Sunday, October 30, 2011

Delhi, 1947, Gujarat 2002 : A disturbing book on Indian Muslims by Anis Kidwai

As you read one chilling account after another of perfidy and deceit, of official connivance with the killers, of doctors’ refusal to treat Muslim patients, of government offices telling their Muslim employees, even those who had chosen to stay, to leave and go to Pakistan, of pre-teen girls speared through their vaginas, of infants being chopped to pieces, of pregnant woman being stabbed through their wombs, of women, in their tens of thousands, on both sides of the blood-soaked border, kidnapped, raped and sold off, again and again and again, rioters, policemen, army men all joining in this macabre act of desecration of womanhood, your blood begins to run cold.

And all this in the capital of a nation that had announced to the world that she was home as much to the Muslim as it was to the Hindu, the Sikh, the Parsi and the Christian. Those upon whose shoulders had fallen the responsibility of steering its fate, were people who were either not capable or did not care and some, many of them were almost at the top, were complicit in the violence.

As you read all this, your mind begins to be flooded with images and reports of the recent past, events, pogroms, genocides – Nellie, Bombay, Gujarat begin to flood your mind. The same barbarities, the same callousness, collusion, protectors turning perpetrators, doctors refusing to treat patients, suckling infants being beheaded, neighbours killing neighbours and all this amidst claims of a faith that was inherently tolerant, open, welcoming.

You also think of this frail woman, a woman who has lost her husband to these killers and who still went out every day, trying to save one more life, unite one more family, buy sweets for a girl with half her skull stitched up, supervising rations for the refuge seekers, begging for blankets, setting up schools for children, organizing joint processions of Hindu and Muslim children, getting their parents together, getting into communally charged localities and asking people to stop the dance of death, if not for anything, then at least for the life of the fasting Mahatma, who had vowed not to eat as long as peace did not return to Delhi.

As you read you see this unsure, scared, confused, hurt, lonely woman, grow up in stature and with her rises your hope and your faith in the victory of the Human spirit.

Read this book if you want to understand where we went wrong and to see the fault lines, to see how we need a secular state and not sarv dharm sambhav. Read this book also if you want to understand the falsity of the self image that we have created of ourselves and of our nation, but read it most importantly to understand the fragility of the premise upon which is built the idea of India and the need to protect and nurture this premise and to make it real. Because this premise is India and it is people like Anis Kidwai that made it possible.
Sohail Hashmi in Kafila. Here 

When Kiran and Arvind are corrupt, what to expect from Lokpal?

A retired police officer who, by virtue of being the first woman IPS officer, was unfortunately treated like a celebrity as soon as she joined the service. In her new avatar as social activist, she is associated with a number of NGOs.

As in most cases, the Magsaysay Award conferred on her served as the critical passport to her post-retirement stardom. She began to be invited for talks and seminars on issues concerning corruption and character.

It is another matter that she is known to have made no difference to corruption while she served in the police.

She was convinced that that she deserved no less than business class air travel for her lecture and seminar tours. Her sponsors always gave in.

But she invariably travelled economy class, that too by availing 75 per cent concession entitled to her by virtue of being the recipient of President's Gallantry Medal.

Nevertheless, she submitted the wrong invoice and received money for a business class ticket. The difference in amount in some travels was as much as five times.

Now when the misdoings have been discovered, she is making the preposterous, rather disastrous plea that the superfluous money she made was for the purposes of her NGO. Her patriotic heart had no qualms about bleeding other organizations to benefit her own.

The basic reason for humans with corrupt proclivities is that they are selfish in their make and have little concern for their fellow humans and countrymen.

To serve is not their motive. Such people invoke the interest of some organisation or the country to camouflage their misdeeds. They are no different from politicians who siphon off money in the name of party funds, which in the same vein as the case under question should be considered perfectly legitimate.

Regrettably, this kind of fudging of bills is rampant amongst civil servants. The lady in question seems to have persisted with the tendency after retirement and temptation got the better of her notwithstanding her current national and international prominence as one of the key members of Team Anna.

The lady is none other than Kiran Bedi.

Can she be a role model to the youth in this country?
The moot question is that if Anna Hazare cannot get three or four people of integrity in his core team, what would be the fate of Lok Pal?

The problem is not of institutions, it is about 'we the people of India'. It is easy to rally masses and build mob hysteria by creating class enemies.

There will be no change until there is a sagacious leader who has the moral temerity to appeal and challenge the conscience of the people at large.

This appeal to purge individual and collective propensities to corruption will only smite our conscience if it is truly non-violent, all-encompassing and free of prejudice in its import.

Anna's movement, though non-violent in tangible terms, unfortunately smacks of implied intimidation, retribution and violence.
R S N Singh in SifyNews. Here

R K Narayan of Malgudi: "India will go on"

2011 marks the 10th death anniversary of one of India’s most-loved authors, RK Narayan. Step back with us to Malgudi, that “vague place not found anywhere”, peopled with sign-painters and sweet vendors, Swami and his friends. Was it really a timeless stage for the charming human comedy of small men and small schemes? And what would it have been today, this small town in 21st century India?

Rasipuram krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami, BA, had just emerged from an unfortunate stint of schoolmastering. An abject failure in the classroom, he had returned to his family home in Mysore, trying hard to give the impression of knowing what he was doing. He would wake, bathe, and take his coffee — his standards were exacting — and head out, an umbrella in one hand, a pen and pad in the other. Under a tree at the foot of Chamundi Hill, he would sit and write.

Inevitably, a sceptical uncle demanded to inspect the fruits of the young man’s endeavours. He was unimpressed: “What’s this Malgudi? Where is it? Why do you write about some vague place not found anywhere, while there are millions of real places you can write about?”

Narayan was not one to speak of these matters explicitly, but Malgudi was a town whose people were divided — as they would be — in all the usual ways: caste, class, gender, and religion. Equally, they were brought together in all the usual ways: blood, friendship, enmity, and work. The Malgudi of the novels is not, contrary to an old cliché, in any sense timeless. It is shaped by all the usual forces of history, religion, conquest, migration, and colonialism, though Narayan never alluded to these matters explicitly.

Some have been troubled by Narayan’s silence on the big questions.

VS Naipaul and Narayan had met once, in London in 1961. Asked about the prospects for India after Nehru, Narayan had pronounced sagely: “India will go on”.
If we could visit Malgudi, we would see changes of the same sort we see elsewhere in small-town India. Cable television, the internet, mobile phones, certainly, and more generally, a rise in wealth and entrepreneurship. No doubt the great social movements based on caste and religion of the last few decades, many of them violent, would have left their mark on the small town. Some of this has been chronicled by other Indian writers — Pankaj Mishra in Butter Chicken in Ludhiana (1995), or Naipaul in his own India: A Million Mutinies Now (1990). Perhaps the novel Narayan was planning from his hospital bed would have dealt with some of these matters.

Yet, the mutinies of contemporary India invite us to pose some of Narayan’s questions. Does money necessarily make one happier? And to what extent are happiness and suffering, success and failure, matters not of individual striving but of luck? These are deep questions, but we should not be too quick to write off Narayan’s response, not so much an answer as an attitude: of irony, of scepticism, of caution, and a faith that Malgudi, and India, will go on.
Nakul Krishna in Indian Express. Here

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why burn your money on crackers when you have plenty of options?

When there is so much one can do with one’s money, why buy noise and pollution?

Translation of the same in Tamil (I have added some more options):
அந்தப் பணத்தைக் கொண்டு உங்களால் எவ்வளவோ செய்ய முடிகின்றபோது அதனை ஏன் எரித்து அழிக்க வேண்டும்?
தீபாவளி அன்று நீங்கள் எவ்வளவோ செய்யலாம்.
  1. காதைப் பிளக்கின்ற சத்தத்தைக் கேட்டு காதுகளில் விரல் வைத்து அலறுவதை விட இரண்டு சிடிகளை வாங்கி இசையைக் கேட்டு ரசிக்கலாமே.
  2. பட்டாசுகளாகக் கொளுத்தி எரிப்பதை விட அதனைக் கொண்டு துணிகளையும் காலணிகளையும் கைப்பைகளையும் வாங்கி கொடுத்து மகிழலாமே.
  3. புதியதாக படுக்கை விரிப்புகளை வாங்கலாமே. திரைச் சீலைகளை வாங்கி அறையை அழகுபடுத்தலாமே.
  4. வாழ்வுக்கு அழகு சேர்க்கும் புத்தகங்களை வாங்கி வாசிக்கலாமே. மின் நூல்களை வாங்கலாமே. இந்தத் தளங்களில் எல்லாம் நல்ல நல்ல நூல்கள் கிடைக்கின்றன.
  5. புதியதாக அலைபேசி வாங்கலாமே. அல்லது வேறு எவருக்காவது அலைபேசியை அன்பளிப்பாகக் கொடுத்து மகிழலாமே.
  6. பசித்த ஏழைகளுக்கு உண்ண உணவு கொடுத்து மகிழலாமே.
  7. துணிமணிகளை வாங்கி மற்றவர்களுக்குக் கொடுத்து மகிழலாமே.
  8. அனாதை இல்லங்களுக்கும் முதியோர் இல்லங்களுக்கும் நன்கொடைகள் கொடுத்து மகிழலாமே.
  9. மக்களின் பயன்பாட்டுக்காக நூலகங்களுக்கு நல்ல நல்ல நூல்கள் வாங்கி அன்பளிப்-பாகக் கொடுக்கலாமே.
  10. சாலையோரம் நிழல் தருகின்ற மரங்களை நடலாமே.
  11. ஏழை மாணவர்களுக்கு கல்வி உதவித் தொகைகளைக் கொடுத்து மகிழலாமே.
  12. பத்து நோயாளிகளுக்கு டயாலிசிஸ் செய்வதற்காக உதவி செய்யலாமே. கண் புரை நோயாளிகளுக்கு உதவலாமே.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dirty games of USA and Indo-Pak relations

Two templates in regional politics are seriously debilitating the United States's campaign to bring Pakistan down on its knees in the Afghan endgame. One is that Delhi has distanced itself from the US campaign and pursues an independent policy toward Islamabad.

The second factor frustrating US policies to isolate Pakistan is the South Asian nation's bonhomie with Iran. Pakistan would have been pretty much isolated had there been an acute rivalry with Iran over the Afghan endgame. The current level of cordiality in the relationship enables Islamabad to focus on the rift with the US and even draw encouragement from Tehran.

It's baloney
A recent statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on the US-Pakistan rift underscored that India doesn't see eye-to-eye with the US approach. (See US puts the squeeze on Pakistan, Asia Times, October 22). It was carefully timed to signal to Washington (and Islamabad) that Delhi strongly disfavored any form of US military action against Pakistan.

There is a string of evidence to suggest that the Pakistani leadership appreciates the Indian stance. The general headquarters in Rawalpindi acted swiftly on Sunday to return to India within hours a helicopter with three senior military officers on board which strayed into Pakistani territory in bad weather in the highly sensitive Siachen sector. The official spokesman in Delhi went on record to convey India's appreciation of the Pakistani gesture. Such conciliatory gestures are rare (for both sides) in the chronicle of Pakistan-India relationship.

Again, last week, India voted for Pakistan's candidacy for the Asia-Pacific slot among the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and the Pakistani ambassador promptly responded that he would work with his Indian counterpart in New York. Ironically, the UN has been a theater for India and Pakistan's frequent clashes over the Kashmir problem.

Looking ahead, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan are likely to meet on the sidelines of the South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation summit in Male on November 10-11. Washington would have been quick to insist that it acted as "facilitator" in fostering the improving climate in India-Pakistan relations. But the US is instead watching with a degree of discomfort that its complicated South Asian symphony is throwing up jarring notes. Calibrating India-Pakistan tensions traditionally constituted a key element of the US's regional diplomacy.

Washington has "retaliated" to Krishna's statement by issuing a travel advisory cautioning American nationals from visiting India because of heightened terrorist threats. Delhi, in turn, ticked off Washington saying it considered the US move "disproportionate" - a cute way of saying that the advisory is a load of baloney.

Jundallah in retreat
What is happening in Pakistan-Iran relations is even more galling for the US. There has been a spate of high-level visits between Islamabad and Tehran and the two capitals have reached mutual understandings on a range of security interests. Last week, Tehran acknowledged that there had not been a single attack by the terrorist group Jundallah from the Pakistani side of the border in the Balochistan region during the past 10 months.

Concerted effort
In sum, the overall regional scenario is becoming rather unfavorable to the US. The easing of tensions in Pakistan's relations with India and Iran undermine US strategy to get embedded in the region.

The Afghan endgame is moving into a crucial phase; much will depend on regional politics. The worst-case scenario for the US is that subsuming the contradictions in the intra-regional relationships between and among Pakistan, Iran, India and China, these countries might have a convergent opinion on the issue of American military bases.
M K Bhadrakumar in Asia Times Online. Here
Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

A beautiful poem on 'Memory'

Why does She knock on my door
Every time it rains,
Every time the wind whispers in my years,
Every time I watch a leaf fall down-
That treacherous witch.

She comes in disguises
Déjà vu.
Whenever I breathe in a fragrance,
Turn around in a crowd,
Or hear a song.
She steps in, ever so lightly.

Whenever I gaze at the sky,
See a child smile
Or hear the waves hum,
She closes in on me.
In an unguarded moment
She tramps on me.
She walks all over my mind
Till my eyes sting
And my knees go weak,
Till my heart hurts
So much that I feel the pain
Creeping to the tips of my toes.
 Poet at Heart Here

Malnutrition deaths in Karnataka and 'Governance of BJP'

Over 2,600 children under the age of 6 years have died of malnutrition in Raichur district of Karnataka during the past two years, as per data provided by women and child welfare department.

Ironically, Raichur is home to India's only active gold mine - Hutti mines - situated in the Lingasugur taluk of the district.

"As many as 4,531 malnourished children are on their deathbed. Malnutrition has hit epidemic proportions in villages of Deodurg and Manvi taluks in the Raichur district. We are fed up of raising the issue with the authorities concerned. For them, it is a joke," rued Y. Mariswamy of Samajika Parivarthana Andholana (SPJ), a movement for people's rights.
Acute poverty, unemployment, poor income and lack of health services coupled with government's apathy and nonimplementation of NREGA has turned Raichur into a mini Somalia. Raichur district is one of the hottest and arid regions in Karnataka. Landless people from the district often migrate to Hyderabad and Bangalore in search of livelihood.

Though there are number of schemes for the malnourished none of them has benefited the people in the district.

"The entire system has collapsed. It has now become a sociopolitical and economic issue. Karnataka claims to be a progressive state but look at what is happening in these villages," Dr Akhila Vasan, a child healthcare expert and worker, said.

The Data also shows that 78,366 children are malnourished in the district, of which 639 are severely malnourished (grade III and grade IV). "People in Deodurg and Manvi talukas are agricultural labourers. Their combined family income is not more than Rs 100 per day. Their staple diet is jowar. Neighbouring Bagalkote, Gulbarga, and Bidar districts have similar issues," Ambanna Arolikar of the SPJ said.

Karnataka has a poor track record in implementing child welfare schemes.

The infant mortality rate in the North Karnataka districts is higher than the state average of 55. As of now, there are 8,620 children belonging to grade III and 643 children belonging to grade IV levels of malnutrition in the state. Of this, Raichur district alone accounts for the bulk of it.

"It is shameful that such a serious issue is being neglected by the government. The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) has completely failed. There are enough complaints that the packaged food given to children (below 6 years) at the Anganwadi centres is sub-standard. Hot cooked meals containing cereals, pulses, and egg have to be given to malnourished kids. But in remote villages, the Anganwadi centres do not even exist," pointed out Clifton Rosario, state adviser, Office of the Supreme Court Commissioner on Food Rights.
Arvind Gowda in India Today. Here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kutty on Sonia: Buy one get two free!

When two practitioners, generations apart, sit down to chat, a one-way flow of wisdom should naturally ensue. Among other things, this cartoonist defied this one too. On that August morning in 1985 when I met him first, Kutty was at the INS building earlier than the place had woken up. “I come in by nine to drop my cartoon at the Ananda Bazar office and leave before the wise guys turn up,” were his opening remarks.
He had little use for peer inputs, “however wise or otherwise”. Before anyone else in the Capital, he had made up his mind on the day’s newsmakers and the verdict signed and sealed was ready for dispatch. Quite apart from Abu, Vijayan and Rajinder Puri, the editorial cartoonists I grew up on, Kutty came with no thought balloon. This compact cartoonist just sat there freely chatting, waving his hands about and the cartoon seemed to emerge like a gestural extension. Pen and paper were incidental to his art. He would grab the most non-descript of writing instruments and sketch on anything short of the blotting sheet, waste newsprint to butter paper. The drawing looked amazingly finished, with all things cartoonish in place, including that inimitable impishness which marked his work.
In Ananda Bazar Patrika he went on to become the best known Bengali cartoonist. He had already done his riyaz on B C Sen, Atulya Ghosh and the two barristers who ran Bengal — Siddharth Shankar Ray and Jyoti Basu. Kutty knew his turf but the unknown part is awesome. This Malayali, who knew no Bangla, wrote his terse captions in English for the news desk to translate into Bangla. From Bengal’s Bihari, Oriya immigrants to the rooted bhadralok, none noticed this historic sweep of the fragile news cartoon across three languages.
E P Unny in Indian Express. Here

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The debacle in local bodies election in Tamil Nadu and some thoughts

More than eleven brothers and sisters affiliated with the Islamic Movement contested in the just held local bodies eletion in Tamil Nadu. They were supported by the newly launched Welfare Party of India. Infact the state President of the welfare party Mr S. N. Sikkander toured, campaigned and strived for the victory of the canditates in fray. While the majority of them contested for the post of Corporator or Councillor one brother (Br A Syed Nazeer) contested for the Municipal Chairmanship. All of them have been defeated badly. Even the much hyped Janab T Ismail Sahib (the first member of Jamaat to get elected as councillor in the whole of country) too bited the dust.

The outcome is indeed sad and shocking. Ofcourse winning and losing a election is part of the game. But, it is sad that not a single soul managed to win. 

But, at the same time it is pleasing to note that thousands of voters across the state prefered to vote for these brothers and sisters. The fact that these canditates in their maiden attempt have succeeded in striking the chord with vast multitudes of people is itself reassuring. 

It should be noted that each and every single vote procured by these men and women is much more, more and more valuable than others. 

Because these are not the votes which were casted driven by the communal zeal or caste affiliation. These are the visa documents given by the noble for a dawn of new era.

These votes are not the one which are casted driven by the devotion to one's own party. These votes were casted by those noble souls who marched towards the polling booth attracted by the slogan மக்கள் பணம் மக்களுக்கே public money should be spent for the public alone.  

These votes were not bought for a few hundred rupees. Rather these are the votes of those illustrious sons and daughters of this great nation who believe in probity in public life. 

These are not the votes which were casted induced by the childish wish that "My vote should not go waste. I will vote only the winning canditate". Rather these are the votes casted by the responsible citizens of this country who believe in the concept of Welfare State, Communal Harmony, Inclusive Democracy etc.

Therefore we should thank all of these noble souls who prefered us and voted us. We should do everything to consolidate them and save their good-will. We have to work harder and harder. We have to work  indefatiguably. 

Besides we have to analyse the reasons for this debacle. What went wrong? Why did we fail? What to be done? How to rectify, reform and reach out? 

At the same time all those brothers and sisters who worked tirelessly deserve praise and acclaim. They have spent their time. They have spared their money. They have done everything. May Allah accept their endeavours and reward in excess. 

Another point is that these brothers and sisters have become known figures in their respective areas. In a way this is capital to us. And this capital if invested properly would give rich dividends in near future. Insha Allah. The urgency and the need of contiuous work and struggle is undisputable. Allah-o-Akbar.

இந்தத் தோல்வி ஏன்

வெல்ஃபேர் பார்ட்டி ஆஃப் இந்தியாவின் நல்லாதரவுடன் ஜமாஅத்தே இஸ்லாமி ஹிந்தின் நல்லாசியுடன் உள்ளாட்சித் தேர்தலில் நின்ற இயக்க சகோதரர்களும் சகோதரி ஒருவரும் தோற்றுப் போய் இருக்கின்றார்கள்.
களத்தில் நின்ற வேட்பாளர்களில் ஒரே ஒருவர் கூட வெற்றி பெறவில்லை. ஓரளவுக்கு எதிர்பார்க்கப்பட்ட வாணியம்பாடி இஸ்மாயில் சாகிபும் தோற்றுவிட்டார்.

ஒருபக்கம் இது வருத்தத்தை அளித்தாலும் மறு பக்கம் இந்தக் கன்னி முயற்சிக்குக் கிடைத்திருக்கின்ற ஆதரவு மகிழ்ச்சி அளிக்கின்றது. நம்முடைய வேட்பாளர்களுக்குக் கிடைத்திருக்கின்ற ஒவ்வொரு வாக்கும் மதிப்பு மிக்க வாக்குகளாகும்.

கட்சியின் மீதுள்ள விசுவாசத்தின் காரணமாக விழுந்த வாக்குகள் அல்ல அவை. புதியதொரு விடியலுக்காக மக்கள் அளித்துள்ள விசா பத்திரங்கள் அவை.

மதத்தின் அடிப்படையிலோ சாதிச் சார்பு நிலையால் உந்தப்பட்டடோ பதிவான வாக்குகள் அல்ல அவை. மக்கள் பணம் மக்களுக்கே என்கிற சிந்தனைக்கு ஆதரவாக எழுச்சியுடன் வாக்குச் சாவடிகளுக்கு வந்த நல்லவர்களின் ஆதரவு பத்திரங்கள் அவை.

பணத்துக்காக விழுந்த பருக்கைகள் அல்ல அவை. நல்லவர்களின் சேவை இந்த நாட்டுக்குத் தேவை என்கிற நல்லெண்ணத்திற்குக் கிடைத்த ஆதரவுத் தூண்கள் அவை.

வோட்டு வீணாகக் கூடாது; நான் போடுகின்ற ஆள் ஜெயிக்க வேண்டும் என்கிற குழந்தைத்தனமான சிந்தனையுடன் பதிவான வாக்குகள் அல்ல அவை. மக்கள் நல அரசாங்கம், அனைத்துத் தரப்பினரையும் அரவணைத்துச் செல்கின்ற மக்களாட்சி, சமூக நல்லிணக்கம் ஆகிய உயர்ந்த கொள்கைகளுக்கு ஆதரவான நல்லவர்களின் முத்திரை முழக்கங்கள் அவை.

ஆக, நமக்கு ஆதரவாக வாக்களித்த இந்த நல்லிதயங்களுக்கு நாம் நன்றி செலுத்த வேண்டும். நம் மீது அவர்களுக்கு இருக்கின்ற நம்பிக்கையைத் தக்க வைத்துக்கொள்ள அனைத்தையும் செய்ய வேண்டும். இன்னும் அதிகமாக உழைக்க வேண்டும். இன்னும் அதிகமாகப் பாடுபட வேண்டும்.

அதே சமயம் இந்தத் தோல்வி ஏன் என்பதைக் குறித்து நாம் அனைவரும் யோசிக்க வேண்டிய, ஆய்வு செய்ய வேண்டியவர்களாக இருக்கின்றோம்.

முதலில் இந்தத் தேர்தல் களத்தில் கன்னி முயற்சியாகக் களத்தில் நின்ற சகோதரர்களும் சகோதரிகளும் பாராட்டுக்குரியவர்கள். இறைவன் அவர்களுக்கு ஒரு அருமையான வாய்ப்பைக் கொடுத்தான். அதனை அவர்கள் மிகச் சிறப்பாகப் பயன்படுத்திக் கொண்டார்கள். அல்லாஹ்விடம் அவர்களுக்கு அவர்களுடைய உழைப்புக்காக, முயற்சிகளுக்காக, செலவிட்ட நேரத்திற்காக, பொருளுக்காக திண்ணமாக நற்கூலியும் நல்லருளும் உண்டு.

மக்களைச் சந்திப்பதற்கும் மக்களின் பிரச்னைகளை அறிந்துகொள்வதற்கும் மக்களின் எண்ணங்களைத் தெரிந்துகொள்வதற்கும் இந்தத் தேர்தல் ஒரு வாய்ப்பாக அமைந்துவிட்டது. நம்முடைய வேட்பாளர்கள் ஒவ்வொருவரும் ஆயிரக்கணக்கான மக்களைச் சந்தித்தார்கள். அவர்கள் அனைவருமே 

இப்போது மக்கள் மனங்களில் ஒரளவுக்கு அறிமுகமானவர்களாக ஆகிவிட்டார்கள். இந்த அறிமுகமும் பெயரும்தான் இனி வருங்காலத்தில் பெருவெற்றி பெறுவதற்கும் முத்திரை பதிப்பதற்கும் மூலதனமாகும். இதனை வைத்து நாம் தொடர்ந்து பணியாற்ற வேண்டிய தேவையையும் அவசியத்தையும் யாருமே மறுக்க முடியாது.
Read Moulana Moududi on electoral victory

Moulana Moududi on electoral victory

ஆகுமான அனுமதிக்கப்பட்ட வழிமுறைகளைக் கையாண்டு தோற்றுப் போவதை 'வெற்றி' என்றே நாங்கள் கருதுகின்றோம். ஹராமான தடுக்கப்பட்ட வழிமுறைகளைக் கையாண்டு வெற்றிப் பெறுவதை 'தோல்வி' என்றே நாங்கள் நினைக்கின்றோம். 
சர்வாதிகாரத்தால் இந்த நாட்டுக்கு ஏற்படுகின்ற இழப்புக்கும் நஷ்டத்துக்கும்  இணையானது தான் வோட்டை பணம் கொடுத்து விலைக்கு வாங்குவதாலும் போலி வோட் கள்ள வோட் போடுவதால் ஏற்படுகின்ற இழப்பும நஷ்டமும்.
கள்ள வோட் போட்டும் பணம் கொடுத்து வோட்டை விலைக்கு வாங்கியும் ஜெயிப்பவர்களால் எந்த நன்மையையும் கிடைக்காது.
- மௌலானா அபுல் அலா மௌதூதி

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why Wall Street has started whining? : Paul Krugman

Money talks in American politics, and what the financial industry’s money has been saying lately is that it will punish any politician who dares to criticize that industry’s behavior, no matter how gently — as evidenced by the way Wall Street money has now abandoned President Obama in favor of Mitt Romney. And this explains the industry’s shock over recent events.

You see, until a few weeks ago it seemed as if Wall Street had effectively bribed and bullied our political system into forgetting about that whole drawing lavish paychecks while destroying the world economy thing. Then, all of a sudden, some people insisted on bringing the subject up again.

And their outrage has found resonance with millions of Americans. No wonder Wall Street is whining.
Paul Krugman in The New York Times.Here

Netas are as corrupt as Babus

Some years ago, at a literary festival in Mumbai, I agreed to take two of my fellow speakers, Deborah Mogach and Sam Leith, to a Parsi restaurant. We went to the only one I knew of in the area. It was late afternoon and the proprietor was pulling the shutters down as the last customers dodged the corrugated blinds and left.

“Closed,” he said in English.

“Sahebji, my friends have come all the way from England,” I said in Parsi Gujarati with just the right amount of entreaty.

“Not me,” he replied. “The cook is about to clock off.”

“Can I speak to him?” I asked.

He shrugged and let me in. I went to the open plan counter dividing the kitchen from the tables where the cook was pottering.“Will R200 persuade you to serve one more table. We’ll eat whatever’s going.”

“Wonderful to see you,” he said in a Parsi idiom. “Can you make it 250?”

“Done,” I said.

We were served dhan sakh and plenty more and as we ate the old Parsi gentleman, the proprietor’s grand-dad, his thick trouser-belt embracing his thin chest, came down the stairs and up to us.

“Are you English?” he asked.

Deborah and Sam indicated that they were.

“Do you know Elizabeth?” the old man asked.

“Which Elizabeth?” Deborah asked, thinking he was enquiring after an Englishwoman of his acquaintance.

“This present one. The queen.”

“Well, not personally,” Sam said.

“When you go back,” the old man said, “tell her the British have to return and rule this place. These bloody politicians say democracy, democracy and only loot money.”
Farrukh Dhondy in Hindustan Times. Here

No one likes arrogance, but few see it in themselves.

No one likes arrogance, but few see it in themselves. Arrogance is seeing oneself better than others, be it because of power, lineage, money, colour or any other attribute. The Quran denounces those who are boastful and arrogant, declaring that people of taqwa, abstinence from all harmful deeds, are the noblest people. It is easy to fool people with outward behaviour, but ultimately it is the inner state that matters with God.

Arrogant tyrants like Pharaoh are amongst the most villainous of rulers in world history. Justice follows vice, and those who are patient, grateful, humble and sincere are rewarded by God while the arrogant are doomed to suffer both in this world and the Hereafter. There are different kinds of arrogance; the first type is when a person thinks himself superior to others. The second kind is when a person shows contempt for others. The third form is when one believes that he is born of superior lineage. Other forms of arrogance can be due to one’s beauty, wealth, strength, power or knowledge.

Historically, one of biggest social evils in history has been racism and the caste system based on the belief of a higher birth rank. The Quran denounces such false claims of superiority, proclaiming that the only rank that matters is one’s relationship with God. “Indeed the most honourable of you in the sight of God is the most God fearing of you. God is all knowing and all aware”.
Sadia Dehlvi in Deccan Chronicle. Here

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nakushis: Unwanted girls of Maharashtra

Maharashtra will embark on a unique renaming exercise this week. Shocked that 222 girls in Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s home district of Satara were named ‘Nakushi’ — meaning unwanted in Marathi — district officials have organised a public renaming ceremony for them on October 21.

The aim is to re-inforce that the girl child is wanted in a state that has one of the worst child sex ratios in the country. Satara, a well-off district, has an even lower child sex ratio than the state’s average of 881.

The practice of naming the girls Nakushi was discovered last year when district health officer Dr Bhagwan Pawar noticed a name-board on a house. He found out that it was not unusual for parents to name their daughters Nakushi.

“So strong is the desire for a male child that these girls are called Nakushi, without any proper naming ceremony,” said Pawar.

This year, health officials launched a drive to identify the girls — and found 11 Nakushis in Satara taluka, five in Javli, 92 in Patan, 12 in Mahabaleshwar, 11 in Khandala, 53 in Maan, 11 each in Phaltan and Khatav and 16 in Chavan’s hometown Karad. 
Swatee Kher in Indian Express. Here

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anna Hazare and Hindutva and the lurking danger

Hazare is the leader of 'banal Hindutva'. He has no moral centre and his scruples are his misunderstandings. He typically is the kind of person described so eloquently by Hannah Arendt in her account of Eichmann's trial: the pathetic, selfserving individual, who attains to a position of power and influence by accident.


He is not demonic but just spectacularly mediocre. And he attracts a sizable number of those who are either his kind, or, if they are not necessarily mediocre, are just plainly opportunists, who find a state of political and moral anarchy convenient for their own ends. He is attractive because he does not challenge anyone intellectually or morally. All he asks anyone is to bask in his moral superiority. Like Krishna asking Arjuna to suspend everything and come unto him, Hazare too wants us to suspend judgement and follow him.

Will 'banal Hindutva'replace the more formal versions of the Hindu nationalist ideology? The answer is that it is unlikely. What Hazare is knowingly or unknowingly doing is to become the informal recruitment centre for the harder versions of Hindutva. By making 'banal Hindutva'honourable, Hazare has begun the process of making the harder versions of Hindutva more acceptable and legitimate. The collateral damage, as stated earlier, will be Indian democracy. But does he care? 
Jyotirmaya Sharma in India Today. Here

Khushwant Singh: "I may die any day now"

Last week, lakhs of newspaper readers across the country woke up to find their weekly fix missing. The ‘Sardar in the lightbulb’, loved and loathed in over 17 Indian languages, had hung up his pen without saying goodbye. After more than 70 uninterrupted years of ceaselessly needling readers, Khushwant Singh suddenly decided he’d had enough. “I’m 97,” (he isn’t, he’s 96) “I may die any day now,” is all he’ll say about his self-imposed exile into silence.

 “I’ll miss the money,” he says when I prod him, adding as an afterthought: “And the people fawning over me to write about them in my columns.” Fat chance, considering that the same evening, he was entertaining two editors, one of whom was trying to trawl yet another book out of his old columns and the other had brought along his latest novel for him to review. “You want me to praise it?” he asked, almost innocently. “Yes!” was the fervent response. Perhaps he did not know Khushwant’s column-writing days are over.
It couldn’t have been much fun: getting up before dawn every single day, an endless round of deadlines, chasing payments, readers’ letters, keeping track of events, and people dropping in, hoping to be written about. Now that he has given it all up, you’d think he’d rest. But he’s already reaching for his yellow legal pad, scribbling away as if it’s a guilty pleasure. “I can’t stop,” he says a trifle sheepishly, “I don’t know how to sit and do nothing.” The columns are done and over with—but it looks as if another book is on its way.
Sheela Reddy in Outlook. Here

How would Rahul Gandhi govern India?

Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi plan to focus first on Uttar Pradesh, which holds statewide elections in 2012. If the brother-sister tandem does well, Rahul's chances in the next national elections, and those of Congress at large, would improve considerably.

As for the next question -- how Rahul would actually govern -- the answer will depend on whom he chooses to listen to. Well-informed observers in New Delhi note that, so far, he has relied mostly on advisers close to his mother. If he continues to do the same, the result will be incremental and mostly unimaginative policy choices. Steps toward economic liberalization would be halting, populist programs would continue apace, and internal reform of the party would remain in abeyance.

To seriously address the most difficult of India's endemic ills, Rahul would need to demonstrate a new level of imagination, verve, and decisiveness. That would mean not just good political optics but undertaking actual policy initiatives that solve the dilemma of land acquisition, the stubborn issue of judicial reform, and the country's seemingly intractable security problems. Flashy moves for the cameras may draw the praise of family and party power brokers, but they will leave much to be desired for a bold new national leader on the Indian stage.
Sumit Ganguly in Foreign Affairs. Here

Occupy Wall Street : "Why are they upset?"

After a couple days of hemming and hawing, I decided to join the protesters of Occupy Wall Street. I was hesitant to go because until very recently, I worked as an administrative assistant at a prominent Wall Street law firm. I didn’t know how, in good conscience, I could rail against The Man when my primary responsibility had once been to keep track of incoming phone calls from Goldman Sachs. But then I heard one of the protest’s organizers on the radio saying that the Occupy movement wasn’t against capitalism, corporations, or even big banking. He was for income equality. And democracy. The reporter pressed him to be more specific, but he refused.
“Why do they have to be more specific?” I yelled at the radio. “Isn’t it obvious why they’re upset?”
Hannah Gersen in The Millions. Here

Saturday, October 15, 2011

L. K. Advani, Jan Chetna Yatra and 500 Rupees

In India everything has a price. And L. K. Advani has fixed the price for coverage of his Jan Chetna Yatra. It is official now. The sum is Rs Five Hundred Only.

This cash for coverage scandal has marred the Jan Chetna Yatra and blackened the face of L. K. Advani. It also shows the real intention behind the Yatri and Yatra. It is for publicity, man. Nothing else. L. K. Advani wants to hog the limelight. He wants to be in the TV screens and newspaper day after day after day. A Yatra spanning 7500 kms fits the bill.

All this talk of eradication of corruption is humbug. Remember when he was at the helm of affairs of the nation we had series of scams and scamster. Kargil coffin scam, petrol bunk scam, helicopter deal scam, tehelka exposure etc. etc. Who could forget Bangaru Lakshman? The late leader of BJP had asked bribe in US dollors!
A report in Zee News: Senior BJP leader LK Advani's anti-graft road show, the Jan Chetna Yatra, has run smack into charges of cash inducements after reaching Madhya Pradesh on Thursday.

Reports said state BJP leaders tried to “bribe” journalists in order to do favourable coverage of the yatra, which is mainly targeting corruption and black money.

It was reported that envelopes containing money worth Rs 500-1,000 were given to journalists at a press conference called by local BJP MP Ganesh Singh at the district party office in Satna on Wednesday. That press conference was held a day before Advani’s press meet there.

State PWD Minister Nagendra Singh was also present at that controversial press conference.
More Here

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sarhad ke uss paar se kuch mehman aye they : A tribute to Jagjit Singh

The crowning glory was without doubt his rendition of Ghalib’s timeless poetry for Gulzar’s unforgettable television serial based on the life of the great poet, brilliantly essayed by Naseeruddin Shah. While the bard has always been a favorite of most ghazal singers, perhaps no one has presented Ghalib as Jagjit has. Each one of those ghazals, every line indeed, is a rare gem, forcing you to listen again and again. He poured his heart into Ghalib forever tugging at the heartstrings of his audience. This from someone who didn’t study Urdu at school nor did inherit it from his parents.

What is most fascinating though is his universal appeal and how he touched millions of lives around the world and helped them connect. I have been amazed by the spontaneous outpouring of grief across the border in Pakistan. Hours after his death, Pakistani television networks paid fulsome tributes to the singer, vying with those across the border. The two leading English dailies of the country, Dawn and the News International, even carried editorials recounting his stupendous contribution. It’s not often that you see Pakistani media shower such unqualified and unreserved praise on an artist from the other side. Which incidentally holds true for Indian media as well.

I remember years ago when I expressed my hopeless admiration for Mehdi Hassan, a Pakistani friend had surprised me by declaring, “but I love Jagjit Singh! He’s incredible.” She found solace in Jagjit’s comforting voice amid all the confusion and pressures and demands of an expat existence.

As India and Pakistan mourn the singer, I am once again struck by all that the separated at birth twins have in common despite the unpleasantness of the past few decades and wars they have fought on and off the field.

Despite the best efforts of our perpetually scheming politicians, duplicitous diplomats and ever zealous media to divide us and poison our relations, what unites and bonds us, Indians and Pakistanis, is still greater than what divides us. From music to culture to literature and from food to sports to arts, the things that ordinary people of India and Pakistan share is truly mind-boggling.

Much of what Jagjit Singh sang was not just about love, longing and the heart-wrenching pain of losing a loved one, usual themes of a traditional ghazal. The songs of innocence and experience that he sang were also about finding peace amid conflict, keeping your sanity when everyone around you is losing theirs. The collection of Gulzar’s pNaetry, Marasim, to which Jagjit lent his voice is a dream about reuniting with long lost friends from across the divide (“Sarhad ke uss paar se kuch mehman aye they”).
The day he suffered that wretched brain hemorrhage, from which he never recovered, the singer was to join his old friend and fellow traveler from Lahore, Ghulam Ali, for a rare concert in New Delhi. Indeed, it was to be a series of concerts bringing together the best of voices from both sides of the Indo-Pak border.

It may sound like a silly call from a sentimental scribe but this is what we all need to do — bring together the voices of reason and sanity from India and Pakistan. There has never been a greater need to speak out for love, peace and reason — and not just in South Asia. There cannot be a better tribute to Jagjit’s enduring legacy.
Aijaz Zaka Syed in Arab News. Here

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who the hell is this Subramanian Swamy?

Consistency and credibility have never really been Subramaniam Swamy's virtues. He has accused Sonia Gandhi of smuggling antiques, Harkishan Singh Surjeet of corruption, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Congress leader Arjun Singh of conspiring to derail the Rajiv Gandhi assassination trial, Vajpayee of getting drunk at an official function, and much more, without ever proving these charges. Yet, Swamy is now in the news for digging up hard evidence exposing the sins of commission and omission of UPA ministers in the 2G spectrum allotment scandal.

Maverick for many, evil incarnate for his detractors, Swamy is the epitome of opportunism in public life.

Now he is a great friend of the Hindutva forces, an avowed soldier of the Sangh Parivar and a true ally of the BJP in his singleminded pursuit of the 2G scamsters. But not long ago, on March 29, 1999, he held a tea party at The Ashok in Delhi, where Sonia Gandhi was his guest of honour. The sole purpose of the party as Jayalalithaa described it then, was to bring down the first Sangh Parivar government at the Centre, which was not even a year old.

Vajpayee is a terribly consistent friend who never forgives his foes. He had fallen out with Swamy when they were together in the Jan Sangh during the Emergency, when Swamy's evasion of arrest gave him a hero's halo. Despite Swamy's Ph.D. from Harvard, his communication skills in English, Hindi and Tamil and his links abroad, the Sangh chose Vajpayee as foreign minister and L.K. Advani as information and broadcasting minister.
Now he wants to steal the voting rights of the minorities. But he has always been consistent in his opposition to the anti-Brahminical politics of Periyar in Tamil Nadu. When Jayalalithaa got the Kanchi Shankaracharya arrested for murder, Swamy defended the alleged murderer, which probably helped him build bridges with the RSS again. Right or wrong, reasonable or rabidly communal, Swamy always barges into the news rooms, grabbing eyeballs and headlines.

Rajesh Ramachandran in India Today. Here

A lion roars..!

Do you hear கர்ஜனை  of the lion? I received this photo taken in a mobile thru a friend. The oldman with the mike is Janab P A Syed Muhammad Sahib of Coimbatore. He has been attached with the Islamic Movement for the past fifty years. He has served the Movement in various capacities. He has been the circle Incharge, unit president and district organisor. More than thirty brothers and sisters of his family (sons, daughters, grand sons, grand daughters) are active workers of Islamiya Iyakkam. He is seen here wielding the megaphone canvassing for the canditate contesting in Corporation election in Coimbatore. A placard depicting the symbol of the canditate (Globe) is lying beside him. You can also see a flag of SIO too. Curiously there is no sign of the flag of Welfare Party of India.

Eleven brothers and sisters are in the fray this time. In the last election Br T Muhammad Ismail of Vaniyambadi got elected as MC in the Municipality of Vaniyambadi. He is the first member of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind in the whole of India to get elected to a Municipality. Now this time Br A. Syed Nazeer is contesting for the Municipal Chairmanship in Krishnagiri. If he gets elected he would be the first Municipal Chairman of the Islamic Movement in Tamil Nadu Insha Allah.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Mother of all scams is not 2G but electrification of Indian Railways

The truth is that scams of much larger proportion were very much there even in the immediate post-independence India. Some got exposed, but some never. The most important difference is that with the passing of each year we have more and more means to know about them, therefore, we are able to know more about them.

The expansion of media, the emergence of strong bi-polar politics, enactment of Acts like RTI, judicial activism etc have made the common citizens more aware of various charges of corruption.

Today’s Suresh Kalmadi is in jail, but there might have been a Kalmadi––may be a much smaller in stature––during the 1982 Asiad Games too. But he could never be detected, thanks to weak media and opposition. Certainly everything was not hunky-dory then.

A senior railway official once commented privately that possibly the biggest scam in the country took place more than half a century back when the decision regarding the electrification of Indian Railways was taken. The decision in this regard was taken many years before the so-called Oil Crisis of 1973.

Today rail traffic gets stalled for hours and Accident Relief Trains could not reach the spot in time of emergency because the overhead wires get disconnected even after a minor mishap or derailment of one or two coaches.

Producing power to run electric trains requires lakhs of tonnes of coal every year. Huge dams were constructed causing environmental pollution and displacement of millions. Besides, the social cost it entails is much more than the amount spent on importing diesel.

According to that official the country may never be able to overcome the power crisis because these trains consume so much electricity. Diesel engines are equally efficient and powerful and do not pose any problem in reaching anywhere in the country in any circumstances. Incidentally, the first Rajdhani Express on electrified Howarh-New Delhi track introduced more than 40 years back was powered by diesel engine and it continued to do so for years. Even the US, China and many European countries prefer diesel engines over electric locomotives.

This whole exercise of electrification was taken under the influence of big lobbies––national and international. Yet nobody questioned it then and nor today some five decades later. But 2G Spectrum is on everyone’s lips.
Soroor Ahmed in Two circles. Here

Friday, October 07, 2011

Indian Media has lost its credibility: Prof Yaseen Ashraf

“Intervention of media has brought in revolutions in the past
in many countries, although, news was the medium of information but today the purpose of information has changed. The news isn’t being broadcast for the audience anymore; today it is manufactured to bring in the audience,” said Prof. Yasin Ashraf speaking on “Indian Media and its Crisis of Credibility” on Sept 25 here.

“News channels and newspapers are manipulating the news to make it spicy by changing the meaning of media that is based on mass orientation to market orientation.” He also brought the attention of the journalists on how the victimisation of the masses is increasing day by day by the media’s invasion into their privacy, sensationalising and dumping down of the news.

Questioning the credibility of News and information broadcast by Indian news channels, Prof Yasin said “All this is happening because journalists are losing their ethics and professionalism. For any news a journalists should be sure about the facts. When you are not sure about the facts you cannot report the news. In many cases people give up this norm and start spreading all kinds of rumours and hence playing a very dangerous game.”

Mr. Yasin stressed its high time that media mends the ways before further damage otherwise the masses may completely loose the confidence in the media. He said, “Broadcasters and reporters should start efforts to gain back the lost confidence of the masses and this can happen when media houses start including minority representatives and experts. As a minority community we have to make ourselves competitive enough to qualify to be amongst the best journalists. He said that it is also necessary for the public to involve itself and intervene and report back to the media if they come across any misleading news.”
Prof Yaseen Ashraf in Karnatka Muslims. Here

Ameer-e-Jamaat Bereaved

Moulana Syed Jalaludeen Umari, Ameer-e-Jamaat has lost his sister. She passed away yesterday(6th October, 2011) night in Chennai at her son's residence. (Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajeewoon..,.) She had been ill for some time. On hearing this news Ameer-e-Jamaat rushed to Chennai.

Today she was buried in Rahmania Masjid burial ground. Ameer-e-Jamaat led the janaza prayer.

May Allah forgive her and grant maqfirath and Jannah. Ameer-e-Jamaat would be in Chennai for two days.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Kashmir,missing sons,mass graves and Justice

On a pleasant September morning, Mohammad Sidiq, a sand-digger in his early 30s, pushes his long wooden boat out onto the River Jhelum, which cuts through the heart of Srinagar, the biggest city in the province of Kashmir. As the sun rises over the blue-gray pines and bleached snows of the Himalayas circling the city, Sidiq paddles out with his partner, using long-handled shovels and corkscrews to draw sand from the riverbed. It's slow, hard work, but a day's labor nets a boat full of sand, which sells for $50. While describing the modest economy of his work, Sidiq speaks of his relationship to the Jhelum, a wide green river that flows quietly through the Kashmir Valley, across the disputed, mountainous border, known as the Line of Control, and into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. "No man can bear what this river has witnessed," he says, staring across water.

Sidiq has been working on the river for 12 years now. Every week or two, as he hoists a shovel full of sand from the riverbed, he finds himself staring at a skull, a broken skeleton, or a shattered femur. "Most of the dead were young men. You could see their shiny teeth; you could tell from the skull, he was very, very young. One day I found a young man.... He had been badly tortured. Both his hands and feet had been chopped off," says Sidiq as he sits beneath the majestic maple trees lining the riverbank.

A fellow sand-digger in his early 40s, Naseer Ahmed, found a skull in March. "It was a small skull. It would have been a 16- or 17-year-old boy. The other day, it was a thigh with flesh still on it," Ahmed said. "It is a haunted river."
Basharat Peer in Foreign Policy. Here

Rs 32, BPL and a hundred dollor note

A beggar carrying an infant taps on your window at a traffic light and asks for money, gesturing to the baby and to her mouth indicating that she and the child are hungry. What should you do?

On a recent visit to Mumbai, Paris Hilton faced a similar predicament. Ms. Hilton, socialite and hotel heiress, responded by giving a generous gift of a hundred dollar bill to the begging woman.

The woman, confused by the strange looking currency note, approached her brother-in-law for help. He quickly realized that this was a lot of money. Squabbling over the spoils among family members ensued, and her brother-in-law in a fit of rage tore up the note, much to the chagrin of Ms. Hilton, who later tweeted that she would gladly give more money to the beggar in her “own currency.”  

Rupa Subramanya Dehejia on the economics of begging In Wall Street Journal Blogs. Here

Monday, October 03, 2011

Would Chidambaram help Sanjiv Bhatt?


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