Thursday, December 31, 2009

Errant Chinese smoker stops world's fastest train

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) – The world’s fastest train hit its first speed bump in the form of a disobedient smoker less than a week after it began running in southern China.

A cigarette triggered an alarm that forced a two-and-a-half hour stoppage, nearly as long as the train takes to cover the 1,100 kilometer (684 mile) distance between Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, and the central city of Wuhan.

Managers of the bullet train, which debuted on Saturday, were unable to catch the smoker who fled the scene before the alarm sounded, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

“Smoking is strictly forbidden on the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed train, even in the toilet,” a spokesman with the Guangzhou Railway Group Corporation was quoted as saying. “It could trigger the alarm and even cause equipment failures.”

The train was in the Guangzhou rail station when it was delayed and had not yet begun its 350-km-per-hour journey, Xinhua added.


All about Credit

Ugly controversy broke out between Chetan Bhagat, author of Five Point Someone and the makers of 3 idiots. It’s over the placement of Chetan’s name in the credit list and the originality of the script. There has been back and forth comments from both the sides, those who have read the book and seen the movie and the media. Unfortunately, I have not seen the movie, but read the book hence I cannot make any comments on the issue.

I follow Chetan on the micro blogging site Twitter, where he has posted a link to his blog. A post in his blog successfully validates his claims that the movie was more of an adaptation of his novel than an inspiration. After reading the post, I knew one thing Chetan Bhagat can survive in Bollywood. He ends his post by saying this,

“Like I said, I don’t need anything. Even if I have no more movies made on my stories or nobody wants to read my books and columns, I’ll happily join ISKCON and dedicate my life to Krishna. But I will not shy away from the truth – ever.”

Here is a link to Chetan’s blog.

I was really feeling sorry for the guy until I read this quote on ibnlive by Vidhu Vinod Chopra saying,

“He (Chetan Bhagat) was promised a bonus if the film becomes a hit, and it was given to him even before the film released. You are giving fame to a man like that. When a film becomes a hit, a lot of people come out to share credit.”

I agree that the Based on the Novel credit should have been introduced in the beginning as hardly anyone sits through the end credits of the movie. I fail to understand the Indian mentality of never sitting through the end credits of a movie. As soon as the end credits rolls, everyone in the theatre is standing up. When the audience has been sitting for two and a half hour, what do they lose by remaining seated for another two minutes?

I learnt the importance of being seated while the credit rolls on during my college days in Manipal. I always impart that knowledge with anyone I go to the movies. Very disrespectful to leave or stand up when the credit rolls. They are the guys responsible for the movie and being seated is your way of acknowledging their work. I must mention Farah Khan’s approach to credits. She makes interesting credit rolls for all her movies. Her end credit has a cameo of everyone in the unit including the spot boys.

So next time you are watching a movie, make sure you remain seated through the credit rolls, even if the entire theater is standing up. Very necessary to acknowledge the people who have made it. Incase you are rolling your eyes saying,

“Ya! rite, imagine the torture inflicted by Kambhakkat Ishq?”

I would say,

“Didnt the trailer warn you about the impending misery.”


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

INDIA, Jaipur ….. Ladli….”loving girl”

Tues 29th Dec 2009

We went to Ladli today a vocational training centre in Jaipur for abused, orphaned and destitute girls, it also provides shelter, education and medical care to children living and working on the street.

We met and chatted to some of the lovely girls who now have a normal and positive life ahead of them thanks to Abha Goswami, the founder. They were involved in jewelry making, which you can buy there and from their website as above amongst other craftwork. All revenue goes to the children, who also now have their own individual bank accounts which gives them a sense of worth that they never had before. It is a very inspiring place and a joy to see and I for one will be supporting them when I return to the UK.

Giving to begging and performing kids on the streets is not the answer, but here is a way to help put right a problem that has over the years got out of hand in India today. This marvelous charity puts 100% of all donations into helping the children, there are absolutely no deductions for administration or similar expenses.


141 Kerala legislators get a laptop

All 141 legislators of the Kerala assembly were Tuesday given a brand new HCL laptop each.

Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan handed over one laptop to Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy at the banquet hall of the state assembly.

It is yet to be decided if the legislators would be charged for the computers, speaker of the assembly K. Radhakrishnan told IANS.

“We have not decided on that. At the end of the tenure of this assembly, may be after allowing for depreciation, we might levy a small amount. That is yet to be decided,” said Radhakrishnan.

The tenure of this assembly ends in May 2011.

Chandy said that the legislators should rise to the occasion and make use of this facility to serve the people better.

The laptops have not been loaded with the conventional proprietary software. Instead they have free software, of which Achuthanandan is the biggest brand ambassador.

“This is certainly going to be a problem because not many would be able to operate the free software,” pointed out film star turned former minister and IT savvy legislator K.B. Ganesh Kumar.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Systems Asst. Job Opening in AUT

About Anna University Tiruchirappalli:

Applications are invited for the following non-teaching, technical and administrative positions:

Following Designation:
Deputy Director of Physical Education : 1 Post (GT-1)

Assistant Director of Physical Education: 2 Posts (GT-1, SC-1)

Systems Assistant: 2 Posts (GT-1, SC-1)

Technical Officer: Gr-II 2 Posts (GT-1, SC-1)

Superintendent: 6 Posts (GT-2, SC-2, MBC-1, BC-1)

Staff Nurse: 2 Posts (GT-1, SC-1)

for more details, Systems Asst. Jobs


Lessons about Business in Asia - it is not different

As I mentioned in my last post, in the last three weeks, I have been visiting Singapore and India as part of a International Business in Asia course (part of my AGSM MBA). While I have accumulated many ideas for new posts in the last few weeks, I think there is no better was to restart my posting than with a post that summarizes my main learnings from the trip.

Everybody talks about how different Asia is. About how business in India, China, Singapore or any other country in Asia is totally different then the western way of doing business. This is the frame of mind that I came with to a n educational trip in Asia (Singapore and Mumbai). However, I discovered  that there are no differences! Business is business. Everywhere.

“This guy is crazy”, you must think to yourselves. “Everybody knows that there are cultural differences and that companies have failed because they did not understand these differences”. And my answer is… You are completely right. Well, expect about the crazy part…

I am not saying that the countries are not different or that you do need to respect diversity before you venture into a new market. I am just saying, that this is what you would do when you will go to every country in the world. East or West. Let me go over some of the lessons I learned and try to explain this idea  a little more thoroughly:

1. Respect for the local culture - the fact that people from different countries differ from one another in habits, behavior, communication and heritage.  And companies should be careful not to make the assumption that if something works in one market, it will work in another. There is a need to first understand the culture, then tweak and customize the products and services to the local culture. However, this is true to any other “western” country. IKEA had to change its offerings when it came to the states. Starbucks failed when it came to Israel. No one would try to sell exactly the same thing in France and in Germany. Lesson: When you go into a new market, start by re-examining all your assumptions about customers. It is true in Asia as it is in any other place. Not doing it is just bad business.

2. Local differences – a theme the came up again and again in the trip is the diversity inside some of the countries. There are many Chinas and Many Indias was the theme. South India is not like North India. Different languages, different foods, different costumes and holidays. And again, the European market is not the same all over Europe.  Products that work in the UK do not necessarily work in Belgium. There are differences in foods and languages even inside some the European countries. The American market is not the same all over the states as some companies realized when tweaking their products to the Hispanic market in California and the Cuban market in Miami. Things that work in New-York will not necessarily work in Lo-s-Angles. Looking at countries as one segment or market is just not smart business. Lesson: Beware of the fallacy of the average (in the wider sense of the term – and see an interesting perspective of this here).

3. Time, Time, Time – people expect immediate successes. In real life going into a new market, starting a new business and overcoming cultural barriers take time. You wont succeed over night in the west. You will not succeed overnight in the east. Don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise. Lesson: Size of market does not guarantee immediate success no matter where you do business. Patience and perseverance are the keys to success (and see point number two again to understand why the size of the market is in some ways, a myth).

4. People are people – as this blog concentrates on managing people I tried to understand all through the trip if the difference in the culture has an impact on the principles of people management. Does people motivations for work differ? Does the role of a manager or a leader in these countries differ? My answer is – no, it does not. You will find the same diversity of people in Asia as you will find anywhere in the world and there is a need to understand it and leverage it. True, as a whole, Indians are more entrepreneurial in nature than Chinese and Chinese are more bound by conformity, but this is only as a whole. In the individual level, which is the most important level for the manager, people still vary. In this sense, sensitivity to communication methods is vital and understanding the preferences of each individual becomes even more important. Lesson: Managers face the same challenges everywhere, even though the tactical problems might appear to be different.

Countries and people are different. However, they are different in the same way everywhere. Smart business uses good processes and ignores assumptions and attempts to copy models from one market to another. This is true everywhere in the world.



Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lighting the Christ Candle.

During my time in Bangladesh and India I saw a lot of the brokenness of our world. Mothers with small children camped out on the sidewalk, living on the streets; children wandering through cars stuck in traffic, standing at their windows begging; skin and bones bicycle rickshaw drivers toiling in the heat to earn money to feed their families…

But I saw much more than that. On the 3rd last day of my time in Dhaka I went to visit a CRWRC project working in the slums. We were dropped off on the side of the road and entered a narrow alleyway, with shacks crowding along the sides. This particular slum grew along the railway tracks and we had to walk up the tracks a ways in order to enter the site we were to visit. We climbed down a few steps and entered a small room filled with talking and laughing girls. The room was buzzing with energy! This was the Tara adolescent group. Tara means star. And they were shining.

They presented some of the skits and songs they had composed as a group. At every meeting they are taught lessons on health and cleanliness, that girls should be allowed to go to school just like their brothers, on HIV/AIDS, child labour, human trafficking and other relevant issues. The girls decided to turn each lesson into a skit/song so that they could share the things they were learning with their families, friends and neighbours. I mean it when I said they were shining! I wish you all could have sat in that room with me because it was oozing with life! It was such a contrast  to the images I had seen earlier. Poor Sanjay, the translator, he had to keep telling the girls to slow down and take turns because he couldn’t keep up with the translation.

What does this have to do with today’s advent candle?

CRWRC is working to share the good news of Christ through living out the gospel truths. And in that room in the middle of that slum I could see the hope, joy, love and peace of Christ spilling over.

These girls face daily challenges and struggles that we won’t ever be able to fully understand but in this group they are learning they can hope.

In a community where many people give up and are crushed by the weight of poverty, I saw joy.

In a culture where women are considered less than men and of no value, I saw these girls believing that they are worthy of respect and love.

And it is my prayer that one day they will know the peace that comes from the giver of all these things: Christ.

So we light this candle today to remember Christ, the source of our hope, our joy, our love and our peace.

We light this candle to celebrate that for those who call Christ Lord & Saviour, the search is over. We don’t have to wander anymore.

We light this candle to remember those who are still on the journey, searching for hope, joy, love and peace.


Return to INDIA (R2I as they say) !! – Part 7

What exactly do you get for INR 20K/month rental in Bangalore?

When I tried asking this question before coming here, the standard answer was …”well it depends you see“.  I don’t blame them. It actually really depends. It depends on the city, location, amenities et al. But I don’t think it yet depends on the schools (like in the US). I was told that you should look at anywhere from INR 15K/month – INR 20K/month + monthly maintenance.

But then sitting there, you would still like to get an idea. My friend who is coming down here certainly likes to know. So here it is my friend and for all those of you who want to know, the details of a INR 20K house.

Disclaimer: This post is permanent, but not the rates. The below is valid only as of late 2009 and probably not valid for all areas of Bangalore. Certainly, you can get bigger houses for lesser here in Bangalore as of today. But then they would either be far away from your office or do not have the amenities which is the key here.

So here goes – 20K/month gets us ->

- a 3 BHK (Bed, Hall, Kitchen)  apartment

-  ~1300 Sq Ft

- Full power backup

- Gymnasium

- Billiards Room

- Creche

- Swimming Pool

- Tennis Court

- Badminton Court

- Basketball Court

- Squash Court

- 24-hour multi-level (At the gate and below each building) security

- 24-hour Electrician & Plumber attached to the building

- Amphitheater

- Easy availability of maids and drivers

- Laundry Facilities (Includes washing, dry-cleaning, ironing)

- Basement Parking



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Farewell, then, the noughties... what's 2010 got in store?

Well, this is probably my last post of not just the year, but a whole decade. And that gives us quite a lot to look back on; here’s a list from off the top of my head. They’re largely negative, but that’s only because it’s bad things which make the news…

  • the biggest debt pile in history
  • a Labour administration that oddly turned out to be neither pro-union nor pro-business
  • the real rise of India and especially China; with Brazil hot on their heels
  • a truly globalised economy; but with associated penalties to pay in food miles and climate change
  • the internet explosion – even your mum shops online
  • layers of ownership by multinationals – much UK infrastructure is foreign-owned; or supported by sovereign wealth funds
  • we still don’t seem to manufacture very much
  • Mr Brown sold your gold and regrets it

So, where do we stand today? I have a few predictions to make; so let’s see how many come true…

  • The recession may have ‘officially’ ended; but its effects will last a very long time. Productivity is already looking up; but unemployment will continue to rise into the third quarter of 2010, and stay high for much longer than expected.
  • Taxes will rise permanently; whoever is in power. However, I predict a Conservative win at the general election (which I think will be in March or April); and David Cameron will keep the 50% tax rate and other punitive rates created by Gordon Brown.
  • Expect the idea of a Tobin Tax on financial market transactions to gain support. Expect the bankers’ bonus hoo-hah to die down.
  • Business will finally be appreciated as the engine room of the economy – and small business the quickest win of all. Expect to see fairly innovative approaches to getting people into work and business; remember, paying people to stay on the dole is the worst result of all for our limping economy.
  • A cheaper pound also supports our export markets. This is a once-in-an-economic-cycle chance to reinvest in manufacturing and exporting from our industrial heartlands. I would like to see our manufacturing base increase.
  • Dumb businesses will fail. I have spent a long time working in the internet sector, and I have lost count of the number of fly-by-night propositions which have come and gone. Some have stayed and succeeded through luck alone. The great Warren Buffett said “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked”; and the tide is now definitiely out. There are too many life-coaches, too many Facebook Apps and all the rest of it. In Mr Buffett’s brutal ocean, it’s time for the skinny-dippers to go!
  • …but there’s hope for even the skinny-dippers. As I said early last year, we have the most mobile workforce ever; with access to more employment information than ever; with better access to training, further education and reskilling than ever. It’s never a great time to change careers, but it’s certainly never been more of an option.
  • Britain will continue to rediscover saving. The obsessively consumer society is gone (thank goodness). I hope we’ll remember that life doesn’t just revolve around having a new plasma screen. We’re already saving more than we ever did in the past 20 years, and I think that’s going to continue.

So there it is – find this post again at the end of next year, and see whether I was talking sense – or letting the tide go out along with my Speedos. [NB: That was irony. I promise, I have never, ever, worn Speedos...] May I wish you the very finest compliments of the season; a few days off with friends and family, and every success in 2010.


INDEX - The Measuring Barometer

MCX COMDEX captures diversified sectors encompassing futures contracts drawn on metals, energy and agricultural commodities that are traded on MCX.

It is the significant barometer for the performance of commodities market and would be an ideal investment tool in commodities market over a period of time.

The MCX COMDEX futures give users the ability to efficiently hedge commodity and inflation exposure and lay off residual risk.


Protection can be established regardless of overall market direction.

MCX COMDEX, India’s first composite commodity futures index was launched on June 7, 2005.



Investors who own stocks of companies having exposure to primary commodities could use the COMDEX as a guide to hedge their risk in the commodity exchange, thereby bringing stability to the financial markets and strengthening linkages.


Weight age (%) of Commodities in MCX COMDEX: . On the MCX-COMDEX, Agricultural sub-group carries 20% weighting.


It includes ref. soy oil, potato, chana, crude palm oil, kapaskhali & mentha oil.


Metals also carry 40% weighting and comprise gold, silver, copper, zinc, aluminium, nickel & lead.


The energy sub-group consists of crude oil & natural gas and carries 40% weighting.


Weight age (%) of Commodities in MCX COMDEX:


Performance 2009:


The chart above depicts that with the bull-run in commodities, this index has outperformed throughout in the year 2009, as compared to other years, where they had shown a sideways movement.


Also Group Indices for MCX AGRI, MCX METAL & MCX ENERGY on commodity futures prices have been developed to represent different commodity segments as traded on the exchange.


Performance 2009


Note : For More Latest Industry, Stock Market and Economy News and Updates, please Click Here


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We can challenge India on Copenhagen goals: US - Global Warming - Environment - Home - The Times of India

We know how this place got so dirty

We know how this place got so dirty

White House senior advisor David Axelrod told CNN that the Copenhagen Accord would allow US verification. “Now China and India have set goals. We are going to be able to review what they are doing. We are going to be able to challenge them if they do not meet those goals,” Axelrod said.

While this was probably intended to keep the enraged constituencies of US labour unions at bay, who had insisted that Barack Obama come back with a commitment from India and China for carbon cuts and their verification, these statements will only fuel a fire in countries like China and India. (via We can challenge India on Copenhagen goals: US – Global Warming – Environment – Home – The Times of India).

Like last time

This time around, based on similarly dubious research, India is being pressured to accept monitoring of climate change. Climate control and the Copenhagen meet is that fast growing octopus which is spreading out. It tentacles can be found in all kinds of places. One of its tentacles has reached India – which was any way the target. The Aspen Institute, India (AII).

Something doesn't add up ... Something doesn’t add up …

To ’soften’ up India, the AII organized a gab-fest. Who could be a good candidate for a gathering of such worthies? At least, Nobel Prize winners. Rajendra Pachauri? Al Gore? Any better candidates. Yes.

Amartya Sen – who ‘graced’ this gab-fest, hosted by Aspen Institute, India (AII) – an ‘associate’ of Aspen Institute, USA. Amartya Sen is tenderizing up the media, the academia, to accept Copenhagen outcome – which is primarily International ‘monitoring’ of India’s climate control and administration. Does Amartya Sen raise any of these questions? For his efforts to weaken Indian position and interests, Amartya Sen will soon qualify as a unique category of Indian passport holder – Non-Resident, Non-Indian, holding an Indian passport.

The AII-Board of Trustees reads more like Who’s Who of Indian industry – Bajaj, Birla, Godrej, Thapar et al.

The carbon credits ‘opportunity’

The rich fat-cats are already licking the chops. Estimates have been put out that the ‘carbon-credits business s worth Rs.28,000 crores.

Interestingly, note one thing very carefully. No one, but none, is talking up about cleaning up on pollution. No industry is being asked to reduce their pollutants (think of inks, dyes and chemicals), manage by-products (sulphur from petroleum refining), eliminate contamination (paper plants), decrease waste (electronics), recycle (just imagine the number of mobile phone batteries).

Dada Amartya, you got a memory lapse! How come you  don’t talk about any of this?

Polluter cleans – not pay

One of the fundamental flaws of the Kyoto Protocol was the principal of ‘polluter pays’. Based on retributive justice logic, it was something that was bound to fail. Instead it should have been based on the Indic justice principle – ameliorative and make good. The operating principle should have been ‘polluter cleans and does not pollute again.’

Camels … in the kingdom of heaven

Copenhagen is for the rich (from poor countries), by the rich (from rich countries) to the rich (from poor and rich countries) – and may the poor and common be damned. And one thing you can be absolutely, completely, definitely, positively, wholly sure of.

The poor will never, ever, at all, in any manner, benefit from climate control.


Female Genocide for Population Reduction

China’s one-child policy, implemented for purposes of population control as requested by the United Nations and the World Bank (as spoken about in the first video), is being hailed as an ideal model: “The often brutal Chinese program of population reduction and control is being held up as an ideal model for governments when “integrating population programs” into environmental policies.”

China, like India, is experiencing a severe shortage of women from their population as a result of the one-child policy implemented in 1979. Although China’s family planning policy has received criticism over the past three decades, Zhao said that China’s population program has made a great historic contribution to the well-being of society.

It’s hard to imagine how anyone could think that the slow and deliberate murder of baby girls (as you will see in the videos below) has made a great historic contribution to the well-being of society. Or how forced abortions, some into the ninth month of pregnancy, contributes to this well-being.

From an NPR article Cases of Forced Abortions Surface in China:

Liang Yage and his wife Wei Linrong had one child and believed that — like many other couples — they could pay a fine and keep their second baby. Wei was 7 months pregnant when 10 family planning officials visited her at home on April 16.

Liang describes how they told her that she would have to have an abortion, “You don’t have any more room for maneuver,” he says they told her. “If you don’t go [to the hospital], we’ll carry you.” The couple was then driven to Youjiang district maternity hospital in Baise city.

“I was scared,” Wei told NPR. “The hospital was full of women who’d been brought in forcibly. There wasn’t a single spare bed. The family planning people said forced abortions and forced sterilizations were both being carried out. We saw women being pulled in one by one.”

The couple was given a consent agreement to sign. When Liang refused, family planning officials signed it for him. He and his wife are devout Christians — he is a pastor — and they don’t agree with abortion.

The officials gave Wei three injections in the lower abdomen. Contractions started the next afternoon, and continued for almost 16 hours. Her child was stillborn.

“I asked the doctor if it was a boy or girl,” Wei said. “The doctor said it was a boy. My friends who were beside me said the baby’s body was completely black. I felt desolate, so I didn’t look up to see the baby.”

Medical sources say fetuses aborted in this manner would have been dead for some time, so the tissue is necrotic and thus dark in color.

“The nurses dealt with the body like it was rubbish,” Wei said. “They wrapped it up in a black plastic bag and threw it in the trash.”

Excerpts from the recent article When abortion isn’t a choice clearly outline the danger of China’s population control:

Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of the Frontiers group, told the commission that China’s one-child policy “causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on Earth.”

Late-term abortions are problematic, but the Chinese are nothing if not efficient. On one Web site for Chinese obstetricians and gynecologists, doctors recently traded tips in a dispassionate discussion titled: “What if the infant is still alive after induced labor?” ChinaAid provided a translation of a thread regarding an eight-month-old fetus that survived the procedure.

“Xuexia” wrote: “Actually, you should have punctured the fetus’ skull.” Another poster, “Damohuyang,” wrote that most late-term infants died during induced labor, some lived and “would be left in trash cans. Some of them could still live for one to two days.”

The violence of these procedures doesn’t only kill the child in some instances. In two of the cases described in a document leaked this past August, the mothers died, too. Those who dissent, meanwhile, are persecuted.

Such has been the fate of activist Chen Guangcheng, who is serving a four-year sentence after exposing 130,000 forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi County, Shandong province, in 2005. Named by Time magazine as one of 2006’s top 100 people “who shape our world,” Guangcheng, who is blind, was severely beaten and denied medical care the following year, according to an Amnesty International report.

The one-child policy has created other problems that threaten women and girls. The traditional preference for boys has meant sex-selected abortions resulting in a gender imbalance. Today, men in China outnumber women by 37 million, a disparity that has become a driving force behind sex slavery in Asia. Exacerbating the imbalance, about 500 women a day commit suicide in China — the highest rate in the world, which Littlejohn attributes in part to coercive family planning.

But is overpopulation really an issue?

In the many articles that refute the ‘myth’ of overpopulation, The overpopulation lie tells us: It is perhaps the single greatest disinformation campaign in human history: The planet is grossly overpopulated, and unless something is done to limit human population growth, calamity will ensue.

…while the one-billionth citizen of India was born last year, Japan, if it continues its current abortion policies and fails to raise its average birth rate of 1.4 children per married couple, will have fewer than 500 people by the year 3000. This is not a prophecy of the mad Aum Shinrikyo cult, but rather a pronouncement of Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Thomas Malthus is a British historical figure of great note. His most studied work, “An Essay on the Principle of Population as it Affects the Future Improvements of Society, with Remarks on the Speculations of M. Godwin, M. Condorcet and Other Writers,” was first published in 1798. Its thesis — that overpopulation would destroy the world unless war, famine and disease rose to check human growth — has proven to be dead wrong.

Malthus reasoned that, since people increase exponentially and food production only increases arithmetically, food production could not possibly hope to keep up with more and more empty stomachs. Ironically, he predicted mass starvation on the eve of one of the biggest farming expansions the world has ever seen. For free countries, hunger has effectively been eliminated.

Rather than booming, as one might expect in the face of such plenty, the world’s population is aging and in decline. As fertility rates fall and abortion, contraception and life spans increase, the world will soon enter a new paradigm in which the elderly outnumber the young. In 1975, the mean global age was 22. In 2050, it will be 38. Europe, South Korea and Japan will be particularly hard hit by this phenomenon.

The U.S. State Department and the United Nations are major players in this population game. Their measures are funded in large part by top U.S. foundations like Ford and Rockefeller. Ted Turner, founder of CNN, is also a major population-control sugar daddy for the United Nations, having cut a $1 billion check to the world body when conservatives in the U.S. Congress threatened not to pay off America’s back dues to the U.N. if those dues would be used to set up abortion clinics overseas.

In Is Human Population Really the Problem? author Jeff Lindsay says: But could it be that we are running out of space? Walk through New York, Calcutta, or Hong Kong and experience the incredible crowding: surely there just isn’t room for all these people. Yes, there are crowded places in the world. There are strong economic and social incentives for people to cluster together. If Manhattan were spread out over the state of Montana, it’s economic power would be greatly diminished (and a lot of moose would be mugged). Yet leave these population centers, and we find a remarkably unpopulated planet.

How much land does it take to hold 6 billion people? To give you an idea, consider the small nation of Japan. It has about 143,000 square miles of area. One square mile has 5280 * 5280 = 27.9 million square feet. Japan has a total of about 4 trillion square feet, enough to give each person of the earth 670 square feet. If we housed people in families of four in simple two-level buildings (8 people per building, one family of four per level), each building could be on a lot of over 5300 square feet. (Of course, I’ve ignored that fact that many parts of Japan would be unsuitable for dwelling places, and I’ve neglected the land needed for roads, parks, schools, etc.) In a land area as small as Japan, the entire population of the earth could be housed on lots of 5300 square feet, with 8 people per lot. That’s smaller than the typical American lot of about 8000 square feet, but it’s not unbearably small.If we insisted on American standards, with only 4 people per lot of at least 8,000 square feet, then Gale Lyle Pooley shows that an area the size of Texas plus Nevada would be adequate (op. cit., p. 93). That would make those two states less attractive, perhaps, but it would leave the rest of the world for food production, animal reserves, nature movies, Woodstock festivals, or whatever. In terms of the real resources of this planet, we are not overpopulated.

From the growing screeches of the manmade global warming alarmists, overpopulation has become a hot topic. But is global warming a real phenomenon? Check out The Money Making Global Warming Scam to get a different viewpoint, and to start putting questions to the elitist agendas that are costing women their lives.

The Dying Rooms 1/4

The Dying Rooms 2/4

The Dying Rooms 3/4

The Dying Rooms 4/4


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Indian freedom movement's heroic son, Bhagat Singh Shaheed

Red Diary, December 20, 2009

Disturbed to life by the atrocious massacre at Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) in 1919, disillusioned by the national political leaders who recoiled the promising Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922, alarmed by the rising religious divisions and reactionary rhetoric in the mainstream politics, and motivated by the Bolshevik Revolution of workers and peasants of Russia of 1917, Bhagat Singh and his compatriots entered the political scene of India and became the icon of the aspirations of the people of India in no time. Their aim was to bring a revolution that would not only end the colonial British regime but would also lay the foundations of a system that shall combat all forms of injustices. It was for these crimes that Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were hanged by the rulers of British colonialism on 23rd of March, 1931, at Lahore Camp Jail. Bhagat Singh was only 23 years old at the time of his hanging.

Continued >>

The colonial administration made it no secret that their enmity lied more with the ideals of Bhagat Singh rather than Bhagat Singh himself. Justice Medilton, who transported Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt for life in the Assembly Bomb Case, testified to the danger that the ideas of Bhagat Singh posed to the system based on manifest injustice: “These persons would enter the court with the cries of ‘Long Live the Revolution’ and ‘Long Live the Proletariat’ which shows clearly shows what sort of political ideology they cherish. In order to put a check in propagating these ideas, I transport them for life.” One can well imagine that Bhagat Singh must have received the Medilton’s comment with a broad smile. Once, during a court hearing when Bhagat Singh started laughing while chatting with one of his comrades, he ironically replied to inquiry of the Magistrate about the reason behind the amusement: “Dear Magistrate, if you can’t tolerate my laughing at the moment, what will happen to you when I laugh even on the scaffold?”

Bhagat Singh started his political journey when new lines were emerging in the Indian polity. On one hand, the religious jargon was being introduced in the political rhetoric at a mass scale and seculars like Jinnah were getting sidelined. On the other hand, the revolutionary ideas of Lenin and Bolshevik Revolution were trickling into India. Bhagat Singh, like many others who were already disillusioned by Gandhi, was attracted towards experiment of workers and peasants of Russia.

With this ideological motivation, the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), which was formed by Ashfaqullah Khan and Mahavir Singh in around 1925, became the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1928 primarily on the insistence of Bhagat Singh. Along with an express commitment towards socialism, the HSRA also proclaimed a broad internationalist vision of a World Order that would free humanity from the scourge of capitalism and imperialist wars. Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) was founded in Lahore in 1926 as the open front of HSRA with object to expose reactionary politics and to promote religious harmony and secularism. In June 1928, Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev also organized a Lahore Students’ Union as auxiliary to NBS. The outlook of NBS was clearly popular. “Revolution by the masses and for the masses”, stated the Manifesto of the NBS. NBS made remarkable progress within a few months as its branches were organized all around India. It became so popular that it was banned by the British government in May of 1930.

In 1928, the all-White Simon Commission came to visit India in order to provide the further constitutional reforms. The Congress decided to boycott the Commission, and the HSRA decided to actively participate in the boycott demonstrations. One such demonstration, led by Lala Lajpat Rai was organized outside the Lahore Railway Station where the Commission was to arrive. Bhagat Singh and his compatriots were also a part of this protest. When the Police ordered baton-charge, the Superintendent of Police, J. A. Scott, targeted Lala Lajpat in particular who could not bear the severe injuries caused by the raining batons and died. The whole nation was infuriated at the death of Lala Lajpat.

HSRA decided to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. On December 17, 1928, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekher Azad and Rajguru shot dead J. P. Saunders, a Police officer, mistaking him for Scott. Posters under-singed by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army appeared across Lahore the same night that stated that “we are sorry for shedding human blood but it becomes necessary to bathe the altar of revolution with blood.”

After the assassination of Saunders, Bhagat immediately escaped for Calcutta where he attended the first All India Conference of Workers’ and Peasants’ Parties and the Calcutta session of the Congress, where the Communist Party made an illustrious entry by demanding the Congress to accept the goal of complete independence (which did not happen).

This was a time when the Communist Party was taking its roots in India in general and in the working class movement in particular. Naturally, the British government became apprehensive and rounded 31 prominent Communist and labor leaders in the famous Meerut Conspiracy Case. Repressive measures, like the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill, were brought to the floor of Central Legislative Assembly that threatened the democratic rights of the citizens of India.

HSRA decided to take action against the onslaught of British government. On April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt threw two bombs in the Assembly when Viceroy was supposed to enact the Trade Disputes Bill using his special powers against the will of the Assembly. These bombs were made especially for the occasion. As they were harmless and were not meant to kill anyone, no one was seriously injured. The bomb, as the leaflet thrown by Bhagat Singh in the name of HSRA, was “a loud voice to make the deaf hear”. Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt gave their arrests, as was pre- decided by the HSRA, so that they can use the trail in court to popularize the programme and ideology of the HSRA.

The struggle against British colonialism was taken to new scale in the court and in the jail. In the court room, the people of India met Bhagat Singh, the political thinker. In jail, the people of India witness the resilience of Bhagat Singh. The whole nation was awestruck by the hunger-strike that Bhagat Singh and his comrades managed to pull while protesting against the inhumane and discriminatory conditions meted out to the Indian political prisoners. This was a time, says Pattabhi Sitaramyya, official historian of the Congress, when “Bhagat Singh’s name was as widely known all over India and was as popular as Gandhi’s”. Bhagat Singh underwent a hunger-strike for more than 116 days, with one stretch of 97 days, despite the heavy and frequent torture inflicted by the Jail authorities. One of participants of the hunger-strike, Jatin Das, died on the 64th day of the strike.

As a political thinker, the jail years had a deep impact on the ideological development of Bhagat Singh. The presence of an impended trail, which was more of a propaganda forum for him, and an unending thirst for knowledge motivated Bhagat Singh to study hard. He read more than 144 books in jail and prepared extensive notes about his study in a prison diary. His thoughts matured with a serious study and he also criticized his own tactics. In a short message to students’ conference at Lahore, Bhagat Singh advised: “Comrades, Today, we can not ask the youth to take to pistols and bombs… the youth will have to spread to the far corners of the country. They have to awaken the crores of the slum-dwellers of industrial areas and villagers…” Writing about his revolutionary career, Bhagat Singh said: “Study” was the cry that reverberated in the corridors of my mind… the Romance of the violent methods alone which was so prominent amongst our predecessors, was replaced by serious ideas. No more mysticism, no more blind faith… use of force justifiable when resorted to as a matter of terrible necessity: non-violence as policy indispensable for all mass movements.”

When asked in court what he meant by revolution, Bhagat Singh famously replied: “A revolution does not necessarily involve sanguinary strife not is there any place in it for individual vendetta. It is not a bomb or pistol cult. By revolution we mean that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must be changed… By revolution we mean the ultimate establishment of the order of society… in which sovereignty of the proletariat should be recognized.”

After being awarded life imprisonment in the Assembly bomb case, Bhagat Singh was registered for what came to be known as the Second Lahore Conspiracy Case for the assassination of J. P. Saunders. A special tribunal was set-up for the trail of Bhagat Singh that was provided with the novel power of conducting an ex-parte trail. After what was termed by A. G. Noorani as “a farcical trail”, Bhagat Singh was sentenced to death.

Gandhi observed the injustices meted out to Bhagat Singh in jail and in the court rooms with a conspicuous silence. It was only after the death of Bhagat Singh that the Congress gave a statement, after much tension over wording, in “admiration of the bravery and sacrifice of the late Bhagat Singh and his comrades”. A. G. Noorani pointed out that Gandhi could have averted the death of Bhagat Singh during his talks with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Gandhi’s claims that he tried his best to persuade the Viceroy were found to be mere lies by the records that came to light four decades later.

Bhagat Singh, nevertheless, found a supporter in the mainstream politics and that was in Jinnah. Jinnah who was himself isolated by the encroachment of religion in politics at that time and considered it undesired rose in support of Bhagat Singh. In his incisive speech to the Constituent Assembly on September 12 and 14, 1929, Jinnah harshly condemned the criminal colonial rule and the Government’s actions against revolutionaries:

“The man who goes on hunger-strike has a soul. He is moved by the soul and he believes in the justice of his cause; he is not an ordinary criminal who is guilty of cold-blooded, sordid, wicked crime.

“What was he driving at? It is the system, this damnable system of Government, which is resented by the people.

“And the last words I wish to address the Government are, try and concentrate your mind on the root cause and the more you concentrate on the root cause, the less difficulties and inconveniences there will be for you to face, and thank Heaven that the money of the taxpayer will not be wasted in prosecuting men, nay citizens, who are fighting and struggling for the freedom of their country.”

In our part of the sub-continent, we conveniently forget the role played by non-Muslims in the struggle of liberation from the British colonialism. All non-Muslims are grouped in one category to be completely rejected by the rulers of Pakistan irrespective of their message and their history. The same fate met Bhagat Singh. That he was supported by Jinnah is a fact never mentioned in the corridors of power or in the text-books of Pakistan Studies. It is not surprising, though. Bhagat Singh, a symbol of resistance, could never be the hero of the government that is not based on the will of the people.

Although the times have changed, they do not appear to have changed a lot. The World, particularly Pakistan is still facing a number of problems that were essentially present in the times of Bhagat Singh as well. Hence, the legacy of Bhagat Singh remains with us in his uncompromising struggle against imperialism, unflinching resistance to communalism and caste oppression, unbending opposition to the bourgeois-landlord rule, and unswevering support for socialism as the best possible alternative before society.


Indian Craft Fair = Pharmaceutical Trade Show

(From left to right): Metallic leggings;l white-stone bracelet; white stone set, peacock bangle, square bangles; bronze beaded clutch

True story.  But I have to walk you through my day first before explaining why Indian “exhibitions” (craft fairs) are equivalent to events like the CPhI.

Instead of going to work, I took the day off at my father’s insistence.  I slept in, watched a freshly downloaded episode of The Good Wife (my latest obsession), and got ready and headed to the Novotel with my aunt for a girls’ day.

The Novotel is the newest (and in my opinion, the nicest) hotel in Hyderabad.  We lunched at La Cantina, noshing on enchiladas and a dish I like to call Mexican chole (further proving my theory that Indian-Mexican is one of the most genius culinary fusions EVER).  We went to the spa, getting an oil head massage and facial (for me) and hair color/cut/style (for my aunt), all costing half of my regular hair appointment.

Fully blissed out and relaxed, we walk over to the adjoining convention center to check out the exhibition.  Two seconds in, my relaxation was replaced with agitation, calm replaced by frantic, and in possession of no fewer than 5 business cards.

What the what?

The exhibition was in the largest room in the Hyderabad International Convention Center, with 8 rows laid in front of us filled with jewelry, housewares, clothing, accessories, and handicraft vendors.  We started from the first row, passing the overcrowded and tacky merchandise stalls.  Finally stopping at one, we examine paste-jeweled bangles in search of a gift for my aunt’s neighbor.  After several minutes of deliberation and several more of negotiation, we leave with a amber-stoned bangle and the business card of the Mumbai-based vendor, who promises “anything you want, madam, I will make.”

Pushing our way through the crowd and grimacing at some truly awful bedspreads and saris, we find ourselves at a stall with some truly beautiful evening bags.  Clutches, bracelet-style bags, and satchels, all beautifully embroidered with flowers, mirrors, and beads had my aunt and I acting like 2 kids in a candy store.  Chatting up the vendor (who manufactures all the bags in Mumbai) we select a blue silk clutch embroidered with flowers and a gold mirrored bangle-handled bag for my aunt and a bronze beaded clutch for me.  His card in hand (with his bags in mind for potential wedding gifts for my hypothetical nuptials), we move on…

…to ANOTHER jewelry stall.  This time, for us.  Peacock-headed hinge bracelets are apparently the hot accessory in India right now, and I wanted to score myself one.  This particular stall had a beautifully painted and jeweled one.  They also had three great square bangles (with circle wrist-holes) that caught my eye.  My aunt was on a statement pendant hunt, and selected a beautiful white-stoned one with matching earrings (and bought me her second favorite one from the shop).  More negotiating, more card exchanging, and we left with some fun pieces (forgetting the fact that we had been to our family jeweler two days before and put a pair of blue topaz-diamond earrings on hold…but I digress).

Passing stalls, walking up and down the rows, our energy began to fade and the glitter of paste stones and embroidered fabrics started to mesh together.  We finally made our way to the last stand, where glittery cubic-zirconia bangles (that looked pretty damn authentic) caught my aunt’s eye.  As she tried on the sparkling bangles, I began chatting up the stall owner (this one from Jaipur) and lazily trying on the bracelets and earrings arrayed on his table.  Ending up with a sparking zircon bracelet for my aunt and a white stone bracelet for me (and his card), we peeked down the rest of the row, decided against checking out the rest of the stalls, and began making our way to the exit.

Almost home free, I was suddenly distracted by shiny spandex lying on a table.  Could it be?  Have metallic leggings hit India?  Indeed they did, and within two minutes I snapped up pairs of gold and brown metallic leggings (for a total of 15 bucks, beat THAT American Apparel) and the card of the Mumbai-based proprieter, who promised to put me in touch with her NJ-based reseller and provide the same price I had received.

So, while the merchandise was far more fun than a pharmaceutical trade show, I left mentally drained (due to bargaining), hands full of swag, countless business cards with heaps of follow-up e-mails to write, and aching feet.

If anyone is interested in any of the merch shown in the picture above, let me know and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with the vendors.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

violence against women in India

According to a recent report of National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB), violence against women is rampant in India, with southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh having the worst record for crimes against women. For the year 2007-08, NCRB recorded 24,738 cases of crimes committed against women including 1,070 cases of rape, 1,564 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 613 cases of dowry deaths and 11,335 cases of domestic violence in Andhra Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh has also witnessed a stepping of crime against women with the state recording 21,215 cases of violence including 2,066 cases of dowry death, 1,532 cases of rape and 3,819 cases of kidnapping. The NCRB also highlighted many incidents of rape of minor girls committed by the police personnel. Similarly, Haryana a small state has recorded 4,645 incidents of crime with as many as 269 cases of dowry deaths and 488 cases of rape. Bihar leads in cases of domestic violence with 59 percent of married women suffering domestic violence. The NCRB recorded 7,548 cases of crime with 1,555 rape cases, 1,172 dowry death cases and 1,260 kidnapping and abduction cases in the state. These are the statistics of only the reported cases whereas several cases of violence against women goes unreported due to social stigmas attached to them and due to the fear of reprisals and threats from the culprits.

Women in India suffer at different levels and due to different reasons. Violence against women in India is conducted irrespective of caste and class. Women in general and low caste women in particular are the victims of violence. Even the Hindu religion does not provide any security to this creature. The Hindu Holy text sanctify the killing of infant girls, by parents who deem themselves not capable of shouldering the responsibility of having a girl child. The Hindu holy book Bhagvad Gita calls women embodiment of the worst desires and justifies the killing of women. “Killing of a woman, a shudra or an atheist is not sinful. Woman is an embodiment of the worst desires, hatred, deceit, jealously and bad character. Women should never be given freedom”. Bhagvad Gita (Manu 1X. 17 and V.47, 147).The modern democratic India follows these religious teachings of hatred and enmity towards women. The change does come but only in the techniques of the violence. In past, in Hindu society new born girls were buried alive now new born baby girls are either strangled to death or aborted during pregnancy. According to a UNICEF report released in December 2006, about 7,000 fewer girls than expected are born daily in India, and about 10 million fewer girls than expected were born in the past 20 years due to sex discrimination.

Women in India are considered a stigma to honour and are victim of almost all kinds of violence such as rape, domestic violence, abduction, dowry deaths and honour killings. The women living in insurgency infested areas are victims of duel violence. On the one hand they are victimized by army personnel and on the other by rival ethnic groups. Similarly, women other than Hindus particularly Muslims and Christians are victims of hate crime.

Not all sexual harassment and rape cases are reported in India. But by considering the reported cases it becomes evident that in India a women is raped every 29th minute. The NCRB unearthed some extremely disturbing trends in India. Statistics suggest that in 2005 around 50 women were raped and 480 molested and abducted every day. The gravity of the problem is that Indian laws are not very strict for such type of violence against women. No capital punishment is awarded in such cases. Apart from harassment, throwing strong acids such sulphuric acid on the face of the girls and women is rampant in India. This is the most heinous and severe punishment deserving crime. There is no separate law to deal with acid attackers in India. Organizations such as the Campaign and Struggle against Acid Attacks on Women (CSAAAW) are fighting to get acid attacks recognised as a separate crime and an extension of other forms of gender violence. Even a small state like Bangladesh realized the gravity of acid attacks and introduced death penalty against the crime. The Indian government has promised a new law to tackle increasing acid attacks, but that brings no cheer to those who know all too well what they are fighting against a system of hierarchies that rationalises violence. The problem is not acid but the thinking of men that they can control and dictate terms to the women in their lives. There is a need of a law that can restrict the sale of acid and bring offenders to justice. Law only cannot correct these social imbalances there is need that these laws should be implemented in true spirit.

Dowry deaths are also frequent in India. This is the worst crime against the women next to rape. A married girl is burnt to death or killed or tortured by her in-laws and husband for not providing enough gifts or money to them by her parents. Every day 50 cases of dowry related violence are reported and every 3rd minute a case of violence against women is registered in India. Apart from these several women in the tribal areas of India are killed on the pretext of practicing witchcraft. Low casts girls especially dalits in their childhood are made Devdasis to serve God in the temple and they have to leave their home and stay in the temple complex. These girls grew up in the temples and are exploited afterwards

Honour killings are widespread in India and 95 percent of victims of such killings are women. Honour killings in India are classified broadly into two segments, those undertaken by families to protect the honour of individual families and those ordered by caste panchayats to protect caste honour. History of honour killings showed that the victims were beaten to death or pushed into a corn bin. In some cases, the women were asked to get into a narrow tunnel which would be covered with a slab so that they would die of suffocation. Women who were perceived to sully family honour were either murdered or forced to commit suicide. In some cases, unprivileged and dispossessed families living in a feudal society murdered girls the moment they felt they would not be able to protect them from the evil intentions of an all-powerful local zamindar or a chieftain. Brinda Karat MP and CPI (M) Polit Bureau member said, “I had asked a question in parliament on the number of killings related to honour that had taken place so far and the reply I received from the government was that they do not recognize such a category and, therefore, there was no separate collection of such data”. There is no legal definition of the term honour killing or honour crime. As a result, the perpetrators of such crimes more often than not get away with murder, torture, assault, and violation of laws regarding atrocities committed on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. And they continue to commit them with impunity.

There is a need that Indian government should take urgent measures to create awareness through education on the need to end such social crimes against women and initiate comprehensive measures to curb honour killings, acid attacking, rape and dowry deaths etc. In India, there is no respect for women, Dalits and minorities. The government needs to realise that acid attacks and other brutal assaults on women are a manifestation of an ingrained inequality. These attacks are not just about the women they target, they are also about the society that allows such attacks, the hierarchies it has internalised and the voices of protest it has silenced


Drip Drips 19 December 2009

Caught, sloshed:

  1. Indian sort-of-Sikh religious sect Dera Sacha Sauda starts a drive to “to halt the spread of HIV by offering respectable options to sex workers” by finding volunteers to marry them. The Beeb could have made a little effort and contacted organised sex workers to see what they think about this.
  2. On a sort-of-related theme, Prostitution and trafficking – the anatomy of a moral panic by Nick Davies (him of the magnificent Flat Earth News), from October 2009. His article tracks back to source the numbers of trafficked sex workers that various UK political, charitable and governmental groups have used over the last decade. In 1998, researchers found 71 women who had been “trafficked” (according to a very wide definition), and – with strong caveats about lack of sources and accuracy – estimated the prevalence might be 20 times greater: so, 1,420. In 2000, this figure was quoted  as a certainty by a group called Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking Across Europe (CHASTE – oh please) and recycled by Crimestoppers. The Home Office researcher th issue again in 2002, and – with suitable warnings about risk and accuracy – published a figure of 3,812 women working against their will in the UK. In June 2006, this was rounded up to 4,000 by Home Office minister Vernon Coaker, a number that was recycled by numerous charities including Care, the Salvation Army, and Anti-Slavery International. The real leap comes in 2007 from Denis MacShane MP, who announced in the Commons “according to Home Office estimates, 25,000 sex slaves currently work in the massage parlours and brothels of Britain”, a figure for which there was no Home Office research at all. The Mirror picked this up. In a later speech, MacShane used the figure of 18,000 from the police’s Operation Pentameter 2 sitrep: the police denied this was anywhere to be found. An leak to the Guardian of further analysis from Pentameter 2 said that after six months of raids on brothels to took for trafficked women, only 11 had been “made safe”. Another remarkable tale of churnalism? Not everyone agrees, accusing Davies of the falling for the trap of suggesting that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. UK groups are not alone in finding data gathering on trafficking hard, as this GAO report outlines.
  3. Moderately interesting linkswap between security geeks Drew Conway and John Robb over a recent piece of research in Nature about power laws and insurgency (which you can’t read, because it’s behind a paywall).


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Freshers Security Vacancies at Radisson Hotel India

About Radisson Hotel:
Radisson Hotel Delhi is the flagship hotel of the Carlson Hotels Worldwide in South Asia. It is in a franchise agreement with Carlson Hotels Worldwide, a Minneapolis (U.S.A.) based fastest growing hotel chain in the world. Radisson Hotel Delhi is a 5 star deluxe hotel with 256 rooms, extensive Food & Beverage / Banqueting and Conference facilities. The Spa services offered at the Hotel are of international standards proving to the needs of the global travelers.

Radisson brand offers best career opportunities, with a focus on employee learning and development. Our vision is to be the most Admired hotel company. The organization provides for need based systematic training inputs for our team members at all levels, with the aim of enriching the competency of the employees. Competitive remuneration package and employee friendly policies help us in being a Caring employer, approaching all situations as a leader with integrity, to never ever give up on all our dreams.

Designation: Security Associate

Experience: Fresher

Job Location: Delhi/NCR

Education: Graduate

Job Description:

  • National Cadet Corps (NCC) trained; C – Certificate / or B Certificate preferred.
  • Excellent written & verbal communication in English & Hindi.
  • Should be willing to work is shift duties.

for more details, Security Associate Delhi Jobs


Shashi Tharoor on Indira Gandhi

As a realist, Shashi Tharoor seems to be having more criticism than praise for Indira Gandhi, particularly because for virtually no reason she imposed state of Emergency in 1971 for the first time in India since independence. Ordinarily if an ordinary and unknown judge of Allahabad had ‘convicted’ her on technical ground for electoral malpractice. She could ordinarily appeal against this Judgement in the higher Court, even, if need be in Supreme Court and waited for final order of the higher or highest court. But it was not to be, Indira Gandhi was impatient, hungry for power even by undemocratic means as has been quoted by Guha in the following passage: which proves glaring undemocratic feeling and action by Congress under Indira Gandhi.

 ”During 1972 elections congress won in 13 states including Bihar MP and Maharashtra. However in West Bengal Congress used all undemocratic means to come to power “mixture of terror intimidation and fraud. Gangs of hooligans stuffed ballot boxes with the police idly looking on. There was mass scale rigging in Calcutta—goondas paid by the congress told voters assembled outside polling stations that they might as well go home, since they had already cast all the registered votes” (Quoted by Guha from eye witness account)

 Shashi Tharoor, too, thinks of Indira Gandhi, skilled in acquisition of “power by all means, fair and foul. She could not bear or stomach defeat,” in Shashi Tharoor’s own words.

 ”Mrs. Gandhi was skilled at the acquisition and maintenance of power, but hopeless at the wielding of it for larger purposes. She had no real vision or program beyond the expedient campaign; “remove poverty” was a mantra without a method.

 In a very brief account of Operation Blue Star and with no mention at all of Rajiv Gandhi’s indirect collusion with massacre of Sikhs for four days since he was sworn in as PM, and not ad-hoc PM like Gulzari Lal Nanda, immediately after Indira’s assassination, Rajiv Gandhi did not call the Army nor instruct the senior congressmen to stop the onslaught on Sikhs. About Indira Gandhi, Tharoor says “Mrs Indira Gandhi never understood the extent to which so many Sikhs saw ‘Blue Star’ as a betrayal” in the horror of anti-Sikh riots that followed it, which saw whole families burned alive for the Sin of sharing the religion of her assassins.

 On Mrs Gandhi’s encouragement and reported financing of Bhinderan-wale

Tharoor writes:

As the murders mounted, Mrs Gandhi had little choice but to destroy the monster( Bhinderan-wale) she herself spawned and finally violated a basic tenet of Indian state by sending armed troops into a place of worship, the historic Golden Temple in Amritsar to flush out the terrorists holed up there………. But her reel fault lay in having created the problem in the first place and in letting it mount to the point where destructive force of ‘Operation Blue Star seemed the only solution.’

 The assault on Golden Temple alienated many Sikhs like eminent writer and journalist, Khushwant Singh whose patriotism was unquestionable. However Indira Gandhi’s assassination was unfortunate though it was a reaction to attack on Golden Temple, the most sacred Gurdwara worshiped by the Sikhs all over the world. Though she had been advised or warned by her own intelligence to remove her Sikh body guards as they feared that as Dyer who ordered Jallianwala Bagh massacre was killed by Udham Singh, something like that may happen to her. But Indira Gandhi did not accept their advice. Had she accepted this advice many feel that she might not have been assassinated and thousands of more Sikhs might not have lost their lives in the first week of November 1984.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

India prueba con éxito un misil con capacidad nuclear | Mundo |

La India ha probado con éxito su misil balístico ‘Dhanush’, con capacidad para transportar arsenal nuclear y con un alcance de 350 kilómetros, desde una embarcación militar en la Bahía de Bengala.

Según fuentes de Defensa, el cohete fue lanzado a las 11.30 hora local (07.00 hora peninsular española) a unas 35 millas náuticas de la base militar de Chandipur, en el estado indio oriental de Orissa.


Click on the link to read the article

via India prueba con éxito un misil con capacidad nuclear | Mundo |


Fillip to community policing programme

Staff Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The first Janamaithri Kendram under the Community Policing Programme of the Kerala Police will be set up at the Fort police station in the city.

Addressing a monthly Janamaithri meeting of office-bearers of residents’ associations here on Saturday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) C.H. Nagaraju said Janamaithri Kendrams would also be set up at the Cantonment, Pettah and Medical College police stations. The proposed kendrams will be the nodal point of the Janamaithri programmes and road safety awareness schemes.

The Deputy Commissioner said steps would be taken to ensure that buses stopped at the designated stops and bus bays. The city police have procured decibel meters to prevent the misuse of loudspeakers during public functions and festivals.

The problems faced by road users near the Azad gate of Secretariat, GPO junction and encroachment by cobblers near Gandhi Park were among the issues raised at the meeting. The unwarranted presence of local guides near the houses of Male citizens in the vicinity of Medical College and the problems posed by migrant labourers also came up.

Following complaints that headload workers in Muttada were demanding exorbitant rates for shifting household materials, Mr. Nagaraju directed the police to register a case of extortion against them. He said such activities would not be tolerated. The meeting also discussed the absence of reflectors at bumps and illegal parking of vehicles near the Spencer Junction.

Replying to a remark made by an office-bearer that the media were publishing detailed stories on murder, other crimes and telecasting video footages from surveillance cameras, he said the investigating officers had been barred from talking to the Press. It was clarified that the photographs or sketches were provided to the media to assist in efforts to nab the accused as in the case of the recent burglary at Pettah. “The media carries out an investigation and it takes place parallel to our probe. It is good, as it is a check on the police,” he added.

The city police will look into the demand for a pre-paid autorickshaw stand at the Kochuveli railway terminal.

Officials of the KSEB, JICA and Kerala Road Fund Board attended the meeting. Assistant Commissioners of the four sub-divisions and two traffic sub-divisions, Circle Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors from the city police station limits took part.

(The Hindu, 13 December 2009)


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Worst and Best of the West

(Audrey) While stuck in Delhi traffic a few days ago, I had occasion to meditate on this sign on the back of the SUV in front of me. It struck me as a bit flawed in its construction. Are winning and fun really the only two options? Not to be a hopeless idealist or anything, but there seem to be a variety of other deeper goals one might give as being at the core of one’s life… And why two exclamation points? Of course, this is a Western saying and you gotta love that its on an SUV… perhaps the worst of the West come to India?

On a not totally unrelated note, check out this liquor store I discovered today—

To Western eyes, this store may appear normal enough. But note the clean floor, the glass shelves, the nicely stacked rows of bottles. This ain’t easy to come by in India. Here even ‘angrezi sharab’ stores, i.e. Western liquor stores, are more likely to be holes in the wall than anything else. And when you enter the land of ‘desi sharab’, i.e. Indian liquor, it’s a dark path to the bottom. I hesitate to say the best of the West, but the idea of well-lit, well-stocked, pleasant liquor stores I find to be a positive contribution to the sub-continent.


256 - One For the Road....3 - Dalhousie

DSC 5481

Acclimatization or acclimation as per wikipedia is the process of an organism adjusting to change in its environment, allowing it to survive changes in temperature, water and food availability, other stresses and often relates to seasonal weather changes.

Climbing high altitudes, its very essential that your body adjusts to the environment there. I realized this during my failed attempt to trek to the origin of River Ganga.

During the winter trek to Dalhousie, our camp organizers made us walk on the first day. It made us ready for the grueling three days trek later.

We started quite early and as the sun shined on the Dalhousie road, there was a slight drizzle.

And we, kept on walking!

  • Place: Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, India
  • Date: 4 January 2009
  • Camera: Nikon D50
  • Lens: Nikkor 18-200 mm
  • Focal Length: 18.0 mm
  • Aperture: f/10.0
  • Exposure Time: 1/200
  • ISO: 400


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Obama's Magic Reality

Delusions about Delusions

This writer, Pankaj Mishra, accuses America’s Last Black President of living in a fantasy world. In fact, Mishra also lives in a fantasy world, in which Puppet Obama has autonomy, and ideas, and policies. Obama says what Jews tell him to say, and does what they tell him to do.

Mishra writes, “Obama seems far from abandoning…,” as if Obama has the authority to abandon any path he’s been programmed to follow. Why does he write about “Obama’s idea…” and “Obama’s…decision-making,” and conjecture that “Obama could have learned,” after having correctly identified the fantastic nature of Dunham-Davis-Soetero-Obama’s role? In the very title of his column, Mishra makes it clear that Obama says and does what Jews tell him to say and do: “Kissinger’s fantasy is Obama’s reality.”

Of course “Obama’s World” is far from Ben Gurion’s fantasy (Satanyahoo’s fantasy…Rahm Emanuel’s fantasy…Goldman-Sachs’ fantasy…) but he’s doing his best to achieve their Final Solution to The Goyim Problem.

[Mishra is accused in his native India of being antihindic and of "pandering to white pro-Muslim audiences in the West".]

Kissinger’s fantasy is Obama’s reality

The road to stability runs through Kashmir. With its latest surge, America has taken a terrible diversion

By Pankaj Mishra | | 2009.12.11

Meeting George Bush at the White House to discuss Afghanistan, the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid once marvelled at how a “US president could live in such an unreal world, where the entire military and intelligence establishments were so gullible, the media so complacent, Congress so unquestioning – all of them involved in feeding half-truths to the American public“.

The masters of war and delusion are still flourishing. Widening his campaign of extrajudicial execution by drone missiles within Pakistan, Barack Obama seems far from abandoning an anachronistic American faith in superior firepower; the militarism of our new Nobel peace laureate seems constrained only by its steep financial costs.

Unabashed about their cheerleading in Iraq, many mainstream American journalists and columnists continue to resemble court scriveners of the kind the Mughal emperors employed: “intense”, “methodical” and “rigorous” were some of the adjectives used to describe Obama’s protracted decision-making on Afghanistan. As for the decision itself, Fareed Zakaria, fresh from a “small lunch” with the president at the White House, expressed the new liberal-hawk consensus when he exulted: “Obama is a realist by temperament, learning, and instinct.”

Actually, Obama’s idea of sending 30,000 more soldiers to help subdue the Taliban, reinforce the corrupt regime in Kabul, and assassinate more people in Pakistan until the inevitable American retreat, seems a particularly incoherent fantasy. Perhaps Zakaria means that Obama is a “realist” in the same way as Henry Kissinger was praised as one, doggedly pursuing “national interests” through the world’s manifold complexity. After all, Obama invoked Kissinger’s apparently prestigious imprimatur when he proposed to bomb “safe havens” for terrorists in Pakistan during his presidential debate with John McCain last year.

[Mishra seems to believe that Kissinger cares about American "national interests".]

Certainly a more historically grounded realism would acknowledge that Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation with a highly politicised postcolonial population, is not Cambodia – the hapless country Kissinger and Nixon devastated after failing to make Vietnam fall in line with American national interests. Or that the Pashtuns, though never colonised and hardly ever a nationality, have repeatedly proved more effective than the most organised anti-colonial movements in expelling foreign occupiers from their land.

Unleashing greater firepower on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama could have learned from the shrewd psychological realism of his early hero, James Baldwin. “Force,” Baldwin wrote during Kissinger and Nixon’s last desperate assault on Indochina, “does not reveal to the victim the strength of his adversary. On the contrary, it reveals the weakness, even the panic of his adversary and this revelation invests the victim with patience.”

The Taliban, predictably resurgent as a result of Nato’s blunderbuss tactics, may now choose to lie low for a while. The general respite from violence may even prove long enough for Obama’s intellectual courtiers to declare that the surge in Afghanistan has “worked”. As in Iraq, a new cycle of suicide bombings may then begin; but America, and its media, will have already turned away.

The realism of American foreign policy, it seems, can only be selective and ephemeral, as American elites endlessly calibrate their national interests – invading, bombing and abandoning vast regions as they please, leaving other people to pick up the pieces.

[Again Mishra seems confused, and believes that America's elites care about America's "national interests".]

Obama’s long speech on Afghanistan barely mentioned Pakistan, which in 2005 suffered a single suicide attack and now – after the intensified American-led or directed assaults on Afghanistan, Swat and Waziristan – suffers several such outrages in a week. In the same speech Obama did not refer even once to India, with which Pakistan has fought three wars over Kashmir, and whose military occupation of the Muslim-majority valley remains the biggest recruiting tool for jihadists in Pakistan, such as those who led the terrorist attack on Mumbai a year ago. (Not much exaggeration is needed to indoctrinate them: an Indian human rights group last week published evidence of the mass graves of nearly 3,000 Muslims allegedly executed over the last decade by Indian security forces near the border with Pakistan.) Obama will of course speak of Afghanistan’s neighbours when another jihadi assault on India, which is very likely, brings India and Pakistan closer to war, endangering America’s campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida. But it is also true that the historical and geopolitical relationships between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan may be too fraught for American foreign policy realists to reckon with.

In 1971, India facilitated the secession of Pakistan’s easternmost province (now Bangladesh), provoking Pakistan’s humiliated army and intelligence officials to pursue a policy of creating “strategic depth” against India by seeking Pashtun clients inside Afghanistan.

[He writes as if Bangladeshis -- "East Pakistanis" -- had no say or stake in matters.]

In the 1990s, Pakistani officials who helped supply the mujahideen during the CIA-led anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan turned to fuelling the popular insurgency in India-ruled Kashmir, which since 1989 has claimed more than 80,000 lives. Throughout the decade, Pakistan’s highly secretive intelligence agency, the ISI, trained and financed militant Islamist groups for jihad in Kashmir – even as it settled on the Taliban as its proxy in Afghanistan, which had been abruptly abandoned by the US following the Soviet withdrawal.

Obama himself identified Kashmir as the rusty nail in south Asia’s body politic a month before he was elected. Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, he told Joe Klein of Time magazine that “working with Pakistan and India to try to resolve the Kashmir crisis in a serious way” were “critical tasks for the next administration”. But, assuming the presidency, Obama inherited other, more strategic as well as lucrative national interests.

The Bush administration had wished to build up India as a strategic US ally and counterweight to China in Asia. Encouraged by an assertive Indian-American lobby, and American arms manufacturers, Bush offered an exceptionally generous civil nuclear agreement to India – which, unlike Iran, has long refused to sign the non-proliferation treaty. India is now finally an open market for US defence companies: Lockheed Martin alone hopes to cut deals worth $15bn over the next five years.

Of course, as China increasingly underwrites the American economy, notions of “containing” the Middle Kingdom through pro-America allies now look like some idle cold-war game-playing in Condoleezza Rice’s state department. But the Bush administration’s decision to legitimise India’s nuclear status, and to help project the country as a rising superpower, has stoked an old paranoia in Pakistan (and indeed in China, which, breaking from its policy of befriending previously hostile neighbours like Vietnam and Mongolia, has recently assumed its harshest stance towards India in decades).

[And in Iran.]

American officials often complain that Pakistan’s security establishment is “obsessed” with India. Seen through the perspective of American national interests, the obsession seems purely irrational, a frustrating diversion from the urgent task of combating anti-American extremists. But Pakistan sees India as gaining “strategic depth” in its own backyard, using Afghanistan – where India has poured over a billion dollars in aid since 2001 and has four consulates in addition to its embassy in Kabul – to support secessionists in the troubled Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

Pakistan’s leaders – who are convinced that America will abandon Islamabad just as it did Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 – will play the same charade with Obama that General Musharraf’s foreign minister once frankly described as, “First say yes, and later say but”. They may well launch a few token crackdowns on militants but are unlikely to abandon the possibility of allowing some to remain in order to unleash them, at a later date, on India-ruled Kashmir. As always, the road to stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan runs through the valley of Kashmir; and in making south Asia’s primary conflict disappear, Obama now seems yet another exponent of that exhausted genre of magical realism.


Led to Delhi

It’s time to leave Leh. I consider flying, but eventually plump for the bus journey to Manali instead. There’s five of us, all from the Ti-Sei lodge, all heading to untimately to Delhi. This requires an early start, still dark and cold, the only light coming from the stars. It’s difficult to describe how absolute the darkness is here, how accustomed we’ve become to at least some form of illumination. Heading for the bus station, I trip over one of the many mountain dogs that lie around the streets here. It starts to bark, and others answer, and soon the whole town is full of barking, howling dogs.

The trip to our next stop is eighteen hours long, but there have been worse journeys. A highlight is stopping at Taglangla Pass, at the time the highest navigable pass in the world. It’s marked by a sign proclaiming “TAGLANGLA. ALTITUDE 17582 FT. You are passing through second highest pass of the world. Unbelievable is not it?”. The air is thin here, the sky ranged to a blue density, and we feel giggly, and excited, as though we’ve shorn our years and have returned to our childhood. It’s only later that I realise that it’s probably down to oxygen starvation.

Lowlights: the roads and very, very narrow here, and there’s a sheer, bowel-clenching drop down the mountainside. “It’s safe,” Emilijana assures me, “The drivers are used to travelling here.” In complete contradiction, we pass the wreckage of three buses, compacted, lying far blow. Once we almost join them as the rear wheels of the bus go over the edge (and it’s a rear wheel drive). Another time, the door swings open, and the bus conductor goes swinging out over the edge, hanging on to the door handle, before the bus turn a corner and gravity pulls him back in. I almost miss this, only prompted a collective scream that comes from all the other bus occupants.

Finally we arrive at our overnight stop, in Keylong. It’s lushly green here, in almost complete contrast to Leh. We collapse into our tents, and fall into a scarily deep sleep, only to be woken in the early morning by a hindi pop song blasting out at horrendous volume from a nearby building.

We discover it’s Independence Day, and all the locals are in holiday mode. Emilijane drags me off to yet another bloody gompa, far up the mountainside, and while the building’s unremarkable, the view is astounding. A group of women are there, dressed in traditional costume, who ask for their photo to be taken. The majority of them are studying at university. Traditional dress is primarily worn by women in India, as the men plump for the naffest of western clothing, the sort that would get you stoned on the street if you were to wear it in the UK. On the way back down we take a detour through the local village, resonant with the small of mud and cow shit, and ooh and aah over the cute yak calfs perched on the side of buildings. The buildings here are very much of a traditional design, although there’s sign of modernisation in the form of a solar powered water heater for common use, where the villagers wash their clothing.

The second-last stage oufrour journey takes us to Kullu. It’s less traumatic this time, although Emiljana doesn’t agree, as she’s constantly being pushed out of her seat by Ian, another one of our party of five, who’s ill, and who keeps on dozing into a semi-feverish sleep. The approach into Manali is seen through a landscape misty and verdant, with quite the most beautiful scenery I’ve come across in India, forested, with sheer waterfalls spilling downwards. This isn’t our destination though: that’s Kullu, which appears to be full of mutant-size vegetation, and equally oversized wildlife. The bats (numerous here) are bigger than gulls. The insects have obviously been subjected to some sort of growth hormone. One, some sort of flying beetle, screams when you touch it.

Then, finally, four days after leaving, we reach Delhi. It’s crowded and hot and smelly and chaotic, and even though we’ve all been here more than once before, it seems like another world.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The green dividend

From Bloomberg:

Larsen & Toubro Ltd., India’s largest engineering company, aims to win 60 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) of orders a year building nuclear reactors by 2015 as a global shift to cleaner energy spurs demand for atomic plants.

“The first orders for the foreign reactors will start coming in 2011,” M.V. Kotwal, Larsen’s senior vice president, said in an interview in New Delhi late yesterday. “We can cater to the needs for critical equipment for any of these technologies, whether Russian, French or American.”

Atomic energy companies led by Areva SA and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy are flocking to India after a three-decade global ban on nuclear trade was lifted last year. Global spending on new reactors may reach as much as $1.05 trillion by 2030, according to management consultants Capgemini, as fossil-fuel generators are retired and governments seek carbon-emission cuts.

Meanwhile the commodities market for radioactives makes the news in Globe +Mail:

A supply glut could see uranium prices tumble over coming months, but that will be a buying opportunity as demand from nuclear reactors over coming years is expected to surge.

Governments around the world are sizing up nuclear energy – a means of generating electricity – as an alternative to expensive fossil fuels such as crude oil and coal, which pollute the atmosphere when burned.

Uranium on the spot market could fall to $35 (U.S.) a lb over the next quarter, to its lowest since late 2005 from around $45 a lb currently and $136 a lb in June 2007.

Over the next year it is likely to be capped at $55 a lb, but beyond 2011 some analysts expect it to rebound to $80 a lb.

“Uranium will be oversupplied in the short term. Utilities have more than they need for this year,” said John Wong, portfolio manager at New City Investment Managers.

“Next year the uranium market – estimated at about 180 million lbs – will be oversupplied by about 10 million lbs.”

Reasons for the oversupply include strong production growth in Kazakhstan, one of the world’s top uranium producers, which said this month it will aim to produce 15,000 tonnes next year compared with 13,800 tonnes this year.


Infidelity in the West and in India

The media in America is going beserk over Tiger Woods’ infidelity. Jokes, videos, news reports and blog posts are flying around faster than you can blink. The Indian media has jumped in too, and India’s leading English daily, the Times of India, is reporting the news on the front page! It doesn’t take much imagination to come to the conclusion that our Indian media would not get this hyper if the news had been about the extra-marital affair of some revered Indian sports star. Sure, there was a scandal about Mohammed Azharuddin some years ago, but his reputation had already suffered because of allegations of match-fixing. Most of the time our media seems to give us the impression that our sports stars all lead divine lives!

Which is quite impossible because infidelity is as old as the hills. Poor, rich or middle class, infidelity has always existed amongst all kinds of people. Rich people might get more opportunities and they can afford to keep several women too. That is probably why in most societies (including Indian),”… Kings, landlords, rich men and merchants had many wives, just as today rich and corrupt politicians have many mistresses some even bear them children.” I have heard some fairly lurid stories about some top Indian businessmen and ofcourse, actors. However, when it comes to actors, the Indian media does report it freely, like they did in the case of Aamir Khan. The story died down quickly though, apparently because Aamir denied it. Amitabh Bachchan’s affair was Rekha was also reported by film magazines (not the mainstream media) but then slowly the reports died down. Amitabh has gone on to BBC’s Hard Talk and firmly denied the affair.

Music maestro Ravi Shankar’s string of affairs with different women while attached to one is well known and he hasn’t denied it. Why should he, when it surfaced once it was all over, when he was old and well past his prime, the women long gone? Can one really believe that no one knew of his infidelity? Why, self muzzling of the press happened even in the case of  Tiger Woods. His promiscuous behavior was known to some people, some of them from the fourth estate, but it was kept under wraps. Maybe money was exchanged, maybe it was pressure or because Tigers are more good to them alive rather than dead! It was only when he had his famous accident that it attracted every kind of journalist and became a widely reported scandal. If it was an Indian sports star, it would have quickly died out and denials would have come thick and fast. In a day or two the story would have died.

Denials can obfuscate the truth when hypocrisy and prudery rule. It’s some sort of pretend game that people play, pretending that sex doesn’t exist. It’s not as if sex scandals can ruin careers. Not in India. It may hurt their personal life perhaps, but it’s doubtful that any politician’s career will suffer if an extra-marital liaison comes to light. The voting public in India  vote even for people with murder cases against them so I think an affair would pale in comparison.

In any case, it’s all covered up. One hears of politicians’ romps with prostitutes and bar girls, hidden mistresses and the like, but no names are ever given out. Stories about Tarannum’s (night dancer) trysts with well known people have surfaced, but while some names were given out, others were swept under the carpet, particularly that of  the “dapper son of a prominent Maharashtra politician…”

Prominent personalities in Europe who are caught red-handed do not usually deny their infidelity, and even when they admit it, it doesn’t ruin their career. It’s a little different in America and Britain, and public knowledge of  their infidelity has given sleepless nights to some, from America’s Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer to Britain’s John Profumo and John Major. The media is quite merciless though, unlike in India. Denials fall on deaf ears. Careers do get stalled and even end, although according to a Wall Street Journal article, new winds may be blowing in the US, with infidelity influencing voters much less than before:

Though adultery was, and still is perhaps for a minority of voters, an automatic disqualification for political office, the fact is that the moral rules by which American politicians are judged are complex and changing…

The article goes on to say that politicians who admit their transgressions and ask for forgiveness are more likely to be able to resurrect themselves.

In India we are a long way away off from people, particularly politicians, from owning up. In any case, the media helps them keep things under wraps. This gives them impunity and the freedom to live the way they want in private while continuing to lecture others.

Related Reading: All posts on Love
All posts on Sex


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

42 terror camps still active in Pakistan: Indian Army chief

Chief of Army Staff Gen Deepak Kapoor has said that there are still 42 terror camps operating across the border in Pakistan in which 2000 to 2500 terrorists are still waiting to infiltrate into Indian side. (via 42 terror camps still active in Pakistan: Army chief- Hindustan Times).

Such cross-border firings did come down for some time after the two countries agreed to a ceasefire along the 198-km International Border in J&K, the 778-km LoC and the 150-km Actual Ground Position Line in Siachen on November 26, 2003.

But Pakistan army is now back to its old strategy of actively aiding and abetting infiltration, and the ceasefire is increasingly turning fragile. Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, in fact, recently said Pakistan army was trying to push in as many militants as possible before the mountain passes get snowed under. (via Terror infrastructure in Pak still intact: Antony – India – The Times of India).

Post-colonial India

So … if we know this … what are we doing about these 42 camps?

Post-Independence India has inherited a Pakistan Fixation, which predisposes us to whine – and demonize Pakistan. Endless whining about Pakistan’s bad deeds gets us nowhere. A ‘victorious’ Congress, ruling for most of the 60 years of post-colonial India, had three clear propaganda imperatives.

1 – TINA, There is no alternative

They needed to prove that it was only the Congress which could ‘take on’ and  ‘defeat’ the ‘glorious and the mighty’ British Empire on which the sun never set. The logic went, “what could India(ns) have done without the Congress”. This thinking went deeper and dirtier, when a certain Deb Kant Barooah, declared “India is Indira and Indira is India.”

Pakistani press trying to 'even' the score

Pakistani press trying to 'even' the score

Similarly, Congress decided to re-write history and take all credit for the departure of the British colonialists. Contributions of leaders like SC Bose was ignored or the importance of the February 1946 joint action by the Indian Armed Forces against the colonial forces, was minimized to the ‘Naval Ratings Mutiny.’ Leaders like VD Savarkar (the first to write a non-colonial history of the War of 1857), or Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (the founder of the Jana Sangh-BJP) was dismissed as fascism.

Fact is, that Britain was bankrupt and could not hold onto India. Fact is, that for a 150 years – from 1797-1947, many rebellions, wars, individual hits were made against the colonial British Government. The myth of non-violent Indian freedom movement, served both colonial and Congress interests. It showed the British as ‘civilized’ colonialists – and the Congress as ‘enlightened’ leadership. Just like most Western literature caricatures African-American characters as hard-working, humble, docile, placid, obedient, gentle!

2 – If you don’t have an enemy, create one!

The Congress needed to create an enemy. A demon, who they could blame, use, abuse – and Pakistan fitted the bill perfectly. A failed state (!), a hotbed of terrorism – and to top it all, an Islamic State. What more could the West-Congress combine ask for?

Easily slipping into colonial legacy of ‘divide et impera’, the Congress went onto a disastrous foreign policy trail of Hindi-Chini bhai bhai. A solid realtionship with Pakistan would have,  arguably, saved Tibet from the Chinese maws – which Nehru’s foreign policy predicated.

3 – Craven desires

To gain Western approval, acceptance, favours, privileges et al.

Consider the English language policy of the post-colonial Congress Government. It has massively subsidized English education in India so that the children of the elite could ‘escape’ to the West. The demeaning ‘population control theory’, the English language education – all, a result of this need of the Congress Party.

The deliberate colonial distortion of Indian history continues unchecked and unhindered. You only have to read Congress Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s speech at Oxford, praising the Raj,  while receiving his honorary doctrate, or Chidambaram’s decision to end “abject poverty” in India that he seems to “have known for 5,000 years.”

When each of these elements are looked at in isolation, we can take benign view of these actions. When looked at collectively, it forms a clear pattern.

Poor Sri Lankan cricket team got a taste of Pakistan ...

Poor Sri Lankan cricket team got a taste of Pakistan ...

A rather ominous pattern.

The Root Of This Problem

The state of inter-government relations in South Asia is a sign of lazy Indian diplomatic corps (the IFS) which considers all these neighbourhood postings as ‘punishment’ postings. The ‘best’ of IFS corps wants postings to Western capitals. Like the IAS, the IFS is another albatross around India’s neck.

A large part of India’s Foreign Ministry budget goes towards Western engagement (for proof, look at the dubious Festivals of India in USA, France, Russia, Britain, etc). Instead if the same money was spent in the sub-continent, it would have been better spent. The huge monies spent on Western embassies are mis directed. It would be ideal if those Western embassies were Spartan, frugal (I should actually say Gandhian) – and our the money saved was invested in the sub-continent. India’s Western engagements are at a direct cost of involving and managing the neighbourhood relationships.

If India’s problems were limited to Pakistan, possibly, there is some merit to India’s Pakistan Fixation. India’s relations with its other neighbours are also in trouble. Its relations with Bangladesh are at a historic low. Relations with Sri Lanka are back from the brink. Nepal is the new fire in the sub-continent.As though militants are different from the Pakistani State

What should India do?

The other issue is that Indian bureaucrats whine. They issue empty threats – and take no follow up actions.

For instance, cut off Pakistan’s supplies of paper, inks, dies, presses, spares for the currency printing. Are things changing.? India has indeed has taken the first intelligent action (that I have seen) in a long time in handling Pakistan.

Next! Send a 100 Indian agents to lob grenades into Pakistani terrorists camps – every month. Just one grenade in one terrorist camp every month. Within the next 6 months the terror infrastructure of Pakistan will evaporate.

Other options India can consider.

  1. Zardari wants to export cement and sugar to India. India has a large market for both – and can easily absorb Pakistani exports. Tie these Pakistani exports to quantitative achievements in shutting down terror camps in Pakistan.
  2. Pakistan precarious financial position does not allow it the luxury of an arms race with India. Pakistan has access to Western technology for – in defence for RDX, machine guns, PACs, etc. The world must withdraw all technology from Pakistan for all arms and ammunition. No RDX, no tanks, no F-16s, no APCs. Pakistan must be put on strict diet of military technology blockade by the world. No less.Pakistan does try and believe that they are equals
  3. Fake Indian currency notes are also allegedly coming out of technology supplied by Europeans. Close these channels. Pakistan’s suspected role in counterfeit currency operations must also be put under the scanner. Controlling Government’s of the 12 companies that dominate the currency printing business must be made to choose. Between India and Pakistan. If the German Government can arm twist their companies to suspend currency supply to Zimbabwe, there is no excuse for them to not to lean on dealings with Pakistan.
  4. Pakistani Hindus (especially Dalits) are crucial to Pakistan. Announce a scheme for Hindu immigration from Pakistan to India. The loss of this 2% of Pakistani population can make life difficult for Pakistan. Facilitate their immigration to India.
  5. Work with US, NATO, Afghan Governments to close down the Peshawar arms bazaar. This small time bazaar became the sourcing centre for terrorists all over the world. Initially, stocked up with arms from the CIA funded jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, Peshawar, has become a problem that never ends. If required, there should be a UN mandate to send in a multinational force to surround, capture and destroy this centre for arms and armaments.
  6. Pakistan is at the crossroads of a jihadi, terrorist, criminal elements who have joined together and created an incendiary mash-up. Fueled by a drugs trade worth billions, arms trade worth millions and respectability, as they are ‘carrying out a religious jihad’.
  7. The leadership of these gangs has to be de-fanged. LK Advani, as the earlier Home Minister, forwarded a list of ‘Most Wanted 20′ to Pakistan nearly 7 years ago. Not one has come to India. The US has not co-operated on this one important Indian requirement.

The Pakistan problem is finally not as complex and it is made out.

Nor as easy as some may want it to be.