Beautiful people have it the worst

We really should exercise much more care when talking about beautiful people like Nargis Fakhri. The poor girl recently came in for some harsh treatment on the Koffee With Karan (KWK) show (Karan as in Karan Johar, the super-boss of Bollywood).

As she says, people consider her (unfairly) to be just a dumb, pretty face, and she wants to set the record straight…she is a talented, pretty face who hustled hard to find a royal patron who is duly appreciative of her talents (and her beauty).

It is not poor Nargis’s fault that she was born beautiful.
The attention that she has been showered with since childhood must have
been a heavy cross to bear. Also she is really tall (5’9″ !!!) and as
we know tall girls have limited match-up choices. Not for Nargis,
thankfully. She has Bollywood royalty as a boyfriend (Uday Chopra, son of the late legendary producer Yash Chopra).* 

in all, life is so harsh, so un-yielding for these tall, beautiful, super (wo)men who strive day after day to raise the spirits of the common
(wo)man. Superficial beauty aside, Nargis is one tough lady and she has the
will to win, fighting, scrambling, and hustling till the game is won. No shame in that, only glory. BTW,
she also has a new movie just coming out (Main Tera Hero). Best of luck,

*( If a filmi boss proposes to an upcoming
starlet this is rightfully condemned as a casting couch case. However if
the girl herself manages to hook-up with the boss and jump to the head
of the queue it is admired as a sign of personal initiative) 

Dharmics United vs. The Yavanas

As we arrive at the critical middle phase of elections, there is still space/time for one final piece of drama- Dr Manmohan Singh’s brother Daljit Singh Kohli has joined the BJP. He was supposedly motivated by the humiliation inflicted on bade bhaiya by the dastardly dragons at the Delhi Durbar (PM had no comments except to express personal sadness).

It is quite possible that Daljit is a Vibhisana (devil brother) and not a Lakshman (angel brother), but the stories of humiliation are vouched for by many people in the inner-most circle (incl. Sanjaya Baru).

Any other time such stunts would be dismissed as pure drama-bazi, but if your boat is already sinking even a few straws may prove to be too much of a burden, especially when the public has reason to suspect that there is no honor to be spared amongst this gang of thieves.

We have always been bemused by the plethora of articles criticizing the evil Modi vs. the pure as snow Congress and its unswerving commitment to protect minorities. The liberal mouthpieces such as Mukul Kesavan, Mihir Sharma, Aakar Patel (and many others, all non-Sikhs) have been confidently stating for some time now that the appointment of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister has helped erase the blood-stains from 1984. The lone dissenting voice is that of a Sikh- Hartosh Singh Bal – who aptly terms all of this as “secular nonsense.”

If we continue to press forward with a community polarization strategy (for which all parties are equally to blame) then Hindus + Sikhs + Jains + Buddhists (so-called Dharmic group represented by the present BJP/NDA) and even some Christian communities will be united against the Yavans, the invaders who foolishly claim that their motherland lies on some imaginary desert (Arabic) shores.

But there is hope for a better way. The younger generation of muslims in Delhi readily abandoned the Congress for the Aam Aadmi party which is led by the non-elite, middle class and is propounding a common-sense, left wing agenda (disturbed by a few antics here and there, a natural part of the growth experience). If the AAP is able to win some 50 odd seats it will be in a good position to drive the dynasty away from the privileged position it feels entitled to. And India will be a far better country for having shaken off all the parasites, apologists, foot-lickers, and sycophants as well. Enough is enough.


A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected the presence of a ‘Modi wave’ in the country, his stepbrother Daljit Singh Kohli joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in the presence of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Kohli stunned everyone, when he suddenly appeared on the dais, minutes after Modi and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal mounted the stage at a rally to support BJP’s Amritsar candidate Arun Jaitley.
Embracing Kohli into the fold, Modi said, “Dr Manmohan Singh’s brother has joined the BJP, and this will add to our strength. I welcome him into the party and assure him that this is not a membership party, but a relationship party. I promise him that whatever dreams for India and Punjab he has brought into the BJP, all of them will be fulfilled.”
Defending the PM, but lashing out at the Congress, Kohli said, “I put on record that my elder brother Sardar Manmohan Singh is a respected and honest gentleman. He has served the nation with full dedication and honesty. However, the Congress leadership never gave him a free hand and interfered in the functioning of the government. Because of this the nation is in a mess. I decided to join the BJP in the interest of the country and Punjab.
Secular Nonsense (Hartosh Singh Bal/Open magazine): 
…..several ‘secular’ commentators have joined issue with these right-wingers to make the claim that the Congress, despite 1984, is less of a danger than Narendra Modi.
The ‘despite’ is a problem. It takes a degree of armchair callousness to make light of the widows of Trilokpuri, as Mihir Sharma did with the easy claim that ‘1984’s victims aren’t living penniless in garbage dumps today as, around them, a state’s development is praised.’ 
(Aakar) Patel wrote in The Hindustan Times: ‘The fact is that the Congress has made its peace with Sikhs. To see this we need to only go through the names of Punjab’s legislators. Of the 46 Congress MLAs, 33 are Sikh (on the other hand 10 of the BJP’s 12 MLAs are Hindu).’ The fact, though, is nothing of the sort. Let me cite a fact from Gujarat. Earlier this year, in the Salaya municipality in Jamnagar district of Saurashtra, where 90 per cent of the population is Muslim, the BJP put up 24 Muslims for the 27 seats at stake, and all of them were successful.
Going by Patel’s logic, it would seem that the Muslims of Salaya love the BJP. But I have reported from Gujarat often enough to know this is not the case. There is a Hindi phrase that sums up their plight: ‘Majboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi’. If Patel had bothered to understand Punjab half as well as he understands Gujarat, he would know that in a state with a Sikh majority, the Congress and Akali Dal are the two alternative routes to power. If one is closed, the other is the only option. This has nothing to do with making one’s peace with a party, unless by making peace Patel implies exactly what the Hindi phrase suggests.
Kesavan is far more explicit in his admission of the extent and nature of the Congress’ culpability for 1984, but he ends his column in The Telegraph with a claim that goes beyond 2002 and 1984: ‘So the reason the dynastic Congress isn’t as dangerous as Modi’s BJP is dispiriting but straightforward: while the Congress is capable of communalism, it isn’t constituted by bigotry.’ This conclusion isn’t specific to Modi, it extends to almost any BJP administration. 
The problem is that Kesavan makes this claim while addressing the question of the 1984 killings. Murder or rape organised by a ‘secular’ party is no less serious than murder or rape at the behest of a communal ideology. You cannot privilege one party over another on this basis. Neither 2002 nor 1984 can ever be acceptable and either is enough to disqualify a party from a reasonable claim to power in this country.
If you consider the difference between the pursuit of justice post-2002 and post-1984, Kesavan’s explicit claim is what accounts for the active involvement of civil rights activists in Gujarat and their apathy in practice over the 1984 killings. Many of the activists who have done outstanding work in Gujarat, such as Teesta Setalvad, see no problem in maintaining close links with the Congress. They see the BJP and Modi as ever present dangers that need to be combated, but they treat 1984 as an aberration that lies in the past.
In a 2007 book The Clash Within published by Harvard University Press in the US and glowingly blurbed by none other than Amartya Sen, Martha C Nussbaum confronts the comparison thus: ‘The closest precedent to Gujarat… was the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi…’ She then goes on to make the claim that there were differences and that in the Delhi riots ‘rape and killing-by-incineration were not central elements of the violence’.
The central image of the 1984 killings is of Sikh men being burnt alive. Eyewitnesses tell of tyres tied around their necks and set on fire, others tell of a white powder that easily burst into flames. 
As for rape, Jyoti Grewal in her book Betrayed by the State, writes, ‘…I must respect their wishes which were explicit that I not repeat events, names and references. What I heard were the details of rapes, how family members were forced to rape their wives and daughters before the mob raped the women again; it was more than I could bear. 
Later in the book, she writes, ‘The issue of rape was buried… the community pressured them so much that the women just did not want to talk about rape.’ Women silenced once had been silenced again by one of the world’s leading feminists only to make a point about Gujarat. Consider the secular outrage we would have witnessed if a leading US conservative had written something so offensive about the Gujarat killings.
Despite such facts, there seems to be no shortage of commentators, largely non-Sikhs, who are willing to speak on behalf of the community and absolve the Congress of its role in 1984. It is no wonder the epigraph to Jyoti Grewal’s book reads, ‘I write so I am not written out; I write so I am not written about..

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Zack’s Thought Experiment of the Day

Imagine if the journalist had used the word “black” settlements to describe inner-city areas.

A Jewish Photographer’s Portrait of Arab Israeli Teenagers

Eighteen 05Jehad Nassar, 18, stands at the center of some of his gang members in Arrabe. Jehad has seen one of his friends lose his leg in a recent fight against another gang. Crime and gang disputes are very common, as the police hardly enter Arab settlements.

Natan Dvir
Turning 18 is the start of an important year for young Israelis. They typically finish high school, become legal adults, and get the right to vote. It’s also the year when the differences between two strata of Israeli society crystallize: While virtually all Jewish men and women join the military, most Arabs, who make up around 20 percent of the population of Israel, don’t.

On Bard’s (450) birthday, Romeo debarred

Romeo and Juliet dancing Bollywood Fusion in the rain to celebrate 450 years of the Bard? Alas, in the modern day Keystone State, the quality of mercy is highly strained.

Historians are unable to agree on the exact birth date of Shakespeare. Official celebrations mark it as April 23 (1564), but there are strong claims made for April 26. We personally prefer to celebrate everyday as Shakespeare day, since we love English (and English minus the Bard is a bit difficult to contemplate) and we love the day-to-day drama that takes place on this worldly stage, which if not always pitched at an epic Shakespearean level (thankfully), still manages to make our day (or break it).

One particular recent sketch that is tinged with much sadness: Pennsylvania authorities have suspended Patrick “Romeo” Farves from the school prom for having dared to offer a (plastic) rose to the beautiful and gracious Nina Davuluri.  Why? Surely the lady would not mind dancing a few steps with a young (if a bit too ambitious) boy. A missed opportunity for (brown-white) cross-culture pollination as well – Reihan Salam would have been pleased. 

Let us hope that not all young love is nipped in the bud in such a churlish fashion (Nina herself has requested for a royal pardon). The young adults now dreaming of making a grand entrance on the world-stage must be met with warmth, kindness, and understanding so that non-violent delights do not come to violent ends.

Pennsylvania teenager has been suspended for asking the first ever
Indian-American Miss America Nina Davuluri to the prom, the annual end
of the year dance for high school students.

Patrick Farves, 18,
also handed Davuluri a plastic flower after he asked her to the prom on
Thursday. She smiled — but he was suspended from school after the
stunt, New York Daily News reported.

The Central York High
School senior was given a three-day suspension for “deliberately
defying” school administrators’ requests that he not pop the question
after they learned of the planned stunt, the newspaper said.

He later apologized, writing a letter to the district’s assistant superintendent that he was honestly sorry for the commotion.

His suspension sparked a
#freepatty Twitter outcry where hundreds of students wrote about the
unfairness of the punishment, Daily News said.

Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri was crowned in September and has a whirlwind tour of visiting schools and events.
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Post poll verdict: Congress in a tight corner

We agree with Yogi Berra that predictions are difficult…especially those about the future.

That said
it was clear from yesterday that Muslims have been fully mobilized for
the Congress. What was equally clear is that the Hindus have been
fully mobilized for the BJP,
in particular the Gujarati community in Mumbai (also includes a sizable number of Jains, Parsis and Dawoodi Bohras). To the extent the politicians wanted a polarized
electorate they have got one (Aam Admi Party does not even have a whiff of a

The BJP/NDA will win this one and probably win big.

As a result of the mobilization efforts, polling was huge even in normally apathetic Mumbai. The top-line number is 52.66% (41.42% in 2009). These numbers are preliminary ones released by the Election Commission and may be revised later.

Breaking down into constituencies we have: Mumbai North 52% (42.6% in 2009), North-East 53% (42.47), North-West 50% (44), North-Central 52% (39.5), South-Central 55% (39.5), and South 54% (40.37).

In Maharashtra the top-line number is 56.26%. The non-metro seats also saw healthy voting percentage: Nandurbar (62), Dhule (59), Jalgaon (50), Raver (58), Jalna (63),
Aurangabad (59), Dindori (64), Nashik (64), Palghar (58), Bhiwandi
(60), Kalyan (43), Thane (42) and Raigad (64). Thane (also Kalyan) was disappointingly low (why? these are politically very active).

For rest of India, voting percentage increased on average by more than 10% (excluding states which already record high turnouts). Specifically, and most significantly, Uttar Pradesh registered a 13% increase.

West Bengal clocks in (as always) as the most politically conscious state. The turnouts were as follows: West Bengal (81.4), Puducherry (80), Tamil Nadu (73), Assam (77.6), Madhya Pradesh (66), Jharkhand (63.5), Chhattisgarh (66), Uttar Pradesh (60.12), Bihar (60), and Rajasthan (59).

This is how the other metros have voted so far. Delhi 65.1% (51.8% in 2009), Bangalore 54% (48.3), Chennai 60% (61).  Chennai was the only disappointment. First place for Kolkata (by a country mile) is assured.

The minimum was in Anantnag, Kashmir (28%) since our islamist brothers are not fond of democracy (here or elsewhere around the world). They still dream about repeating another direct action day experience when they can drive all the Hindus out of Kashmir…but they have already accomplished that. Next in order would be to battle test the formula (1 muslim soldier = 10 hindus). Unfortunately for them, even after four attempts, that claim remains to be validated. Now the only thing left on the agenda is to kill their own brothers (and sisters), ban expressions of art and culture, and force women into purdah. Good luck with that.
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LTTE murderers will remain in jail (for now)

Update: This is probably the best decision the panel could have taken given the grave constitutional issues (state vs. center powers)  involved. A larger bench will examine and decide. 
As it stands we have (temporary) relief for the families of the victims and anxious anticipation for the families of the perps.
Supreme Court on Friday referred the case related to release of those
convicted of killing former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to a larger
constitutional bench. The convicts will not be released from prison till
further orders, the court said.

A bench headed by Chief
Justice P Sathasivam pronounced the judgment at 10.30am on Friday. The
apex court wanted the five-judge constitution bench to decide that after
commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment whether the
government can further grant them remission by releasing them.

The Supreme Court said that the constitution bench will also address
which government has the power to exercise remission for condemned
prisoners under the code of criminal procedure; whether it is the state
government or the central government, or both.

The Supreme Court verdict on the (continuing imprisonment) LTTE murderers was postponed keeping in mind the elections that were conducted in Tamil Nadu on 04/24.

There was however one more important deadline to consider: Chief Justice of India (P Sathasivam, only the second Tamil to be holding this august position), will be retiring on April 26th and has made a personal declaration to the media that he will be chairing the 3 member panel that will issue the judgement.

The popular sentiment currently in TN is overwhelmingly in favor of the thugs and has managed to bleach away the blood-stained memories of the twelve Tamilians murdered in Sri Perumbudur on May 21, 1991 (along with a few non-Tamilians). It will surely be interesting to peruse the detailed reasoning behind the verdict.

Regardless of our personal bias, we wish for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream…..for the perpetrators as well as the victims.

fate of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — V
Sriharan alias Murugan, A G Perarivalan and T Suthendraraja alias
Santhan — will be known on Friday, when the Supreme Court delivers its
verdict on their premature release.

A bench headed by Chief
Justice of India P Sathasivam will deliver the judgment at 10.30am on
Friday, and rule on the validity of Tamil Nadu government’s sensational
decision to release them from prison prematurely.

The bench
will also pass orders on the appeal filed by another life convict in the
case, P R Ravichandran, against denial of release by the state
government’s advisory board in 2008.

Former prime minister
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at Sriperumpudur near Chennai in Tamil
Nadu on May 21, 1991. A special court for Terrorist and Disruptive
Activities (Prevention) Act (POTA) found all the 26 persons guilty of
the offence and awarded them death sentence in January 1998. On a
referred appeal before the Supreme Court, the death penalty of only four
— Nalini, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan — were confirmed. Later, on
the recommendation of the Tamil Nadu cabinet, the state’s governor
commuted the death penalty of Nalini alone to life.

the mercy pleas of the three condemned persons pending before the
President for more than 11 years were rejected, and their hanging was
scheduled to be held in September 2011. It was, however, stayed by the
Madras high court.

On February 18 this year, the apex court
commuted their death sentence into imprisonment for life, saying
inordinate and unexplained delay in disposing of their mercy pleas by
the President would be a valid ground for commuting their sentence. On
February 19, Tamil Nadu chief minister, J Jayalalithaa, announced their
immediate release from prison prematurely by invoking provisions of the
Code of Criminal Procedure. Assailing the decision, the Centre rushed to
the Supreme Court, which stayed their release on February 20.

Last week, Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, on a visit to
Coimbatore, told a group of reporters there that verdict on the validity
of their premature release will be given before his retirement on April
26. Taking exception to the announcement and apprehending a motive at
the timing of such a disclosure, former chief minister M Karuananidhi
had said the CJI ought not to have discussed such a thing in public,
that too while the elections in the state were round the corner.

Now, just a day before his retirement on April 26, a bench headed by
the CJI Sathasivam will decide the validity of the state government
decision to release them prematurely. 


Mother of all ballots (180 mil, 117 seats, 04/24)

Tomorrow is a most  crucial day for the republic.
If you are one of the 180 million voters who plan to exercise their responsibilities as citizens, please pay attention to this last minute message (see below) from a (Christian) Father (Fraser Mascarenhas, Principal, St Xaviers College, Mumbai) to his (mostly Hindu) students.

An interesting point that needs highlighting, is the difference between Muslims and Christians in their attitude to Modi. Amongst the activists and intellectuals (Mascarenhas included) there is of course complete unanimity, an united wall against the Great Satan. 

However at the community level there are stark differences. The upper-caste Kerala Christians (Syrians) are publicly backing Modi (votes not so much), so are a large section of Goan Christians (votes will make a difference). There is no (apparent) solidarity with tribal, dalit Christians who may face an onslaught from Hindutva forces post elections. 

In contrast, the only muslims who will be freely voting for Modi are the Bohras of Gujarat/Maharashtra and the Shias in Uttar Pradesh. The Bohras are businessmen and are voting based on caste interests (as opposed to the interests of the Ummah), while Shias will vote due to their grievances against Sunnis (there is no Ummah).  


Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday lampooned St Xavier’s College
principal, Frazer Mascarenhas, for writing a message to his students
criticizing the Gujarat development model and praising the flagship
schemes of Congress-led UPA government.

Mascarenhas has apparently written a message to his student saying,
“All the Human Development Index indicators and the cultural
polarization of the population show that Gujarat has had a terrible
experience in the last ten years.”

“As opposed to this, efforts
like the Rojgar Yojana and the Food Security Act have been called
“election sops”. However, some of our best social scientists like
Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze have supported these as necessary in the
emergency economic situation the country and the world is facing.” . “The
country is grateful that committed activists like Aruna Roy and Shailesh
Gandhi have worked with the government to initiate and sustain the
Right to Information Act which makes accountability possible. Corruption
still needs to be addressed effectively, but since it is so prevalent
at every level of society, it will take civil society long agonizing
efforts to root it out,” he further stated.


out at the principal of St Xavier’s College Mumbai for his
controversial advisory to students which is critical of Narendra Modi’s
‘Gujarat Model’ of development, BJP on Wednesday complained to the
Election Commission.

Demanding an ‘immediate withdrawal of the
statement’ issued by Father Frazer Mascarenhas, BJP alleged that the
principal’s email to students is a violation of model code of conduct.

In its letter to the Election Commission, BJP wrote, “Xaviers is a go ..

A letter addressed to students by Father Frazer Mascarenhas, principal
of St Xavier’s College, criticising the Gujarat model of development
triggered a storm with strong reactions coming in from across the
spectrum. The BJP filed a complaint on Wednesday with the Election
Commission against him saying that the letter which was published on the
college website violated the model code of conduct because the college
is government-aided.

In his letter which does not directly name any individual or political
party, Father Mascarenhas’ urged students to “choose well” and exercise a
“reasoned choice of individuals and political parties who promise to
work for a real quality of life”. The letter speaks about the poor human
development indicators in Gujarat, including education and rights of
the tribals. “So what lessons does a reflection on the approaching
elections teach us? The prospect of an alliance of corporate capital and
communal forces coming to power constitutes a real threat to the future
of our secular democracy,” his letter read.

Prominent alumni from St Xavier’s college also joined the debate.
Theatre personality Alyque Padamse said: “This is a democracy. People
have a right to air their views.” Former Attorney General of India Soli
Sorabjee, while saying that Mascarenhas had not misused his position as
principal, he should have refrained from making a public statement. “St
Xavier’s College has been an institution which has been aplolitical. It
shouldn’t dabble in politics.

At St Xavier’s College, many students supported their principal. TYBA
student Rujuta Sabnis said that there was nothing wrong in what he had
done. “It’s good that he’s making sure we’re getting the right
information. Anyway, everything he has said is true,” she said.

However, some others were not impressed. “While I love Father
Mascarenhas mostly and what he teaches us, I feel this is a way to
influence students by using his authority. I am not a first-time voter
but there are many in my college who are. The letter does not make a
difference to me as I have already made up my mind but it could
influence many others,” said an MSc student who did not want her
identity to be disclosed.


Americans (ideologues) prefer traitors

Reihan Salam does not think much of people who prefer to date people with a similar skin color.
He would prefer people to cast aside their prejudices and qualify as a race traitor (our words).

What was truly interesting was his assertion that people’s attitudes to race (and dating) depend on the communities in which they grow up, which is dependent on when they were growing up. Thus a brown kid in the 1950s would be forced to date only whites, while in the 1990s there would be many eligible browns to choose from. The same concept presumably applies to where you are growing up, even today, Boise, Idaho is lily-white compared to New York City.

While we do not necessarily disagree with Reihan, our lived experience was that brown girls preferred dating white boys (and vice versa). The consensus opinion of our peer group (incl. both sexes and races) was that this dynamic was driven by the prejudices of the concerned women (white males are enlightened as compared to browns) and men (brown females are submissive as compared to whites).

These days technology will also play a key role. The young generation dwells in the on-line universe for a large part of their lives (where they may be learning Bharat Natyam via Skype from an Indian guru). Thus one may not need a physical space and a community, the virtual equivalents may help foster prejudices (as Reihan sees it).

Reihan (as befits a conservative) is also taking this opportunity to admonish liberals for being hypocritical (and “hilariously self-righteous”). He certainly has a strong case. Arundhati Roy hates capitalism etc. while enjoying the fruits of a capitalist society. She is also (un)hilariously self-righteous. Albert Gore Jr. is self-righteous while burning up gigantic amounts of fossil fuel to fly across the world and lecture others about anthropogenic global warming. Conservatives used to call such people “limousine liberals.” Now they have a brand new (self-appointed) name….a class traitor.

Jedediah Purdy (see link below) has issued a clarion call for class traitors to join the revolution, fortunate people who are prepared to rain down arrows of misfortune on their own people. Following this logic, a brown, upper middle-class individual who votes to (1) expand government and/or (2) supports affirmative action is a class traitor, and one who is (3) open to dating a white person is a race traitor. 

While liberals are looking for class traitors, conservatives are seeking out race traitors, doppelgangers of (Supreme Court) Justice Clarence Thomas, who is married to a white lady and who has just now destroyed affirmative action (after having benefited from the same). Liberals used to call such people “Uncle Toms.” While it is futile to expect name-calling to stop in a deeply polarized society, we can at least appreciate the symmetry. Thank heavens for small mercies.
In a somewhat similar vein, one of OkCupid’s questions reads as
follows: “Would you strongly prefer to go out with someone of your own
skin color/racial background?” 

I was struck by the not inconsiderable
number of people who answered “yes”—including some people I know “in
real life,” many of whom are hilariously self-righteous about their
enlightened political views.

Keep in mind that OkCupid users can skip a question with ease. The
people who answered this question had every opportunity not to do so.
What I found surprising about the fact that a fair number of people
answered that they would indeed strongly prefer to go out with someone
of their own skin color/racial background was not that this phenomenon
exists in the world. Racial preferences in dating are quite common, and women appear to exhibit stronger same-race preferences than men. Rather, I was surprised that people would be willing to openly state that
they had strong same-race preferences. One assumes that many people who
do have such preferences would either chose not to disclose them
publicly, or chose to skip the question entirely.

Is a strong same-race preference something one ought to be ashamed
of? Or is it enough to say that the heart wants what it wants and to
leave it at that? This is a more important question than you might

Before I start throwing stones, I should note that my upbringing has
given me a skewed perspective on American life. When my parents settled
in Brooklyn in the mid-1970s, there were only a small handful of
Bengali-speaking South Asian Muslims in the city, and so
self-segregation wasn’t really an option….Had I been born a few years later or a few years earlier, however,
it’s entirely possible that I would have either found a crew of
co-ethnics with whom to bond or I would have felt like much more of an

But instead I grew up in an in-between moment in which people
didn’t have a strong sense of what people like me were supposed to be
like, and so I at least felt that I had the breathing room to define
myself. I thought of my “group” as including all “ethnics,” whether they
were Chinese or Haitian or Puerto Rican or Russian Jewish, and I
suppose I still think the same way. The fact that I don’t have a strong
same-race preference is not the product of some moral superiority on my
part, but rather the idiosyncratic circumstances of my early years. 

so I’m disinclined to judge those who do have strong same-race
preferences too harshly.

Nevertheless, I do feel comfortable judging them guilty of being

To be sure, dating is about more than the sharing of bread, and
OkCupid users who express strong racial preferences may well be doing
the world a favor by being open and honest about their wants. But I
don’t think it’s too much to ask those who do express such preferences,
and those who live them in practice, to reflect on them, and on how
there might be more to fighting racism than voting “the right way.”

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Deep State Fatwa: shut down Geo TV (or else)

Who is the Boss? After all these years (decades) and all the going back and forth there is not an iota of doubt. Aam aadmi-s (even elites such as Hamid Mir) may say whatever they want to say, provided the Deep State does not mind what they say.

And while we continue to chatter about foolish nothings, let us also drop the pretense of some strange, rogue element being responsible for taking care of Obama* Osama, shooting down Mumbai etc. An all powerful deep-state will not tolerate a single rogue element, let alone remain ignorant about multi-million dollar operations which required years of planning. Hafeez Saeed may be farting in your general direction but he is just a front-man in this scheme of things.

army demanded the closure of the country’s most popular television
channel on Tuesday following allegations that the military’s main
intelligence agency had ordered an assassination attempt on its star

In a three-page petition to Pakistan’s broadcast
regulator the ministry of defence accused Geo News of mounting a
“vicious campaign” to libel the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate
(ISI) and called for its operating license to be revoked. “The telecast
in question was aimed at undermining the integrity and tarnishing the
image of state institution and its officers and falsely linking it with
terrorist outfits,” the notice said.

The confrontation between the
country’s most powerful institution and its biggest media group was
triggered on Saturday when Hamid Mir, a household-name presenter, was
severely injured when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle as he was
travelling along one of Karachi’s busiest thoroughfares.

Even as
he underwent emergency surgery Geo News broadcast non-stop claims,
relayed by Mir’s brother, that the ISI and its director general
Zaheer-ul-Islam should be held responsible for the attempt to kill him.

said he had feared he would be targeted because of his criticism of the
army over its interference in politics and the brutal counterinsurgency
being waged in the troubled province of Balochistan.

journalists run great risks in Pakistan, particularly from militants who
have targeted media workers who dare to criticise the Taliban or
highlight deadly sectarian attacks on religious minorities.

Rumi, a prominent liberal analyst, fled the country after he survived a
gun attack on his car in Lahore that killed his driver in late March.

Mir had demanded the high treason trial of former military ruler Pervez
Musharraf be expanded to include other people involved in ordering
emergency rule in 2007. The trial, which has dragged on since December,
has become an area of tense disagreement between the government which
initiated it and the military which wants Musharraf to be allowed to
leave the country.

In a public show of support on Monday Nawaz
Sharif, the prime minister, visited Mir in hospital and promised a
thorough investigation into the assassination attempt.

The ISI has
a reputation for being an all-powerful “state within a state” and has
in the past been accused of various misdeeds, including the killing of
journalist Saleem Shahzad in 2011 who had been investigating the
penetration of al-Qaida into the army.

But never before have such
serious claims of criminality been made by a such a prominent figure as
Mir, a widely admired journalist whose night time show attracts front
rank politicians as guests and is watched by millions. Although Geo
later insisted it respected the military and had reported the army’s
denials alongside Mir’s claims, the affair has caused uproar within army

Any move to put out of business the most prominent of all
the private channels will be met with alarm by supporters of greater
democracy in the country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ) said Pakistan’s broadcasting regulator should not act on the
“spurious complaint” and called on the country’s security services “to
recognize the critical role of the media and exercise tolerance and
“The ISI is free to rebut allegations in the media but
should not try to censor coverage,” said Bob Dietz, the CPJ’s Asia
programme coordinator. 

*acknowledgement: Asok