Bharat is a different country

69% of Indians live in Bharat (rural areas). So, how is this Bharat doing vis-a-vis India (urban areas)? 

A list of Deprivation indicators culled from the Census 2011 Household amenities & asset Data [Take note of the yawning gap b/w rural & urban households):

Households that use Firewood, Crop Residue, Coal/Charcoal, Cow Dung for cooking: 
67.2% of total households (86.6% of Rural Households[R], 26.3% of Urban Households[U])

No water closet latrine within Premises: 63.6% (80.6% of R, 27.4% of U)

No Tap Water: 56.5% (69.2% of R, 29.4% of U)

No TV: 52.8%  (66.6% of R, 23.3% of U)

No drainage: 48.9% (63.2% of R, 18.2% of U)

Bathroom is just an enclosure without roof or have No Bathroom at all:   58% (74.7% of R, 22.5% U)

No Telephone:  36.8% (66.6% of R, 23.3% of U)

Electricity not main source of lighting: 32.8% (44.7% of R,  7.3%  of U)

House not in Good condition:  46.8% (54% of R, 31.5% of U)

Other General observations (via Census Website):


India: controlled by (kosher) remote?

We have to admit that our political instincts are poor. In 2009 we were sure that BJP would win backed by the anger over 26/11. The opinion polls were sure as well. However the state of the economy and the fact that the Muslim stood as one with the Congress and the ineptitude of the BJP and the then leader Pakistani-Hindu-Sindhi Lal Krishna Advani were the deciding factors. Again, we did not see the tsu-NaMo coming this time, even though we did conclude (post-polls) that BJP/NDA will win big.

What was interesting was to hear from many people who voted for the Congress in 2009, simply because they felt that Pakistan somehow needed to be pacified and the Pakistani-Sikh-Punjabi Manmohan Singh was indeed the best man to do it. They were seriously worried that Advani would act in a rash manner (especially if there was a repeat strike).

For sure, these people have no love lost for Pakistan. Rather (in our opinion) they were terrified of the world’s #1 secret service- the ISI. To them it was clear that resistance to ISI was simply futile and the best hope for India was to sue for peace. (Subsequent events have done nothing to change their opinion. Even after Abbottabad these folks were expressing deep admiration for the fact that ISI was able to hoodwink the bumbling Americans for an entire decade.)

But while the #1 secret service may have aided the GOP indirectly in 2009, the #2 secret service was supposedly working overtime in order to ensure a BJP victory in 2014.

At formal and informal introspection sessions held for over past few
Congress leaders are coming up with bizarre theories for their
drubbing in the elections, right form blaming the Israeli intelligence
the Japanese communication agency Dentsu, the RSS and Congress
state units.
Everyone except vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been held
responsible for their crushing defeat.

On Monday at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, general
secretary Mohan Prakash dropped a bombshell, revealing that Israeli
intelligence Mossad was in league with the RSS since 2009 to bring down
the UPA government.
Prakash when contacted refused to confirm, saying
the discussions at the party forum were not meant for public
consumption. Insiders, however, revealed that
Prakash’s version was that
Israel was not happy with the UPA government since it had only limited
political relations with Tel Aviv, unlike its predecessor the NDA.


So who is this Mohan Prakash?
Is he some dastardly muslim such as Mahesh Bhatt who has kept his (fake) Hindu name while praying five times a day? Not really. He is a scholar (Banaras Hindu University and Kashi Vidyapeeth) and a street fighter who is one of the favorites of the first family and had the honor of leading the Congress into battle in four western and north-western states in this elections. By the looks of it, he is also one of the brightest lights in the Congress party. when such a man speaks up (with conviction) people take notice (especially the gullible).


Early Life and Education

Shri Mohan
Prakash was born on 26 December 1950, and hails from Rajasthan. He is a
Bachelor of Journalism from Banaras Hindu University and studied his MA
from MG Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi.

Political Career

Shri Prakash started
his political journey from BHU as President of the Student’s Union in
1974-75. In 1985, he was elected to the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha. From
1991 to 1997, he worked closely with youth and farmer movements in
various parts of the country.

He was appointed a member of the AICC
Media Advisory Board from 2002 to 2004, during which he was in charge of
media relations for the Rajasthan state assembly elections in 2003. He
was an AICC spokesperson during the 2004 parliamentary elections. In
2005, he took charge of Media for the Haryana and Jharkhand elections,
and was also a member of the AICC delimitation committee.

He was in the AICC Media Committee in
2006, and for the UP elections in 2007. During the 2007 election for the
President of India, he was the spokesperson for the Congress Party.

He is a member of the Publication and
Publicity Committee of the AICC. Shri Prakash was appointed Secretary
(and spokesperson) of the AICC from 2008 to 2011. He was Chairman of the
Screening Committee for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2012.

Current Responsibilities

Shri Prakash is a member of the CWC and General Secretary AICC in charge of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

We bet that SS#1 has already found out all about the operations of SS#2 and will shortly issue a fatwa forbidding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from attending the inaugural ceremony. You heard this first here on BP.

Link (1):

Link (2):


PS response to YSVR- unfortunately, it does not really matter what ordinary people like us think- the “fact” that Mossad was responsible for the BJP victory  (and that a Hindu certified this to be true) is about to become conventional wisdom on Pak-nationalist websites. Just like the time when the bumbling Indian security organizations provided an affidavit that there was a rumor that 26/11 was an inside job. Yes, we are really that dumb and deserve all the bullets and bombs that come our way.


How big is Indian Middle Class? From Laptops to Motorbikes: 10-20%

In my previous post,
Malik posed an interesting inquiry- by Global standards, how big is Indian/South
Asian middle class.  How large is the size of what we may call
the ‘haves’ in this region?

I’ll focus here on
India – and pray pundits may do the number crunching for the rest of South Asia
or perhaps correct or refine the estimate I propose for India. The object
here is not to arrive at an exact figure but a rough estimate whose upper and
lower bounds are fairly certain. 

Census Data tells us

The latest, most reliable and most comprehensive data
on Household possessions for India  is
the Census
2011 Data
. While a middle class household must possess a decent house with
all the ‘basic’ global middle class amenities- a modern toilet, kitchen,
electricity supply, water supply and so on; Census data does not provide us such
holistic picture ( no data on number of households having ALL these basic
amenities) but certain key indicators (which one may term as ‘elite’ and ‘Aam
Aadmi’ indicators) can be used to arrive at a rough estimate of Middle Class household
share in populace. 

Upper Middle class & elite

 Census data
on 3 of the ‘elite’ indicators:

Households owning Car/Jeep/Van:  4.7%

Households owning Computer/Laptop:

Households having Mosaic/Floor tiles:  10.8%

Assuming any household which owns any of the above
3 items must fall under middle class, one can reasonably claim that middle
class size should be atleast 10% of all households
(afterall how many poor
households can spare money for Laptop/Computer or Mosaic/Floor tiles? Very few
I believe).

Mainly middle class members:  Significant chunk, if not Majority of these should
fall under middle class)

Census data on some of the “Aam Aadmi” (Common
middle class) indicators:

Households owning Scooter/motor
cycle/Moped: 21%

Households  owning LPG/PNG for cooking: 29%

Households owning Concrete roof: 29%

Households owning Cemented floor:

Again assuming any household who doesn’t own any
one of the above items doesn’t deserve middle class status, one can reasonably
claim that middle class households should not be more than around 20% of all
(afterall how many middle class households can’t afford even
a scooter/motor cycle/moped? Leaving out environmentally conscious, Very few I

Putting the two bounds together one can reasonably
claim that going by Census 2011 Data:

 Middle Class households account for 10-20% of
India’s all households.

I admit this is a very simplistic analysis (cheaper
recycled stuff; elite/middle class separation; traditional
cow dung users and many other details overlooked) devoid of intense academic rigor; and can be refined
further but very
broadly, It does give us a reasonable rough estimate which also sits well with
estimates coming from  multiple other
sources, for example:

PS: Is it an overestimated, underestimate or needs to be refined further (closer to 10%, or to 20% or somewhere in b/w)? Comments are most welcome.

Modi Government Part III: Foreign Policy

What BJP Manifesto says

“We will create a web of allies to mutually further our

What RSS says?

Bharat Maata must be restored to its Global-power status

Strict policy 
on alleged Bangladeshi illegal migrants,
Pakistan’s armed infiltators and PLA 

India a natural homeland for Pak/Bangla Hindu

Closer ties with Nepal, Bhutan & perhaps Indo-China (brotherly Dharmic Countries).

Brief thoughts on relations with selected few countries…


military assistance to Afghanistan Government to tackle Taliban perhaps?


hope for improvement. Though a BJP led Government does have greater leeway than
Congress in constructively engaging with Pakistan (without being branded as too
soft on terror); Pakistani Generals have reasserted their tight grip over the
State by  expelling Indian Journos, repeated
Ceasefire violations at LoC and closing down of Geo TV in recent days.  Another round of Jihad-e-Kashmir or
Gazwa-e-Kabul and Modi’s hawkish Anti-Pakistan rhetoric can make matters worse.
Also Pakistani media/politicians/diplomats/agencies, who have engaged in
Anti-Modi rhetoric in near past, will find it difficult to  re-engage.  


Likely to worsen. Since BJP has
simple majority in Lower House, it can hammer out Teesta water sharing and Land
enclave settlement without Mamta’s backing. But on BD, Modi and RSS rhetoric has
been primarily focussed on Bangla immigrant issue & fencing the border.
Also a Secularist Hasina may find it difficult to engage with Mr Modi.  Any major Anti-Bengali Muslim rioting or State
sponsored repatriation effort on Indian side, can make matters worse.

Sri Lanka

to get better- BJP doesn’t need support of Dravidian parties to stay in power and
also has little (though no longer zilch) at stake in Tamil Nadu’s local politics. DMK, AIADMK may very
well raise their Anti-Sri Lanka rhetoric but may not prove as effective as they
were under UPA Government in shaping India’s foreign Policy w.r.t Sri Lanka.


assistance for ‘brotherly’ Hindu majority country. Only major danger is RSS tying
itself in knots if it pushes Modi Government to take side of Nepal’s pro-Monarchy
& Hindu Nationalist RPP-N . Nepali Maoists are another group that hold
potential of derailing reapproachment India.


as usual. Perhaps Modi can bring some Chinese expertise for proposed
mega-infrastructure projects.


hiccups, should remain warm as ever.


days ahead. Modi as CM has good experience of working with Japan plus great chemistry
b/w the two Modi and Abe


Visa ban on Modi in past, relations likely to get better with time.  Convergence of Geopolitical interests
(containing China’s military rise), RSS’s American fanbase, Modi’s pro-business
tilt and India’s huge market-should force both sides to bury the past and move
on with business.


get a major boost. RSS has great admiration for the Jewish State. Under NDA
regime, Jaswant Singh became the first Indian Foreign Minister to visit Israel
in 2000 and in 2003, Ariel Sharon was the first Israeli PM to visit India. Mr Modi
is already being touted as Israel’s best friend in South

Arab States

‘pay as you go’ business likely to continue. For India’s economy, the Oil must
flow; while given the long view (emergence of India as a major Asian Power),
precarious stability situation within Arab nations; Arabs also in no position
to annoy India.


Inshallah Kashmir: Living Terror

More Indians need to watch this…

Ashvin Kumar’s  documentary Inshallah Kashmir was released online  in 2012 on 26th January (India’s Republic day). In 2013, It won in “Best Investigative film” category of 60th National Film Award.
The documentary recounts tales of ordinary Kashmiris affected by the militancy and its terrible response in last 2 decades. Among other things; it covers  Kashmiri nationalist narrative, the rigging of 1987 State assembly elections, rise of armed militancy, Islamist hijack, Pandit exodus, Army’s brutal response (Srinagar’s Papa-II detention center; CRPF’s Gawkadal massacre, alleged mass rape in Kunan Poshpora by jawans of Rashtriya Rifles), APDP’s struggle to recover missing persons and a senior babu Wajahat Habibullah’s backgrounder on the conflicting narratives & India’s goofups.

It is my view that self-censorship on Kashmir,  by mainstream Indian media   has done more harm than good- it has fed the shallow hypernationalist narrative (thus increasing the gulf b/w Kashmiri & Non-Kashmiri Indians) and in past allowed Security forces to get away with gross human right violations (further alienating local populace). It is not my case that the Lashkars/Mujahids or the urban semi-educated Islamist youths can offer any salvation for Kashmir. Independent or within Indian Union, only a secular democratic model with free trade, travel & interactions with India (and Pakistan) can bring long lasting peace & prosperity to Kashmiris and to the next door Jammu region (where large communities of Hindus & Muslims live cheek by jowl). Having said that, if India’s claims to a democratic and federal republic are anything more than a hollow rhetoric, high time non-Kashmiri Indians, start taking note of concerns of Kashmiris as fellow equal Indians (or else not crib when Kashmiris raise banners of Azadi).
PS: A good news- After 4 long years,  ban on Texting has been finally uplifted in Kashmir, though by now Kashmiris had shifted to Whatsapp


The good old days (human heads as cannonballs)

History was always a favorite topic till we reached adult-hood and realized that everyone was spinning a story from a particular angle (mostly Marxist). Every detail was emphasized (or de-emphasised) as per the ideological requirement.

Eventually one gets habituated to the little tricks and place filters to sift out the propaganda. That said even propaganda is enjoyable if done well and good historians are inevitably superb story tellers. One may declare that the text is all false yet the yarn is beautiful. Yes, sometimes the story is just that good that you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the story.
A hot and fetid June night on the small Mediterranean island of
Malta, and a Christian sentry patrolling at the foot of a fort on the
Grand Harbour had spotted something drifting in the water.

alarm was raised. More of these strange objects drifted into view, and
men waded into the shallows to drag them to the shore. What they found
horrified even these battle-weary veterans: wooden crosses pushed out by
the enemy to float in the harbour, and crucified on each was the
headless body of a Christian knight. 

This was psychological warfare at its most brutal, a message sent by
the Turkish Muslim commander whose invading army had just vanquished the
small outpost of Fort St Elmo – a thousand yards distant across the

Now the target was the one remaining fort on the
harbour front where the beleaguered, outnumbered and overwhelmed
Christians were still holding out: the Fort St Angelo. The Turkish
commander wished its defenders to know that they would be next, that a
horrible death was the only outcome of continued resistance.

the commander had not counted on the mettle of his enemy – the Knights
of St John. Nor on the determination of their leader Grand Master Jean
Parisot de la Valette, who vowed that the fort would not be taken while
one last Christian lived in Malta.

On news of the
grotesque discovery of the headless knights – many of them his personal
friends – Grand Master Valette quickly ordered that captured Turks
imprisoned deep in the vaulted dungeons of the fort be taken from their
cells, and beheaded one by one.

Then he returned a
communiquè of his own: the heads of his Turkish captives were fired from
his most powerful cannon direct into the Muslim lines. There would be
no negotiation, no compromise, no surrender, no retreat.

We Christians, the Grand Master was saying, will fight to the death and take you with us.

Siege of Malta in 1565 was a clash of unimaginable brutality, one of
the bloodiest – yet most overlooked – battles ever fought. It was also
an event that determined the course of history, for at stake was the
very survival of Christianity.

If vitally strategic Malta fell, the Muslim Ottoman Empire would soon dominate the Mediterranean. Even Rome would be in peril.

Muslims had hundreds of ships and an army tens of thousands strong. The
Christians were a ragtag bunch of just a few hundred hardbitten knights
and some local peasant soldiers with a few thousand Spanish infantry.
Malta looked doomed.

That the Hospitaller Knights of St
John existed at all was a minor miracle. They were a medieval relic, an
order established originally to look after ailing pilgrims to the Holy
Lands during the Crusades 300 years earlier – other orders of the
Crusades, such as the Knights Templar, had been extinct for
two-and-a-half centuries.

They came from countries all
over Europe: Germany, Portugal, France, Spain. All that united them was a
burning desire to defend Christendom against what they perceived as the
ever-encroaching tide of Islam. Yet by the 16th century, an age of the
increasing power of nation states, these trans-national zealots were
viewed as an embarrassing anachronism by much of Europe.

the Turks had forced them from their earlier home, the island of
Rhodes. Now the knights had moved to Malta – and were threatened once

So savage was the fighting, so mismatched the two
sides and so important the moment, that I chose the Siege of Malta as
the subject of my latest novel, Blood Rock. It was the stage, as we
thriller writers say, for epic and mind-blowing history.

as I researched for my book, I came to realise that what happened on
Malta more than 400 years ago is salutary in today’s context. For as we
know only too well, religious extremism, terror tactics and barbarism
still exist.

Malta was no mere siege. It teaches us many
things: the need for courage and steadfastness by an entire populace in
the face of threat; the fragility of peace; and the destructiveness of
religious hate.

Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of Turkey
and pitiless ruler of the Ottoman Empire, stared out upon the
glittering waters of the Golden Horn estuary of Istanbul. He was the
most powerful figure on the planet – his titles included Vice-Regent of
God on Earth, Lord of the Lords of East and West – and Possessor of
Men’s Necks on account of his habit of beheading servants who displeased

His realm and absolute remit stretched from
the gates of Vienna to the gardens of Babylon, from Budapest to Aden. He
was one of the richest men of all time who never wore the same clothes
twice, ate off solid gold plates encrusted with jewels, and took his
pleasure in a harem of more than 300 women.

octogenarian, he was utterly ruthless, employing an assassination squad
of deaf mutes to strangle traitors. (The reasoning was that they could
never be influenced by the pleas for mercy of their victims, nor tell
any tales.)

Suleiman had used them to dispatch both his
Grand Vizier (his prime minister) and his favourite sons. Less worthy
subjects could be executed by pouring molten lead down their throats.

by the standards of the day and his own dynastic line he was not
especially violent. 

Other sultans had done worse: one, tiring of his
womenfolk, had drowned his entire harem – some several hundred strong –
in muslin sacks at the bottom of the Bosphorus; a second had written
into the royal prerogative that he could shoot ten or more citizens a
day with his bow and arrows from the roof of his palace.

controlled the greatest fighting force in the world. Before him lay an
armada of 200 ships ready to sail, an army of 40,000 troops on board. He
planned to wipe the barren rock of Malta and the Knights of St John
from the map.

These knights lived by raiding and
disrupting his Ottoman shipping routes. The last straw had been their
capture of the prized ship of his powerful courtier the Chief Black

Because all his “parts” had been cut off by a
clean sweep of a razor – a metal tube had been inserted into his urethra
and the wound cauterised in boiling oil – the eunuch was also entrusted
to look after Suleiman’s harem.

The Sultan did not expect
undue trouble exacting his revenge. A mere 700 knights stood in his
way. Such a rabble would be quickly cleared.

The Turkish
fleet headed across the Mediterranean in March 1565. Aboard the ships
were the elite janissary shock-troops – the “Invincible Ones” – who had
carried Islam across Europe with the slashing blades of their scimitars.

Accompanying them were the blackplumed cavalry corps and the infantry as well as the drug-crazed Iayalars who
wore the skins of wild beasts and whose raison d’etre was to reach
paradise through death as they slit infidel Christian throats in battle.

In late May 1565, the invasion force arrived at the
island. The knights awaiting them enjoyed good intelligence of their
plans and had asked for assistance from the Christian armies of European
nations. Every kingdom spurned their request – other than Sicily, which
said that if the knights held out, help would eventually come.

have probably never heard of Fort St Elmo. It is a small star-shaped
structure sited at the tip of what is now the Maltese capital Valletta
on the north shore of Grand Harbour.

In late May 1565, it
was where the full might of the Turk artillery was unleashed, a hellish
crucible that would forge the future course of our modern age. For days
the invaders pounded the tottering and crumbling edifice, reducing its
limestone walls to rubble, creating a dust cloud. The knights refused to

At night, Valette sent reinforcements from St
Angelo by boat across Grand Harbour, in the knowledge they were heading
to their deaths.

After the artillery, the attacks went in,
wave upon wave of screaming and scimitar-wielding Turks, trampling over
the bodies of their own slain, laying down ships’ masts to bridge the
debris-filled moat into which the walls of St Elmo had slid.

time they were met by the ragged and diminishing band of defenders,
fighting with pikes and battle-axes, firing muskets and dropping blocks
of stone, throwing fire-hoops that set ablaze the flowing robes of the
Muslims and sent them burning and plummeting to their deaths.

fire-hoops – covered in flax and cotton, dipped in brandy and coated
with pitch and saltpetre – were the knights’ own invention. Dropped
blazing over the bastion walls, they could engulf three Turks at a time.

For 30 days, cut off and doomed, the soldiers of St Elmo
prevailed. The Turkish general had expected the fort to fall within

Late at night on Friday June 22, 1565, the few
hundred survivors from an original garrison of 1,500, sang hymns,
offered up prayers, defiantly tolled their chapel bell and prepared to
meet their end the next day.

Those unable to stand were
placed in chairs behind the shattered ramparts, crouching low with their
pikes and swords to await the final assault.

When it
came, and the entire Turkish army descended as a howling mass, the
handful of Christians still managed to fight for several hours.
Eventually the Ottomans took their prize. The crescent banners of the
Grand Turk flew above the ruins, the heads of the knights were raised on
spikes, and the crucified bodies of their officers were floated across
to Fort St Angelo on the far side of the harbour.

The Turks had lost time and up to 8,000 of their crack troops.

heat was rising, disease and dysentery spread throughout the Muslim
camp, and the dead lay piled around the blackened remnants of the seized
fort. deserted the knights – the princes of Europe had abandoned them.
But Grand Master Valette was not about to quit.

Scenes of
heroism and horror abounded in the terrible days that followed. There
were extraordinary characters: Fra Roberto, the priest who fought on the
battlements with a sword in one hand and a cross in the other; the two
English “gentlemen adventurers” who arrived belatedly from Rome to take
part in the action; Valette himself, who stood unyielding in the breach
and used a spear to battle hand-to-hand against the foe.

had led desperate sallies against the Ottoman, harrying their labour
corps, sniping at commanders, spiking their guns. But the enemy, too,
had their brave and vivid figures. Among them was Dragut, the most
feared corsair of his day, whose skill and dash had served the Sultan
well. A cannonball splinter did for him.

Yet the siege
continued, the target now St Angelo, the final and fortified enclave of
the knights on the southern side of Grand Harbour.

Turks tried every twist and tactic in their military manual. They
tunnelled beneath the Christian defences to bury gunpowder and blow the
knights to bits. The Maltese responded with their own mines to blow up
the tunnels and there were terrible skirmishes below ground.

the Turks drew up siege engines, giant towers designed to pour their
infantry direct on to the battlements. The knights removed stones at the
base of the battlement walls so that they could run out cannon through
the openings they had created, and blast the siege engines apart.

several occasions those walls were breached, the Turks rushing through
eager to slaughter all in their path. Triumph seemed at hand but they
found too late that the knights had improvised an ambush, creating a
killing zone into which they were funnelled and slaughtered.

for the Turks was slipping away. The furnace temperatures of July and
August sapped morale and strength; the sense of failure clung as
pervasively as the surrounding stench of death.

The Turks’
commander, Mustapha Pasha, marched inland to take the walled city of
Mdina, only to withdraw when scouts informed him of its substantial and
well-armed garrison. It was a trick. Mdina was largely undefended, its
governor ordering women and children to don helmets, carry pikes and
patrol the walls.

Frantic, with casualties mounting and
autumn storms looming, the Turks rolled a giant bomb – a fiendish
barrel-shaped object packed with gunpowder and musketballs – into the
Christian positions.

The knights promptly rolled it back
and it blew a devastating hole in the massed and waiting Muslim ranks.
It rained. Believing the gunpowder of the knights to be damp, their
muskets and cannon useless, Mustapha Pasha again sent his troops

They were met by a hail of not only crossbow
bolts but gunfire, for Valette had anticipated such an moment, setting
aside stores of dry powder.

Finally, relief reached the
knights in the form of a small army from Sicily. Believing the enemy
reinforcements too weak to be of any consequence, Mustapha Pasha angrily
ordered his troops – who had bolted on hearing of the new arrivals – to
turn back and march towards them. It was the last of his many grave

The cavalry of the relief force charged, then
the infantry, tearing into the Turkish centre, putting it to flight.
Rout turned to bloodbath. The once-proud Ottoman force scrambled in
disarray for its ships, pursued across the island, cut down and picked
off at every step. Thousands died and the waters of St Paul’s Bay ran

Of the 40,000 troops that had set sail in the spring
from Constantinople, only some ten thousand made it home. Behind them
they had left a scene of utter devastation.

Almost the
entire garrison commanded by Jean Parisot de Valette – after whom the
city of Valletta is named – had perished. Now, after 112 days of siege,
the ragged handful of survivors limped through the blitzed wreckage of
their lines.

Malta was saved, for Europe and Christianity. The Knights of St John had won.

has moved on – the island withstood another siege which played a key
role in the saving of civilisation in the 1940s, this time against
Hitler’s forces. Today, the hotel and apartment developers have moved
in. Rarely is the 1565 Great Siege of Malta mentioned. Hardly ever do
visitors to the island dwell on such an ancient and forgotten incident.

I have stood in that tiny chapel recessed in the walls of Fort St Elmo,
the very place where defenders took their last holy sacrament on a June
night long ago. We owe those knights.

Their sacrifice was
immense, their effect on our lives more profound than we may know. 

religious fanaticism continues, and global powers will still fight over a
piece of barren rock. Perhaps we never really learn.

Blood Rock by James Jackson is published by John Murray at £11.99.




Sikh stereotypes

In South Asia the small minority communities have it difficult (always the danger of getting swallowed by the majority) and easy (they are lionized for some or other outstanding qualities). When we see the high social indicators of Jains, Sikhs, and Christians (but not the neo-Buddhists) then we subconsciously connect the good in the J/S/C philosophy and link it back to the indicators. Simply put, J/S/C good, H/M bad.

There is a good and bad part of this “boosting.” The good part is that the value of being a minority, of increasing diversity is not (often) questioned. The bad part is that well, things are really not what they seem to be. The most egalitarian ideology fails the acid test of the caste system/biradiri. And the most useful test is to observe how behavior patterns change when the minority becomes a (local) majority.

The best (worst) example is the case of the North-East (Naga) Christians who have often led blockades of Manipur valley (mostly Hindus) including one mega-blockade which went on for 250 (+) days. It was part extortion and part black-mailing and full-scale terrorism. Sick people could not reach hospitals, children could not get to schools and the common people suffered terribly. Of course these incidents barely ever reach the national press let alone international press. 

“The life has reached its most difficult stage without food and
essential commodities. There is acute shortage of fuel, which has
affected students not being able to go to schools and colleges.
Hospitals have run out of oxygen, there is shortage of medicines,” it

Then there are the Sikhs, who in our opinion are the most outstanding people on earth. They have been horribly victimized in Partition I and again due to Mrs Gandhi’s machinations in the 1970s culminating with the high crimes of 1984 (we tend not to over-use the word genocide).

Frankly speaking our (wrongly held) opinion of the Akali Dal was that it is a grass-roots organization run by a passionate and close-knit circle. But we had no idea that it is basically just one family which controls every switch on the switch-board. At this level it is akin to Shiv Sena, one organization we are a bit more familiar with. Stereotypes are still mostly true, but the Akali Dal is just another SAsian “family business.”


Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal runs the
northern Indian state of Punjab from his office in the secretariat
building. His son, a wealthy businessman, works next door as deputy
chief minister. A few floors away, the
deputy’s two brothers-in-law run key ministerial offices. Together, the
four men sit atop half of Punjab’s governmental departments, including
home affairs, justice, taxation and food supply.

in Punjab, a relatively affluent, agrarian state of 28 million, is
largely a family-run operation, which isn’t uncommon in a country
governed for decades by the Indian National Congress, the party of the
Nehru-Gandhi clan.
But frustration with family politics has
surfaced in India’s national elections, which end with the announcement
of results Friday. Political analysts and voters say this frustration is
an important reason why prime-minister candidate Narendra Modi—a critic
of dynastic politics who said he gave up family life for public
service—is the front-runner. He was leading in exit polls Monday. The father, grandmother and great-grandfather of his opponent,

Rahul Gandhi,

all served terms as prime minister in India’s postcolonial era.

the U.S. has its own dynastic family names—Kennedy, Bush and
Clinton—none match the depth of India’s family ties. A British historian
in a 2011 study found that two-thirds of India’s national
parliamentarians under 40 were related to other politicians. And voters
here have grown increasingly suspicious that such family networks use
policy-making and executive authority to enrich themselves and their

In Punjab, a Wall Street
Journal review of financial and government documents, as well as
interviews, found Mr. Badal’s relatives have benefited financially
during his administration, with government decisions on transportation
and electric power favorable to family enterprises. Badal family
connections in regional TV news broadcasting, meanwhile, have had the
effect of squelching voices critical of the arrangement, according to
political opponents.

A spokesman for Mr.
Badal, Harcharan Bains, said, “there is no unwritten convention or
written law” in India that people in public life can’t have business
interests. The Badals say their business deals are kept at arm’s length
and deny any abuse of power. Voters support them, they say, because they
improve the lives of constituents, expanding infrastructure and
development, for example.

“This family system runs because of
credibility,” said deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, age 51.
“Why do people want to buy a Mercedes car? Or a BMW car? Because they
know the credibility of that car. You come out with a new car that
nobody knows, nobody will buy it.”

Badal family hails from southern Punjab, where members have long been
affluent landowners. Mr. Badal, the 86-year-old patriarch, is an
energetic man with a long white beard who rose through the ranks of
Shiromani Akali Dal, an influential regional party formed in 1920 to
protect the interests of the Sikh community, who make up a majority of
Punjab residents.

Mr. Badal served two
brief stints as chief minister in the 1970s, and then a five-year term
from 1997 to 2002, earning a reputation as an effective grass-roots
politician. During visits, he would sit under a tree and ask villagers
their problems, residents recalled, then press officials to respond.

family fortunes turned up in the months after Mr. Badal’s re-election
to chief minister in 2007. The state cabinet, which he heads, overhauled
Punjab’s transportation policy, making it less expensive to operate
luxury buses.

Air-conditioned buses had
always been taxed at higher rates than ordinary buses. But a new
transportation policy slashed levies on air-conditioned buses and set
taxes—charged per kilometer—for a new category of luxury buses that was
lower than the tax paid by ordinary buses.

bus company owned by Sukhbir Singh Badal, the deputy chief minister,
saw profits grow to more than 105 million rupees, or $1.7 million, in
2013 from 2.5 million rupees, or $41,000, in 2007, according to the
company’s financial statements. He said his company, Dabwali Transport,
grew by acquiring other bus companies, and acknowledged the lower tax
rate helped his business.
The transport minister at the time, Master
Mohan Lal, told the Journal the change was made to improve services.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, who wasn’t in office when the change was made, said
it was designed “so that even the common man can travel in luxury
without paying high rates.”

The number
of air-conditioned buses has since grown, offering fares that are only
slightly higher than ordinary buses, according to transport department
officials. Fares of luxury buses are roughly twice the cost of ordinary

Since the tax cut, the family’s
business has grown to dominate luxury-bus travel in Punjab, particularly
in Bathinda, which has more than a million residents.

than half the permits for luxury and air-conditioned buses granted to
private operators by the regional transport authority statewide—and more
than 90% of those in Bathinda—belong to two transportation companies
owned by the family, according to government documents, and a third
company, Taj Travels, which is owned by a man who is a director in hotel
and real-estate companies also controlled by the family.

Singh Badal’s declared assets have grown to more than 1 billion rupees,
or about $16 million, from 130 million rupees, about $2.1 million, in
2004, according to documents filed to India’s election commission. In
2009, his wife won a seat in the national Parliament.

government guidelines require ministers to fully disclose business
interests and step away from management after taking office. The
guidelines also say ministers must divest themselves of all interests in
businesses that supply goods or services to the government or rely on
official permits or licenses. In states, chief ministers are charged
with making sure the guidelines are met but, according to an official in
the home ministry, the guidelines are rarely followed.

elder Mr. Badal, in a written response to the Journal, said he doesn’t
take an active role in any family related business. If family businesses
have grown, he wrote, “it is only a part of the success story of all
Punjabis over the past 60 years.” After another re-election in 2012, Mr.
Badal’s term goes to 2017.

In 2008, two
months after Mr. Badal’s 80th birthday, party delegates elected Sukhbir
Singh Badal as party president to succeed his father. Mr. Badal said
his son was promoted for helping return the party to power.

year later, Mr. Badal appointed his son as deputy chief minister.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, who has a master’s degree in management from
California State University, Los Angeles, had previously served in
India’s national Parliament. He was later voted into the state
legislative assembly, a requirement for deputy chief minister.

Badal said “it was natural” to give his son the job because of support
from voters and the party. Sukhbir Singh Badal said his father “wanted
me to take over, to share his responsibilities.” He also didn’t want to
abandon hundreds of thousands of party workers who feel more secure
under the Badals’ leadership, he said.

Mr. Badal’s daughter, Parneet Kaur, has also prospered during her father’s time as chief minister.

2009 to 2013, state-owned power enterprises awarded contracts valued at
3.9 billion rupees, about $64 million, to consortia that included a
company majority-owned by Ms. Kaur, her husband and her mother-in-law,
documents show. The contracts were first reported by the Tribune, a
regional newspaper, and viewed by the Journal, which verified them with
the Punjab State Power Corp.

Mr. Badal,
Ms. Kaur’s father, chairs the state’s power department, and Ms. Kaur’s
husband, Adesh Partap Kairon, works as Mr. Badal’s minister for food
supply and information technology.

Singh Badal sought to revitalize Punjab’s power sector through policy
directives that resulted in bids for a government contract to install
and upgrade electrical infrastructure. A 2.3 billion rupee deal, or
about $38 million, was awarded a year ago to a team of three companies
that included Shivalik Telecom Ltd., which manufactures and installs
electrical infrastructure, and is owned by Ms. Kaur and her relatives.

Kaur’s declared assets grew to $2.7 million in 2012 from less than
$800,000 in 2007. Ms. Kaur and her husband didn’t respond to requests to

“We have never favored any
company,” said K.D. Chaudhri, chairman of the Punjab State Power Corp.
The bids were judged on well-defined criteria, including technical
expertise, and the contract awarded to the lowest bidder, he said. He
didn’t identify the companies in contention.

Bains, spokesman for Mr. Badal, the chief minister, said, “No law, or
even established rules of propriety have been violated, nor has there
been undue favor,” in contracts awarded to Shivalik Telecom.

Badals have also expanded their media interests. In 2006, they started a
local TV company with a 24-hour news channel, PTC News, which has
become one of the most popular in the state, according to residents.

journalists say they also believe the family has tried to squeeze out
competition through close ties with Fastway Transmissions, which handles
the technical work of transmitting programs.

and two other companies control about 85% of the market, according to
the Competition Commission of India, a national government watchdog
agency. All three companies are co-owned by a man with close ties to the
Badal family.

Punjabi journalist
Kanwar Sandhu said he and his backers decided to launch their own news
channel, Day and Night News, in 2009. They hired Fastway and the two
other companies to broadcast the channel.
program would be disrupted during the broadcast of news critical of the
government, Mr. Sandhu said, with the sound sometimes overlaid with the
audio track of cartoon shows.

seven months, Fastway and the two other companies terminated their
contracts with Day and Night News, and the channel was taken off the
air. Fastway said the disruptions were caused by technical problems, and
the agreements severed for commercial reasons.

company that owns Day and Night News complained to the competition
commission, saying Fastway was establishing a monopoly and abusing its
position. In its complaint, the company alleged Gurdeep Singh, who had
ownership stakes in all three TV transmission firms, was “closely
affiliated” with the ruling establishment of Punjab.

Singh has bought and sold buses from Badal-controlled transit
companies, according to Mr. Singh and public records. He has also done
work for the family’s political party, according to two party members
and two other people familiar with the matter.

person with firsthand knowledge of the formation of Fastway in 2007
said Sukhbir Singh Badal helped set up the firm and asked Mr. Singh to
run it. Mr. Singh said he knows Mr. Badal, but wasn’t influenced by him
or the Punjab government. Mr. Badal said he knows Mr. Singh, but denied
any connection with Fastway.

A probe
ordered by the competition commission found in 2012 that Fastway and the
two other companies had snapped up a number of smaller companies and
“eliminated free and fair competition” in Punjab, amassing more than
four million subscribers, leaving its next biggest competitors no more
than 10,000.
The commission’s
investigation also found the disruptions of Day and Night News were
frequent and deliberate. The body ordered Fastway and the two other
companies to pay a fine of 80 million rupees. A lawyer for Fastway and
the other two companies said he has filed an appeal.

The commission’s report didn’t address any alleged ties between Mr. Gurdeep and the Badals.

the family, it is business as usual. Billboard images across the state
show chief minister Parkash Singh Badal; his son, Sukhbir Singh Badal;
and Sukhbir’s brother-in-law, Bikram Singh Majithia. Official cards that
entitle Punjabis to subsidized grain bear the photographs of the chief
minister and his son-in-law, Adesh Partap Kairon, who is the minister of
food supply. An oval cutout of Mr. Badal’s face was added to the
baskets of thousands of free bicycles given to female students.

a recent rally in Amritsar, Gurudev Singh, 35 years old, said he was
voting for the coalition run by the Badal family’s party for a national
Parliament seat in the current election. “I come from a family of
shopkeepers,” he said. “Their career is politics. It’s a one-family
rule, yes, but that’s how politics works in India.”



(USA-Indus) man to (Mango-Ganga) man (and back)

Amad Shaikh is part of the new generation SAsian elite in the USA who also own the means of production (like many folks that we know @ BP) and has the experience of hiring mango-class working-class people (like us) so we have a rough idea of the background and where the author is coming from.

The letter that Amad has written – please read it first (in green) before coming back to our response (in pink) – carries our personal recommendation (in strongest terms) with some important caveats. We love (sincerely) people who do not hold back their thoughts and want to engage politely and positively even with (what they would consider) evil people.

That is a big big plus in today’s (online) world (where participants are only there to shout). This is in particular a problem with Desis and in this context we are always reminded of the famous, original BP saying from the one and only Sahar: SAsians are all on the short bus (meaning we have achieved very little, given our undeniable potential).

(1) Generally agreed that India-Pak is of great interest to many people but on the overall geo-politics scale we feel it is not so important. The fact that both sides are nuclear armed actually contributes to a lot of stability. Even in the worst case scenario of another Mumbai like attack, India is not able to do much except crying Uncle Sam (same as last time). As far as USA is concerned, East Asia (China vs. the rest), East Europe (Russia vs. the rest) and Middle East North Africa (MENA, Benghazi anyone?) are of much greater (and immediate) interest.

(2) Right now things look terrible for Pak vis-a-vis India, but in (not-so) earlier decades the boot was on the other foot, Pakistan was ahead by a mile, and that wheel can turn once more in the future.

(3) We strenuously disagree. (mis)Treatment of minorities is always a concern, it cannot be de-registered as an actions item simply because the country is going through a crisis. 

(4) It is always great news when people hire other people, also biased selections (muslims only) usually do not work out, the person you may be short-charging the most is yourself.

(5-9) Excellent, but with (very long and tedious) caveats. While Godhra should never, ever be used as a pretext it should not be brushed under the carpet as well. The complete back-story of Hindu-Muslim enmity must be honestly discussed as well. Many (millions) more Hindus and Muslims have been killed over the last few decades than in Gujarat 2002, for the sole reason that SAsian elites (Ummah-first, Dharma-first) have not figured out a just and fair way to co-exist. 

It is our humble but considered opinion that ideologies are more poisonous than events. And one of  the most pernicious ideologies that both U-F and D-F elites hold on strongly to is the two nation theory, which says in effect that Hindus and Muslims cant ever co-exist. One line which summarizes (for us) the power of TNT is the famous dictum: the heroes of one community are the villains of the other. On the face of it that charge is true enough. 

The TNT tinted fault-line in history becomes apparent if you consider the case of Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh (there are a million other examples). It is our personal (fantasy) belief that if the line of Dara Shikoh was not terminated so brutally, India would have stayed for-ever under Muslim rule, and approximate to something like Indonesia today. Again it does not matter that Aurangzeb employed many Hindus (non-Muslims!!!) who even fought against other Hindus, in today’s lingo, Hindus see him as a hater while Muslims consider him as a savior. No amount of marxist re-interpretations (by Romila Thapar, Sumit Sarkar, Ayesha Jalal and others) will change this basic and deeply held conviction.

Today in Bangladesh we have muslims who are separated by their version of TNT. Mujib is a hero for half the country, villain for the other half. There is no end to misery because of theory.

We dont pretend to have a vaccine for TNT, but there should have been a Truth and Reconciliation Commission taking entire South Asia in its ambit and solved this problem to the satisfaction of the respective majorities. We believe, if Gandhi and Jinnah were alive this may have been possible. The next generation politicians have been all pygmies and the lobbies for eating grass and fighting for 1000 years in both countries are too powerful. All peace initiatives are doomed before they start. This is the challenge in SAsia going forward.

Speaking just for India, as long as there is a cold war with Pakistan (because that is what it really is, except on the LOC where there is a hot war) and a perceived bleed by a thousand cuts strategy deployed by Pakistan, Indian muslims will always be viewed by Hindus (and others) with suspicion. If that is an unpleasant thought, consider the case of an advanced nation like Northern Ireland (UK) and tell us why they have not been able to move beyond ghettos and hating and violence.

If we really believe that TNT is self-evident and unchangeable (and even something to be applauded) then BJP’s case for a Hindu India becomes unanswerable. The only thing that has till now protected muslims was the full faith and belief in their role as king-makers. This is why this election was so crucial. Muslims gave it their best shot and the majority still united to crush them (electorally). This is why Pankaj Mishra is so angry about the neo-Hindus, the OBC-shudras in urban and semi-rural areas who swung the election to the BJP. 

There will be no more high crimes like 2002 (of this we are almost sure). Indeed there may be less violence now that a Hindu party is in the ruling chair. But there will be a million ways that the minority community will be squeezed.

Take one important example. Given the dire economic situation of Indian (non-Ashraf) muslims, it is most desirable to have targeted reservations for muslims in education and in jobs. Affirmative action has done wonders for Dalits and Shudras, if nothing else it gives hope to the hope-less. However in this polarized atmosphere it will just not happen. Muslims will keep sliding backwards vis-a-vis all other communities.Riots are visible beasts, it is the invisible stuff (acts of omission) that is so bothersome.

(10) Modi ban: Please read the background by Zahir Janmohammed as well as the coverage in the Wall Street Journal. The ban on Modi was an unique event. It happened because it was considered a smart way to pacify muslims (human rights lobby as well as the GWB administration) and it also appealed to the much more powerful Christian lobby which worried greatly about Hindutva. 

(10a) That said, we dont question Modi’s role in the riots and in the aftermath, only a (morally) blind person can. It is the old question: were you criminally negligent or were you horribly incompetent (or both)? That question answers itself. The Supreme Court should have simply barred Modi from holding high office pending clearance of all charges. Then we would have all been better off.

(11) Godhra: ruled as an accident. Now you face the same charge as above (10a) and we mean it. It has been (mis)reported in a similar manner in many media outlets and by (biased) journalists who certainly know better than to propagate false-hoods. This is Wiki: 

The commission set up by the Government of Gujarat
to investigate the train burning spent 6 years going over the details
of the case, and concluded that the fire was arson committed by a mob of
1000-2000 people,
A commission appointed by the central government, whose appointment was
later held to be unconstitutional, stated that the fire had been an
accident. A court convicted 31 Muslims for the incident and the conspiracy for the crime, although the actual causes of the fire have yet to be proven conclusively.

It is an ugly, ugly story but basically the Gujarat Govt and the (then) Central Govt both played politics with the commissions. The truth was pre-determined before a single word was penned down. However the courts are a different matter altogether. If people say that the court judgement was biased (and they are within their rights to say so) then they should be making that argument, not a false/malicious/ignorant one that “it was ruled an accident.”

(11a) Having said that we are in complete agreement with you that Godhra does not justify anything. I am sure if the powers that be gave an ultimatum to the local leaders (and the stakes made clear) the murderers would have surrendered on their own.

(12) Agree whole-heartedly with every word. But remember what we said in (5-9). Why do you expect Hindus to show empathy when the Pakistan National Assembly states that every year 5000 Hindus are leaving Pakistan and the rest face forcible conversion or death. To a lesser extent the same thing is happening in Bangladesh. For sure, Indian muslims are not responsible for the plight of Pakistani Hindus. But the violence and the misery will only stop when both sides stop clapping. To demand one-sided empathy from Hindus is an immoral demand. For sure.

respectfully yours and with regards,

(a mango man in a banana republic)
Dear Friend,

Let this Pakistani-American first congratulate you on what went right
in the Indian Elections 2014— clean and fair voting in the world’s
largest democracy.
I wish and pray that democracies in neighboring
Pakistan, Bangladesh and newer ones around the globe can emulate this
achievement one day.

Now let me address some of the things that may bother you about me writing this:

  • That this is an Indian matter, who are you to talk about it?
  • Why don’t you focus on Pakistan, where minorities are far worse off and there is so much extremism and turmoil there?
  • You are biased against Indians and/or non-Muslim Indians.

(1) In today’s age of globalization, the leader of India is as important
as the leader of other global super-powers. His economic policies will
directly impact global growth, and his political policies will directly
impact his neighbors, including Pakistan
(note: my parents live only a
few miles away from the Indian border). I hope we can agree that this
isn’t just an Indian matter.

(2) On the second point, I agree with you that Pakistan is far behind on
most aspects of a successful nation. To be honest, this is not much of a
competition anymore; India is in a different league now.

(3) As for minorities in Pakistan, no doubt that the treatment of
minorities is atrocious, but for a country teetering on the edge of
failure, you must agree that this is hardly the highest priority.
importantly, do you really want your country to be measured against the
failures of others? On a “Pakistan sucks more” scale?

(4) Thirdly, while prejudice against Indians has been rooted deeply in
most Pakistanis (and vice-versa), I hope and pray that we are moving
beyond the political roots of such hatred, especially those of us who
have lived in Western democracies and have befriended many Indians. And I
tend to walk the talk. When given the opportunity, I hired two Indians
to work for me, not both Muslims.

(5) I hope we can now focus on the message. You must admit that there are
wide-ranging concerns about BJP, and about Narendra Modi specifically.
As a member of the global community first, I would be concerned about
the rise of political right, be it in USA, Europe or India. Just as Le
Pen concerns me in France, similarly a party whose election manifesto
included building a temple on a disputed site in India concerns me
deeply. Not just for the Muslim minority in India, but also for what the
party’s impact could be on the global scene.

(6) I understand that you are really excited about the rise of Modi, and
that you believe he will take the country in a new economic direction. I
am sure that like many fair-minded Indian supporters of BJP, your
interest is not the subjugation of the Muslim minority.

(7) But there is a reason that so many Muslims are concerned about Modi.
It is not that all these Muslims hate India, it just cannot be. I am
sure that you have known enough Muslims in your life to know that the
vast majority of Indian Muslims love their country.

(8) We must address the elephant in the room—the Gujarat massacres,
although that is only the tip of the iceberg. You might think it has
been a long time since this horrible event, but do you believe it is a
long time for those who were torched alive and the families that they
left behind? Please see this documentary to be reminded of the horror. (Click here and continue seeing rest by going to this channel)

(9) Now you might say that the Supreme Court exonerated Modi and while
you would not be callous enough to bring up “Muslims burned passengers
in Godhra first”, I know that is something many others are indeed
bringing up.

(10) As for the Supreme Court decision, I admit Modi was given a clean chit. However, where there is smoke, there is likely fire (read this report from Tehelka).
It could not be that USA/UK barred Modi simply on whims, especially
since the Muslim lobby is hardly a force in the West. Even the Supreme
Court-appointed amicus curiae, Raju Ramachandran, observed on 7 May 2012
that Modi could be prosecuted for promoting enmity among different
groups during the 2002 Gujarat riots. At the least, most observers note
that Modi could have done more, and at least not inflamed emotions
further by not bringing back charred bodies of Hindu passengers from Godhra.

(11) As for the massacres being simply an act of vengeance, then you must
agree that that is a disgusting response. First of all, the Godhra fire
was ruled as an accident.
Even if it wasn’t, no fair-minded individual would allow killing of one
set of people for the crimes of others, even in vengeance! This sort of
mentality is no different from Al-Qaeda terrorists, who feel that they
are justified in killing all Americans because some Americans killed
some other Muslims.

Moving past 2002 massacres, had Modi simply done more to promote
communal harmony and not created a system of apartheid in areas of
Gujarat, one might be tempted to forgive him in the name of larger
interest. But he didn’t do much at all. He only visited the camps of
Muslims displaced by the Gujarat violence once. In this election, of the
nearly 450 BJP candidates, only 8, less than 2% are Muslims (vs. 15% in
the population) were Muslims, and the astronomic economic growth in
Gujarat seems to have escaped Muslim residents. As Basharat Peer’s article in NY Times illustrates:

But Ahmedabad ceases to swagger in Juhapura, a
southwestern neighborhood and the city’s largest Muslim ghetto, with
about 400,000 people…Mr. Modi’s engines of growth seem to have stalled
on The Border. His acclaimed bus network ends a few miles before

And many Muslims are forced to live in Juhapura because separation of
Muslim/Hindus is systemized by the “Disturbed Areas Act”, which
restricts Muslims and Hindus from selling property to each other in
“sensitive” areas, areas that have been extended further and further as a
form of social engineering. My friend, can you imagine such a law in
any Western democracy?

Another article quotes the former editor of The Hindu, a leading Indian newspaper,

“Many of the things that are evil about India are not
going to find their solution with Mr. Modi,” Mr. Varadarajan said. “If
anything, they’ll get worse.”

(12) You might dismiss all these aforementioned reasons as Western or
worse Muslim propaganda. Or you might have good reasons to believe that
Modi as a national leader will move past communal biases.

However, I would like you to take a moment to empathize with those who are concerned.

Empathy is indeed very difficult
as you will have to put yourself in the shoes of concerned Indian
Muslims, concerned liberals (Muslims and non-Muslims) around the world
and feel what they are feeling. Many of us have nothing but good wishes
for India as a strong India is good for the world, not just for Indians.

So please spare us some benefit of doubt for what are real and valid
concerns and remember that the oppression by the majority is just as bad
as the usurpation of the majority.



Hello Brown Pundits

Omar invited me to contribute to BP. I am Naveen
Kumar, a semi-urban self-employed youth of North-West India, was raised in
Haryana and few years back graduated from IIT-Kharagpur in Aerospace Engineering.  
I come from Bishnoi
and a highly politicised extended family.
Our culture is a mixed Punjabi-Haryanavi-Rajasthani
one. Before 1947, the clan was spread across both sides of what is now Radcliffe
line (Punjab-Rajasthan junction). Presently, most of our people settled in 2 districts
at Indo-Pak border: Firozpur in Punjab and Ganganagar in Rajasthan. 
From Indian polity, history, geography, technology, society
and statecraft; I’ll be posting on varied subjects (mainly focussed on India and broader South Asian region).
PS: If
this mishmash of an intro, doesn’t make any sense, happy to help 🙂

Dear Naveen, BB (Big Bosses): an appeal

1. We usually do a “ritual introduction” at BP for  the junta down below (where we dwell). Ekdum basics, you dont even have to disclose that you are holding the #3 position in some top organization (traditionally the USA considers the #3 man of Taliban, Al Qaeda to be the most important, they get caught repeatedly).

1a. We also have a “welcome Naveen” message from the BB

2. Please keep your titles short (else they run over on the right side).

welcome to BP and all the best with your postings.

warm regards, sid