A preview of Indo-Pak cooperation in Uganda

I received a random salesman call from two brown dudes.

One of them (M) had been calling me the past few days trying to set up a meeting. He had been “sirring” me a fair bit and on the third time they managed to come to our offices.
Turns out even though he’s Gujarati Brahmin (I could tell the surname) he looks like a rather familiar North Indian accountant, the type we get somewhat used to. He was very techie and very solicitous.
As I walk into the meeting I notice the darker chap and assume because of his curly hair he must have been South Indian. Turns out he has a Muslim name (A) and upon my asking how long the company has been in Uganda (5yrs+) I ask if it’s an Indian company.
Turns out to my surprise it’s originally Pakistani (I find it a bit odd that an Indian is working for Pakis, but a job is a job I guess).
At any rate turns out A is of course Pakistani and as I sit in that short meeting it dawns on me the almost perfect illustration of Indo-Pak cooperation and stereotypes. Indian accountant in a suit, obsequious looks techie and money.
The Paki had obviously done something to his hair (in Uganda making those curls is called texturising) and was wearing a River Island shirt (we’re not even in Kampala proper) with a slight American twinge (I doubt he was the son of the founder but an aspiring relative so the American accent is grafted on).
I don’t know if Paks are the cool kids of the subcontinent (apparently the Sri Lankans have the most swag in london) but at a few moments in the meeting I couldn’t keep from smiling as the paki went and on with the sale.
Are Paks the natural salesman of South Asia, are Indians more technically gifted I have no idea but when stereotypes slap you in the face, sometime you have no choice but to smile along.. Oh and we might just buy the product.. 

Is Kashmir’s Jung a Jihad? A Pakistani Cleric answers

This is not about Indo-Pak cocky slugfest on the broader Kashmir conflict but purely on technical grounds (for guidance of true believers), Sheikh Tauseef ur Rehman seems to make better sense than  team Hafeez Saeed –


Interesting to note that Abu Ala Maududi (founder of Jamaat-e-Islami), had also opposed Jihad-e- Kashmir(on technical grounds) in 1947 . An excerpt from @vali_nasar‘s book on the same-

“Rape is …the end of our future”

If you believe that you are in possession of a soul that will be indestructibly yours, here is an easy way to protect it from being eternally tarnished. It is really very simple. Join the movement (led by Sulabh International for now) to sponsor community toilets in villages…government initiatives will be never enough. We must save our girls, and we must give them the dignity that is their birth-right, and we must be able to restore some of their natural cheerfulness. We must try and we must not fail.

“My daughter was a cheerful girl before but now she’s just silent” 

your majesty, we do much assumptions. We assumed that men love us and
need us. Men do neither. They love their ego and need to satisfy their
lust. Once both are satisfied, the man leads the woman he claims to love
to a blind-alley, blinded-folded and with her hands tied on the back,”
said Scheherzade.

First, a moving piece penned by Anwar Iqbal of Dawn:

“Pray, share the story, your majesty, if it pleases you,” Scheherzade said.
“That I will, so you may know and acknowledge the idiocy of your kind,” the king said.

woman who was bludgeoned to death with bricks outside a Kazi court was
love-blind,” the king began. “So she fell for a man twice her age.”

“We may never know what caused her to do so but let’s assume that she was love-blind,” Scheherzade commented.
“Women assume. Men probe,” said the king.

your majesty, we do much assumptions. We assumed that men love us and
need us. Men do neither. They love their ego and need to satisfy their
lust. Once both are satisfied, the man leads the woman he claims to love
to a blind-alley, blinded-folded and with her hands tied on the back,”
said Scheherzade.

“Unwise that can have dangerous consequences,”
said the king, “but since I am in a forgiving mood, I will only ask what
leads a woman to this blind alley except her foolishness?”

you are right, your majesty, but what causes a mother to bring up her
son and turn him into a man? Love or blindness?” asked Scheherzade.

“Do not argue,” said the king, “remember your have forfeited your life to me.”

I have not, risked, yes,” Scheherzade said to herself, adding: “May I
request your majesty to proceed with the story?”

“OK, where was I?” asked the king.
“You were saying that this woman fell for a man twice her age,” Scheherzade reminded him.

“Yes, she did and this man was already married. So he killed his first wife to marry this woman,” the king said.

she ask him to kill her? And even if she did, didn’t he know that
murder is a crime punishable with death?” asked Scheherzade.

“We may never know what she said or did because she is dead,” said the king.
“But the man is still alive, can’t they ask him?” said Scheherzade.
“They can but they will not,” said the king.
“Why, your majesty?” asked Scheherzade.
“Because he has already been forgiven,” said the king.
“Forgiven a murder?” asked Scheherzade.
“Yes, by his son,” said the king.
“So the son forgave his mother’s murderer?” asked Scheherzade.
“Yes, this man was his father,” said the king.

she was his mother,” said Scheherzade. “You may not, your majesty, but
here I will ask: Why a woman nurses her son, knowing that this helpless
piece of flesh will turn into a man one day and defile?”

“How do I know, I am not a woman,” said the king.

“You may never know, your majesty,” said Scheherzade, “you may never know. But please narrate your story.”

“After murdering his first wife, he married this woman, which angered her family,” said the king.
“Why so, your majesty?” asked Scheherzade.
she married him against their advice and refused to marry a young man
they had chosen for her. The family got so upset that they bludgeoned
her to death with bricks outside the Kazi court when she came there to
defend her marriage,” the king said.

“Just like that?” asked Scheherzade.

“Yes, just like that. She had brought shame and dishonor to her family,” said the king.
“So it was a question of honor, your majesty?” asked Scheherzade.
“Yes, honor, which is more important than anything else, even life,” said the king. “But you would not know.”

I would not know. But if you promise not to behead me, I may request
you to explain what I do not understand?” asked Scheherzade.

“Go ahead,” said the king.
“Who has tied a man’s honor to a woman’s body?”
“Shut up and get out of the room before I change my mind,” the king shouted.
As outrage grows in India over the gang rape and murder of two Dalit
teenagers found hanging from a tree, the mother of a 14-year-old “untouchable”
who was kidnapped and raped earlier this year has said she wishes her daughter
had been killed too.

India’s new government on Friday said it was planning to set up a special
crisis cell to ensure justice for victims of sex attacks and two police
officers were sacked in the wake of the rape and murder of the teenagers that
has revived nationwide anger over the frequency and brutality of attacks.

In a further shocking example of how women from India’s “untouchable” caste
are easy targets for rapists – and rarely get justice – The Daily Telegraph
spoke to a mother who said she wished her raped daughter had died, such is the
stigma surrounding the issue in her caste.

Brimti Ram, 40, had been living in a form of slavery with her Dalit family
in Bagana village, around 100 miles from the capital Delhi, when her daughter
and three friends were seized by five relatives and neighbours of their feudal
They later revealed that had been drugged and raped throughout the night.

She, her husband Lila Ram and their five children farm 20 acres of rice and
barley fields – without pay – in a futile attempt to service a £7,000
generational debt that they can never pay off.

“It’s not really a loan but something to control us,” Lila Ram said

Many of their fellow villagers live under the same bonded conditions, which
are illegal but common in India. Rapes and sexual assaults of Dalits are common
but often unreported and violence is frequent.

Fifteen “untouchable” boys have been murdered in the village in the last
thirty years, his community leader Virender Singh Bagodia said on Friday.

The community is treated “a notch above how people treat their animals”, he

Brimti Ram said they have been so shamed by their daughter’s rape that
neither she nor her 16-year-old sister will ever be able to find a husband.

She had heard of the murders of the two Dalit girls in Badaun in Uttar
Pradesh and said she could understand the pain of their families, but she
wishes her daughter had been killed too.

“Rape is loss of our reputation, livelihood, honour and the end of our
future,” she said. “If my daughter doesn’t get married and suffers her entire
life, wouldn’t it have been better for her that she had been killed by those

Her family is one of more than eighty who fled their village amid death
threats from the upper caste Hindus in their village who had already banned
them from sending their children to school, visiting the temple, or buying food
from their shops. They are now living on a pavement in central Delhi and are
too afraid to return to their homes.

“My daughter was a cheerful girl before but now she’s just silent”, she

She was speaking after aides to India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi,
demanded a report on the gang-rape and murder of two 14 and 15 year old
“untouchable” cousins who were found hanging from a mango tree in Katra
village, near Badaun.

The unnamed girls, aged 14 and 15, were, just like the girls in Bagana,
going to the lavatory in a nearby field when they were grabbed by higher caste
men – from the local Yadav peasant farmer community.

They were last seen by an uncle as they were being led away but when he
challenged the men they threatened him with a gun.

The father of one of the girls yesterday said the police had “refused to
look for my girl” and that when he confronted one of the accused at his home,
he admitted abducting the girls but refused to release them. They were found
hanging from a mango tree the following morning.

The father said the girls would still have been alive if the police had
acted immediately.

Police in Uttar Pradesh said yesterday that three people, including a police
constable, had been arrested in connection with the sex attack, while they were
still searching for two further suspects. A “thorough investigation” is under
way, police said,

Mukul Goel, a senior police officer, said it had still not been determined
whether the victims had committed suicide or been strung up as a way of
silencing them after they were raped.

Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, on Friday snapped at a
reporter when asked about the rising number of rape cases in his state: “You
are safe, why are you bothered?” 

Link (1): http://www.dawn.com/news/1109756/an-honour-more-important-than-life

Link(2): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/10865179/I-wish-my-daughter-had-been-killed-too-says-mother-of-untouchable-India-gang-rape-victim.html



Too fucking little, too late

Repeat after us: Toilets before temples, weapons,…..anything

OK fine, we got rid of  the dynasty, but what we really need to get rid of is the sense of despair that our girls feel, the fact that they cannot get any peace of mind.never, ever. There has been an impact of the new laws….now they are killing off the girls just so there are no witnesses.

International will construct toilets in all the houses of Katra
Shahadatganj village of Badaun, where two sisters were allegedly gang
raped and murdered last week while they went to relieve themselves in

Our earnest request to all politicians, business-people, government officials…anyone with any standing and who is blessed with a bit of money….please consider following the example of Sulabh and coming together to sponsor a village and a community toilet. Yes, we know that money is tight and times are tough….but how long are we going to remain in this state of barbarity?

The crisis areas are well known (mostly concentrated in UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, and Chattisgarh), let us tackle this problem on a war footing with as much sense of urgency as with Polio eradication. Let us make India a place that is livable for our girls. Please.
International will construct toilets in all the houses of Katra
Shahadatganj village of Badaun, where two sisters were allegedly gang
raped and murdered last week while they went to relieve themselves in

“Any woman defecating in the open is vulnerable and the
central government must acknowledge the issue. Resources will only pour
in then,” Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak said.

According to the WHO, around 65 per cent of people in villages defecate in the open in the country.

The NGO, which works in the field of low-cost sanitation, also appealed
to the top business houses to adopt at least one village to end the
practice of open defecation “at the earliest”.

Pathak said the NGO will start the work of building toilets from tomorrow.

“A team of sanitation workers and engineers from Sulabh will visit the
village to start toilet construction work from tomorrow. We have ask our
team to construct toilet with highest pace,” Pathak said.

are just setting an example by adopting this village as the issue of
toilet was the main reason behind both the deaths,” he said.

Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for coining the slogan “toilet
first, temple later”, Pathak also expressed his wish to work with the
government for making available toilet in every house.

“I am going to write a letter to the Prime Minister soon in this regard,” he added.

The two teenage dalit girls, who were cousins and aged 14 and 15 years,
were allegedly gang raped and murdered and their bodies were found
hanging from a mango tree in the village.


Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Sulabh-to-build-toilets-in-all-the-houses-of-Baduan-village/articleshow/35903727.cms



The Tree of Shame

Well there is no shame…..

….and there are no brothers and sisters amongst all us Indians…..

we are all animals, we are worse than animals…..


there are no words with which to express our sorrow and our apologies.


July 1987: Reports from a different India

Posted: July 08, 1987

FATEHABAD, India -Terrorists
thought to be Sikh separatists attacked two more buses yesterday,
killing a total of 34 people, mostly Hindus, and bringing to 74 the
number of people shot to death in two days of highway ambushes.
On Monday, gunmen killed 40 bus passengers, nearly all of them Hindus, in Punjab state.
said five extremists struck about 8:30 p.m. yesterday on National
Highway No. 10 in Haryana state, which borders Punjab. The attack
occurred about six miles from Fatehabad, a small market town in India’s
wheat belt, and about 150 miles southwest of Chandigarh.

attackers used a car and a jeep to block a bridge to stop one bus,
police said. They boarded the vehicle, began dragging out passengers,
and had killed four when a second bus came by from the opposite
direction, headed for New Delhi.
The terrorists then rushed across to the second bus and opened fire with automatic weapons, killing 30, police said.
the gunmen turned their attention to the second bus, survivors on the
first fled across nearby fields. Most of the dead were Hindus, and 15
people were wounded, authorities said.
Police said they believed
that yesterday’s attacks were carried out by the same group that staged
Monday’s ambush, in which several gunmen forced a bus driven by a Sikh
to stop on the main highway from Chandigarh to Delhi. They then drove to
a secluded spot before opening up on the passengers.
In that
attack, one gunman apparently was shot accidentally by his comrades. His
body was found later in an abandoned getaway car.
Punjab Police
Chief Julio F. Ribeiro told reporters that the bus driver in Monday’s
attack was detained for questioning. Ribeiro said that ammunition
recovered at the massacre site showed that the militants used
Chinese-made AK-47 assault rifles.
Yesterday was the fourth time
in a year that Sikh gunmen had targeted bus passengers. In attacks in
July 1986 and in November, a total of 38 people, mostly Hindus, were
killed. No arrests have been made in those attacks.
The massacre
Monday was the worst since extremists began a campaign five years ago to
establish an independent Sikh nation in Punjab.
Sikhs slightly
outnumber Hindus in Punjab. Officials say the random killings of Punjabi
Hindus are intended to drive them out of the state and in turn prompt
retaliatory Hindu killings of Sikhs elsewhere in India that would force
Sikhs to flee to Punjab.
In June 1984, the army attacked Sikh
militants holed up in the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, the Golden Temple at
Amritsar, killing hundreds. Four months later, Prime Minister Indira
Gandhi was killed by Sikh assassins, and her son, Rajiv, took over.
a statement after Monday’s slaughter, Gandhi said, “This atrocity
should redouble our resolve to fight against the extremists.”
took direct control of Punjab on May 11 when he fired the state’s
moderate Sikh government for failing to stem terrorist violence.
his seeming inability to manage the deteriorating situation in Punjab
was a key factor in the rout that his Congress-I Party suffered last
month in Haryana state elections. A peasant-dominated party swept to
power in Haryana in an anti-Gandhi backlash.
More than 500 people have died in separatist violence so far this year. About 640 were killed last year.
All three buses ambushed in the last two days were operated by Haryana
Roadways, the state transportation company. Yesterday, Haryana followed Punjab in suspending nighttime bus services.
officials in New Delhi said it was virtually impossible to prevent
attacks on buses, thousands of which are on the roads every day.
“You just can’t really be watching all the roads and all the buses,” one said.
Minister Buta Singh, a Sikh and India’s top internal security official,
went to Chandigarh to visit wounded survivors of Monday’s attack and
called it “a brutal murder of human values.”
Political leaders in
the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir
called for general strikes to protest the bus killings. Schools were
ordered closed in Haryana and shops in Chandigarh closed after the first
The right-wing and predominantly Hindu Bharatiya Janata
Party, defying a police ban on public assembly in New Delhi, said it
would organize a march on Gandhi’s heavily guarded residential compound
in the south of the capital city today.
After last night’s
attacks, security forces across northern India were put on maximum alert
and the army was placed on standby to assist police in preserving calm
in New Delhi, the scene of previous backlash attacks by Hindus on Sikhs.

Source: http://articles.philly.com/1987-07-08/news/26201308_1_sikh-militants-punjabi-hindus-independent-sikh-nation

Posted: July 09, 1987

India — They lay on slabs of ice in the front corridor of the general
hospital, lifeless men and boys who only hours before had been on the
wrong bus at the wrong time.
At first there were 32 of them, so
many that the floor was covered with fresh blood. By yesterday afternoon
more than half were gone, claimed by relatives for cremation.
wiry corpses were the latest victims of the war raging between militant
Sikhs and India’s Hindu-dominated central government.
were gunned down Tuesday night – apparently by Sikh terrorists – on two
buses just outside this parched market town 150 miles northwest of New
Delhi. Were it not for a similar bus slaughter Monday, in which 40
passengers died, the killing would have been the bloodiest civilian
massacre since the beginning of the Sikh terror campaign.
The two
incidents touched off a round of revenge violence in several Indian
cities yesterday. Six Sikhs were reported killed, including one
Fatehabad merchant who was burned to death.
In addition to the
sheer numbers of dead, the Hindus were outraged because the Tuesday
massacres were the first outside the Sikh-dominated state of Punjab,
where militants have been fighting for five years to establish an
independent Sikh nation. That massacre was in neighboring Haryana state,
which is predominantly Hindu and increasingly anti-Sikh.
is in Haryana, and 90 percent of its residents are Hindu. Although they
and their Sikh neighbors have lived amicably for years, the peace was
shattered yesterday morning.
Hindu rioters stormed Sikh-owned
shops and businesses, gutting about 15 of them, police said. A mob
chased a Sikh merchant and burned him to death, said Munish Chandra
Gupta, Haryana’s home minister. News photographers saw Hindus
dispassionately watching the victim’s death throes.
Seven Hindus in the town were injured when a Sikh storeowner opened fire on a mob coming to torch his business.
violence ended with the arrival of government soldiers, who imposed an
immediate curfew, emptying the streets and filling the town with an
eerie, frightened silence.
By mid-afternoon, shops were shuttered,
and soldiers patrolled the streets in convoys with their Sten guns
pointed outward. Occasionally a civilian could be seen scurrying across a
road on some errand before he was ordered back indoors.
Fires continued to smolder at a gas station and a general store, adding to the brutal heat and dust of India’s dry season.
in front of the hospital were the two buses attacked in Tuesday’s
massacre, one driven there by its uninjured driver and the other by a
16-year- old boy who survived the massacre by hiding under a seat.
Through a translator at a hospital, the terrified youth, Zile Singh, gave this account:
had just become dark as the bus traversed a plain – fertile when wet,
but now parched by the blazing, pre-monsoon sun – when it had to stop at
a small irrigation bridge, several miles outside Fatehabad, because a
car or jeep was in the way.
Four men stormed the bus, brandishing
weapons. They did not wear the turbans or long beards that usually
characterize Sikhs, but no one in Fatehabad appeared to doubt that they
were Sikhs.
The four then told two Sikh passengers to collect the
passenger’s valuables. Then, three women at the back of the bus were
ordered to come forward and take off their clothes.
After they had
done so, the boy said, the terrorists opened fire, ultimately killing
27 people on the bus and injuring two dozen, as well as killing a taxi
driver who stopped at the bridge. The women were abused, but no women or
children were among those killed.
Singh crouched under the seat
for about 10 minutes, then peered cautiously out. When he saw one of the
wounded people moving, he climbed into the driver’s seat and drove the
bus to the Fatehabad hospital.
He was not aware that a few minutes
later the terrorists attacked another bus at the same place, spraying
it with machine-gun fire and killing four people. The driver of the
second bus also brought his passengers to the hospital.
As news of
the latest killings spread, anti-Sikh violence exploded across Haryana
and another Hindu-dominated state in northern India, Uttar Pradesh.
Sikhs died in Haryana, police said. Two more were slain in Rishiskesh,
the Himalayan Hindu city on the banks of the revered Ganges River in
Uttar Pradesh, the United News of India reported.
At least 25
Sikhs were injured in mob violence in Rishikesh, and at least 62 were
injured in Haryana and elsewhere in north India.
Along Highway 10
in Haryana, roving mobs of Hindus could be seen as shimmering objects in
the distance through the heat waves coming off the blacktop road. They
stopped and surrounded cars, peering in, wild-eyed and shouting, at
their occupants, hoping to find Sikhs they could kill with the bricks
and thick wooden clubs they carried.
Convoys of soldiers patrolled
the road, the major one in the state, trying to halt the cycle of
killing. Along the road the burning skeletons of trucks waylaid by the
mobs attested to their ferocity.
Back in the hospital, about a dozen men injured in Tuesday’s attack lay on hastily assembled cots in a hot, dusty side room.
officials and dignitaries arrived at regular intervals to witness the
carnage. They were escorted over the corpses in the center hall and past
the mounds of bloody clothing left in the corridors.
Because the ice under the bodies was melting, they also had to endure a terrible stench.
must do something with the bodies quickly,” said Kuldeep Kumer, chief
medical officer of the hospital. “It is a terrible thing, but if they
are not picked up by tomorrow morning, we will have to take them out
ourselves to have them cremated.”

Source: http://articles.philly.com/1987-07-09/news/26198088_1_independent-sikh-nation-fatehabad-haryana

PS: I was raised in the same town (Fatehabad). But by the time, I could follow the happenings, Punjab’s insurgency
had ended. But my Mother recalls armed Khalistan militants visiting her village
(in Rajasthan) every evening for area domination, while my father  barely escaped a militant attack in Abohar
(Ferozepur District of Punjab).  Apart from State and political actors
inside Punjab, ordinary Sikh community outside Punjab and ordinary Hindu community inside
Punjab feared for their lives all through 1980s & early 1990s- thousands of families had to leave their ancestral
places  (Hindus out of Punjab, Sikhs out of India
or into Punjab). At the height of militancy, our family too bought some land deeper inside
Rajasthan, just in case the shit hit the fan-which thankfully didn’t happen. Nevertheless, The brutal
insurgency and counter-insurgecy dragged on for
years, ending only by Mid 1990s.


May-day(s) were quite the Pay-day(s)

A message from the desk-clerk’s desk.

May was supposedly a  decent month for BP, no doubt driven by some election news somewhere in far-off Brown land. This was the third month in a row that we have crossed the 200 postings mark.

The Bosses have made it known that they are not displeased with the page-view counts or whatever other indices that are used to benchmark our performance. Normally this would lead to some idle chatter about bonus and what not amongst the working classes…but what with zero hour contracts and all that, the revolutionary spirit is sadly lacking.

However we comrades are always ready to march out the door if an inspirational leader comes by. Just thought we would let you know.

On the human resources front we have been blessed with a bright, young chap who is an elite (comes from an exclusive educational background) yet rooted in the soil that we all love. We have great expectations….yet it must be said…yeh dil mange more. You lazy bums (sorry most honored readers) why dont you step up and contribute a bit as well?

BTW if there are any suggestions for improvement please pass them on and we will try our best to get the curry condiments and floral arrangements just right. 

To end this message, we must give our usual, awe-struck salaams and kurnish-es to the one and only Doctor Sahib. A single post of the Great Man is approaching has touched 7000 page-views (with no slowing down in sight). It is always a pleasure  to watch (and learn from) the master at work. Thanks to all others who have contributed as well.

Finally, we did make an appeal on the spam that has infected the comments. For such a smart, happening site this is the only fly in the ointment. Hopefully the management will get the heavy artillery out and do the needful.

warm regards


The Master Spy comes in from the cold

When we read about Indian officialdom (as well as in team sports) the focus is almost always on the people who are bumbling and stumbling. This is unlike Pakistan, where the officials (mostly from military background) as well as sports-persons are considered to be highly focused and motivated in their jobs.

Doval, spent six years in Pakistan in the Indian High Commission…. he
once disguised himself as a Muslim and went to a dargah in Lahore for an
evening of qawwali. Pakistani intelligence officers were tailing him
and, after some time, one of them crawled next to Doval to whisper that
his fake beard was dangling loose, forcing him to beat a hasty retreat.

To name just one organization, ISI is considered to be miles ahead of RAW. Yes, there is lot of envy on the Indian side and the common explanation is that it is ideology which drives Pakistanis (as opposed to greed and egoism slowing down Indians).

The only times when India has come through convincingly is the 1971 Bangla war under the command of JS Aurora, S Maneckshaw, R Jacob, and S Singh and the 2011 ICC World Cup under the command of MS Dhoni. There have been some remarkable civilian officers: Damayanti Sen and Durga Nagpal, Ashok Khemka and Amit Khare, but they are considered to be exceptions which prove the rule.

It is thus a pleasant surprise to know of a successful spy, the best of  the lot. Meet Ajit Kumar Doval who will be the National Security Advisor for this administration. Even in the short bio that follows, one notices plenty of the same bumbling/stumbling noted above, but also some remarkable successes taken at considerable personal risk.
Four or five men huddled together in a Delhi hotel room. They were
going through travel arrangements. Three of them were to leave for Dubai
a little later to execute one of the most audacious operations by
Indian intelligence agencies.

The plan was to smuggle in two
sharpshooters into the Grand Hyatt hotel near Dubai airport. The
marriage of the daughter of Dawood Ibrahim, India’s most wanted don,
with Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad’s son  had been solemnised in
Pakistan. A post-wedding feast was being organised at the hotel. Indian
intelligence believed Dawood would attend it and saw an opportunity to
take him down. The task was outsourced to the Chhota Rajan gang. The
calculation was that neither Indian operatives nor Chhota Rajan’s
gangsters could have pulled it off on their own; together, they stood a
better chance.

The sharpshooters, Farid Tanasha and Vicky Malhotra, had arrived in
India and were tested, briefed and trained at several locations. This
could not have been an ‘official’ operation, so a retired Intelligence
Bureau (IB) officer was conscripted to coordinate it. The officer was
giving last-minute instructions when DCP Dhananjay Kamalakar of the
Mumbai crime branch burst in with his men, his firearm drawn. Ignorant
of the ‘plan’, the Mumbai crime branch had intercepted Tanasha’s calls
and reached Delhi. They had decided to take the sharpshooters by

The retired IB officer began to scream, but Kamalakar refused
to back off. By the time the air was cleared, the sharpshooters  missed
the flight and the plan was abandoned. This incident finds mention in
Hussain Zaidi’s book From Dongri to Dubai. Zaidi writes that the Times of India
reported on a retired IB officer’s involvement with gangsters and
identified him as Ajit Doval—now India’s National Security Advisor
(NSA)—but Doval denied the incident. He told the Mumbai Mirror he’d been watching a football match at home.

Doval, 69 years old and an IPS officer of the Kerala cadre, is
India’s best-known spy—okay, mostly inland spy. He’s that rare police
officer who has won the Kirti Chakra, a military award. Incidents in his
professional life are the stuff of legend and films. In recent years,
Doval has worked closely with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his
Gujarat CM days, attending strategy sessions and briefings in Ahmedabad.
He is known as a hardliner on terror and Pakistan, his views
articulated in a number of articles in journals and mainstream media.
More controversially, he believes Ishrat Jahan, the college student from
Mumbai killed in a fake encounter in Ahmedabad, was a terrorist. He has
been critical of the CBI for implicating a retired  IB special
director, Rajendra Kumar, in the case.

While his appointment as NSA, given his involvement with the BJP and
Modi, was expected, he has detractors in the security establishment and
the MEA who wonder if a hardcore operations man can ever be an ideal
NSA. But they too acknowledge Doval is an outstanding intelligence
operative. He has also served in Pakistan and London. But his critics
say Doval may have an eye for detail and the ability connect dots but
not the ability to see the large picture and deploy diplomatic skills.

Doval makes no bones of his belief that it was a colossal mistake to
appoint former diplomats as NSAs. Three of the four NSAs before him were
retired IFS officers. The only intelligence officer to make the cut was
M.K. Narayanan, who had a hand in the appointment of Doval as the
director of the IB in 2004. Turf wars between diplomats and intelligence
officers are not unknown and the first NSA, Brajesh Mishra, is known to
have had trouble with the IB, the turf guarded zealously by then home
minister L.K. Advani. But Doval’s special relationship with Modi, his
detractors fear, would overshadow not just the intelligence agencies but
also the MHA and the MEA. The more charitable view is that this is
precisely the arrangement the new prime minister may have had in mind.

Like most spy stories and legends, it is difficult to sift fact from
fiction. His detractors claim Doval himself crafted many of the tales
about him. But what remains indisputable is that Doval did play a
sterling role in restoring peace in Mizoram. Posted at Aizawl, he
assiduously cultivated the insurgents, often inviting them over for
dinner at his home. For over two years, Doval recalls, his wife cooked
pork for the heavily armed guests who she thought were part of a
patriotic push. He is also said to have walked once from Aizawl to deep
inside Kachin in China to establish contact with Mizo insurgents.
leader and commander of the Mizo Liberation Army, Laldenga, is said to
have acknowledged that Doval had won over six of his seven commanders,
leaving him no option but to strike for peace.

Doval’s reputation acquired legendary proportions after he apparently
posed as an ISI officer and went inside the Golden Temple for a
rendezvous with Khalistani terrorists. It is claimed he stayed inside
for several weeks, helping terrorists mine the periphery with dud
explosives he had taken inside. The subterfuge lulled the terrorists to
believe they could blow up advancing troops while the government, secure
in the knowledge that the explosives were fake and threats issued from
the temple empty, planned Operation Black Thunder to storm the temple
again and flush out the terrorists in the summer of 1988.

His role in the rescue of the Romanian diplomat Liviu Radu, abducted
by the Khalistan Liberation Force from Delhi,
also finds glowing mention
among his adm­irers, though some acco­unts hold that the KLF released
the diplomat after they found no mention of the kidnapping in the
international media. With Romania making no move to release Khalistani
terrorists arrested following the attack on the Indian ambassador Julio
Ribeiro in Bucharest,
the abductors felt they needed to kidnap a
diplomat from one of the superpowers before they could hope to exert
pressure. Radu, therefore, was released and put on a train to Delhi.

But other accounts hold that Doval spearheaded the rescue, leading
teams into Punjab and taking out one kidnapper after the other. The
kidnappers were changing hideouts every ten hours, but Doval and his
team, according to these accounts, used honey-traps to good effect, till
the last surviving kidnappers panicked and released the diplomat.

Doval, who spent six years in Pakistan in the Indian High Commission,
does seem to relish relating his adventures as a spy. He has hinted at
his fondness for disguise, for example. He is quoted as saying that he
once disguised himself as a Muslim and went to a dargah in Lahore for an
evening of qawwali. Pakistani intelligence officers were tailing him
and, after some time, one of them crawled next to Doval to whisper that
his fake beard was dangling loose, forcing him to beat a hasty retreat.

His role as a negotiator at Kandahar, where Indian Airlines flight
IC-814 was hijacked with 160 passengers, is another high point of his
Doval and Nehchal Sandhu, also to become a director,
Intellig­ence Bureau, later, are credited to have engaged the hijackers
for over 110 hours, negotiating the release of hostages and stalling
their demand for the release of 36 terrorists held in Indian prisons. 

According to one account, one of the hijackers would speak for 15
minutes from the cockpit of the hijacked plane while Doval would reply
in kind, speaking for the next 15 minutes. While India did have to
finally release three terrorists, including Maulana Masood Azhar, the
negotiators are believed to have done a good job.

As he occupies the office next to the prime minister, Doval, credited
with building up IB’s counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism
capabilities, can be trusted to rush in where his predecessors feared to

Link: http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?290878



How India voted: National Election Study 2014

 Some conclusions culled from the survey:

  1. Modi’s candidature helped NDA: 1 in every 4 respondents who voted for NDA said they would not
    have voted for the coalition had Modi not been the prime ministerial
  2. It was the upper castes, OBCs, and the tribals-who together won the day for BJP
  3. Upper Caste consolidation in favor of BJP reached 1998 level, while Muslim vote share for Congress remained steady
  4. BJP recorded her largest ever Muslim voteshare but by and large, Congress and the rest retained their Muslim Voters
  5. Highest ever Young Voter Turnout: Compared to the national average of 66.6%, turnout among first-time voters (18-22 years) and ‘other young voters’ was 68 %. In past, the turnout among young voters has always been lower compared to the average national turnout. So this is a big deal. The increase in turnout among first-time voters was visible in both rural and urban constituencies and cut across gender. 
  6. In the BJP win states, Support for the party cuts across young and old: The biggest shift among first-time voters in favour of the BJP could be
    seen in Madhya Pradesh followed by Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and
    Rajasthan. But, in other States where the party registered an impressive
    victory — Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh —
    it received more support among voters of the age group 23-25 and among
    other middle-aged voters compared to first-time voters 
  7. A thin ‘majority’ mandate: Before 2014 elections, the lowest vote share of a “majority” party was
    41 % . Compared to that, BJP’s share of 31 per cent is pretty low.