The Mosques of Mosul (no more)

“We lived together side-by-side (with Muslims) for 14 centuries. We still want to communicate and live together,” Sako said.

Mosul, Iraq (05 July 2014)….Muslims
persecuted because they are the wrong type of muslim. Muslim mosque(s)
erased because it was the prayer room of the apostate.
Our heroes are your villains. This is how
civilization will end, brothers fighting against brothers. Only
chance…give the sisters a chance.

Images emerged on Saturday purporting to show that Islamist militants,
who seized parts of northern and western Iraq last month, had destroyed
at least 10 shrines and mosques in the province of Nineveh.

Photos from Nineveh showed bulldozers plowing through walls, demolishing
four shrines of Sunni Arab or Sufi origin. Explosives were used to
destroy six Shiite mosques.

Residents of Mosul, which is the capital of Nineveh, said the militants
had also occupied two cathedrals belonging to Chaldean and Orthodox
Crosses on their frontages had been replaced by the black flag of the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group which recently
declared itself to be an “Islamic State.”

Iraq’s most senior Christian leader, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako,
appealed on Saturday for the release of two nuns and three orphans who
went missing on Tuesday in Mosul. He appealed to “scholars in Mosul and tribal sheikhs” to help locate the
five and arrange their release, according to the news agency AFP.

“We lived together side-by-side (with Muslims) for 14 centuries. We still want to communicate and live together,” Sako said. According to Sako, “at most” only 500,000 Christians remain in Iraq. Before 2003 they numbered 1.2 million.






Pak-China Tunnel Vision

What’s the problem in turning a blind eye towards china? After all the
whole world is quite, the OIC is silent, the new Caliph hasn’t said
anything. I think we should not say Anything. (from the Comments, filed under wicked humor)

Rafia Zakaria is the latest to jump on the band-wagon.  
Question: Why does Pakistan choose to remain silent in face of grave religious violations by the Chicoms against the Uighurs?
Following the musings of the delightfully pen-named BPeep– Carvak Charan and summoning our best inner teenage girl spirit, we respond: well, duh!!!

Rafia did make one (unusual for her) mistake. Pakistanis (81%) do not love China more than the Chinese. The Chinese love themselves the most (95%).
That raises a separate ethical issue for Pew querying Chinese over the phone (or inter-webs or god forbid, in person) and asking to put their non-love of the nation on public record.
Finally, it is surprising that Pew has queried state-less Palestinians (and many others) about the Chinese but not the Indians (naughty, naughty).

Next, we set aside the favs/unfavs data and look at the poll in totality. The picture that emerges is a complex one.

Is China’s growing military power a good or bad thing for our country? Pakistan- 64%

Does China consider your country’s interests? Pakistan- 52%

Both the huge drop in numbers and/or rankings point to the clear eyed understanding that Pakistanis have about China. As Pakistanis get more and more exposed to Han racism (which may be even worse than Arab racism) we can also expect a realistic appraisal in case the crucial question is posed: what do you think how China/Chinese think about your country/people?
According to a Pew Research Center survey
done just last year, the only country that loves China more than China
itself, is Pakistan. Now, suddenly, there is news that threatens to fray
these bonds of affection.

According to news reports, the Chinese
Communist Party which has long placed restrictions on fasting in the
Chinese Muslim province of Xinjiang has issued a ban on fasting.
A Government website announced that all teachers, all students, and all
civil servants would be banned from fasting in the month of Ramazan.

ban is a sudden and severe curb on religious freedom in a province
already often beleaguered by religious clashes and political unrest.

one part of the region, retired school teachers were posted outside
mosques to prevent students from entering the premises. In another, a
school website announced that fasting could not be permitted because it was detrimental to student health.

Bureau of Forestry in Xinjiang’s Zhaosu County held an event the day
before Ramazan began in which party affiliates signed pledges saying
that they and their family members would desist from fasting.

weather bureau in the Hotan area of the province went even further
announcing on its website that all Muslim employees would be required to
sign a letter saying that they would not be fasting.

China does
not have a stellar record of respecting the rights of minority
religions. But this new ban and its accompanying restrictions are the
most blatant curb on the freedom to practice religion seen in the
country in recent days.

At the same time, there is China’s long record of aid and alliance with Pakistan.

only has China been a longtime supporter of Pakistan’s nuclear program,
it has recently also pledged to help bolster Pakistan’s civilian
nuclear power capacity over the next five years. This includes the
construction of a 2200MW nuclear power complex in Karachi that is
forecasted to cost over 10 billion dollars.

China is also
Pakistan’s largest supplier of military equipment and Beijing operates
the strategic port of Gwadar in the Balochistan province.

On the
civilian end, the two countries enjoy a free trade agreement, an accord
signed last year created the “Pak-China Economic Corridor” The project
which involved the construction of a 200 km tunnel, would connect
Pakistan ironically to the very location of the problem, the Chinese
Muslim province of Xinjiang.

As a Muslim country, Pakistan has
been eager to stand up to the injustices committed against Muslims
anywhere in the world. In most cases, these denunciations, whether they
are of veil bans in France or pogroms in Gujarat, oft have not posed
much of a challenge to the country’s strategic and economic interests.

issue with China; its outright banning of what is a basic tenet of the
Muslim faith may prove to be a trickier proposition.

Used to denouncing only the West and India, Pakistanis ignore the
racism and human rights abuses perpetrated by those they consider to be
their ‘friends’.

In this respect, the condition of Muslims in
Xinjiang requires the solidarity of others who believe in their rights
of free exercise and the injustice of this ban.

At the same time,
China’s actions against its Muslims are not that different from
Pakistan’s indifference toward its own religious minorities.

Hindus and Christians, while not facing outright bans, are used to
being hounded, harassed and even killed. Viewed from this lens then, the
Chinese and Pakistani positions on minorities are perhaps not that far
apart; the difference only in the detail of which minority, Muslim,
Hindu or Christian, bears the brunt of an intolerant state.

as it may be on the poor Muslims of Xinjiang, this ban on fasting may
not bring a break-up between Pakistan and China, becoming instead the
wilful compromise on which marriages of convenience are built.


Link (1):

Link (2):



The life of Sheila

Lalu Prasad …has Z Plus security cover with NSG commandos
guarding him….even when he was pronounced convicted in fodder scam and
put inside Birsa Munda jail. The NSG, of course could not stay inside
the jail. The commandos were back on duty once he was released on bail.

This (and many others) can be made into a fine Monty Python sketch but Indian media is too deferential towards politicians. 

Sheila Dixit was the Chief Minister of Delhi during the disaster that was the Delhi Commonwealth Games. When told that an over-bridge collapsed and killed some laborers (just like in Brazil yesterday) she responded that “no VIPs were going to use the bridge.”

This and other acts of arrogance directly led to her humiliating loss to Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi elections. But politicians never ever lose their privileges. She was appointed by the previous Congress regime as the present governor of Kerala. The BJP wants her out which may not be the right constitutional thing to do. But one major benefit will be that she will lose her immunity and be open to corruption charges. 
As Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit lived a regal life. No surprises
that she does not want to leave the opulent perks that come with the
high constitutional office of Kerala Governor. 

Resigning from that post,
as desired by the Modi government would not just take away her immunity
to be prosecuted in a criminal case but will also force her to live
life as an ordinary citizen, howsoever affluent and connected, but pay
for wasteful services enjoyed.

When the whole of Delhi used to sweat it out during summer, both due to
power outage and high electricity tariff,s Sheila forced government
agencies to fix 31 Air conditioners and 15 desert coolers at her
official 3 Motilal Nehru residence. She also did not need to pay the
electricity bills. And it was not only the fact that she wanted to stay
cool in the summer. She also ensured that during winters, all corners of
her house were kept adequately warm. In addition to 25 heaters that
were installed in various corners, 12 geysers of 50 litre and 25 litre
capacity were fixed to ensure an uninterrupted supply of warm water in

The bungalow has sprawling manicured lawns, made up as per the taste of
the former Delhi chief minister. This type VIII bungalow is spread
across an area of three acres.

These revelations have been made in an RTI response to queries made by
the noted RTI activist Subash Agrawal. It also comes to light that the
former Delhi chief minister now Governor of Kerala, had sundry household
and kitchen durables bought on government expenses. She did not
consider it necessary to buy these things herself for her own use.

These included things like two RO system (water purifier) , refrigerator
not one but two (265 litre and 310 litre), 16 air purifiers, two
microwave ovens, hot case, toaster, three TVs etc.

These were the items which were removed by the CPWD when they came to
renovate and refurnish the house to make it a post re-retirement home
for former prime minister Manmohan Singh. The CPWD added in its response
that “the AC’s and other fixture have been partially utilized in
various Government offices as per the requirement”.

Agrawal said, “Consumption of electricity and expenses on such a large
fleet of electrical equipment can be well imagined that too at a time
when austerity-drive was there in existence with shortage of electricity
for commoners having been a common phenomenon. Our elected
representatives should be role-model citizens adopting austerity in
their personal lives especially when it is at cost of tax-payers’ money.
Enquiry should also be made if former Delhi chief minister was entitled
for such princely facilities, and necessary action may be taken against
concerned ones responsible for allowing expenses more than permissible

If Sheila will have to explain for her pompous living on public
expenditure, some other UPA benefactors who still continue to live with
walking symbol of VVIP culture, Z Plus and Z category security will get
anxious moments in days to come. It would be left to their lobbying
capacity to see whether or not they are removed from the list of high
and mighty.

In most cases Z Plus or Z category security has come as perk of power
than due to any genuine threat perception. The Union home ministry has
begun the “review”. But to avoid the consequent political storm, Home
Minister Rajnath Singh may like the “review” process to take its own
sweet time, till mid-August when budget session of Parliament concludes.

Lalu Prasad, for instance has Z Plus security cover with NSG commandos
guarding him. It presented a unique sight when NSG was by his side,
protecting him even when he was pronounced convicted in fodder scam and
put inside Birsa Munda jail. The NSG, of course could not stay inside
the jail. The commandos were back on duty once he was released on bail.

The ever growing list of VVIP protectees saw too many inclusions in the
list. Besides, Lalu, Beni Prasad Verma, Amar Singh, Manish Tiwari,
Pratap Singh Bajwa, Pramod Tiwari, Brajesh Pathak, Satish Chandra
Mishra, Naveen Jindal, journalist Anirudh Bahal of Cobrapost and former
Union minister Matang Sinh some of those who were given security of
varying category Z Plus, Z or Y during the UPA regime. Two BJP leaders –
Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy were accorded ‘Z’ category

The list of VIP protectee has 427 names, 346 Central protectee and 81
local. Over 35 are in Z Plus category, more than 50 in Z category. A Z
plus protectee has 36 commandos guarding him, in Z category 22 commandos
guard him, in Y category 11 security personnel are attached to the VIP
and in X category two policemen guard him.






3 dads (racism, communalism, greed), 600 orphans

…League leaders…jumped
in to defend the orphanages…attacked police officers for
registering cases and chastised Chennithala….They also hit out at him for ‘communalising’ the
..….Malayalam TV channels sent reporters to the children’s villages in Bihar
and Jharkhand…they had been “purchased” …for Rs 1,000 each to be sold at double the price to

The racism of Indians is best illustrated by observing how Indians behave with other Indians. North Indians despise South Indians and vice versa. The Indians from the North-East are despised by everyone else.

Kerala, by most measures, is a progressive state. Universal literacy, sympathy for the downtrodden, the (relatively speaking) liberation of women, these are all huge achievements and mallus are justifiably proud of this progress.

Unfortunately the child trafficking incident noted below highlights the racist, perverted and communal nature of some Keralites who know full well that the corrupt, vote-bank seeking politicians have their back. The only way forward that we can think of is to empower women. Women can make a difference (they are the only hope).

Also cheers to the Social Welfare Board and the (Kerala High) Court. Building (secular) institutions is what will help improve India and make it a modern nation. But still the stench of prejudice may still not go away.
The Kerala conundrum has become a cliché by now. Yet, it refuses to
die, with newer contradictions continuing to pop up every now and then
to remind us just how well and how badly Kerala is doing. The latest
scandal is the ‘orphan trade’ that has recently surfaced to rock the

Kerala has a peculiar labour scenario. Thanks to petro-prosperity and
the peculiar status-consciousness created by huge financial
remittances—estimated at Rs 60,000 crore last year—sent by its 2.5
million- strong community of Malayalees employed in the Gulf, there are
almost no takers in the state for blue-collar jobs. This is in spite of
the state’s high rate of unemployment. 

Unsurprisingly, the state’s high
minimum wages have lured unskilled migrant labour by the drove even from
distant states such as Assam. The state that thrives on Gulf money has,
in effect, turned into a Gulf of sorts for migrants from other Indian
states, with their count touching 2.5 million now— the same number of
people from Kerala who are in the Gulf.

So while the state has the rare distinction of being the highest
exporter as well as importer of labour, an even more interesting
demographic phenomenon is that its number of immigrants more or less
equals its emigrants. In sectors that range from construction to
domestic help, Kerala depends on labour from other states for most of
its low-paid jobs.

Until recently, however, few knew that Kerala has even been sourcing orphans from other states!

The state, it seems, does not have enough orphans for its 2,000 odd
private orphanages to admit. Hence, these orphanages, most of them run
by Muslim and Christian religious groups, have been getting hundreds of
poor Muslim children from states such as Bihar, Jharkhand and West
Bengal with the help of a network of agents.

It is no secret that more than any humanitarian concern, what drives
orphanages to desperately seek inmates are the liberal government grants
and huge donations from abroad. According to statistics available with
the Union Home Ministry, 1,500-odd organisations based in Kerala—most of
them religious entities or NGOs—received more than Rs 10,000 crore over
the past decade as donations, of which 60 per cent went to those
running orphanages and destitute homes. 

In 2012-13 alone, 1,502
organisations received a total Rs 850 crore. Except the Mata
Amritanandamayi Mutt, all the top recipients were Christian and Muslim
organisations, with the Believers Church leading the pack with Rs 417
crore collected in the past three years.

The scandal of Kerala’s orphan trade surfaced dramatically on 24 May
when the Railway Protection Force at Palakkad Railway station
intercepted two long-distance trains coming from Assam and Bihar. Out
came from two coaches of either train about 600 Muslim boys and girls
aged between five and 13 years, all of them originally from Bihar, West
Bengal and Jharkhand. These children, packed like sardines in the
compartments, were utterly exhausted from their long journey, and more
than 150 of them had neither tickets nor any documents. 

interrogation, the eight adults who had travelled with them disclosed
that the children were being brought to be admitted to two orphanages in
Kozhikode and Malappuram districts run by Sunni clerical organisations
closely associated with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a party
that happens to be the second largest constituent of Kerala’s ruling
United Democratic Front. One of the two orphanages under the scanner is
headed by Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal, the League’s state president.

On their arrival at Palakkad, the orphanage authorities paid the
fines levied by the Railways on those who had travelled without tickets,
admitted that the children were being taken to their institutions, and
proclaimed themselves to be do-gooders, wondering aloud what was wrong
with their “humanitarian” mission of helping orphans from other states,
as they had been doing for decades. 

However, the District Child Welfare
Committee under the state Social Welfare department, led ironically by a
Muslim League minister, took custody of the kids and recommended action
against the orphanages and their agents under the Juvenile Justice Act.
On their part, the state police registered cases of child trafficking.

Asked Ramesh Chennithala, Kerala’s home minister and former KPCC
President, “Why [do] these orphanages import children from other states
instead of setting up centres there if they’re [so] concerned
about these children?” Even the IUML’s MK Muneer, the state’s social
welfare minister, demanded action against the alleged child traffickers.

The children, it was confirmed, had been brought in violation of laws
on orphan admission. This kicked up a storm. Under the Juvenile Justice
Act of 2006, sanction letters from the concerned state governments,
local self-governments and families are mandatory, as also birth
certificates (among other things), for the admission of children from
other states to orphanages. Most children did not have these documents.
Some had fakes.

The state government appeared to initiate strict action against the
offenders. But soon, League leaders and scores of Muslim outfits jumped
in to defend the orphanages. They attacked police officers for
registering cases and chastised Chennithala for portraying the so-
claimed ‘minor procedural lapse’ on the orphanages’ part as a case of
child trafficking. They also hit out at him for ‘communalising’ the
issue, as they put it.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy parroted the League line and Chennithala
fell silent. Kerala’s Minorities Commission, led by a Congress leader,
defended the orphanages as well. Muneer, too, changed tack and swallowed
his words, saying there was no case of child trafficking but only a
minor procedural lapse.

The state BJP, in the meantime, took the case to the Centre. Union
Minister Maneka Gandhi described it as one of child trafficking.
Malayalam TV channels sent reporters to the children’s villages in Bihar
and Jharkhand, and reported that they had been “purchased” from their
families by agents for Rs 1,000 each to be sold at double the price to

Officials of the Jharkhand government arrived in
Thiruvananthapuram and confirmed that it was a case of child trafficking
and asked for the children’s immediate return. The state Human Rights
Commission came down heavily on the orphanages and instituted an
investigation. With the Kerala High Court too reprimanding the state
government for its casual attitude towards the incident, League and
Congress leaders have now chosen silence. 

Chandy has offered to bear all
expenses for the children’s return journey. But as the dust over the
scandal settles, the case of child trafficking looks like being given a
silent burial and the orphanages getting back to business as usual.






The RSS is back in (cultural) business

The appointment of Y Sudershan Rao to the ICHR is only the first of more
appointments to follow.
….ICSSR, NIAS, UGC, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), National
Book Trust, NCERT, Films Development Corporation, Censor Board, Sangeet
Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi…

Happy days are here again when we can (again) get a masters degree in Jyotir Vigyan Jyotirvigyan or astrology (response to Shah Alam: thanks for the tip, our Sanskrit gyan is bilkul shunya, root word is jyoti, jyotish, jyotishi, jyotirvigyan are all formed by conjoining words…re-written jyotirvigyan as one word). Especially happy are the people who will be dusting off their decade old research proposals in deciphering mythology- the events and the people.

Our favorite query: did India have airplanes as recounted in Ramayana (which Lord Rama used to fly from Sri Lanka to Ayodhya) and atomic weapons as described in the Mahabharata (the Brahma-Shir-Astra that Ashwatthama and Arjuna launched at each other and which threatened to wipe out the world).

We have admittedly mixed feelings about this. Ramayana and Mahabharata are unparalleled as stories which have been retold in million different ways (all possible art forms included) from India to Indonesia. These are no simple tales of good prevailing over evil – Ravana is the greatest of kings (and devotees). It was his blind arrogance that led to his downfall (he was not bothered enough to take insurance against men and monkeys). Rama, the ideal man (maryada purushottam) is cursed with hundred and one flaws – which are recognized as flaws – starting with his treatment of his own wife.

But the jump from mythology to history and science is not acceptable. The RSS is playing the same lousy game that the left has played for such a long time- denigrate and deny the parts of Indian culture that does not meet the purity test. It is stupid and pointless.

Take the example of Kabir and Shirdi Sai Baba. These saints have been fully accepted into the pantheon of Hinduism. If you are convinced that donating money to a shrine/deity will help you score a business deal, the Sai Baba shrine is as good as any (indeed it is one of the richest). The puja ceremony that takes place is identical to the ones that take place in Siddhi Vinayak, the foremost Ganapati temple in Maharashtra.

Thing is, if RSS really wanted to play smart they can use the Baba worship culture as a wedge issue. The reasoning is simple – the muslim communities (primarily Sunnis) have become increasingly disenchanted with the Baba-shrine culture. This is following the Saudi money and Wahabi logic which insists that all such activity is un-islamic.

The fundamental question that RSS is always worried about (and the reason behind all these culture games) is – are you (the muslim) an Indian first or a muslim first? Or even more bluntly, are you (the muslim) with India or with Pakistan? The Baba culture is too deeply rooted in India, the roots are increasingly weak in Pakistan and may vanish at some point. At that time the wall between the Middle East (includes Pakistan) and South Asia (mainly India) will be complete. The sifting that RSS wants will thus happen automatically without lifting a finger.
The new chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research,
Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, has an interesting blog post from 2013,
about ‘Ayodhya and History’.

“All thinking men — religious activists, intellectuals,
politicians, professional historians and archaeologists- are divided
into at least three groups; a) those who stand for the Hindu cause, b)
those who stand for the Mosque and c) the majority of others who support
an amicable settlement of the controversy. In influencing the public
opinion in favour of Muslim community, the ‘secular’ historians and
‘progressive’ intelligentsia make concerted endeavor in support of the
Muslim cause. They further condemn all those who sympathize the Hindu
cause as Hindu fundamentalists and ‘saffron brigade’.”

Rao goes on to argue that modern history — which he claims has received
disproportionate attention and legitimacy — will be unable to provide
answers to the Ayodhya issue since “Ayodhya stood even before the modern
genre of history was born.”

A retired history professor, Rao has penned several articles arguing
that stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are truthful accounts
of history. According to his blog page, he has interests in Indian
mythology, Vedic literature, Sanatana Dharma, ‘Bharatiya Sanskriti’,
among other subjects. Rao reportedly told The Telegraph that
he hopes to push projects to rewrite ancient history to document the
“continuous Indian civilisation”, including the period of the two epics.

“The stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata cannot be termed
a-historical just because there is not enough archaeological hard
evidence,” Rao said, adding,“A lot of historical material has come
through cultural, anthropological, archaeological and ethnographic
studies in the last 60 years about the continuous Indian civilisation.
The findings can be compiled by researchers. I think the ICHR should
support historians interested in doing work on these aspects.”


Rao’s elevation is the first of the many NDA decisions that will
determine who will lead India’s top research, educational and cultural
institutions. Asked if he foresees a flood of RSS-sympathetic
appointments to these institutions, former ICHR chairperson and
historian S Settar retorts, “Do you doubt it? I don’t.”

Settar was ICHR chairman from 1996 to 1999, and was witness to a gradual
Hindutva takeover of socio-cultural research organisations in the late
1990s. After the UPA assumed office in 2004, Settar was also on a review
committee that examined NCERT books published by the BJP government.
The committee discussed the safronisation of the texts at length and
recommended replacing them.

Speaking to Firstpost, Settar says, “There are many rightist corners
hungry to get into the ICHR. But in any case, it is such an incompetent
organisation — the Leftists have used it as a platform for their
ideology and friends, and now the rightists will want to use it for
their ideology and friends.”

ICHR will hardly be the only institution to see top-level changes given
the BJP’s track record in power. In 1999, not long after the NDA
government was sworn in, a slew of appointments were made, including
some on the very first day after then HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi
assumed office.

The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) got a new chairman, Prof B R Grover who soon became notorious
for punishing any historical research project or institution perceived
as “hostile” to the ruling government or its saffron view of history.

The Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) head at the
time was M L Sondhi, a Rajya Sabha MP from the BJP who would later,
ironically, be summarily replaced
after he complained repeatedly and publicly of pressure from an RSS
cabal within the ICSSR. Sondhi, considered close to then PM Atal Behari
Vajpayee, famously complained that the RSS faction in the institution,
led by Devendera Swaroop, a former editor of RSSmouthpiece Panchajanya,
was hindering a proposed Indo-Pak social scientists’ meet ahead of the
Vajpayee-Musharraf summit in Agra.

Also among MM Joshi’s early appointees was RSS sympathiser G C Pande, a
Sanskrit scholar and ancient India historian, who became head of the
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla. The University
Grants Commission (UGC) top job was handed to Dr Hari Gautam, who soon
after introduced courses in Jyotir Vigyan or ‘Vedic astrology’ and Hindu
karmakand or rituals. …

The move raked up a debate on whether the UGC,
the institution that controls higher education institutes across the
country, was legitimising superstition.

And it is these institutions and their impending appointments that will
be closely tracked by activists and academicians who will be keeping a
close eye on the research projects they undertake, and changes they
institute in curriculum and historiography.

The appointment of Y Sudershan Rao to the ICHR is only the first of more
appointments to follow. Apart from the ICHR, ICSSR, the NIAS in Shimla,
the UGC, here are other institutions to watch closely in coming months:
The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), the National
Book Trust, NCERT, Films Development Corporation, Censor Board, Sangeet
Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi, to name a few. Also to watch: Likely
expansion plans for the network of Shishu Mandir schools and Vidya
Bharati schools, and funding patterns for other schools including those
run by the VHP.

In his blog post about Ayodhya, Rao bemoans the politicisation of
history, writing “Revisiting the past with preconceived notions and
vested interests leads to misinterpretation of historical facts. Since
independence, volumes are written by the teams of scholars owing
allegiance to either side of the issue. In this milieu, the worst
sufferer could be history as a scientific discipline and historiography
as a technical craft.”

If history is any indication, these words may soon prove to be ironic, indeed.





Dual Lt Generals up for a duel

…the main
accusation against Suhag is that …he
was shielding the Colonel commanding the Intelligence Unit that had
indulged in the above cases of murder and dacoity….This particular Colonel faces several
other allegations, the most significant of them being narcotics
smuggling on the Indo-Myanmar border…

Indian Army succession battles are becoming more and more frequent and the allegations are getting more and more serious.

The concern now is about possible links to illicit drug trade running from the North-Western border of the country to the North-East. We hope that the Supreme Court will clean up the mess so that the integrity of the Army is not compromised. The last thing we want is Mexico like drug warfare breaking out and the complete destruction of civil society.
Here is where the concern comes in and is reflected in the ongoing
legal battle between two of the senior most Lieutenant Generals of the
Indian Army—Dalbir Singh Suhag and Ravi Dastane. 

Recently, there was a
controversy about the tearing hurry in which the appointment of the
former as Chief of the Indian Army was announced by the UPA government
after it was virtually voted out. 

Strangely enough this appointment was
confirmed by the acting defence minister of NDA government the day he
took charge and was re-confirmed in the Rajya Sabha, though a writ
petition filed by Lt Gen Dastane against the seniority of Lt. Gen Suhag
was pending in the Supreme Court. 

The Apex Court has finally come around to hearing the petition in the
second week of July. It was to have been heard on May 2, but the
ministry of defence (MoD) under A.K. Antony got it deferred to September
which would have rendered the case infructuous
and facilitated the
implementation of the ‘line of succession’ drawn up by the UPA and
adhered to by the NDA government without let or hindrance. In the
event, Suhag would become Army Chief on 1st August 2014 and Lt Gen
Dastane would superannuate on August 31. 

Dastane’s case hinges on the actions taken by General Bikram Singh
who took over as the CoAS from General V.K. Singh on June 1, 2012.  It
is alleged that a cabal of bureaucrats in the MoD, purportedly having
links with the arms lobby and drug traffickers, is hell bent on ensuring
the status quo ante. 

Inter alia Dastane’s writ petition points out that
the MoD had put up only two names to the Appointments Committee of the
Cabinet to fill the vacancy of two Army Commanders in the summer of

According to rules, four names should have been submitted which
would have automatically included Dastane’s as well. Suhag was then
under Discipline & Vigilance (DV) Ban and therefore not eligible to
be promoted.
Had Dastane got his rightful promotion as Army Commander
then, he would have been the one in line to succeed Bikram Singh as the
CoAS based on the principle of seniority and unblemished service

The DV Ban imposed on Lt-Gen Suhag, then General Officer Commanding 3
Corps, was based on the advice and recommendation of the Judge Advocate
General and Vigilance branches of the Army Headquarters for the command
failure to take appropriate action in the Dimapur fake encounter case
and the Jorhat dacoity case. 

While the triple-murder in the fake
encounter case was hushed up, the Court of Inquiry by the Army and later
Court Martial found the Intelligence Unit working directly under the 3
Corps Commander fully responsible for the Jorhat dacoity. Recovery of
most of the loot from the officers of the unit by the police further
proved its involvement. 

Though concealed by MoD and spun differently by the media, the main
accusation against Suhag is that by not initiating stringent action he
was shielding the Colonel commanding the Intelligence Unit that had
indulged in the above cases of murder and dacoity. Because of this, the
victims in both cases were forced to approach the Guwahati High Court
for justice, which is pending. 

This particular Colonel faces several
other allegations, the most significant of them being narcotics
smuggling on the Indo-Myanmar border by abusing Armed Forces Special
Powers Act. This has not been refuted so far. 

MoD officials have only
come out with childish excuses that Lt. General Suhag was either not in
station or was on leave when these horrific offences were committed by
officers directly under his command. They also ensured the promotion of
Suhag as Army Commander by, it is alleged, illegally overturning the DV
Ban against him. This has now become the bone of contention in
Dastane’s writ petition in the Supreme Court. 

As is their wont, in this case also, Army brass and MoD have been
indulging in deception, falsehood and character assassination of those
raising these concerns. And they are determined to bulldoze the
appointment of Lt General Suhag as next Army Chief come what may. 

It is
only hoped that the Apex Court would go into all aspects of the case
and render justice. It is also time Prime Minister took charge of
matters and sort out the MoD mess before it is too late. Because what is
at stake is not mere national security but the nation’s very future.






Home free!!!!

We did say that miracles could happen even if unlikely, and so it has. The girls are free to come home. 

We feel an overwhelming sense of generosity towards the ISIS Caliphate and we hope that the Indian govt establishes full diplomatic relations with such extremely kind, gentlemanly people:-)

All big and small people who got involved deserve our heartfelt thanks. Chief Minister Antony, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian embassy in Iraq…Congress, BJP….everybody came together. Certainly a victory for humanity.
All 46 nurses who were held up in ISIS controlled areas in Iraq have
been freed and will reach Kochi tomorrow morning by a special Air India
flight from Erbil in northern Iraq, a relieved Kerala Chief Minister
Oommen Chandy said today.

“Government of India, Indian Embassy in Baghdad and the state government
all have worked together and finally we are achieving the great aim to
bring back to the nurses to India,” Chandy told reporters after his
second meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

He said that the nurses have started their journey at 12.30 pm today
from the place in ISIS-controlled area where they were kept and
“according to our latest report they have reached the border near the
international airport (at Erbil)”.

Chandy said the Central government has agreed to send a special aircraft to bring them to Kochi.

“We are very thankful to Government of India and Indian embassy for
their active involvement in the mission,” said the Chief Minister who
was camping in Delhi for the last two days holding consultations with
the Central government.

He said nurses will reach Kochi tomorrow morning.
“They will stay there (Erbil) and tomorrow early morning the Indian
officers will bring them to the airport and from there they will be
flown to Kochi in a special aircraft,” Chandy said.

Asked to whom he gives credit for this achievement, the Chief Minsiter
said, “We approached the External Affairs Minister (Sushma Swaraj),
Indian embassy in Baghdad. We got support from all the quarters”.

“The External Affairs Minister, the Indian ambassador in Baghdad…All helped us. So we are thankful to everybody,” he said.

Terming the nurses’ issue as “a humanitarian problem”, Chandy said they
were working in Iraq for their livelihood and they were living in a
“very very difficult situation after civil war broke out there”.

“We are all happy because we could solve a humanitarian issue,” the Chief Minister said.

He said Indian embassy officials have made arrangements in Erbil for
their comfortable stay and representatives of Government of India and
Kerala state government will go in the special aircraft to facilitate
their return to Kochi.

“Our priority is to bring them back safely to their homes,” he said.






Human made oasis (in defense of humanity)

Indian women will get some relief and that is surely grounds for relief. In the short term we hope that the centers are able to help the needy.

In the long-term we have to all stand together to make sure that women get a higher ranking on the power meter. Political representation (and reservations) may be key to bring rural women out of the shadows. For urban women it will be economic power that will bring freedom. Ladies, please do not quit your jobs after marriage!!!
…….. At least
660 rape crisis centres will be established across the country and
named as Nirbhaya Centres, as a tribute to the victim of December 16,
2012 Delhi gang-rape case.
The centres will be set up in
all the 640 districts and 20 additional locations in the country and
the project will cost 477 crores approximately, women and child
development ministry officials said.

The women and child
development ministry has already prepared the concept note which has
been approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) and has been
sent to various stakeholders like ministry of law, finance, tribal
affairs, health, social justice and empowerment and minority affairs
seeking their suggestions.

These Nirbhaya Centres will act as
one stop centre for women victims of molestation, rape, sexual assault,
domestic violence and provide them medical assistance, police
assistance, psycho-social support and counselling, legal aid and
temporary shelter.

Under the medical assistance, victims of
violence can approach the Nirbhaya centres where they will be provided
medical assistance like referral to hospital and assisted in filing FIR.
They will be counselled, provided legal aid and short stay with food
and clothing at the centre itself along with the video conferencing

“A retired police officer will posted at the centres
to facilitate prompt and proper filing of FIR by the ministry of home
affairs, state or district. A list of lawyers will give legal aid to the

“Nirbhaya centres initially will operate in rented
premises and the shelter facility for the victims will be also arranged
at the centre itself,” said a senior official from the WCD ministry.







The underclass uprising is brutal, with much hand-to-hand combat in confined, jolting

Revolution on a train results in the erasing of inequality for all time to come…..what a wonderful world it would be.

Our opinion is that it is the lack of Swiss banks and off-shore
accounts on board that forced the haves to accommodate the wishes of the
In India it was Lalu Yadav who promised to bring the black
money home and to make the roads in Bihar as smooth as the cheeks of
Hema Malini (aka Aaisha Bi). We the Aam aadmi are still waiting for that liberation day.

Snow-piercer is set some decades in the future, after a
misguided attempt to reverse global warming has instead precipitated a
new ice age.

Virtually the entire film takes place on a moving train
that, endlessly traversing the globe, carries the last vestige of life
on a frozen earth. Order is rigidly enforced. A tiny fraction of haves
occupy the luxury cars up front; the hapless 99 percent are packed into
rear cars and looking to redress their situation.

Rampant inequality is the film’s narrative motor. Human interest is
negligible and psychology is irrelevant. The claustrophobic, forcibly
focused tunnel vision suggests the situation of the doomed sewer-trapped
partisans in Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s Kanal (1956), a film about the Warsaw uprising; the continuous trajectory is reminiscent of David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (2012), set almost entirely in a limo crawling through midtown Manhattan traffic.

The spectacle of class warfare aboard a 1,001-carriage super train
makes for the most overtly leftwing pop movie in the eight years since V for Vendetta brandished the black flag of anarchy as the only recourse in a media-driven police state. Snowpiercer
has enjoyed great success abroad, in part because its political program
is couched as an action film. 

The movie’s principals are an appropriately motley lot. Chris Evans, the eponymous star of Captain America
and a presence as generic as his name, is the nominal protagonist, an
angry young “natural leader” from the back of the train. John Hurt hams
it up as his wizened guru, and Jamie Bell, the original Billy Elliot, is
his young sidekick. Korean actor Song Kang-ho appears as a
drug-addicted scientific genius who is bribed to join the revolt; the
ingénue Ko Ah-sung plays his daughter, as she did in Bong’s The Host (2006). Oscar-winner Octavia Spenser, part of The Help (2011), is the aggrieved mother whose loss provides the spark that ignites the revolt.

The director discovered Le Transperceneige (1982), the comic by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette on which Snowpiercer
is based, in a used bookstore in Seoul. Bong says that he was
transfixed and, as if to demonstrate the nineteenth-century stock phrase
that railway travel produced the “annihilation of time and space,” read
the entire novel then and there. But in adapting Le Transperceneige,
which is undistinguished in every aspect save its concept, Bong and his
American cowriter Kelly Masterson kept only the novel’s premise, freely
embroidering it with new characters and incidents.

The underclass uprising is brutal, with much hand-to-hand combat (as
well as stabbings, gougings, and amputations) in confined, jolting
spaces. Everyone is under pressure. As shortages are endemic, even
bullets are “extinct.” At one point, someone smokes “the world’s last






Historical nihilism…

…repudiation of the
“historical purpose” of the Chinese revolution….rejecting
“the scientific and guiding value of Mao Zedong thought,”….“tantamount to denying the legitimacy of the CCP”…
….“I admit that what I have done touched on legal issues and threatened national interests….My
actions were very wrong”

Next time, any damn fool of a 70-year old lady dares complain about how Hindu imperialism imposed slavery on Shudras and Dalits or how Muslim-Anglican imperialism imposed slavery on the rest of us, we can always compel them to repent publicly for having committed one of the seven deadly sins- “historical nihilism.”

The seven deadly sins are appropriately named from a sense of forbidden fruit. God forbid the Chinese get a taste of the free press and free elections – it may lead to statues of Mao being toppled in public squares. So much devotion for the greatest mass murderer in history…it is awe inspiring indeed.

In late April, a 70-year-old Chinese journalist, Gao Yu,
was taken into custody, one of several human rights activists rounded up
to keep them from observing the 25th anniversary of the massacre of
student protesters by government troops in Tiananmen Square. 

afterwards, Gao appeared on television, confessing to a specific
offense: leaking what the Chinese news agency Xinhua described as a
“highly confidential document” to a foreign website.

“I admit that what I have done touched on legal issues and
threatened national interests,” she said, according to the BBC. “My
actions were very wrong.”

What had she revealed? Not the plans for a new Chinese
warplane or cyberattack. Not even details about the real health of
China’s economy or major industries. Rather, as her lawyer has all but
acknowledged, the secret paper Gao made public was “Document Number 9,”
issued a year earlier by the main administrative office of China’s
Communist party. 
Entitled “Communiqué on the Current State of the
Ideological Sphere,” it demonstrates what the leadership of China
regards as truly threatening: not the West’s economic or military might
but its political and philosophical ideas.

Pronouncements such as this—the ninth issued in 2013—aim
to instruct the party faithful throughout China on official doctrine as
promulgated by the Central Committee and, importantly at that time,
newly chosen President Xi Jinping. Like the others, Document Number 9
was meant to be discussed at local party meetings and inform party-run
publications and websites, but was not for public consumption. It opens a
window into what China’s normally secretive government officials are
thinking, or at least want loyalists to think, which, thanks to the
unfortunate Gao Yu, everyone can now know.

The communiqué focuses on seven “false ideological trends,
positions, and activities” that the party leadership believes are
spreading in the country and endangering “the great rejuvenation of the
Chinese nation.” Foremost among them is “Western Constitutional
democracy,” the idea that good governance requires a separation of
powers, general elections, a multiparty system, an independent
judiciary, and other features.
According to Document Number 9, China’s
system of government should reflect “Chinese characteristics.” It should
place “the Party’s leadership” and “the People’s Democracy” ahead of
the political and legal processes championed by the West.

Likewise, in the eyes of China’s leaders, advocating for
“universal values” amounts to claiming “that the West’s value system
defies time and space, transcends nation and class, and applies to all
humanity.” Such arguments are “confusing and deceptive,” they contend,
because China—and “Socialism”—should subscribe to fundamentally
different values.

These include rejecting individual and economic freedom.
Document Number 9 dismisses “promoting civil society” as based on the
idea that “in the social sphere, individual rights are paramount and
ought to be immune to obstruction by the state”; it pits “the Party
against the masses.” 
Nor does “neoliberalism,” defined as relying on
private property and markets to shape economic activity, fare any
better. The “catastrophic consequences” that have occurred in “Latin
America, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe” show its flaws, the
authors write, and underscore the dangers of efforts “to weaken the
government’s control of the national economy.”

Also disparaged is freedom of the press. It is an idea,
says Document Number 9, which challenges “China’s principle that the
media and publishing system should be subject to Party discipline.”
Those who embrace it “gouge an opening through which to infiltrate our

Writing about the past is suspect as well. “Historical
nihilism,” which Document Number 9 defines as the repudiation of the
“historical purpose” of the Chinese revolution, such as by rejecting
“the scientific and guiding value of Mao Zedong thought,” is not only
mistaken, but also “tantamount to denying the legitimacy of the CCP’s
long-term political dominance.”

Finally, the communiqué makes clear that questioning
public policies, even in the name of “reform” or of “opening,” is
Raising doubts about the direction or pace of the
government’s current course will “disturb people’s existing consensus on
important issues like which flag to raise, which road to take, which
goals to pursue, etc.,” ultimately retarding China’s “stable progress.” 
Not least of all, Document Number 9 warns that this could encourage
“Tibetan self-immolation,” “terrorist attacks in Xinjiang,” and the
breakup of China along ethnic and religious lines, among other dire

To prevent those, the party leadership called on its
followers to work harder in the “ideological sphere.” They should do
more to “distinguish between true and false theories” and be steadfast
in their efforts to control the media. “We must reinforce our management
of all types and levels of propaganda on the cultural front, perfect
and carry out related administrative systems, and allow absolutely no
opportunity or outlets for incorrect thinking or viewpoints to spread,”
Document Number 9 concludes.