video I came across - How to be Green at work. We all know its good to recycle paper, not use plastic cups etc, but it has some other interesting pointers too. Its cute so do spend two minutes watching it :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rain

The crappy weather continues! Its been raining/cold non-stop for two weeks now, with a couple of sunny days in between. Doesn't bother my too too much as I'm usually indoors, either at work or home studying. But the weather has been re-confirming my suspicions that it does have a lot to do with people's humour.

To cheer up the grey days, here is a humorous attempt by the Spanish basketball team (awesome team btw!) that eventually turned out sour with the Left brigade jumping on them, for being "politically incorrect":

The Spanish basketball team doing the "chinky" at last summer's Chinese Olympics

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The Left Mentality - The Ant and Grasshopper

CLASSIC VERSION...

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house, gathering and laying down supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

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MODERN VERSION...

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house gathering and laying down supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

BBC, CNN, NDTV show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The world is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this poor grasshopper be left to suffer so? Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house. Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support for the grasshopper. Opposition MP's stage a walkout. Left parties call for "Bharat Bandh" in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter. The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government and handed over to the grasshopper in a ceremony covered by the BBC, CNN and NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it "a triumph of justice."

Abridged from http://arundhatiroy.rediffblogs.com/

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flamenco Class...

Chicas, compañeras de clase...y compañero... ¡aquí colgo los videos que grabé el otro día!

Stepping aside from my blogging exercise, I'm putting up my Flamenco class recorded the other day in order to practice at home, as I missed a couple of sessions while travelling. Due to popular demand from my classmates, here are two of the videos which feature my Flamenco teacher, María.

María is an excellent, brilliant, charismatic dancer, apart from being a wonderful person. Her moves are powerful, graceful and strong, and she drives the technique home, until you get it.

The first video is filmed while she's giving class, with the students behind. And the second one is a final performance at the end of class (the angle is a bit messed up). Yours Truly does not feature here as she is recording!

Enjoy!



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Beware of World Vision

While browsing online, beware of ads like these by a fraudulent organization called "World Vision," with bright colours and poor, innocent children's faces, asking for your money[Please click on the image to see it change to the child's face]. It is very likely that this money will not be used to educate or feed these very children; rather it will be used to spread false propaganda against Hindus, in order to "save souls," evangelicize, and bait conversions. There is a sea of difference between preaching religion and baiting conversions. So, if you ever donate to this organization, or know someone who has, this is how their money will end up:

The scale of financial funds flowing into India for Christian organisations from UK, USA & Germany total into millions of dollars per year, with a significantly marked increasing pattern since 2001.

World Vision is the largest recipient of International funds in India today. According to their website “Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Financial support is received from; the UK Government, the European Union, charitable trusts, corporate supporters and also more than 100,000 individuals, who sponsor children in poor communities overseas.”

The recent (late 2008) violence between Hindus and Christians in Orissa was triggered when 84-year old Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal, Orissa, who was murdered in an armed ambush of his Ashram, on the evening of August 23 2008.

According to journalist Suarva Basu, following Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati’s murder, the Orissa police have arrested Pradesh Kumar Das, an employee of the World Vision from Khadagpur, while trying to escape from the district at Buguda.

Swami Laxmanananda devoted his whole life to the welfare of the most downtrodden tribal communities. He received several death threats from Christian sources over the last few years – and several murder attempts later (refer to a previous post), brutally killed by armed Christian gunmen posing as Maoists.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Abolish the Practice of Dancing Bears in India

I'm dodging a tear as I read this interview. My heart goes out to these bears. A must-read interview of one of my favourite Indian politician/animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi. I am seriously considering volunteering at this Bear Santuary the next time I'm in India. Please read this interview and donate, as I have, to save these bears from their nightmarish lives in the hands of "Kalanders." And darn the Japs for eating, whales, sharks and bear gall bladders. F-ing insane.

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Well-known vegan and animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi and Australian founder of 'Free The Bears Inc', Mary Hutton speak to the Abolitionist-Online about their work to eradicate the practice of 'dancing bears' in India.

Claudette: What is a 'dancing bear'?

Maneka Gandhi: A dancing bear is a sloth bear that has been taken from her mother (she is shot) at the age of a few weeks and trained to stand on her hind legs. The bears do not dance - in the same way as India's cobras in a basket do not sway to the pipe of a snakecharmer , they just swing to avoid the stick which they think is going to beat them.

Maneka Gandhi, Mary Hutton

Claudette: What type of cruelties are inflicted upon them?

Maneka Gandhi: After being captured they are put inside an inverted basket and left alone for several days then when they are completely disoriented they are taken out and tied to a post where they become fair game for the children of the village. Before the little bear cubs are six months old they are held down brutally while a man forces a crude iron needle with a rope through their soft delicate muzzles. By the time they are a year old their teeth are knocked out with hammers without any anesthetic. They are trained to stand upright by putting hot coals under their feet and by beating and starvation. A jute rope is taken through the muzzle and this rope keeps the nose inflamed and the bear in great pain throughout their short life - for these bears rarely survive more than seven to eight years which is less than one fourth of their natural life.

Their nails are pulled out and often a deep cut is made on their necks which is hidden by the thick collar that holds them so that the pain keeps them fearful. They eat a few chappatis a day and most of them suffer from worms and malnutrition. At night they will often be tied near a train station so that the noise keeps them confused. Many have one eye poked out. Many have been bitten by dogs. Many have their hair pulled out as they stand which is sold to tourists (specially in Nepal) for bracelets. Most of them have tuberculosis and as they start fading away they are taken illegally to Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan often to be killed for their gall bladder or even served up as a gourmet dinner. Traffic International has in its reports named India as the fourth largest supplier of bear gall bladders to Japan. It is the Indian sloth bear which is used in the horrific bear baiting fights in Pakistan where the bear is tied and then dogs are set at it. Many wounds later the fight is stopped, the bear taken and her wounds healed and then she is put up for the fight again. A normal bear lasts three fights before she is torn to bits.

Claudette: How are you abolishing the practice of dancing bears?

Mary Hutton: We are abolishing the dancing bear trade in India by introducing the "Kalander Rehabilitation Program". We give the Kalandar (who owns the bear) seed money to begin another business. This equates to $2,000.00 AUS and about 50,000 rupees. In return he gives us his licence and also surrenders his bear into our sanctuary. The program is working well and so far we have over 80 bears in the Agra Bear Rescue Facility. By giving this man an alternative income and saving the bear from an ongoing life of misery and pain makes it a win-win situation for both bear and man.


A Dancing Bear


Maneka Gandhi: If I had my way I would abolish the dancing bear industry by catching them all in one day, putting the offenders into the jails where they richly belong and then put the bears into what's called 'free range enclosures' till they become accustomed to going back to the wild, if they can. The whole exercise can be done in a week. It just requires enough strength to be exerted on the Indian government which, even when I was a part of it, could not do. The current tourism minister is one of the worst we have ever had - she is now pushing to open all the wildlife sanctuaries up for tourism and to let the richer tourists into the protected core of the forests.

Wildlife has the "inalienable right" to the core of the forest. It hasn't stopped her from badgering everyone to let the tourists in. The tourists who actually violate the rules are the spoilt rich and titled ones from England.

Claudette: Do tourists need to be trained not to give money for a performance?

Maneka Gandhi: That does not take it far enough. Many of these people throw the bear against the car or force the bear to lie down in front of the vehicle till money is given. It passed from being an entertainment long ago to be now a threat/menace on the road. Tourists know it is awful.

They need to cancel India from their itinerary and inform the local Indian Embassy that they are doing so until the bear trade is stopped. In fact even if they are not going to India, they still need to write in!

Mary Hutton: Tourists always need to be mindful not to have their photo taken with an exotic animal whether it be bear, monkey or any other animal which brings in the tourist dollar by performing.

Claudette: Please estimate how many Sloth bears are yet to be saved and how much does it cost to save one bear?

Maneka Gandhi: In India between eight to twelve hundred sloth bears need to be rescued. However, illegal trade continues with over 100 cubs illegally captured from the wild each year and sold to the Kalandar community. Unfortunately the government insists that each bear has to be bought - Rs 50,000 a bear from each Kalandar. So that is what it costs to save a bear. Then there's the keeping costs which soon adds up to considerably more.

Claudette: Are Australians aware of the problem Mary?

Mary Hutton: We have hundreds of Australians who are opposed to the 'dancing bears' but they understand that poverty causes the need to bring in money to support their families. There is no welfare in India and no "Centre Link" to help the impoverished - but people understand and support our Kalandar Rehabilititaion Program because they can see the 'situation' from both sides of the fence.

Claudette: Since 1977 it's been against the law to "own" a dancing bear. Why does it continue?

Mary Hutton: We would like to bring to an end the 'dancing' bear problem in India. If we can get every bear off the streets in India, then the poaching will stop and the numbers of Sloth bears will increase in the wild. Our main aim at this time is to do this and we hope to achieve this in less than 5 years providing the funding is available. India is a big country with big conservation problems, most of them caused by the illegal poaching and human encroachment into the wild.

Claudette: Do you think the western model of personhood rights for nonhumans equates somewhat to nonhumans having a soul in Hinduism?

Maneka Gandhi: Of course it does. If I had my way there would be no slaughtering of animals, of all animals. There would be no circuses, no zoos, no experimentation and there would be no using of animal products.

Claudette: How can we who are reading this help you?

Maneka Gandhi: For the bears we need money to rescue and rehome them to WILDLIFE S.O.S Agra Bear Rescue Centre built for rescued dancing bears. Wildlife SOS is run by a dedicated aunt and nephew team: Geetha Seshmani and Kartick Satyanarayan who have devoted their lives to animal rescues. Today there are 80 bears at the sanctuary. They will live here for the rest of their lives enjoying the freedom that was taken away from them .The sanctuary is 17 acres, 25 minute north of Agra City in the Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Keetham .It has solar powered electric fencing and an eight foot high perimeter wall. It has a number of man-made dens for the bears to rest in; large ponds for the bears to chill out in; Quarantine/Isolation/Observation pens; Cub weaning area; Clinical Laboratory; Food storage and preparation rooms and a well equipped veterinary clinic. The money for the alternative lifestyles that is being given to the Kalandars comes from International Animals Rescue from the UK and Free the Bears Fund from Australia. These organisations are running campaigns in their own countries to bring in financial aid to India for the beleaguered bears.


Kartick Satyanarayan with a Bear Cub

If you would like to support them contact:
Wildlife S.O.S. ( R )
D 210, Defence Colony,
New Delhi - 110024, India Phone + 91 11 2462 1939
Telefax - +91 11 2462 4231
E-mail - wsos@vsnl.com

Monday, March 16, 2009

The "Gypsy" Trail...

Some years ago (sometime between 1999-2001), when I discovered Flamenco, I became quite intrigued with "Gypsies" and carried out a year-long research on the Roma, their origins, their trail, and their status and lives in the countries they inhabit today.

The Roma, commonly referred to as Gypsies, Gitanos (here in Spain), Tzigane, Sinti, Dom, Manush (man in Sanskrit and Romani), Kale (black in Sanskrit and Romani; name they called each other as a reference to their skin colour, perhaps) and many other names, are today united as Roma and like to be known by their collective identity - Romani. We know that they left India as a group of nomads around 900 AD, reached Persia in 950, and were in Egypt by 1230. Their arrival into Europe began in the mid 14th century. Today there are about 12 million Roma, and mainly inhabit Eastern and Western Europe, with some minor populations said to have migrated to the Americas. It is important to note that in the Second WW, along with 6 million Jews, 1.5 million Roma or Gypsies were killed in concentration camps (a fact that remains largely unspoken and somewhat taboo). Migrant Romani populations have usually adopted the dominant religion of their country of residence, while often preserving aspects of older belief systems and forms of worship (such as Goddess /Saint Kali Sara's worship in France).

The Romani language is a verbally transmitted language which traces its roots back to Sanskrit. As a Hindi speaker, when I watched the movie "Black Cat, White Cat," years ago, majority in Romani (filmed in in Eastern Europe), I was able to trace several words that sounded familiar to my ears, pronounced differently.

Modern day Spanish is rich with several words, expressions and connotations from Caló, the Romani language of Spain. Caló blends native Romani vocabulary with Spanish grammar, as Spanish Romanies lost the full use of their ancestral language. Gitanos used Caló to communicate discreetely in their internal dealings. When I read a sampling of Caló, I'm often amused by the several words I do understand.

The Romani flag, which is blue and green with a red coloured Ashoka Chakra in the center, denoting their common roots in the Indian subcontinent, united in its largest form under Ashoka the Great. Their slogan is "Opre Roma!" meaning Rise Roma.
"Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Romanies originated from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating from India towards the northwest no earlier than the 11th century. The Romani are generally believed to have originated in central India, possibly in the modern Indian state of Rajasthan, migrating to northwest India (the Punjab region) around 250 B.C. In the centuries spent here, there may have been close interaction with such established groups as the Rajputs and the Jats. Their subsequent westward migration, possibly in waves, is believed to have occurred between 500 A.D. and 1000 A.D. Contemporary populations sometimes suggested as sharing a close relationship to the Romani are the Dom people of Central Asia and the Banjara of India."
While the Romani people have remained marginalized and discriminated against for centuries, they have established a name for themselves in the Arts and Music. Last weekend I went to see one such Gitano in concert, who's carved a name for himself in Flamenco Fusion dance. His name is Joaquín Cortés. I personally do not much appreciate his style as I'm a fan of pure Flamenco. But the concert itself was worth seeing. His current tour "Calé" (meaning black or Gypsy) is a resumé of his previous works, now that he has reached 40 and may not continue dancing for very much longer. It was sprinkled with Gitano references, and at the end he made a little speech saying, "20 years ago, Gypsies did not identify themselves as such; but I always said I was one. Today, we Gitanos are proud to say we are Gitanos." And there was a standing ovation and cheering.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The "Great" in Britain

I just returned from a lovely weekend in the mountain-country of Andorra, a large ski-resort in reality, tucked away between the Pyrenees in Northern Spain.

On the way back, for logistical reasons, we stopped in a town on the Costa Brava for half an hour. This town, like many towns on the North-Eastern Catalan coast (Costa Brava) is a popular summer destination for many English, Dutch and other Northern European tourists for its offering of sun, sand and nightlife. However, in the month of March, when outside daytime temperature is still in the early teens (today about 15º), we saw a bunch of men walking on the sidewalk, wearing half-sleeved shirts and shorts. C and I, watched them for a few seconds, and then at once, instinctively said "pobres" or poor people.

I thought about it on the drive back. Just two hours away, we were in snow-covered mountains in 0º to 5º weather. Two - three hours South and you see these men in summer clothes trying to immitate warmth and coastal calmness. Truth be told. They probably come from a poor neighbourhood (possibly live in Govt funded housing) in one of the working towns of England. They probably cannot afford the exhorbitant summer hotel and airfares in Spain. They probably were using up some of their summer vacation to make an early, off-season visit out to good old Sunny Spain, and whether or not it is sunny here doesn't really matter. Mentally these guys are in their summer, or atleast in the sunniest region of Europe. If they don't make the most of it, or they fail to tell themselves that they are enjoying a sunny country (even though they may be in one of the most obnoxious, touristy towns on the Girona coastline on a deathly chilly morning) while what they really are doing is wander about a ghost-town (business and many restaurants are closed half the year) telling themselves how awesome it all is...

We really pitied them then and talked about their mental state. While any warm-blooded human feels cold in 15º weather, these guys were braving the cold winds in their shorts and t-shirts, just to go back to their dingy little island thinking they had a great time in a warm country. How pathetic and sad.

So, while Britain has called itself "Great" over the centuries - while it looted, plundered and massacred half the world, and funded its own industrial revolution at the expense of other sovereign nations - India’s share of world GDP went from roughly 25% in the mid 1700's to 2% in a century, and Britain’s went from 1% to 18% — see Angus Maddison’s The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective; India, the richest country in the world for a millennium and a half (per Maddison’s data from 0 CE to 1500 CE), was systematically plundered (of some $10 trillion in today’s money) and reduced to penury - its days, it is now quite clear, have ended.

Britain today is reduced its bunch of little grey cold islands; the former "Empire" is now plagued with high unemployment, a crashed housing market, low employee morale, falling currency (the GBP currently equal to the Euro), an "immigration" problem - due to the dozens of countries it conveniently left below subsistence levels, topped with an unparalleled economic recession and has recently even lost its freedom of speech - as it goes to its benefactors, the Saudis with a begging bowl.

Its only potential saviour is the "brand image" it has managed to create globally, but frankly, it is not even worth my tourism buck anymore - as there is so much more my Euro buys me (from Greece and Cyprus to Montenegro, Malta and more), than a visit to the over-rated Big Ben.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Murder of a Saint: A Plot to Murder a Civilization By Dr Indulata Das

A mere audience of a Sannyasi is the fulfiller of all desires, says the Padmapurana (Sadhunam darsanam loke sarvasiddhikaram param—Padma Purana 1.79). The Bhagavata goes much ahead and says that the Sannyasis visit the pilgrimages not to purify themselves but the pilgrimages are purified by the visit of the Sannyasis (Prayena tirthabhigamapadeshaih swayam hi tirthani punanti santah- Bhagavata 1.21.8). On Indian soil it is regarded as a great fortune to touch the feet of a Sannyasi. Smearing the dust of his feet on one’s forehead is a rarest opportunity that even great monarchs aspire to do. What to speak of the mortals even gods aspire for a holy darshan of a Sannyasi. Not only an audience or a blessing, even receiving a wrath of the Sannyasi is considered as a boon. Lord Vishnu, the God of gods considered it a great fortune to receive a kick from a Sannyasi (Bhrigu) on His chest and eternally bore the mark of the assault with great gratitude.

The civilisation of India was designed by great Sannyasis like Manu, Yajnavalkya, Vyasa, Valmiki, Parasara and Shankaracharya etc. India has never been denuded of Sannyasis through the ages. In every era there have been great souls, great Sannyasis on the soil of India to enlighten the society and to show the right path. The great centres of learning in India had been the hermitages of Sannyasis. Sannyasis have been the real pathfinders and real torch-bearers of the society. The sublime culture, the high value system and the grand traditions of India have been surviving because of the advent of great Sannyasis from time to time. And in return the land has been showing tremendous reverence to the Sannyasis which is only a small gesture of gratitude.

In continuation of the great tradition of dedicated Sannyasis the twentieth century saw a Sannyasi, a great Sannyasi having unmatched dedication for the protection of the country’s culture and tradition. The great monk is no other than the legendary figure, the incarnation of dedication Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. He was a person whose property consisted of a pair of saffron linens and a stick but he was in fact a monarch. Yes, he was the monarch of thousands of grateful loving hearts of the country in general and of the people of tribal districts of Orissa in particular.

At the prime of his youth Swami Laxmanananda left behind the boundaries of his home and transformed the whole world to his abode. He parted with his young wife and his toddler son only to embrace the whole humanity as his family. He renounced the worldly bondages at the age of twenty five only to be dedicated to the service of the human race.

He lived a secluded spiritual life for quite a few years in the peaceful milieu of Rishikesh completely dedicated to the exploration of spiritual wisdom of the scriptures. But it was not what he was divinely deputed to do. He was ordained to do something more to the motherland.

He learned of the dangerous drive of the Christian missionaries to create a ‘Christ-stan’ on the land of Orissa by coercive and forcible conversion of the gullible tribals. He came to know about their ugly measures to divide the peaceful Vanavasi (tribal) populace and create tension on the land by breaching the existent fraternity in the communities. He came to know about their nasty move to eliminate Indian culture by money pumped from outside.

He, with an iron will, entered the woodlands of Kandhamal to fight all odds single handed. He fought against the lavishly affluent missionaries penniless and faced murderous threats of life defenceless. He strived tirelessly for the over all upliftment of the local tribals. He established educational institutions, promoted women’s education, provided health care and means of lively hood for the poor and downtrodden.

He was not the type of Saint to sit on high pedestals and receive obeisance and gifts from devotees from a respectable distance. He became one with the tribals. He lived a life similar to the downtrodden and ate their humble eatables. As a result he secured a place in the innermost region of their hearts. He remained a cohabitant of the tribals for four decades till the last breath of his life which ended at the age of 81.

Among his miscellaneous drives to save the culture and the people from the clutches of the Christian missionaries his most powerful and fruitful measure was the ‘return-home’ movement among the tribals. People who were coerced to leave their faith and culture by the missionaries were educated how they are falling prey to the traps of the churches and moving away from their own traditions, how the missionaries are dividing people and creating tension in the community, how they are converting blood brothers into blood-thirsty foes by alluring a chunk from the community to change their faith and making them stand against the rest.

Having understood the reality and the ulterior motives of the missionaries thousands of converts came back to their original faith.

Swamiji’s activities put a rein on the otherwise unobstructed activities of the church and their plan to convert the woodland of Orissa to Christ-land. The pastors turned furious. As many as nine murderous attacks were attempted on the life of Swamiji. He escaped all the attacks miraculously. On December 24, 2007 it was the ninth attack. Swamiji was physically assaulted by a group of two to three hundred people but escaped due to some timely action of some of his follower fellow travellers.

Hardly after eight months there was the final assault. A letter of threat was sent to the Ashram which was received by the Swami on August 22, 2008. He immediately lodged an FIR and requested the administration to protect his life. But no. He was not saved.

The police did not feel the Saint’s life was worthy enough to be protected. Not a single extra police personnel was deployed to save the great soul. Even the personal security which used to accompany the Saint remained mysteriously absent on the fateful day. Within twenty six hours of his request for security the Saint confronted the unthinkably barbaric death. The holy land of Bharat, where washing the feet of a Sannyasi is considered to be a great fortune, was actually washed by the blood of a Sannyasi. In the evening of Janmastami a group of twenty five killers armed with modern weapons like AK-47s pumped bullets to the revered Saint’s frail body which killed him along with four other Sannyasis and Sannyasins of the Ashram.

The whole Orissa was traumatised at the brutal slaughter of the beloved Swamiji. Thousands of people with tears streaming from their eyes stormed to see the Mahatma for the last time. As many as thirty thousand people assembled at the cremation of the Sannyasi.

The next day the state observed a voluntary bandh (curfew), a unique bandh which nobody had seen before. The whole state came to a standstill. Then the anger erupted. And there was widespread agitation.

In the whole episode two roles were really unique. One is the role of the police and the second is the role of a section of the media (refer to my previous post).

With the very news of Swamiji’s gruesome murder every body could understand who committed it “except the police” which suffered from the syndrome of “deliberate ignorance”. Before arriving at the crime-location, and before beginning any investigation the police attributed the murder to the Naxals. But the public was not as ignorant as the police thought it to be. This misleading statement was accepted not even by a child of Orissa State and it received fuming criticism from the public and the regional media unanimously. The police lost its credibility.

And then the protecting role of the police was also unique. The police which did not find it necessary to provide a single extra staff to save the life of the great Saint, deployed hundreds of police personnel to protect every small and big church in the area after the death of the Swami. The killer was protected by the police, not the victim.

And then the role of a section of the media (refer to my previous post). While the print and electronic media of Orissa were overcrowded by the news of the murder of the Swami, all the national electronic media were conspicuous by their dead silence. The very channels who had untiringly telecast the death incident of Graham Stains round the clock did not utter a single word when the whole of Orissa was crying at the slaughter of Swami Laxmanananda. The media did not even report the unbelievable self-imposed bandh which Orissa observed for one full day. The same media which dedicates hours in telecasting even a suicide case of unknown citizens in the country was ghastly silent at the unbelievably brutal murder of the great Saint and the social reformer.

The silence of the media spoke volumes for them. The blatant anti-Hindu and unpatriotic character of the electronic media got a shameless exposure again. Graham Stains who was a foreigner and was dividing the people inside their community and ruining the culture of the country had received unthinkable propagation through the media and had become a super hero posthumously. But Swami Laxmanananda, the supreme devotee of the Motherland who dedicated every breath of his life in protecting the culture of his country failed to find a few seconds of telecast in the national media of the country. And the brutal killing of the Saint was very indirectly, lightly and indignantly reported as the murder of “an office bearer of the VHP.”

But the story did not end here. The silence of the electronic media was not a silence but a preparation for a pounce. It was like the tiger’s preparation to jump on the prey. The channels were eagerly waiting for the aggrieved Hindus to retaliate so that they would wake up to catch their throats. After all, the passive Hindus are their most favourite prey.

And their waiting came to an end with the first news of so called arson in a Christian orphanage. The eager media did not waste a moment in preparing a special report of half an hour on it. All the slumbering channels suddenly woke up not to telecast the inhuman slaughter of the Swamiji but the “plight of the Christians in the hands of the Hindus”.

Not only the media, but the “great leaders” of the country jumped to action because the minority vote bank had ripened now and had to be harvested without delay. Then started the series of statements, visits and other related favorite activities of the politicians.

For the anti-Hindu and anti-Indian units (Congress Party, Communist Party, Samajwadi Party) there was not a better chance than this. The pseudo human rightists came out of their hibernation to protect the “human rights of the Christians”. And the Pope conveyed his concern. It was a not a concern when the Christians killed the Mahatma, but it was a concern when the Christians were attacked in retaliation.

There was no urge among the people to talk about the great selfless philanthropist and the great humanist Swami Laxmanananda who sacrificed his life in protecting the culture and civilisation of the Motherland. His killers and conspirators were left scot-free. And the police chased the aggrieved Hindus. What a paradigm of justice! Had this unique system of justice been prevalent in the Tretaya, Shri Ram and Hanuman would have been hanged and Ravana would have been felicitated.

What has happened to this great sacred land? On the holy soil of India monsters played Holi with the blood of a Mahatma and were prized with concern and sympathy!

Murder of Swami Laxmanananda proved not to be a murder of a Sannyasi only. It exposed that the value system of the land has been murdered. It revealed that the culture of the soil has been murdered. It said that the civilisation, the greatest civilisation of the world has already been murdered.

[Emphasis mine]

This post is dedicated to a certain French colleague of mine, who like a parrot, never fails to bring up issues like caste system, Orissa violence, etc. each time India is mentioned. This is also dedicated to the nosy French president Sarkozy who dared to question PM Manmohan Singh on the Orrisa violence. Mind your own damn business Sarkozy. There are enough cops in France killing innocent Africans to keep you busy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why We Should Boycott NDTV (Updated)

As many already know, NDTV, a popular Indian news channel is funded by Gospels of Charity in Spain which actively supports Communism. As ex-Pakistani President Musharraf allowed only this channel to be aired in Pakistan, NDTV gradually took on a pro-Pakistan stand (Pakistan being the greatest enemy of India withstanding). NDTV CEO Prannov Roy is brother-in-law of Prakash Karat, General Secretary of the Communist party of India. His wife and Brinda Karat – Communist Party of India - are sisters. And last but not least, India's Verbal Terrorist and Paper Tiger, Arundhati Susan Roy is Prannov Roy's niece. As is obvious, the family is deeply Anti-Indian and Negationist. In fact, this troop of "newsmakers" leads the media's Negationist Movement.

They really must believe that Indian are dumb. Too bad for them, they are dead wrong.

So, even without knowing these details, someone who turns on NDTV for the first time, as I did online during 26/11, will doubt their objectivity with regard to their (persistent anti BJP and pro minority) commentary – but when you learn of their fund-sources and management profile, along with their political affiliations, you are left with no doubt about the reason for the highly evident subjectivity in their pattern of news coverage and skewed comments.

For instance, NDTV, just like its brother-in-crime Tehelka (Tarun Tejpal of Tehelka regularly gets flat checks from Arab countries to target BJP and Hindus only) and CNN-IBN (100% funded by the ultra-orthodox Southern Baptist church and allocating 800 million USD annually for promotion of its "interests" in India), did not highlight the burning and brutal killing of Hindu Kar Sevaks prior to the outburst in Godhra. Neither do they talk about the derogatory and provocative literature distributed by the over zealous Christian missionaries (more on this in another post) in Karnataka, or the background of the murder of Hindu Saint Swami Sri Laxmanananda prior to the Orissa carnage.

Notice how these channels fail to raise an issue over the controversial painter MF Hussein who depicted Hindu Gods in the nude in the name of art. Notice also how these channels selectively chose to ignore the beating up of the courageous Bangladeshi Activist Taslima Nasreen in a press conference in Hydrabad by Muslim mobs – her crime? Highlighting the brutality of Muslims against the Hindus in Bangladesh in her book, and ill-treatment of women in Bangladesh, due to Islamic practices.

Do you still believe that their “news” is free of hidden agenda? Watch this video.

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