The new un-touchables are rising

A new caste rises in India- comprising of political dynasties who cornered 29% of the seats in 2009, 9% more than 2004. They are the new un-touchables, not because they have too little power, but too much. And people love them and accept this as a natural phenomena.  

Thus even as Brahmins fade away, Brahmanism will  survive in India cutting across all barriers. This includes even the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Hindus are thieves and Hindu rituals are kaatumirandithanam- barbaric) and the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (Hindus are impotent). They abhor the Hindu caste pyramid in theory, but insist that they should be the top caste in practice (kind of like how the British were the royal caste before 1947).

The voters are fine with this, because they accept the basic logic of the caste system, that of the parampara, by which a father teaches his son (and on rare occasions the daughter) the tricks of the trade. It is perhaps unfortunate that the list is headed by an under-performing son (perhaps the daughter would have been a better choice).

Carnegie professes to be shocked by this but they should note the list of presidents in the USA (excepting Obama) of late reads as Bush, Clinton (twice), Bush (twice) and is expected to revert to Clinton in 2016 (and perhaps after that, Jeb Bush from Florida). In a pure meritocracy that is the USA is this truly kosher?
….A poll released by the Washington-based Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace confirmed recent surveys pointing to a
strong showing by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a decade of
rule by Gandhi’s Congress Party.

Gandhi, 43, whose father,
grandmother and great-grandfather were all Prime Ministers, is the
candidate from the Congress Party in elections starting on April 7,
going against the BJP’s Narendra Modi, the son of a tea-stall owner.

But the poll did not support suggestions that Indians have rejected
hereditary candidates. Instead, 46 per cent of voters said they
preferred politicians who hail from dynasties. 
 “What we found was kind of shocking,” said Milan Vaishnav, an associate at the Carnegie Endowment’s South Asia programme. “Nearly one in two Indians say, if I had a choice, I would prefer to
vote for a candidate who has a family background,” he said.

vast majority of voters who preferred dynasties said they thought such
candidates would be more adept or likely to succeed, with only 15 per
cent saying that their main motivation was an expectation of patronage.

Twenty-nine per cent of Indian lawmakers elected in the last election
in 2009 succeeded family members or have relatives also serving in
Parliament, a figure that rose by nine per centage points from the
previous vote in 2004, Vaishnav said.

The survey, conducted
with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Advanced Study of
India, took opinions from 65,000 households as part of a project that
will examine changing trends.

When asked about voting
preferences in late 2013, 31 per cent sided with the BJP-led alliance
and 23 preferred the Congress-led coalition, in what would amount to a
reversal of fortunes since the last election.

..  regards 

Uma and Maya face an uncaring world

How many of you have little daughters (children even)?  

How would you react if you knew that they were lost? Would you hope and pray for some kind stranger to show up? Would you be worried about “stranger danger.” Our advice for the children is to holler, (as is clear from the article) just standing and looking forlorn may not suffice.

What about the stranger himself? If he is a man, our advice is to look for a woman (or a cop). Doing nothing is not an answer.

One little girl was clutching her favorite toy while her younger
sister was sucking her thumb – and both looked utterly lost and forlorn. The girls stood for
an hour on a Saturday morning in a busy shopping arcade looking for
‘help’, as part of a social experiment for television.

Hidden cameras recorded Uma, seven, and Maya, five, who took it in turns to look lost.

over the whole hour only one person, a grandmother, took a moment to
find out if there was a problem. All of the 616 other passers-by
completely ignored the girls.

ITN researchers chose Victoria Place shopping centre, next to London’s bustling Victoria Station, to test the British public. Maya
and Uma agreed to help and were brought along by their mother Reshma
Rumsey, who watched from behind a nearby pillar with a presenter. Uma
went first, standing alone in the middle of the concourse, holding her
pink  doll and putting on a good act of being scared and vulnerable.

Under the gaze of the hidden cameras 25 yards away, dozens of
shoppers and travelers bustled past. A mother with a pram manoeuvred
around her, then a group of women pulling suitcases turned a blind eye. After
20 minutes, not a single person had stopped to ask the seven-year-old
if she was all right, even though some of them had plainly seen her.

it was her five-year-old sister’s turn. Maya stood sucking her thumb,
and then tried kneeling down, gazing up forlornly at passing shoppers,
but she too seemed to be invisible. Eventually, a pensioner gave her a concerned look. At first, Pearl
Pitcher, of Kent, who is in her seventies, carried on walking, but she
soon turned around and came back to ask Maya if she was waiting for

Mrs Pitcher said later: ‘She had stood too long by
herself and no parent or friend came up to see her. I was very hesitant
to come and ask her, and I walked past but I thought I must come back –
just in case.
‘I think the older generation would stop, but very
cautiously, a bit like I was. I don’t know about the younger generation.
A lot of people walked by and didn’t take any notice at all.’

Mrs Rumsey said she was ‘gobsmacked’ by seeing her daughters ignored by more than 600 members of the public. The 39-year-old journalist said: ‘When you see that little face looking so lost, and people are walking past, it is awful. ‘I
did not expect so few people to stop … it’s shocking that people
noticed a child on her own and they just walked past, whether it’s
through fear or because they didn’t care or because they didn’t notice.
As a mother, to watch your child on their own, looking lost and needing
help and watch people walk past is heartbreaking.’

Experts said
the reluctance of the passers-by was partly explained by people being
busy, and partly a fear – especially among men – of any help they offer a
child being misinterpreted.

But the NSPCC said a child’s welfare was more important than worrying about being labelled a ‘stranger danger’. A
spokesman said: ‘We have got to get a message out to adults that they
have a responsibility to protect children and that must supersede any
concern you have for other people’s perception of why you are reaching
out to help that child.’

* Little Girl Lost: A Police 5 Special will be shown on Channel 5 at 6.30pm tomorrow.


Double century not out

BP has registered 200 posts for March- the Big Chief was gracious enough to run the 22 yards for the 200th one. An above-average effort for sure, and more still yet to come.

Speaking from the desk-clerk’s desk we only have a hazy idea about who the readers are, what they like (and dont like) about BP. Please feel free to add your comments or better yet, step up and pen down those great thoughts. As a very wise man has noted:

An idea that is not expounded or written, is as good an idea that never was

Just one (redundant) observation if we may, the readers still hang on to every word (a bit infrequent alas) penned by Dr Omar (hint: yeh dil mange more). While the good old days (and good old friends) may never come back it is reassuring to know that some things will not change.

Heart-felt thanks to the blog-owners for letting us have a good time.

warm regards

Recent pieces by my Dad

The truth is so bitter – iqbal.latif
The parallels between the stories of Enkidu/Shamhat and Adam/Eve have been long recognised by scholars. A man is created from the soil by a god, and lives in a natural setting amongst the animals. He is introduced to a woman who tempts him. In both stories the man accepts food from the woman, covers his nakedness, and must leave his former realm, unable to return. The presence of a snake that steals a plant of immortality from the hero later in the epic is another point of similarity. **

Lessons from History: Putin the Oil trader, the Oligarchs and the Opium Wars – An account of why Russians always need a Czar like Putin – iqbal.latif
They [US and EU] want to make Putin a pauper, and it is personal.  Putin may soon realise that these sanctions are personal now; when one has large business interests to protect, one cannot have large national ambitions to disseminate. Putin is not only the Russian popular le …

“An idea that is not expounded or written, is as good an idea that never was…” – iqbal.latif
I handle evils within me. I don’t like to point fingers at others when the other three point back towards me. Look at your burdens before you point fingers at my sins. You cannot hurt me anymore; you have already tried hard to break me. I am now pain-free. ______________________ …

Why our Islamic history is so bloodied – iqbal.latif
  No one kills the grandsons of their prophet with a kind of impunity that you did; and you are proud of it? There was no CIA agent in ‘Haqifah Bani Saydah” when rights were usurped. The seizure of the rights from day one and Islam never came out of that schism. The hatred …

Hinduism: is it only sex (and death)?

A critique of Doniger which steers away from the Hindutva-secular fight and asks some pertinent questions, one of which is: does the distinguished professor know (or care) about what is special (or unique) about Hinduism?
Such a shared core may well be close to, among other ideas, the
Upanishadic monism that crystallized in the seventh century CE into the
non-dualistic Vedanta of Shankara who established it both by
interpreting the classical texts and by refuting the competing
philosophical schools of the day. Early evidence of an incipient monism
is mentioned, for example, by Mohanty (2007, p. 24):  While the Vedas contain a myriad of different themes, ranging from
hymns for deities and rules of fire sacrifices to music and magic,
is no doubt that one finds in them an exemplary spirit of inquiry into
“the one being” that underlies the diversity of empirical phenomena, and
into the origin of all things.  

If this core truly pervades popular belief today then it cannot be
easily explained as a late nineteenth and twentieth century product of
colonialism as many on the left try to do.
This is not to deny the
presence of other orthodox and heterodox traditions in this core, only
to say that such a monism’s mass appeal must surely have preceded
colonial times. Doniger and her supporters never acknowledge this wider
humanity in their arguments and so end up attacking a straw man.

For instance, Vamsee Juluri’s essay
articulates an attitude that may be widely shared by modern practicing
Hindus. He clearly differentiates it from militant Hindutva by making
plain the diverse and plural heritage of Hindu thought. But he
simultaneously argues against Doniger by saying her interpretations
flagrantly contradict the lived experience of devout Hindus.
dialectical argument raises many difficulties for both sides, and sets
up a tension between Hinduism seen as an intellectual object and as a
sacred practice. 

Second, however, it may be asked, shouldn’t the lived experience of
religious symbols and myths be part of what is explained by inquiry?
That is, shouldn’t the external, intellectual stance account for the
internal, experiential facts? For example, if one holds that the Shiva
lingam represents Shiva’s erect penis, how does this square with the
interpretive community’s view (e.g. possibly something abstract like
Shiva’s sexual and creative power or just Shiva himself)? In a parallel
situation, is it right to describe the Holy Communion in Christianity as
a cannibalistic rite?
Certainly there is a connection between a penis
and a Shiva lingam as there is between the body and blood of Christ and
the ritual bread and wine, but do these connections involve the literal connotations of “penis” and “cannibalism”? 

Doniger’s book is not about revelatory insights into the Hindus but
generally about completely worldly things like sex, death, and material
While Eros and Thanatos are undoubtedly powerful forces in
human lives and while material pursuits are indispensable to survival,
Doniger succeeds only in clarifying that the Hindus, like other humans,
were and are part of the animal kingdom.

Much of what she says is
probably true—the Brahmins did eat beef early on, for example—
and the
Hindus who have been offended by such facts ought to recognize that
religious values are not eternal but emerge through history. But, for
her part, Doniger fails to make sufficiently salient how unique and
humane the impulse of vegetarianism was as a response to the barbaric
conditions of material life
in all early human civilizations. She passes
up such opportunities over and over again.

For the aims she chose, her cultural history needed to
have been more of an intellectual history. She never explores what the thinkers
of Indian civilization did—whether Brahmins or non-Brahmins, men or
women—when they confronted conceptual problems like the origins of the
world and how we might come to know it.
No logic of inquiry or
argument is described as it would have to be if one wanted to “show the
presence of brilliant and creative thinkers entirely off the track.” 

Indeed, there is hardly any speculation about the metaphysical instincts
of the Hindus at all.
Her materialism, while right in spirit, is
summoned too soon and all one gets is the subterfuges and stratagems of
the ancients. No doubt these existed as they are an inevitable part of
human nature and no doubt they played some role in the worldviews of the
Hindus, but do they constitute what is special and unique about Indian
civilization, or any civilization for that matter?


Harappa in Chattisgarh

Tarighat, Chattisgarh lies amidst the lush Central Indian forests (Gandhians with Guns territory).

This document (pdf) provides additional insight on urban life in the Mahabharata days (2500 years young).

The truly interesting question: is there any demonstrable link with the Indus valley civilization?

Explorers claim they have evidence of a 2,500-year-old
planned city—complete with water reservoirs, roads, seals and
coins—buried in Chhattisgarh, a discovery that is being billed as the
nation’s biggest archaeological find in at least half a century.

The discoveries were made from Tarighat in Durg district
and spanned five acres of a sparsely inhabited region beside a river,
according to archaeologists from the state’s department of culture and

“As of now, we have four 15ft high mounds around which we
have evidence of pottery, coins and some terracotta figures,” said J.R.
Bhagat, deputy director in the department. “Once we begin, the entire
digging could take at least 5-10 years.”

The 5th and 3rd century BC—to which the Tarighat finds
date—points to a period when the region was ruled by the Kushan and
Satavahana dynasties in central India. While there have been extensive,
previous evidence of urban growth after the first century, such finds
are extremely rare for preceding periods.

“These were among the most interesting times in early
India,” said Abhijit Dandekar, an archaeologist at the Deccan College,
“It was the end of the period of the 16 mahajanapadas
(loosely translated to great kingdoms) when the Mahabharata was
supposedly set, and the beginning of the Maurya empire.
There’s very
little known about urban structures in this period, in regions spanning
modern-day Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.”

Dandekar, who is not involved in these finds, added that
evidence of towns and urbanization spanning five acres was quite
significant in an Indian context, though only excavations and peer
review would throw true light on the import of these findings.

He added that the excavations at Ahichhatra, near
Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, that began in 1960s were the most recent
evidence of large-scale town planning in India for a comparable period
and, if the Chattisgarh findings were as extensive, then it would be a
significant find.

“In an Indian context, an excavation has rarely been
disappointing,” said Dandekar. “If you believed there’s a city, it
usually turns out to be one and bigger than what you first expected.”

To be sure, Bhagat clarified that the finds still haven’t
been dated using methods such as radiocarbon or thermoluminescence
dating—modern, established techniques that measure the amount of carbon
or the relative proportions of other elements from which exact ages of
materials are deduced—but he added that the texture of the pots, the
typical pattern of raised mounds etc all pointed to evidence of an urban

“The kind of pottery called the Red and Black Northern
Pottery, the coins, etc., at the surface of the site itself show very
visible signs of complex urbanization.”

Arun Raj, a Chhattisgarh-based archaeologist with the
Archaeological Survey of India, characterized Chhattisgarh as being an
untapped “gold mine” for archaeology.
“We’ve just given them permission for this dig, and I
think it will be some time before we understand how important this is,”
Raj said. 

“But this region, which has been relatively unexplored due to
Naxalite conflict, could throw up several such finds.”

He added that one strand of Indian archaeological
research sought to find common threads urban lifestyle patterns of the
Indus Valley civilization that declined around 1300 BC, to urban
formations in central India. “This may possibly falsify or add more
credibility to such theories,” he said.

Dark days for Indian Mujahideen

Tehseen Akhtar is the son of a chemist in rural Bihar (Samastipur). He is also a commander (and chief of India operations) in the Indian Mujahideen (IM) aka Bhatkal Brothers Corporation (BBC), led by Yasin, Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal who originate from the Bhatkal town in Karnataka.

Yasin was recently arrested, Iqbal and Riyaz are head-quartered in a (not so friendly) neighboring country.

While the chances of disrupting the general elections was always high, Tehsin’s arrest will (perhaps) reduce the threat to limb, life and liberty. Or it may not. Recruitment into IM (especially from Azamgarh, UP) is reportedly strong, however most members are opting for Afghanistan where the Taliban senses victory. After that it is probably Kashmir, though Syria and Caucasus may be considered equally promising.

The arrest of a 23-year-old expert bomb-maker named Tehseen Akhtar has allegedly left the terror group Indian Mujahideen without a head in India.

by the police for months, Tehseen was arrested early this morning from a
village called Panitanki, near the border with Nepal.

The Delhi
police called Tehseen a big catch who had not just planned several
terror attacks, including the blasts targeting Narendra Modi’s rally in
Patna in October, but also helped set up an arms factory in the capital.

had allegedly been running the Indian Mujahideen in India since the
group’s co-founder Yasin Bhatkal was arrested last year, also near the
India-Nepal border.

is suspected to have a played a role in the 2010 bombing in Varanasi, a
cooker bomb blast outside the Jama Masjid in Delhi last year, the 2011
serial blasts in Mumbai, the 2012 low intensity blasts in Pune and the
twin bombings in Hyderabad last year. Almost 45 people were killed in
these attacks and over 200 were injured.

The tech savvy operative, who frequented cyber cafes, had allegedly been tasked with recruiting young men for terror in Bihar.

top Indian Mujahideen operatives – the Bhatkal brothers, Riyaz and
Iqbal – and Amir Reza Khan are said to be in Pakistan. The Indian
Mujahideen was allegedly founded by Riyaz, Iqbal and Yasin, all of whom
belong to the Bhatkal town in Karnataka.


Dravidas of the world unite (no brotherly love)

MK Alagiri is the second son of M Karunanidhi (by his second wife Dayalu Ammal). MK Stalin is the third son (MK/DA). In all there are six children from three wives.

As of today Alagiri stands expelled from the primary membership of DMK. Stalin has already been anointed as the Yuvraj.

The eventual demise of dynastic politics in India through brother shedding the blood of brother is well known (example: Aurangzeb vs Dara Shikoh). Less well known is the example of father throwing one son to the wolves so that the other son may reign in peace. This one is truly for the history books.

The point is- it is
not just the current generation that needs protection from the unseen
hand(s) of fate, additional insurance must be purchased so that the
wheels of fortune remain frozen in time.

This is the same logic followed by Duryadhona in Mahabharata when he rebuffed Krishna’s peace settlement – gifting the Pandavas a token amount of 13 villages – he would not even consider giving away land that fits the point of a needle.  

So what happens in Act II? File a criminal case against the “boy” and get him jailed for life (at the present moment DMK is not in favor of death penalty due to its campaign to release the LTTE gangsters)?

A hard-headed and indeed a hard-hearted dad. One thing for sure, this will not end nicely.


Confirmed: MH-370 lost @ sea

Remarkable use of satellite technology, at the end still nothingness, most likely the pilots are culprits (we may never know).

The only good thing that will come out of this is that passengers will be encouraged to send frequent messages indicating where they are. Still if a pilot wants to commit harakiri no technology will stop that.
a British satellite telecommunications provider and the UK Air
Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have concluded that the missing
Malaysian Airlines flight went down in the southern Indian Ocean near
Perth “with no possible landing sites”.

Almost 16 days after MH
370 disappeared, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on
Monday that the London based satellite company Inmarsat had tracked the
final trajectory of the airline and “it is with deep sadness and regret
that I must inform you that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.

The prime minister said that Inmarsat had used the most advanced
technology available to confirm that the airline had been in the air
almost eight hours after it was believed that it had crashed.

Inmarsat had earlier announced that the ill-fated aircraft sent out
“keep-alive messages” establishing that the plane’s communications
system were still switched on — hours after civilian radars lost contact
with it.

Inmarsat said the missing plane was equipped with one
of its signalling systems which actually sent out a barrage of messages
much after it was lost to the world.

Razak said Inmarsat used a “type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort”.

Inmarsat’s calculations concluded that the airline flew along the
southern corridor and its last position was in middle of the Indian
Ocean, west of Perth.

It is believed that the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 have also been briefed about the latest finding.

Malaysian Airlines says it now has to assume “beyond any reasonable
doubt” that missing flight has been lost and there are no survivors.


Brown Pundits