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Monday, February 28, 2011

Raymond Davis is David Headley of Pakistan?


The Express Tribune quoting unnamed sources said that call records retrieved from mobile phones found on Davis had allegedly established his links with 33 Pakistanis, including 27 militants from the banned Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The report claimed Davis was "said to be working on a plan to give credence to the American notion that Pakistan's nuclear weapons are not safe."

"For this purpose, he was setting up a group of the Taliban which would do his bidding," it said.
Davis' job was to trace the links of the Taliban and al- Qaeda in different parts of Pakistan but instead investigators found that he had developed "close links" with the Taliban, the report said quoting a source.

Investigators had reportedly recovered 158 items from Davis, including a 9mm Glock pistol, 75 bullets, a GPS device, an infrared torch, a wireless set, two mobile phones, a digital camera, a survival kit, five ATM cards and Pakistani and US currency. The camera allegedly had photographs of Pakistani defence installations.

The CIA team in Lahore with which Davis was associated "was tasked with tracking the movements of various Pakistani militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, a particularly violent group that Pakistan uses as a proxy force against India but that the United States considers a threat to allied troops in Afghanistan".

It said Davis, a retired Special Forces soldier, carried out scouting and reconnaissance missions for a CIA task force, working from a safe house in the eastern city of Lahore.

The Obama administration has demanded the release of Davis contending that he is an "administrative and technical official" attached to its Lahore consulate and that he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Pakistani leaders, fearful of a public backlash, have turned down the US demand for Davis to be freed on grounds of diplomatic immunity and insisted that his case will be decided by the courts according to the country's laws.

A petition relating to Davis' diplomatic status is pending before a Lahore court. The next hearing is on March 14. JuD terrorist outfit has demanded that Davis be executed and blamed the US for bomb blasts across the country that have resulted in "large-scale killings." Hundreds of supporters of the Jamaat-ud Dawah (JuD) joined a gathering that marched from Chauburji to Qurtaba Chowk yesterday to demand "death" for Davis.

A report in MSN website. More Here

The Arab world will not be the same again...!


The upheaval in the Arab World these days is the second attempt within half a century to bring down the treacherous Sykes-Picot regime imposed on the region after the First World War. It was a secret Anglo-French treaty to usurp, divide and rule the region. During the same period Britain had promised freedom to the Arabs, through the Sharif of Mecca, if they joined its war effort against the Ottoman State. The same power had promised Arab Palestine to the Jews if they too helped it out during that war.

As a result of that war, not only was the Ottoman Empire dismantled, caliphate finally extinguished, Arabs betrayed and enslaved, and Jews rewarded, but also a cruel dependency regime was imposed on the divided Arab World where ruthless local satraps presided over police states with full support of London and Paris. After the Second World War, the masters changed. Now Washington was the qibla of these local nawabs. Russians too enjoyed a small period in the sun during the 1950s and 1960s. The Arab defeat in 1967 slowly drove away the Russians and Washington became the sole beneficiary and benefactor of these regimes especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

West had in 1948 succeeded in implanting “Israel” at the meeting point of the eastern and western flanks of the Arab World, thereby cutting it into two disjointed parts. A clear Western policy was devised to keep the tiny Israel more powerful than all the Arab countries together. Denial of arms and nuclear power to the Arabs was a basic constituent of this western policy while Israel was allowed to acquire an arsenal of unprecedented proportions complete with nuclear power and nuclear warheads pointed towards all major Arab countries.

Israel afraid of democracy coming the Middle East

When Egypt tried in the mid-1950s to rebel against this arms embargo, it was threatened, humiliated and finally taught a lesson in June 1967. Slowly, Arab satraps accepted Israel too which had all-along dreamt of emerging as the major power of the Middle East and tried this most disastrously in 1982 when it invaded Lebanon. That fiasco may have put paid to the power of Fateh but it also led to the emergence of new powers like Hamas and Hizbullah which emerged and evolved firmly outside the satrap-master equation prevailing in the region.

Arab people had earlier, during the 1950s, tried to change this equation. “Revolutions” erupted in Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Yemen and Sudan etc., but somehow the local armies were able to replace the old satraps.

The current revolution which started in Tunisia and soon spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Iraq, Algeria, Bahrain and Mauritania etc., is the second popular attempt to dislodge and break free of the Sykes-Picot shackles. Apart from Washington (and West), the only big loser today is a trembling Israel whose long labour to become the sole imperial power of the Middle East suddenly has come to a naught. The revolution is still unfinished. Washington seems to be maneuvering to replace the old faces with new ones. But a lot of water has flowed down the Nile and Euphrates these past decades. Arabs are no longer an illiterate and innocent lot. Once the current upheaval settles down, the Middle East will not be the same again.

Zafarul Islam Khan in The Milli Gazette. More Here.

Najmuddin (Necmettin) Erbakan is no more!


Former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, whose coalition government was forced to step down by the military on Feb. 28, 1997, died at the age of 85 from cardiac and respiratory failure on Sunday at an Ankara hospital, where he had been a patient since early January. (Inna lillahi Wa inna ilaihi Rajeewoon)
The legendary leader of the National View (Milli Görüş) political movement, Erbakan was re-elected as the head of the Felicity Party (SP) after some troubles within the party last year. After the 1997 coup d'état, his ruling Welfare Party (RP) was banned by the courts and Erbakan was barred from active politics for a temporary period of time.

The Feb. 28, 1997 event was the fourth military intervention in politics in Turkey, preceded by the coups of 1960, 1971 and 1980. Not only were fatal blows dealt many fundamental rights and freedoms after Feb. 29 but democracy and the rule of law were suspended. The coup introduced a series of harsh restrictions on religious freedoms, with an unofficial but widely practiced ban on the wearing of the Islamic headscarf. The military was purged of personnel with suspected ties to religious groups, a tradition that is still widely observed today. In addition, a number of newspapers were closed.

Despite being under a political ban, Erbakan acted as a mentor and informal advisor to former RP members who founded the Virtue Party (FP) in 1997. However, the FP was ruled to be unconstitutional in 2001 and banned. By that time Erbakan's ban on political activities had ended and he went on to establish the SP, of which he was the leader in 2003-2004 and again from late 2010.

A mechanical engineer by profession, Erbakan entered politics in 1969. Since then, he was an important political figure who influenced Turkish politics. He was often referred to as the “number-one victim” of the Feb. 28 coup, but was also harshly criticized for not defending democracy and the rule of law during the coup period. For years, he was accused of leaving his post too easily when the military forced him to resign.

Erbakan was referred to as the “teacher” of several of Turkey’s leading political figures, including President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Turkey Party (TP) leader Abdüllatif Şener and former Prime Minister Recai Kutan.

Erbakan was sentenced to two years, four months behind bars in a lawsuit known as the “lost trillion” case, but was able to defer serving his sentence by submitting medical reports to the court. The lost trillion case concerns the disappearance of more than TL 1 trillion the Treasury granted to the RP. In 2008, President Gül pardoned Erbakan.

Erbakan will be laid to rest on March 1 after funeral prayers at İstanbul’s Fatih Mosque. A statement from the SP read that the party is not planning a big ceremony for its leader. “Our leader did not want an official ceremony after his death,” the statement read.
More Here and Here.


Najmuddin Erbakan, Moulana Moududi and Hasan al Banna Shaheed



The departure of Najmuddin Erbakan (Necmettin Erbakan) is a great tragedy of our times. Najmuddin Erbakan could be truly called as the modern icon of Islamic Movement. He was a epoch making personality and one of the architects of modern history. The way vast multitudes of people thronged in his last journey and the way young and old, known and unknown people showered their love and affection towards their departed leader speaks volumes about the stature of the leader. It epitomises the overwhelming sway he held over the Islam loving people throughout the world. It also illustrates the deep impact he made throughout the Muslim world with his untiring struggle for the cause of Islam.

One of the famous poems of Allama Iqbal is Tulu Islam (The Rise of Islam). In it Allama succinctly and beautifully depicts the rise and renaissance of Islam throughout the world once again. The words mellow you. The poet of the East has listed out various factors leading to the renaissance of Islam in the world. One of the factors highlighted by the Allama is as follows:

Ataa momin ko phir dargaah-e-haq sey honay walaa hai
Shikoh-e-turkmaani, zahan hindi, nataq aaraabi

The Muslim is to be endowed again from the God’s  Court with
Turkman’s grandeur, Indian’s wisdom, Arab’s eloquence

The prophecy of the Allama had blossomed into reality soon after his demise. Moulana Syed Abul A'ala Moududi personified Zahan hindi (Wisdom of Indian) in the 20th century. Undoubtedly Moulana's real and major contribution could be termed as idealogical and intellectual contribution. He stimulated the intellect and presented the Islamic thought in its glorious form. At those times the critics of Islam were hell-bent in attacking Islam in all possible ways. Moulana effectively silenced them with his thought provoking, down to the earth and intellectually stimulating rejoinders. Besides he gave shape to the Islamic Idealogy and with his endeavours Islam rose to greater heights as an Ideological power house.


During the same period the Arab world witnessed the rise of two towering personalities viz Hasan al Banna Shaheed and Syed Qutb Shaheed in Egypt. These legendery leaders known for their superb communicaion skills, eloquence and power of speech mesmerised the Islamic world. They were the primary architects of Islamic renaissance in the Arab world.


Twentieth century witnessed Islamic revival in larger scale throughout the world. Infact it could be easily termed as the century in which Zahan Hindi (Wisdom of Indian) and Nataq A'arabi (Eloquence of Arab)  flourished and had lasting impact. The mammoth contribution of Moulana Moududi in the intellectual arena pointed to the dream of Allama Iqbal's Zahan Hindi (Wisdom of Indian). Similarly the emotional appeal and action packed contribution of Hasan al Banna and the Ikhwan symbolised Allama Iqbal's Nataq A'arabi. The beautiful and forceful convergence of Intellect and emotion triggered a new wave of Islamic Renaissance throughout the Islamic world. This new wave of synergy influenced and altered the course of the century.
The outcome of that synergy of intellect and emotion could be seen everywhere. Some eighty years back, Muslims were wary of revealing their Muslim identiy. They were diffident and hesitant to proclaim themselves as Muslims. But, today one can see mind boggling confidence and exuberance among the Muslims throughout the world.
The rise of Islam as the biggest force in the intellectual and idealogical world is one of the fruitful culmination of thes two great men. Infact Islam has emerged as the Idealogical super power of our times.
In this way the dream of Zahan Hindi and Nataq A'arabi of Allama Iqbal were fulfilled. Shikoh Turkmani was the one which needed to be fulfilled. And it take long time. It got culminated in the fag end of the twentieth century with the rise of Marhoom Najmuddin Erbakan as the symbol of Shikoh Turkmani. He gave new vigour and power to Islam and created shock and awe among the Baatil.

The role of the Turks had been significant in the entire history of Islam. They were in the forefront in propagating and safeguarding Islam. They had plaved a major role in the history of Islam. Allama Iqbal had symbolised the grandeur, dignity and respect as Shikoh. Turks had increased the grandeur to manifold.

The return of the Turks to the Islamic camp, I feel, is the biggest event of the twenty first century. And Najmuddin Erbakan had played a vital role in this historic turnaround.

What is Shikoh-e-Turkmani?

If you want to feel the impact of Shikoh-e-Turkmani just go through the numerous write-ups, comments and observations published in American and western magazines. They scream with the provocative heading "The return of Ottomans" and depict the shock and awe that has engulfed the western psyche.

If you want to feel the Shikoh-e-Turkmani go to You Tube and just see the mesmerising speech of Tayyip Erdogon which he delivered in the Summit held at Davos. He lambasts the Israelie Prime Minister.

From a speech delivered by Sadatullah Husseini in a Taziyati Function held at Hyderabad. 
Translated by T Azeez Luthfullah

To be continued.....

Lessons of Arab awakening!


        
It is high time for the United States and its European allies to abandon policies of unconditionally supporting Israeli governments, to revitalize the peace process and work toward a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The need for Israeli governments to come to their senses has never been as urgent as it is today. Arab revolutions will inevitably help the Israeli people and the Jewish Diaspora at large to finally grasp that Israel’s security and wellbeing cannot be achieved without the same for the Palestinian people.
Turkey has surely played a role in the Arab awakening. There is no doubt that the Arab people are inspired by the Turkish example, which has shown the entire world that a Muslim-majority society can be both modern and democratic. No one can deny that policies pursued by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of establishing closer political, economic and cultural ties with the Arab people, as with all neighboring people, while taking a stand against atrocities and injustices inflicted upon the Palestinians, have helped Turkey to win the hearts and minds of the Arab masses.

The myth that Turkey under the AKP government has changed axis, and moved away from the West toward the Middle East, has also collapsed. The case is not Turkey moving closer to the Middle East, but the Middle East moving closer to Turkey. Sensible Americans and Europeans should well assess the contribution Turkey is making towards democratization in its region and also grasp the deceptive nature of arguments that claim Turkey under the AKP government is moving towards an authoritarian regime, put forward mainly by the neocon and Israeli lobby circles in the US. And for those European governments who want to exclude Turkey from European integration, developments in the Middle East seem to provide plenty of reasons to revise their positions.

The Arab awakening is inviting Turkey to also come to its senses. Turkey has to move further with reforms to consolidate democracy with European norms, not only for the sake of its own security and prosperity but to also for continuing to inspire its neighborhood. In this context it is imperative that the AKP government meets the democratic demands of its Kurdish citizens, and take all measures necessary to open the way for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to lay down arms and take part in the democratic process. No one can stop Turkey from gaining greater hard and soft power when it reconciles with its Kurdish citizens.

Sahin Al Pay in Today's Zaman. More Here.

Why Saudi Arabia is not affected by the Jasmine Revolution?


While the Arab world is experiencing the snowballing effect, people are chucking snow balls at each other in Dubai’s malls. Just when the Jasmine Revolution overthrew Ben Ali in Tunisia, pulse points were touched with the fragrance of jasmine in the stores of the United Arab Emirates that have no inclination for any other kind of flower power.

The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), an annual pilgrimage for retail therapy, has just concluded and reportedly there was a 142 per cent increase in sales at some outlets and electronic goods sold over 40 per cent more than they ever have. Brochures talk about the man of vision who wrote on water. It is supposedly a line from a poem by the ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Some of the palm islands may be sinking, but that has not prevented the feel-good factor from permeating.

This is what will save the sheikhs. There cannot be a people’s movement when the people are not your own, do not have citizenship rights and have to renew their residence permits regularly.


As in most parts of the world, the financial crisis hit the Emirates too and people left behind their cars at airports because they had no money to pay back loans. But many decided to stick it out. The local Emiratis won’t rebel because they are either well-settled or they have options elsewhere. Many are or consider themselves to be a part of the various royal families. These royal families, unlike the leaders elsewhere, are happy enough to be on postage stamps, as portraits in almost every establishment. They keep getting fantastical ideas and invite the best people to give shape to their vision.

Embittered immigrants – flotsam and fiefdom alike – make their cocoons here where anyone can become a chameleon.

Farzana Versey in counter currents. More Here.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

A fascinating tale from Egypt: hurriya, hurriya, adalah igtimayyia – freedom, freedom, social justice.

 
The media has long repeated the mantra that Israel is the Middle East’s only democracy. Combined with serious doubts regarding the Arabs’ readiness for democracy, the conclusion offered is: Israel carries similar values to the US, the West, the First World, the civilized hemisphere, and the Arabs epitomise all the ailments of the world. It matters little that Arab regimes were made ‘powerful’ by the backing of their western benefactors, or that oppression – in the name of fighting the enemies of peace and progress – was urged, financed and orchestrated with western interests in mind. The fact that the bullets and canister teargas that killed and wounded numerous Egyptians had the following words inscribed on it in Arabic: ‘suni’a fi al-wilayat al-mutahida al-amrikyia’ – Made in the United States – was also deemed entirely irrelevant to any discussion on how and why Egyptians were being suppressed or why the Arab Lion must never find its roar.
 
“The much-feted Mossad was taken by surprise,” wrote Uri Avnery. The CIA was too, although US lawmakers are trying to determine “whether the CIA and other spy agencies failed to give President Obama adequate warning of the unfolding crisis in Egypt” (as reported by Greg Miller in the Washington Post, February 4). Senator Dianne Feinstein who heads the Intelligence Committee, accused the intelligence community of ‘lacking” performance. The CIA should have monitored Facebook more closely, she suggested.
 
But there can be no telling when a nation revolts. Most of the chanting multitudes have no Facebook accounts. They don’t tweet either. In Tahrir Square, a man with a moustache, dark skin and handsome features carried a cardboard sign on which he had written, rather hurriedly: “I want to eat. My monthly salary is 267 (Egyptian) pounds – approx $45 – and I have four children.”
 
Others want to breathe the air of freedom. Others still want justice. Dignity. Equality. Democracy. Hope. How can such values be measured, or safeguarded against?
 
There is a very popular word in Egypt – al-Sabr. It means patience. But no one could predict when the patience would run out. Arab and Egyptian intellectuals didn’t see it coming, and even the country’s opposition parties were caught by surprise. Everyone tried to catch up as millions of long-oppressed Egyptians erupted in astounding unison: hurriya, hurriya, adalah igtimayyia – freedom, freedom, social justice. 
 
Ramzy Baroud in Radiance Weekly. More Here.

Real test for Muslim Brotherhood has begun now!

 
The anti-Islamic, self-proclaimed messiahs everywhere argue their non-case, passionately warning that “deluge after us” and if the Ikhwan comes to power, there would be anarchy, chaos and total disorder. To quote from an editorial of The Hindu, Jan. 20/11: “After an absurd attempt to blame the Ikhwanul Muslimeen or Muslim Brotherhood the Mubarak regime turned to violence with the police and semi-official thug militias, using tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets against protesters.”
 
ONEROUS RESPONSIBILITY
Let the prophets of doom come forward to substantiate maligning of the Brotherhood, on whose shoulders however now an onerous responsibility rests. They have to prove how a caliphate proves better than a democracy; how the interest-free banking proliferates welfare in an Islamic state; how the divine-oriented politics creates poise and equilibrium in society; how the dignified gender-norms create conditions in which a lonely woman can all alone travel fearlessly from Lidmorts to Mogadishu, and Mauritania to Sinkiang. If, Heavens forbid, they fail, the upholders and advocates of Islam will lose face for no fault of theirs.
More strength to the elbows of the strugglers!
 
Dr Ausaf Saied Vasfi in Radiance Weekly. More Here.

Egypt in India: Who knows whether a time bomb is not ticking here.


The conjuncture of open corruption, high unemployment and uncontrolled inflation is capable of creating a situation where even the safety-valve of periodic elections could be rendered infructuous; people might not have the patience to wait for the next elections or they may lose faith in all parties, including those currently in the opposition. The searing flames from Tunisia and Egypt could reach our shores too.

True, globalization has crushed the organized trade union movement in the country; its lure has also sucked in a section of the middle class. The immiserized rural poor are both riven by caste animosities and dispersed in hundreds and thousands of villages, apart from being victims of illiteracy and a low level of consciousness. It is nonetheless an uncertain horizon, and on account of a probability to which attention was drawn nearly 90 years ago by Allyn Young, the Harvard economist. Pick a country bumpkin from a wilderness, let him roam aimlessly in the thoroughfares of a metropolis like London or New York, he will watch the city lights, the procession of fleeting cars, rows of huge mansions and skyscrapers, the billboards and huge departmental stores, the assortment of smartly attired men and women rushing about. At the end of just one week, he will no longer remain a dumb country bumpkin, he has absorbed the sights and sounds of metropolitan existence, he is a changed human being, his awareness and intelligence have shot up even though not a penny has been spent to improve his bearings.

This is the imponderable factor. Television, the internet and cell phones have enabled India’s rich to become enormously richer. These, at the same time are directly as well as indirectly, raising the level of consciousness of the country’s impoverished, exploited, hitherto mute millions. Such awakening is a dangerous incendiary. The trade union movement may be dead. The peasantry may be inordinately backward and faction ridden. Thievery at high places coinciding with massive worklessness and inflation could nevertheless, without the courtesy of a warning, give birth to a nationwide fury convulsing the system. Who knows whether a time bomb is not ticking somewhere.

Ashok Mitra in The Telegraph.  More Here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind to launch a political party by name "Welfare Party"


Jamaat-e-Islami-e Hind is planning to launch its political party.

Tentatively called the “Welfare Party,” it is learnt that senior Jamaat members have been touring not just the poll-bound states but UP, Bihar and Maharashtra, too, to test the waters. While discussions about the need for a party have been on for two years, the formal launch is expected soon — some say even as early as next month.
A six-page note prepared by the Jamaat and accessed by The Indian Express details the objectives and the remit of the proposed party.

Jamaat, which already has a well-developed network of front organizations like a women’s wing and a students’ wing, is anxious not to be seen as a purely Muslim party but one which keeps the welfare of marginalized groups besides Muslims, such as the poor, backwards and SC/STs central to its proposed political face.

 
The party’s concept paper makes scathing remarks about the state of the polity, especially the unequal distribution of new wealth in the new “happening” India. Underlining a social-democrat, religious and value-based “formula,” it calls for a “paradigm shift.” The party envisages strong participation by the middle-class and from individuals “having a record of flawless public service”, committed to “ideals” and “values” and the ability to break the connection “between political power and wealth creation.”

Said a senior Jamaat member: “This won’t be Jamaat’s party but our members would be fully with it. People feel left out from the way political parties work these days. We want to keep welfare as the central element of it. We believe in public funding, in the way Kanshi Ram set out asking for one vote and one rupee, we can do that.”
Members said that they will forge ties with “like-minded” parties and although they aren’t prepared to take on established political forces this time, they hope to make a statement by putting up a few candidates.

Seema Chishti in Indian Express. More Here.

I think there is fear that the move could backfire. The fear that power would corrupt the organisation. It would be the biggest test and there is lurking fear that we may fail. Those who fear often cite the examples of two cadre based Indian organisations which have gone astray after tasting power. But, it should be borne in mind that these organisations didn’t have any lofty ideals. What we have is the goal of attaining pleasure of Allah. And this goal would save us from all kinds of pitfalls in the path of political participation.
At the same time there is a hope that this epoch-making move would give rich dividends. The Jamaat would pass the litmus test and come out with laurels, Insha Allah. The glorious stride made by our aslaaf in various fields is before us. 
When they entered into printing and publishing industry, they carved out their own place in it. Markazi Maktaba Islami Publishers is the trendsetter and pioneer in the field. Madhyayam Daily has succeeded in setting great journalistic and ethical standards in Kerala. Manuda Vasantham TV programme stands unique and tall as a lighthouse for others in Tamil Nadu. The Muslim Maternity and Zanana Hospital in Hyderabad has emerged as the largest and very important women and child care centre in South India. The Aligarh based Idara-e-Tahqeeqat-e-Islami’s efforts and strides are seen with respect and awe by others in the field. The Islamiya Arabic College in Mansoora, Hassan has blossomed as a model institution.
The question is when we succeed in all other fields and stand unique, why the success story could not be repeated in the field of politics too! When we have succeeded in producing great writers, managers, doctors, engineers, teachers, etc., why can’t we produce good politicians and parliamentarians? And the country is in dire need of good and honest politicians and parliamentarians.
Of course the fear of failure is there. I think this oscillation between fear and hope should always be there. It will make us hold fast to the rope of Allah. It will strengthen the bond with Allah. There is no doubt about it.
T Azeez Luthfullah in Radiance Viewsweekly. More Here and Here

Monday, February 21, 2011

Egypt fallout: The days of American hegemony are over?


All of a sudden it is Washington, not the Middle East, that appears stagnant. The revolts in Tunisia and Egypt – and the proliferating signs of unrest in the American sphere of influence in the Middle East – have occurred in spite of American power, not because of it, and they have left the US looking confused and isolated. America’s closest ally in the region is an expansionist, increasingly chauvinist Jewish state whose friendship is as much a liability as an asset. If Obama’s assiduous efforts to rebrand the American empire have made little headway, it is in part because they have not been accompanied by any serious rethinking of these strategic priorities: the grandeur of his rhetoric barely masks the poverty of his vision.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the Egyptian revolt is the latest expansion of a new dynamism. A Hizbullah-backed coalition government has come to power in Lebanon by constitutional means, upending Washington’s calculations and deepening Tehran’s influence; Turkey, under an Islamic government, has been pursuing an ambitious foreign policy that ignores the Washington grid. Even in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US can no longer count on the deference of the governments it helped to create.

Despite its uncontested military supremacy in the region, Washington can’t seem to translate its power into real influence, its dominance into lasting hegemony. Its help is rarely even sought in resolving disputes such as the recent tensions over Lebanon’s new government: a distinct preference for regional mediation has emerged.

The best that can be said of Obama’s Middle East policy is that he hasn’t got in the way of this trend as much as his predecessor did. He has been prevented from encouraging it by his own cautious instincts, and by the alliances with Israel that he inherited, the terms of which he is unwilling or unable to revise. The days of American hegemony in the Muslim East are not over, but for the first time in years, from Ankara to Cairo, from Tunis to Beirut, the outlines of a post-American Middle East can be glimpsed.

Adam Shatz in London review of Books. More Here.

Egypt uprising: Is it internet driven?


The western and the Indian media, have blown the role of Facebook and Twitter so much out of proportion as if there would have been no revolution without them. What they tend to forget is that the ideology, the leadership, the zeal and motivating factors are more important than means.

There seems to be a grand design to undermine the very message of the revolution. There is a need to explode the myth of internet in bringing about the revolution. It is true it played its role, but attributing the revolution just to internet is simply unacceptable. Egypt still has a big number of computer illiterates, who took to streets on their own.

Much less is being actually written about the ideology, which motivated Tunisians and Egyptians to take to streets for so many days till they ultimately succeeded in getting rid of Ben Ali and Mubarak respectively. Yes, the movements were against the dictators and Tunisians and Egyptians eagerly wanted to have government which enjoyed people’s mandate. But they wanted more than that, which the media didn’t highlight.

There is strong element of anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism in these big upsurges, but this aspect is deliberately being ignored or underplayed. In case of Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood factor is being highlighted but sometimes with the element of doubt. The West once again wants to project that the revolutionaries are impressed by democracy in Europe and the United States and so, one way or the other, want to adopt their version of Democracy.

The truth is that the concept of government based on people’s mandate is much older in Islam than the West, which partially introduced it with hardly any success for the first time after the French Revolution of 1789. In fact what they now call as liberal democracy is fairly a recent development with countries like France, the so-called nursery of democratic change, permitting its women to vote for the first time in 1945. Even in the United States and several other countries this total democracy is a recent phenomenon, in which all its citizens, including Blacks and women were allowed to vote. In fact in Australia hunting of aboriginals was legal till only half a century back, not to speak of giving voting right to them. In fact India gave voting rights to all its citizens much before several western countries––Spain, Portugal are a few examples.

So when they talk of Muslim Brotherhood, it needs to be highlighted that its concept of government having people’s mandate, has its roots in the immediate aftermath of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and not that of the western democracy of 20th or 21st centuries. The Brotherhood was formed in 1928, much before many western countries became democratic. From its founder Hasan-al-Bannah to Sayed Qutub and Mohammad Qutub––all of them are no more alive––have dealt in great details about Islam as a way of life in their writings.
The emergence and subsequent electoral victory of Hamas in Gaza has more to do with this idea rather than of the western democracy. In fact the champion of modern democracy, the United States, has always been opposed to the election victory of Hamas in 2006 and the West never gave it legitimacy.

The western writers, journalists, and other public opinion-makers are trying to take some credit for whatever is happening in Egypt or in other Arab countries, but there is no scope for it. Had the Communist ideology been powerful as in the past, they would have some satisfaction as after all it is also a western idea. Now that they have made no contribution they are repeatedly playing up the internet theory.

True Egypt is yet to see the emergence of leader like Erbakan in Turkey or Ayotullah Khomeini in Iran, but the ideology of Islam has played a big role in bringing the people to the streets. With large number of woman-marchers clad in burqa and demonstrators offering namaz (prayer) give fair amount of idea that the revolution has Islamic color.

But the problem with the western media is that over the years, they have distorted the image of Islam so much that it has become a sort of synonym to terrorism. How can they now say that Islam believes in peaceful political change like the one which is happening now?

So if the revolutionaries refused to resort to violence in spite of provocation by Mubarak’s agents, the West was quick to conclude that those who were protesting were modern-minded liberals who wanted a western democracy.

In spite of so much information explosion, the world perhaps knows more about the role of the Google executive Wael Ghonim in bringing people to the streets than about the Supreme Guide of Muslim Brotherhood Mohammad Badie––not to confuse it with Nobel Prize winner Mohammad El-Baradei.
Badie, 68, is himself a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Beni Suef and was named by the Egyptian State Information Service in its annual listing as one of the top one hundred Arab scientists. He is also the founder of the Higher Veterinary Institute of the Arab Republic of Yemen. Yet the name of this great scholar is hardly visible in the western media as he does not fit in the western scheme of thing.

Soroor Ahmed in Two circles. More Here.

Tahrir Square, rise of Islamists and Islamophobia!


ARE Muslims taking over the world, or at a minimum, transforming Europe into Eurabia? Whatever your hopes or fears for the future of the world’s religions, a report published this week has plenty to stoke them. “The Future of the Global Muslim Population”, produced by the Pew Research Centre, a non-profit outfit based in Washington, DC, reckons Muslim numbers will soar from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030. In other words, from 23.4% to 26.4% of the global total.

The total Muslim share of Europe’s population is predicted to grow from 6% now to 8% in 2030: hardly the stuff of nightmares. But amid that are some sharp rises. The report assumes Britain has 2.9m Muslims now (far higher than the usual estimates, which suggest 2.4m at most), rising to 5.6m by 2030. As poor migrants start families in Spain and Italy, numbers there will rocket; in France and Germany, where some Muslims are middle-class, rises will be more modest—though from a higher base. Russia’s Muslims will increase to 14.4% or 18.6m, up from 11.7% now (partly because non-Muslims are declining). The report takes a cautious baseline of 2.6m American Muslims in 2010, but predicts the number will surge by 2030 to 6.2m, or 1.7% of the population—about the same size as Jews or Episcopalians. In Canada the Muslim share will surge from 2.8% to 6.6%.

How will liberal democracies accommodate such variety? The clarity of a written constitution may give America an advantage over many European countries, where unwritten custom has more sway. Jonathan Laurence, an Islam-watcher and professor at Boston College, thinks Europe could rise to the challenge, but failure is also easy to imagine. Europe’s Muslims should, by 2030, have become articulate and effective political bargainers.

From  a report in The Economist. More Here.

The sweet story of American Decline


For Now. As things stand, America has the world's largest economy, the world's leading universities, and many of its biggest companies. The U.S. military is also incomparably more powerful than any rival. The United States spends almost as much on its military as the rest of the world put together. And let's also add in America's intangible assets. The country's combination of entrepreneurial flair and technological prowess has allowed it to lead the technological revolution. Talented immigrants still flock to U.S. shores. And now that Barack Obama is in the White House, the country's soft power has received a big boost. For all his troubles, polls show Obama is still the most charismatic leader in the world; Hu Jintao doesn't even come close.

America also boasts the global allure of its creative industries (Hollywood and all that), its values, the increasing universality of the English language, and the attractiveness of the American Dream. All true -- but all more vulnerable than you might think. American universities remain a formidable asset. But if the U.S. economy is not generating jobs, then those bright Asian graduate students who fill up the engineering and computer-science departments at Stanford University and MIT will return home in larger numbers. Fortune's latest ranking of the world's largest companies has only two American firms in the top 10 -- Walmart at No. 1 and ExxonMobil at No. 3. 

The idea that democracies are liable to agree on the big global issues is now being undermined on a regular basis. India does not agree with the United States on climate change or the Doha round of trade talks. Brazil does not agree with the United States on how to handle Venezuela or Iran. A more democratic Turkey is today also a more Islamist Turkey, which is now refusing to take the American line on either Israel or Iran. In a similar vein, a more democratic China might also be a more prickly China, if the popularity of nationalist books and Internet sites in the Middle Kingdom is any guide.

The United States still has formidable strengths. Its economy will eventually recover. Its military has a global presence and a technological edge that no other country can yet match. But America will never again experience the global dominance it enjoyed in the 17 years between the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and the financial crisis of 2008. Those days are over.

Gideon Rachman in Foreign Policy. More Here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Torture, Justice and a demand for apology


“Unfortunately, sometimes life imitates fiction,” Mr. Ravi Chander noted in his report, going on to detail the shocking lack of procedure in the detention of Mr. Rayeezuddin and others: “[The boys] reiterate with telling consistency the now familiar story of arrest without warrant, arrest without informing the kith and kin, being taken away to unknown places, torture, etc … Typically a pigment on skin reflecting minor electric shocks are visible. While time heals the physical wounds, [they have] left an indelible impression on the psyche of the persons.” It was like a macabre replay as each boy spoke — of being detained without knowing the charge, of extended periods of torture, of indifferent magistrates who somehow always missed the distress signals from the prisoners, of being forced to confess to terror plots and of having to sign on blank papers.

Mr. Ravi Chander's report reiterated the procedure laid down by the Supreme Court for arrest and detention, including maintaining records of the time and date of arrests along with the names of officers executing the warrants; preparing a memo of arrest, signed by a witness preferably from the detainee's family and countersigned by the detainee; ensuring a tri-weekly medical examination of every detainee and keeping a memo of major and minor injuries, again countersigned by the detainee. The Supreme Court held failure to comply with the requirements to be punishable with departmental action and contempt of court proceedings. 

Mr. Ravi Chander concluded his report with this chilling passage: “To counter terrorism and “counter terrorism” [by the State] are not one and the same … It is clear that all the victims belong to a single community and mostly to a single economic class. This may be insufficient to place the burden surely at a single door-step, namely the police. This however surely tells a pattern. A seriously dangerous pattern.”

Mr. Ravi Chander's findings came as a surprise to civil rights activists. Because, as he himself laughingly told The Hindu, “I am not viewed as a Muslim-friendly person, as I had fought on the opposite side on the issue of Minorities reservation.” But this fact has only enhanced the credibility of the report. 

Vidya Subramaniyam in The Hindu. More Here.

Who will give back the thirteen years - 4745 days and nights spent in jail? Is this justice?

''Do you call this living? Even death is better than this humiliation"

Torture in Hyderabad

Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and Justice

Malegaon blasts, media and Justice!

Now that Aseemanand has confessed, what about the innocent Muslim youth languishing in jails?

Unravelling Hindutva Terrorism

Just The Tip Won't Do: Expose The Whole Iceberg

Islamic encyclopedia released in Bangalore


Bangalore based East West Educational Tools has brought out a two-volume Islamic Encyclopedia. It is edited by Syed Iqbal Zaheer and runs into 1300 pages. It covers the religious dimensions of Islam and its developments over the centuries.

Elegantly produced and aesthetically designed, the encyclopedia covers a wide range of subjects like definitions of Islamic terms, life of Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him), social and political movements in Islam and the Islamic world, Muslim scientists and scholars of the past, Islamic law, Muslim minorities, Islamic history, etc.

The inaugural copy of the encyclopedia was unveiled and released by Justice Mohammad Anwar, judge of the Karnataka High Court.

Speaking at the occasion, Syed Iqbal Zaheer said the monumental effort took 15 years for the entire team of East West Educational Tools to complete.  He said most of the encyclopedic efforts on Islam and Muslims has been done in the West and provides a distorted picture of Islam. He said Brille's was the most exhaustive work - in 12 volumes - so far but portrays Islam in an extremely poor light thereby carrying forward the agenda of the Orientalists.

An Educational Encyclopedia of Islam has nearly 50 large multi-color maps and diagrams of historical sites, battles and voyages undertaken by explorers and scholars. Presentation in lucid styles is interspersed with anecdotes and relevant details. The hard-bound volumes come in an attractive slipcase and make an effective coffee table piece.

The emphasis of the work has been on drawing material from the original sources. As editor Syed Iqbal writes in the preface, the content has undergone translation and editing, initially from Arabic to Urdu and thence to English. Refinement and abridgement at each stage has lent the content precision. In short, to expect a work like this to emanate from Bangalore might have been unimaginable.

"The encyclopedia fills a very important void as heretofore most such reference material stemmed from the West whose biases and prejudices colored the content," Syed Iqbal said in a press release.
The encyclopedia is priced at $150 for the Gulf countries.
From M A Siraj's report in Arab News. More Here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The fall of America


Consider that the last time the United States won a major war was 1945 - Korea was a stalemate, Vietnam a defeat; the first Gulf War failed to topple Saddam Hussein; Afghanistan and Iraq have become prolonged quagmires. Total victory has become alien to us.

A small example of how far we have fallen, how pampered and coddled we have become, was the decision by the NFL this week to postpone the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings in Philadelphia. Football players are supposed to be the closest thing Americans have to modern Roman gladiators. The game exemplifies the rugged individualism and grit at the heart of the American character. The reason for the delay: Philadelphia was expecting 11 inches of snow. By comparison with historical Northeast winters, this was a minor storm - something previous generations simply shoveled and plowed through as they got on with their daily lives.

If 11 inches of snow brings America’s gladiators to a halt, it is clear we have lost our resilience.
This is evident, too, in the kinds of leaders we elect. Conventional wisdom holds that Mr. Obama is the antithesis of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush. Mr. Obama is a liberal Democrat. Mr. Bush was a conservative Republican. Mr. Obama is a cosmopolitan internationalist, while Mr. Bush was a unilateralist cowboy. In fact, they have much more in common than either the left or the right would like to admit. Mr. Obama is simply continuing -and intensifying - many of the disastrous Bush policies.

The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche claimed “God is dead.” Nietzsche’s point was that the loss of faith would constitute our civilization’s seminal cultural reality. The passing of the Christian West signifies the end not only of a worldview, but of a character type - one based on honor, family, self-help, blood-and-soil patriotism, personal responsibility and a God-centered moral order. Self-indulgence and self-expression have filled the vacuum. Life is no longer about sacrifice and duty; it’s about maximizing pleasure and self-fulfillment.

Most Americans can no longer endure pain. This is why unemployment benefits keep being extended. This is why nearly every industry is “too big to fail.” It is the inevitable consequence of statism: the transformation of freeborn and productive citizens into de facto serfs who look to Uncle Sam for handouts. Decades of liberalism have led to the servile state.

In the 2000s, as we became soft, self-indulgent and mired in foreign interventions, a new great power emerged: an ultranationalist China. During the past decade, Beijing became the world’s No. 1 manufacturer and automaker, premier exporting nation and No. 2 economy. China is engaged in a massive military buildup and menaces its neighbors. It owns much of our public debt. It is to America what we once were to Great Britain: the rising force in the world.

All civilizations rise and fall. Ancient Greece, Persia, Rome, medieval Europe, the great Italian city-states, the Ottoman Empire, the vast European empires - the past is littered with the corpses of once unparalleled and dominant powers that are now a distant memory. So too has America passed its zenith.

Jeffrey T Kuhner in The WashingtonTimes. More Here. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why is it so difficult for us to really talk with each other?


The way we talk with each other is, quite frankly, primitive. When we are direct, we are insensitive, and when we are polite, we are not honest. These tendencies are not merely Indian; most people have difficulty being honest and sensitive at the same time. In India, however, the absence of this skill in both private and public life is startling and endemic. We know well how to settle scores, but we have forgotten how to address our differences.

If you want to see how we really treat each other, just step out onto the street. The state of our roads, and our behavior on them, is among the worst of any society on the planet. Pedestrians and cyclists take their lives into their hands every time they set out. Drivers of two-wheelers think nothing of going the wrong way down one-way streets, or even riding on sidewalks. Kamikaze auto-rickshaw drivers often seem to be on suicide missions. And with seemingly no interest in maintaining any street discipline, automobile and truck drivers are wholly unfazed by the presence of traffic lights. Our streets are not merely death traps; they are symbols of our society’s lack of consideration and discipline.

At the civic level, discourse and communication mimics the situation on our streets, leaving much to be desired. Over the past five years, we at Meta-Culture have tried to work with families, neighborhood groups, corporations, and NGOs to assist them with improving communication and resolving disputes. Where we are given the opportunity to intervene, it is heartwarming to witness individuals and groups that have such distrust for each other open up and re-start a dialogue. Most often, though, people refuse to engage with those with whom they disagree.

Our hardest challenge in the Conflict Resolution work we do is, very often, bringing NGOs to the table to talk with their “adversaries.” Their common refrain is that they don’t trust the companies or government. To negotiate, some have told us, would be equal to giving up their autonomy and integrity; as activists, they say, their job is to meet their constituency’s interests through protest. One cannot blame them for their position given that they have never experienced the benefits of effective dialogue or consultative processes.

At a political level the situation is even more depressing, with our parliamentarians having once brought the speaker of the Lok Sabha to tears with their unruly behavior. It is not unusual to read in the paper that our legislators have indulged in fisticuffs and name-calling. Even in the august halls where important matters of state are deliberated, the culture of discourse is coarse; the behavior that our “leaders” model to we the people is more akin to that of street brawlers. Just as our physical health is a result of what we put in our bodies, likewise what people around us “feed” us, and how they and the larger environment treat us, have an impact on the health of our minds. A coarse and rough environment can hardly provide the nourishment necessary for us to treat each other with kindness and consideration.

We see the same circumstance in families. Like most families, mine has its share of problems. I am hard-pressed to remember even a single instance when my family members addressed differences without crying, shouting, name-calling, or silent petulance. When decisions were actually made, they most often emerged out of resignation (“Fine. Do whatever you want. Nothing I can say will change your mind.”); frustration (“You are stubborn and will never understand anything.”); threat (“If you persist, I will not support your education.”); emotional blackmail (“If you don’t do this, you will deeply disappoint me. What did I do to deserve such a son/daughter/parent?”); or sheer vengeance (“Neither my children or I will ever attend another of your weddings or events.”).

Constructive discussion about genuine differences is rare. Perhaps that has something to do with it being wholly unseemly, until a couple of generations ago, for people of lower age, status, or position to question the decisions of their superiors. Wives rarely questioned their husbands, children their parents, students their teachers, or employees their employers. While my own grandfather was a loving and generous man, neither his children nor his wife, my grandmother, had the courage to question or debate with him about anything. His word was law. Likewise, entire generations in India have grown up without the courage or even the skills to question, challenge, or most importantly disagree in ways that are healthy and constructive. When we who are of these generations do in fact muster the courage or claim our right to disagree, that we lack the appropriate skills to do so often makes us wholly disagreeable!

This pattern is as true of organizations and whole societies as it is of individuals. A mature organization or society, like an individual, is one that approaches dissent and contentious issues with patience, thoughtful consideration, authenticity, and wisdom. When will we as a society reach maturity?

From Ashok Panikkar's stimulating article in Newzfirst. More Here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Could our Jantar Mantar become our Tahrir Square?


Those of our political leaders who have paid attention to the protests in Tahrir Square must be spending sleepless nights. Not because a floodgate of public rage is about to burst open in Delhi or Mumbai but because the reasons for the rage are so familiar to us who live in the proudly democratic republic of India. Allow me to list a few similarities. Open loot of public money. Political leaders who become fabulously rich while ordinary people remain horribly poor. Dynastic succession. In our case this idea has roots so deep and wide that there is almost not a single political party that is not a family business. Then, as in most despotic Arab countries, we have followed economic policies that have created a small super-rich elite while the majority of our people live on less than $2 a day. And, just like Egypt we have a huge population of young people most of whom will move to cities and towns in the next twenty years. 

From Tavleen Singh's article in Indian Express. More Here.



Could it happen here? The leaderless revolution in Egypt has caused some anxiety locally over whether the wretched of our earth could come out to challenge their rulers. Conventional and unconventional wisdom has it that the answer is an emphatic no. We have a vibrant democracy, regular elections, a free media, an alert judiciary—all these checks and balances, it is fondly assumed, provide a safety valve through which the above-mentioned wretched can ventilate their frustrations. It is a cosy and comforting thesis but it needs to be tested. Not just to shake us out of complacency, but to force us to ask some hard questions.
One could in fact argue that it is already happening here. The injustices the protesters at Tahrir Square are raging about—corruption, no jobs, rising prices, appalling governance—are rampant in our blessed land. The tribal population of India, over three times the size of Egypt’s total population, lives daily with hardships ten times worse than those faced by the aam aadmi in Cairo. The per capita income in Egypt is four times the per capita income of adivasis in Dantewada. Moreover, under the influence of the Maoists, our destitute have taken up arms in a do-or-die struggle against the Indian state. Altogether, we are confronted with a situation infinitely more dangerous than the one prevailing in Egypt. Indeed, in contrast to the carnival and celebratory atmosphere in Tahrir Square, our deprived and desolate are waging a grim and violent battle. India is already at war with its own people. If you asked a bow-and-arrow-wielding woman to throw down her weapon because she possessed a wonderful thing called “democracy”, I shudder to think what her response would be.
Shining India, fortunately, does not have to watch pitched clashes outside the street on which it lives. However, unless we wake up, that prospect is fast approaching. Supposing, 2,00,000 of our citizens march into Jantar Mantar demanding regime change or immediate redressal of their grievances, how will the Indian state respond?

Vinod Mehta in Outlook. More Here.

பயணங்கள் முடிவதில்லை: மருதன்

பயணம் திரைப்படம் போதிக்கும் நீதி, பின்வருமாறு.

இஸ்லாமியர்கள் எனப்படுபவர்கள்:-

1) தீவிரவாதிகள்.
2) குரூரமானவர்கள்.
3) வன்முறையில் அழுத்தமான நம்பிக்கை கொண்டவர்கள்.
4) பாகிஸ்தானைத் தங்கள் தாய்நாடாகக் கருதுபவர்கள்.
5) இந்தியா தங்களை தொடர்ந்து வஞ்சித்து வருகிறது என்று நம்புபவர்கள்.
6) கடத்தல்காரர்கள், கொலைக்கு அஞ்சாதவர்கள்.
7) இஸ்லாமியர்களுக்கே எதிரானவர்கள்.
8) புனித நூலில் அல்ல, புனிதப் போர்களில் நம்பிக்கை கொண்டவர்கள்.
9) இந்தியாவை அழிக்க, சதாசர்வகாலமும் திட்டமிட்டு வருபவர்கள்.

சரி, இவர்களை என்ன செய்யலாம்? அதற்கும் படத்தில் சுலபத் தீர்வுகள் உள்ளன.

1) இவர்களிடம் இரக்கம் காட்டிப் பயனில்லை.
2) தீவிரவாதி என்று தெரியவந்தால் போதும், சுட்டுவிடலாம்.
3) கமாண்டோ படைகளுக்கு கூடுதல் அதிகாரம் தரவேண்டும்.
4) தேசத்தைத் துண்டாடும், ஊறு விளைவிக்கும் சக்திகளை உடனடியாக அகற்றவேண்டும். இது அரசாங்கத்தின் கடமை.
5) பத்திரிகை, தொலைக்காட்சி உள்ளிட்ட ஊடகங்கள் அரசாங்கத்துடன் ஒத்துழைக்கவேண்டும். அரசையும் தேச ஒற்றுமையையும் பலவீனப்படுத்தும் செய்திகளை இவர்கள் வெளியிடக்கூடாது. ('அரசாங்கத்துக்காக இல்லாவிட்டாலும், நம் நாட்டுக்காக' என்கிறார் கமாண்டோ நாகார்ஜுனா).

சென்னையில் இருந்து புது தில்லி செல்லும் ஒரு விமானத்தைத் தீவிரவாதிகள் (என்றால், இஸ்லாமியர்கள்) கடத்துகிறார்கள். தலைவர் யூசுஃப் கானை விடுதலை செய் என்பது அவர்கள் முதல் கோரிக்கை. நூறு கோடி ரூபாய் பணம் என்பது இரண்டாவது கோரிக்கை. பிறகு, எங்களுக்குப் பணம் வேண்டாம் அது ஹராம் என்று மறுத்துவிட்டு, தங்கள் தலைவரை மட்டும் கோருகிறது கடத்தல் கும்பல். பணம் ஹராம். ஆனால், கொலை, சாதாரணமாம்.

சிக்கிக்கொண்டிருக்கும் பயணிகளை மீட்டு, கடத்தல்காரர்களை எப்படி இந்திய கமாண்டோ முறியடிக்கிறது என்பது மிச்சக் கதை. உள்துறைச் செயலராக பிரகாஷ் ராஜ். கமாண்டோவாக நாகார்ஜுனா. தேசப்புற்று, ச்சே தேசப்பற்று நோயால் நாடி, நரம்புகள் வீங்கி, துடித்து, ஆர்ப்பரித்து எழும் மெய்யான இந்திய வீரர். அதி பயங்கர அணு ஆயுதத் தயாரிப்பில் ஈடுபடும் தீவிரவாதியான யூசுஃப் கானின் குழுவினரை லடாக்கில் என்கவுண்டர் பண்ணிவிட்டு, யூசுஃபை மட்டும் கைது செய்து செய்த மாவீரர் இவர். இத்தனை கஷ்டப்பட்டு சிறை பிடித்தவரை சும்மா விட்டுவிடமுடியுமா? எனவே, நாகார்ஜுனா கடத்தல்காரர்களை அழித்து, பயணிகளை மீட்கிறார்.

இந்தப் படத்தில் ஓர் அக்கிரகார அம்மாஞ்சி வருகிறார். அவருடைய குணாம்சங்கள் கீழ்வருமாறு.

1) வைதீகப் பற்று மிக்கவன்.
2) பழி, பாவம் அறியாதவன்.
3) பாதகச் செயல்களைக் கேள்வியுற்றாலே நடுநடுங்கும் அளவுக்கு நேர்மையானவன்.
4) அசடு.
5) அப்பாவி.

இதே படத்தில் ஒரு பாதிரியாரும் இடம்பெறுகிறார்.

1) இறை ஊழியத்துக்காகத் தன் வாழ்நாளை அர்ப்பணித்துக்கொண்டவர்.
2) ஒரு கன்னத்தில் அறைந்தால், மறு கன்னத்தைக் காட்டக்கூடியவர்.
3) மற்றவர்களுக்காக உயிர் தியாகம் செய்ய முன்வருபவர்.
4) தன் எதிரிகளுக்கும் கருணையைப் பரிசாகத் தருபவர்.

முற்போக்காளர் என்று அறியப்படுபவர் ஒருவரும் இப்படத்தில் வருகிறார். அவர் இயல்புகள்.

1) காந்தி, கார்ல் மார்க்ஸ் இருவரையும் வாசித்தவர். இருவராலும் (அதெப்படி?) ஈர்க்கப்பட்டவர்.
2) பொலிவியா குறித்தும் நாத்திகம் குறித்தும் சில வரிகள் பேசுகிறார்.
3) 'ஹைதரபாத் போய் பார், அங்கே முஸ்லிம்கள் எவ்வளவு அழகாக வாழ்கிறார்கள். நீங்கள் மட்டும் ஏன் இப்படி?' என்று கடத்தல்காரரிடம் கேள்வி கேட்கிறார்.
4) குண்டடிப்பட்டுச் சாகிறார்.

காலம் காலமாக தமிழ் சினிமா சென்றுகொண்டிருக்கும் அதே பாதையில் மற்றுமொரு அப்பட்டமான Stereotype பயணம். ஓர் இஸ்லாமியரை அப்பாவியாகவும், ஒரு பிராமணரை தீவிரவாதியாகவும், ஒரு முற்போக்காளரை நிஜமான முற்போக்காளராகவும் எப்போது தமிழ் சினிமா காட்டப்போகிறது?
ஏற்கெனவே பொதுப்புத்தியில் பரவிக்கிடக்கும் இஸ்லாமிய எதிர்ப்பு கருத்தாக்கங்ளை மீண்டும் ஒருமுறை வலுப்படுத்தியிருக்கிறது பயணம்.

பயணங்கள் முடிவதில்லை. 
பயணம் படம் பற்றிய மருதனின் விமர்சனத்திலிருந்து   More Here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Al Jazeera : 21st century's best hope for an independent press.


The recent crisis in Egypt makes clear what many have known for a few years now. Al Jazeera is the best major media source. The reporting is a little more fearless, the exposés are a little more in-depth, the feature stories and interviews are a little more thoughtful than all the other guys. If you’ve got to pick just one media outlet, you’d be a stubborn mule indeed not to pick Al Jazeera. It is more serious than CNN, more genuinely global than the New York Times, and more complicated than the BBC. This is not a matter for serious debate anymore. It is a basic fact. While watching Al Jazeera’s coverage of the revolution in Egypt on live web stream, I managed also to catch an extremely good interview with the important and eloquent President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in which he was asked tough questions about freedom of the press that American media outlets usually tiptoe around or ignore.





Al Jazeera, it turns out, keeps afloat with money from the Emir of Qatar. The Emir of Qatar keeps afloat by means of oil money, with some help from natural gas. Qatar has so much of both things that it enjoys one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world. So, there’s an economic model for you. Sustainable? Probably not. Dependent on the whims of an absolute monarchy? You got it. But the economic model upon which the previous century of good journalism was based was no less compromised. It is not the compromised position that matters so much as how you compromise. So far, Al Jazeera has taken their oil money and run straight for the utopia of journalistic integrity. It may not last. The good graces of the Emir of Qatar may sour. But all we are really looking for here is a temporary safe haven for real journalism in a time of media crisis. And it is time to give Al Jazeera the nod as the most interesting thing out there. From a tiny country in the Arabian Peninsula soaked in wealth by a global economy’s voracious need for energy comes the 21st century’s best current hope for an independent press.

From a report by Morgan Meis in The Smart Set. More Here

Lessons from Egypt for the Islamists in India..!


Lessons from Egypt for the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind people.
This is in response to a request from my friend and guide to shed light on the lessons from Egypt.

What lessons could we learn from the mass uprising in Egypt? India is not Egypt. And we do not have any Hosni Mubaraks here. We may have our share of bigots like Narendra Modis and L K Advanis. But still we do not have Hosni Mubaraks here, by the grace of Allah.

As I reflected on the demonstrations in Egypt and news of the events that followed, it occured to me that there were FOUR vital lessons for the Islamists here in India that need to be highlighted.

Lesson No. 1: 
The agents of change are always the youth. If we want to bring change in the society, we have to capture the minds of the youth and mould them in the Islamic way. The Egypt revolution may have been scripted and drafted by the seniors, but it was executed by the youth. Youth were in the forefront and they took the plunge when it mattered most. Without the active involvement of the youth the brutal regime could not have been toppled so smoothly. It is amazing that the Ikhwans were able to nurture, train and groom such a large number of youth under the very nose of the tyrant Pharoah.

We have to do something to groom our own youth. At present we have SIO which has succeeded in mobilising students for the Islamic cause. There is a big gap as far as the Indian youth are concerned. There is no activism. There is no guidance. There is no mobilisation. Youth power is being wasted. There is an urgent need for proper planning in this regard. India has the largest concentration of youth. But the percentage of youth in the Islamic movement is not healthy and the figures presented by the General Secretary of the Jamaat in the recently held All India Members conference is alarming. The number of members of the Jamaat who have not seen thirty summers is very very meagre. Those with grey and white beards outnumbered those with shiny black beards in that Ijtema-e-Arkan. That does not augur well for a movement which strives to bring total change in the society. The success story of Solidarity Youth Movement in Kerala has to be repeated in all over the nation. And that is the need of the hour.

Lesson No 2: 
Patience and perseverance pays. Be patient. Never lose hope. Patience pays and it pays handsomely. Look at the Ikhwans. For 52 long years - more than two generations - they had been patient. They were suppressed and oppressed by the most brutal regime of the day. They bore all kinds of oppression. They were banned and persecuted for more than a half century. But still, they never lose hope. They never threw away their core idealogy. They never succumbed to the pulls and pressures of the brutal regime and its wily sponsor. They were steadfast in their belief and action.

Those who call for drastic changes in our core idealogy should stand and ponder over this phenonmenal perseverence displayed by the Ikhwanis. Let us not be impatient and make hasty decisions which may harm our larger goal.

Lesson No 3:
The Ikhwanis never called it Islamic revolution. They co-opted with others. They worked with other sections of the society. They even shared the struggle with the coptic Christians. Cross and Quran alongwith the Egyptian flag were raised in Tahrir Square. They warmly embraced with others for a common cause. Slavej Zizek has described it as the most sublime moment. I would say it as the most defining moment in the 21st century. In a multi-cultural and multi-racial world that is the most pragmatic approach.


We in India too should such an inclusive approach. We have to identify common goods and goals and join hands with the likeminded noble souls in attaining them. We have to learn from the pact which is known as "Hilful Fuzul" was arranged in the house of Abdullah ibn Jad'in in Makkah by certain important personalities of the time. Later during the period of his Prophethood, the Holy Prophet often mentioned this pact and said that he was still willing to participate in a similar pact and not to violate its provisions. We have vast number of right thinking and noble hearted activists here in India. They are not corrupt. They are not communal. We have to join hands with them and find ways and means to struggle with them towards attaining common good.


Lesson No 4:
Embrace the issues of the people and people would always sit in your lap. The Ikhwanis embraced the issues of the people. They joined hands with them when it mattered the most. They identified the simmering discontent against the regime and used it. They got availed of the opportunity and positioned themselves. They have always been in the forefront in tackling the basic issues of the lay man.

We have to strive for common goals instead of Muslim specific issues. The experience gained through Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity (FDCA) would be useful in this regard. It has to be noted that whenever we took common issues the nation responded passionately and positively. The Human Rights Campaign launched in 2003 and the Caravan for Peace and Justice in this meeqath are shiny examples for this. Similarly the more positive response we got when we took up the cause of anti-liquor campaign in Tamil Nadu could be cited as an example for this trend.

Still there are vast number of issues affecting the aam aadmi here. We have to take them up.

Monday, February 14, 2011

BJP is Brahmin Janata Party : Aakar Patel


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is sneeringly called the Brahmin-Baniya party, but this isn’t true. It is actually the party of Brahmins. BJP president Nitin Gadkari is Brahmin and so are the party’s leaders in both Lok Sabha (Sushma Swaraj) and Rajya Sabha (Arun Jaitley).

The BJP has always been a party of Brahmins. Founded in 1951 as Jana Sangh, the BJP’s first leader was Brahmin (Syama Prasad Mookerjee), its most important thinker was Brahmin (Deendayal Upadhyaya) and its most successful leader was Brahmin (Vajpayee).

The party’s top leadership is peppered with Brahmins (Murli Manohar Joshi, Ananth Kumar, Seshadri Chari, Kalraj Mishra, Bal Apte).
L.K. Advani is different, and from the Lohana caste.

The Brahmin gene is coded into the BJP by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), whose founder (Hedgewar), most important thinker (Golwalkar), current leader (Bhagwat), and previous leader (Sudarshan) were Brahmin, as was the author of Hindutva (Savarkar).
Except for one man (Rajendra Singh), every RSS sarsanghchalak since its formation in 1925 has been Brahmin.

The RSS’ Hindi weekly Panchjanya is run by a Brahmin (Baldev Sharma) while English weekly Organiser stars the Brahmin duo of Jay Dubashi and M.V. Kamath. The BJP newspaper Kamal Sandesh is also edited by a Brahmin (Prabhat Jha).

The Bajrang Dal’s warriors are led by a Brahmin (Prakash Sharma). Even Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh’s labourers are led by a Brahmin (Girish Awasthi). The Mazdoor Sangh’s leadership (see www.bms.org.in/representative.htm) is dominated by Brahmins, which is quite remarkable given India’s reality of caste in labour.

The RSS takes its Brahmins seriously and grooms them young. Student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is run by two Brahmins (Milind Marathe and Vishnudutt Sharma).

The organization’s female wing, Durga Vahini, is however run by a Brahmin (Mala Rawal).This concentration of Brahmins in central positions is for one reason: The Brahmin is the intellectual keeper of the Hindutva flame.


The Brahmin in caricature is wily when seen from the non-Brahmin perspective, and principled and uncompromising when seen from the Brahmin perspective. The Brahmin is also thought to be intellectual. But if intellectual means being open to ideas, he isn’t.

The word “ideologue” that our media uses for BJP leaders is correct. It must be understood in the narrow sense of holding a belief and not letting it go despite evidence. What is that belief? It is that India has one problem: Muslims.

The difference in orientation—Brahmin versus Baniya—shows in the priorities of the BJP and Congress.
The three big Congress ministers—Manmohan, Pranab and Chidambaram—are all economists. The three big BJP leaders—Advani, Swaraj and Jaitley—are none economically inclined.

We can read all 986 pages of Advani’s My Country, My Life and not encounter a thought or idea about his country’s illiteracy and poverty. Someone else will worry about them. Advani’s concerns are emotional—how Mother India is being ravaged by Muslims and Christians in Kashmir, Assam, North-East and so on.
The BJP isn’t interested in economics as a subject of politics, because Hindutva is not constructive but sullen. Though both Manu and Kautilya weigh in on it in their texts, economics has not been a Brahmin concern. The Brahmin’s concern has been keeping his identity pure.

The BJP’s electoral issues—Babri Masjid, Pakistan, uniform civil code and Article 370—are about identity. Specifically, about how Muslims must alter their behaviour. BJP social reform means demanding that others change.

The BJP’s ideology is not positive, in that it does not seek to create, but negative: Muslims should not keep that mosque, Muslims should not keep their civil law, Kashmir should not keep special status.

The BJP is the party of anger, and it represents our sentiment against Muslims, which is deep and universal. In that sense, the BJP has and will always have a larger constituency than the fifth it gets as its share of the vote.
The BJP represents Hindu chauvinism, which is quite ugly and which, as India grows muscular through the economy, the world will encounter with shock.

Like all parties in history that keep pointing to a minority as being the majority’s problem, the BJP’s leaders make their argument in reasonable terms.

The BJP’s rhetoric is calibrated and it always operates one notch below violence, though it understands what the consequences are. The BJP does the mischief and then steps back while violence visits Muslims and Christians.

In his autobiography Advani acquits himself of the murder of 3,000 Indians after his Rath Yatra by saying that the riots happened not along the Yatra’s trail, but elsewhere in India. The BJP sleeps comfortably with its actions, and the great Brahmin Kautilya teaches us in Arthashastra’s eighth chapter that citizens are expendable in the larger interest.

From Aakar Patel's analysis in livemint.com. More Here.

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