Caliphate orders 4 mil mutilations

While we fret over Christians being exiled for good from their native lands, we forget that life is no less a challenge for the Sunnis who do live under the ever-merciful gaze of the neo-Caliph.

Translation of fatwa: “Out of fear for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and our
Islamic society, as a result of the spread of immorality and vice
between sons and daughters of Allah. For the honor of our lord and for
the faithful “A resolution is issued to all states that female circumcision is
honorable in itself and for the Caliphate, emir of the believers…”

The UN is claiming that the Caliphate has issued a fatwa ordering all women to be subjected to genital mutilation: A top UN official quoted from a statement saying that Isis wanted all
females aged between 11 and 46 in the northern city of Mosul to undergo the
procedure. Jacqueline Badcock said the decree was of grave concern.

Yet, some experts are expressing scepticism. They claim that other groups may be using a fake fatwa to discredit the (otherwise highly creditable and credible) Caliphate.

In its own way this experiment (if attempted in earnest) would resemble something that happened in India in 1975 (when Indira Gandhi declared Emergency). Her distinguished younger son Sanjay led a mass castration program in North India (called nash-bandi). 

The idea was that poor people were breeding in huge numbers and destroying the fabric of the nation. Tens of thousands of people terrorized by real-life and fictitious accounts of nash-bandi deserted their homes. It was most unfortunate that  Sanjay was claimed by an accident, else India would have had resembled China in form and in function (with Sanjay in the role of Mao).

But the really impressive thing about the Emergency was that the trains ran on time (really), the postal service became lightning fast, and civil servants did not demand large bribes (really).

We feel that if the Indian middle class was asked to bring back that golden age, they would all heartily agree!!!

The al-Qaeda-Inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has
ordered all girls and women between the ages of 11 and 46 in and around
Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the
United Nations said on Thursday.

“It is a fatwa (or religious
edict) of ISIS, we learnt this this morning,” said Jacqueline Badcock,
the number two U.N. official in Iraq.

The “fatwa” would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, Badcock told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil.

“This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is
of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” she said, according to

“This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists,” she added.





Air Algerie plane blows up over Mali

Well folks, the storm is truly landing. This is not global warming, this is global lunacy. We have had already one crash in Europe, one in Asia yesterday (Taiwan) and today in Africa (Mali). If the pattern holds, it may be the turn of the Americas next. Please take care and do not fly if you would rather not.

The Taiwanese plane that went down in the storm yesterday was a turbo-prop ATR 72. Today it was a (fairly ancient) MD-83 (or DC-10, source not clear). Mali is partly islamist territory and they may have the resources to blow up the plane. Else it just collided into mountains. Either way we will know soon enough.

Algerie said it lost contact with one of its passenger aircraft nearly
an hour after take-off from Burkina Faso on Thursday bound for Algiers.

A company source told AFP that the missing aircraft was a DC-10 (other reports say MD-83) and that
some 110 passengers of various nationalities and six crew members are
listed as being on board the flight.


The source said contact with the flight was lost while it was still in Malian airspace approaching the border with Algeria.

“The plane was not far from the Algerian frontier when the crew was
asked to make a detour because of poor visibility and to prevent the
risk of collision with another aircraft on the Algiers-Bamako route,”
the source said.

“Contact was lost after the change of course.”
The airline announced that the plane had gone missing in a brief
statement carried by national news agency APS.

“Air navigation
services have lost contact with an Air Algerie plane on Thursday flying
from Ouagadougou to Algiers, 50 minutes after take-off,” the statement

It added that the company initiated an “emergency plan”
in the search for flight AH5017, which flies the four-hour passenger
route four times a week.

One of Algeria’s worst air disasters
occurred in February this year, when a C-130 military aircraft carrying
78 people crashed in the mountainous northeast, killing more than 70

Tamanrasset in the deep south was the site of the country’s worst ever civilian air disaster, in March 2003. In that accident, all but one of 103 people on board were killed when
an Air Algerie passenger plane crashed on take-off after one of its
engines caught fire


A passenger plane has crashed after a failed emergency landing in Taiwan, killing more than 40 people, local officials say.

The domestic flight crashed near Magong airport on the outlying Penghu island, reports said.

There were a total of 54 passengers and four crew on board, Taiwan’s CNA news agency reported.

Aviation officials said flight GE222 aborted its initial landing and then crashed, local media reported.

Transport minister Yeh Kuang-Shih said that 47 people were killed and 11 were injured, CNA reported. The agency previously said that 51 were feared killed, citing fire department officials.

“It was thunderstorm conditions during the crash,” said Hsi Wen-guang, Penghu County Government Fire Bureau spokesman. “From the crash site we sent 11 people to hospital with
injuries. A few empty apartment buildings adjacent to the runway caught
fire, but no-one was inside at the time and the fire was extinguished.”

The ATR 72 turboprop aircraft departed from the southern
municipality of Kaohsiung at 17:43 local time (09:43 GMT), but lost
contact with controllers at 19:06, CNA said, citing the Civil
Aeronautics Administration.

The plane was found at Penghu island’s Xixi village in flames, local media reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, Taiwan was battered by strong winds and rain from a tropical storm, Typhoon Matmo. However, an official at the Civil Aeronautics Administration
told Reuters that bad weather at the time of the crash did not exceed
international regulations for landing.

Typhoon Matmo had caused many flights to be cancelled but the
land warning was lifted around 17:30 local time, around the time the
plane took off, the BBC’s Cindy Sui in Taipei reports.


Link (1):

Link (2):




Palestine and Israel…no end in sight

Slate columnist William Saletan has a piece about a possible solution to the conflict in Gaza (How to Save Gaza). It is worth a read. It will probably seem overly liberal to many Israeli supporters and will seem totally unfair to many Palestinian supporters. And it does sound a little utopian. Well, a lot utopian. It seems unlikely that it could be attempted and very unlikely that it would work if attempted.
Palestinian leaders vote for international conventions as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Anyway, it reminded me of a comment I wrote on Facebook. I am not optimistic…

This is a Greek tragedy. Both sides have lost many opportunities to compromise and they will surely manage to lose more in the days to come. When those in power in Israel clearly want to keep all or most of the occupied West Bank (building new settlements is hardly a signal they are leaving) and avoid every opportunity to make a deal, then they are not laying the foundation for durable peace. When those in power in Gaza seem to believe ALL Jewish presence in Palestine should be “reversed” (“Palestine will be free; from the river to sea”), they are not laying such a foundation either.

If Likudniks think Palestinians are incorrigible terrorists and barbarians who can never be trusted, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Hamas (and even more so, their millions of outside cheerleaders with nothing to lose) say the Israelis are worse than Nazis and are committing history’s greatest genocide, then what sane Israeli would consider them a negotiating partner that wants to make peace? Its a lose-lose situation.
I am not making some kind of moral judgement. And I am not making any claim about “both parties” being equally guilty (or unequally guilty). I am just saying: here we are, with millions of Israelis and Palestinians, and not enough middle ground. Whatever the moral standing of either group, the facts on the ground are that Israel is the stronger power, but appears unwilling to trade that stronger position to get a deal the other party can also live with…Likud’s minimum demands seem more than the Palestinians can reasonably concede. Meanwhile, Hamas is the weaker power, but (perhaps misled by periodic outbursts of vocal support from hundreds of millions of distant people with “no skin in the game”; or perhaps just mis-led) their strategy of defeating the stronger power really makes no sense …unless their plan is to accept another 30-40 years of suffering and dying in the belief that eventually Israel can be worn down to where its friends will abandon it, its best minds will emigrate, and the remaining “middle-eastern” level country will eventually be unable to sustain itself amidst a hostile Arab nation….this is not inconceivable, but I dont think it is as likely as many of my friends seem to think. …and if this is NOT likely, then the strategy of endless confrontation is mindless and self-defeating (though it is undoubtedly attractive to faraway supporters who want to admire heroes not compromisers).
It is probably not going to end well, no matter what. Too many factors are working against a good outcome. Israel is currently so much stronger that it is hard to imagine human beings resisting the impulse to “crush enemies” when said enemies seem so much weaker. Meanwhile, some Palestinians may have been beaten into a “reasonable” position but there are just enough fanatics and just enough “leaders” around to pursue dreams of the “mother of all battles” and other Arab fantasies…and to provide Israel with the excuses it needs to avoid peace…and last (and probably the least), the enchantment of wide public support in the Muslim world (and in the third world in general) is not helping the common Palestinian people, who have to play hero for this admiring audience and get beaten up on the head for their pains….
And I have not even touched the issues of 2000 year old promises from God, anti-Semitism, the holocaust, religious fanaticism or plain old land grabs..
It is hard to imagine human beings, left to their default settings, reaching some happy compromise in these circumstances. Very exceptional leadership would be needed, and very exceptional is exceptionally rare.
It is not going to end well.
When I am not this pessimistic, I follow the lead of the American Task Force on Palestine. I think Hussein Ibish and his friends are trying something truly heroic: they are trying to forge a compromise that is reachable within this world…and where almost everyone can live in peace, even if everyone does not get what they want. Their path is not easy. Hardliners on every side hate them and want them dead…and those outsiders who want the Palestinians to die glorious flaming deaths for their sacred honor probably call them pussies too…in spite of all that, they are trying real hard to be the shepherd…
Check them out here…. 

ATFP’s mission is to articulate and educate about
a) The United States national interest in the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
b) The United States national interest in strengthening Palestinian-American relations.
c) The United States national interest in supporting the Palestinian economy, living standards and good governance.
d) The United States national interest in recognizing that its goals regarding Palestine, and all major policy objectives in the region, are inextricably interconnected.
e) The United States national interest in framing its values and interests as complementary rather than contradictory throughout the region as it pertains to Palestine.


A motorway crash in Wales

Tariq Ali writes on his London Review of Books (LRB) blog:

On Wednesday I received four calls from the BBC’s Good Morning Wales.

First morning call: was I available to be interviewed about Gaza tomorrow morning? I said yes.

First afternoon call: could I tell them what I would say? I said (a)
Israel was a rogue state, pampered and cosseted by the US and its
(b) Targeting and killing Palestinian children (especially
boys) and blaming the victims was an old Israeli custom. 

(c) The BBC
coverage of Palestine was appalling and if they didn’t cut me off I
would explain how and why.

Second afternoon call: was I prepared to debate a pro-Israeli? I said yes.

Afternoon message left on my phone: terribly sorry. There’s been a motorway crash in Wales, so we’ve decided to drop your item.


An alert reader takes the hint and responds:

Seems like Israel is expanding its ground operations while the world’s attentions are diverted elsewhere…





Mountain polo (by moonlight)

Polo…origin in Central Asia….6th century BC….Persian national game in
the 6th century AD……
In 1935 UK administrator for Gilgit-Baltistan, A.H. Cobb ordered….make a huge polo ground in Shandur….named “Mas Junali”…..‘Mas’ is Moon and Junali is pologround, as Cobb
was found of playing polo in moon night….


Shandur, Gilgit and Baltistan. The nicest part of it all is the gorgeous night sky.

Beautiful place to play polo no doubt. But it also has a gorgeous lake to go with it. Why not advertise this as the coolest place in the world to play water polo? Just as nice as ice fishing in the Great Lakes.

[ref. Wiki] Shandur invites visitors to experience a traditional polo tournament which since 1936 has been held annually in the first week of July between the local teams of Chitral and Ghizer.
The tournament is held on Shandur Top, the highest polo ground in the
world at 3,700 meters (the pass itself is at 3,800 meters). The festival
also includes Folk music, dancing and a camping village is set up. The polo tournament is featured in the first episode of Himalaya with Michael Palin.

Various teams of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral have always played the
game of polo closest to its original form. During the early 20th
century, the British in neighboring India were the patrons of the game.

Free-styled mountain polo is arguably polo in its purest form. This
version of the game played at Shandur-Top has attained legendary status
and is of great interest to international and domestic adventure
tourists alike. There are no umpires and there are no holds barred. 

rules are: There are no rules! In “The Roof of the World”
Amin/Willets/Tetley write: “by comparison, an American Wild West rodeo
might pass for choir practice.” As one player once mentioned: “You can
ride head-on into the opponent, if you dare.”

In order to decide the final teams to play at the Shandur Polo Festival preliminary matches are played both in Gilgit and Chitral
in which the best horses and players are chosen for the final games by
the local juries. The festival begins on the 7th of July with a polo
match between the local teams of CHITRAL KPK with the guest teams coming
from GHIZER, GILGIT BALTISTAN. During the course of the tournament A,
B, C and D teams of Gilgit and Chitral
battle it out on the polo field. 

Each team has six members with 2-4
reserve players in case of injury etc. The match duration is usually one
hour. It is divided into two halves, with a 10 minutes interval. During
intervals the locals enthrall the audiences with traditional and
cultural performances. The game decided in favour of the team scoring
nine goals. The final is held on 9 July.

The field measures about 200 meters by 56 meters (normal polo field
is about 270m by 150m), with 60 cm high stone walls running the length
of the field on both sides instead of boards. As six players make up one
side, the field can get fairly crowded. This has the advantage of
slightly slowing down the pace, which, all things considered, is
probably somewhat safety-enhancing. Players rarely wear helmets, The
horses’ legs often have no bandages, and mallets often have no grips or

In 1935 UK Administrator for Gilgit-Baltistan A.H. Cobb ordered Niat Qabool Hayat Kakakhail
to make a huge pologround in Shandur, soon he made a pologround by his
people and named that polo ground as “Mas Junali”. In Khowar language,
‘Mas’ is spoken for Moon and Junali is spoken for Pologround, as Cobb
was found of Playing polo in moon night. 

Cobb impressed by his great
service and wished to give him a prize for his unreachable service, but
he didn’t want to get any prize of his works. Niat Qabool Hayat Kakakhail
presented his prize for collect benefit and said to Cobb to bring trout
fishes. Cobb brought trout fishes in short time from London and dropped
them into the River Ghizer. Due to this little service, Directorate of
Fisheries had been established and hundreds of people got employed. Now
the weight of those fishes in Hundarap Lake cross 24 kg and in Baha Lake
Khukush Nallah, their weight crossed 40 kg.

So Mas Junali became a source of relation between the people of
Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. The Shandur Polo Festival opens a door
step to the people of the world to enjoy their selves. Many of the
people from entire world come here to watch polo match played between
Chitral and Ghizer. 

Polo is an equestrian sport with its origin embedded
in Central Asia dating back to 6th century BC. At first it was a training game for cavalry units for the King’s Guards or other Elite troops.
To the warlike tribesmen who played polo with as many as 100 players to
a side, it was a miniature battle. It became a Persian national game in
the 6th century AD. From Persia, the game spread to Arabia, then to Tibet, China and Japan. In China, in the year 910, death of a favourite relative in a game prompted Emperor Apaochi to order beheading of all players.

Historically, polo being the king of games was played between small
kingdoms, villages and rival groups of Gilgit Agency. From 1936 onwards
polo tournaments were held annually at Shandur (then part of autonomous
princely state of Kashmir) at the patronage of the British from
neighboring India. The three day Shandur Polo Festival has developed
steadily in recent years into the massive celebration of mountain polo
that it is today.






Force-feeding: path to hell

…..Rajan Vichare in a fit of rage tried to
thrust a roti in the mouth of the employee…..Vichare claimed that he did not do anything….footage was aired on TV channels….”I did not know the person’s name, caste or community”……Vichare later said, “I came to know
that the employee was a Muslim only after seeing TV footage and I regret

The moral of the story: you felt insulted, so you feel free to insult others.

We frequently interact with a muslim girl and her (muslim) boyfriend. The girl is fasting but the boy does not. (they also do not have any visible ID marks – hijab, skullcap). Being forgetful, we would often cry out “enough working, what shall we do for lunch?” She would always smilingly point at BF and tell us to go ahead and enjoy the biryani. We feel guilty and we apologize. But then we also have Hindus (both genders) who fast on particular days or have a restricted diet (vegetarian). While they assure us that it is OK for us to have non-veg food in their presence it feels rude and we try to avoid it.

What happened in Maharashtra Sadan was most likely a genuine mistake made in the heat of the moment but the burden of explanation is with the perpetrators. Even if a Hindu had been fasting, it would be a grave violation to force a chapati down his throat. The point is – it will not be enough to say sorry, we did not know he was a Muslim.

Yes, we get that all sorts of people do not like non-violence as a policy (because it signifies weakness). In that case however one should be fully prepared to accept the consequences of violent actions which cause serious harm. Many times it happens that (powerful) people abuse and get away scot-free by sorting out the “mis-understanding”. Justice must happen here, must happen in a visible way, and must happen in a timely manner. No excuses.
A group of around 11 Shiv Sena MPs, apparently angry over not being
served Maharashtrian food, allegedly forced a Muslim catering superviser
who was fasting for Ramzan to eat a chapati at the new Maharashtra
Sadan in Delhi last week.


Within hours, IRCTC, the Indian Railways subsidiary that was catering
for the Sadan, stopped all operations in protest, and complained in
writing to the Maharashtra Resident Commissioner, saying the employee,
Arshad Zubair S, had been “deeply pained and hurt… as religious
sentiments are attached”.

The Resident Commissioner subsequently apologised to IRCTC and
Arshad, and asked to “meet him personally (to) convey the sentiments of
our government”.

The Maharashtra government has said it is examining the matter, and
has promised “appropriate action”. The MPs have said that they were
“insulted” at the Sadan, but claimed that the allegations against them
were “wrong”.

In an email sent to Resident Commissioner Bipin Mallick on July 17,
IRCTC Deputy GM Shankar Malhotra wrote: “Today there was a meeting of
12-15 MPs at New Maharashtra Sadan in the Press Conference Hall in which
they were complaining about the services of Electrical, civil,
housekeeping, catering, etc. which they are facing from the last several
months in the premises of Maharashtra Sadan.

“The entire delegation along with the electronic media and Manager,
Maharashtra Sadan, walked inside the public dining hall and started
throwing chafing dish covers in the buffet area. They also issued
physical threats to the kitchen and service staff while using highly
objectionable language. 

The specific incident happened with the Resident
Manager/IRCTC, Sh. Arshad who was forced to consume full chapati whilst
he was having fast on the eve of Ramzan. The concerned has been deeply
pained and hurt on this account as religious sentiments are attached.”

Malhotra said that the MPs “demanded [a] Maharashtrian caterer in the
NMS [New Maharashtra Sadan]. It may be noted that this is not the first
time that such an incident has happened. We have received no support
from the NMS management in this regard.”

In his complaint, which was forwarded to Mallick, Arshad said, “All
the guests along with media reporters and staffs of Maharashtra Sadan
got into kitchen where I was getting the orders prepared. They caught me
and put the chapati into my mouth. I was wearing a formal uniform set
as prescribed by IRCTC and everybody in the panel also knew my name as
‘Arshad’ as I was wearing the name tag. Even then they inserted chapati
in my mouth which caused my fast to break on the eve of Ramzan. I was
hurt with the thing they have done as religious sentiments are

Soon after the incident, IRCTC pulled out of work at the Sadan
because of “instances of manhandling of staff, use of abusive language,
discriminatory actions with regional and religious biases and veiled
threats towards the personnel of IRCTC as well as the service provider”.
The canteen at the Sadan is currently shut.

Mallick, the Resident Commissioner, sent a letter of apology to IRCTC, expressing “his shock” at the incident.

“I can understand the pain and the agony of your Resident Manager,
Mr. Arshad who was forced to do something against his religious belief.
On behalf of my state government, I convey sincere apology to Mr. Arshad
for the indignation caused to him by a few Hon’ble MPs while he was
performing his duties and rendering services for our government. I would
like to meet him personally and convey the sentiments of our
government,” Mallick said in the letter, which has been accessed by The
Indian Express.

The Maharashtra Chief Secretary has been apprised of the incident.
The letter sent to him names 11 Shiv Sena MPs: Sanjay Raut (Rajya
Sabha), Anandrao Adsul (Amravati), Rajan Vichare (Thane), Arvind Sawant
(Mumbai-South), Hemant Godse (Nashik), Krupal Tumane (Ramtek), Ravindra
Gaikwad (Osmanabad), Vinayak Raut (Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg), Shivaji
Adhalrao Patil (Shirur), Rahul Shewale (Mumbai-South Central) and
Shrikant Shinde (Kalyan).

When contacted by The Indian Express, Chief Secretary J Saharia said,
“There are allegations like this. We are examining the whole issue and
appropriate action will be taken.”

MP Sanjay Raut said, “These are wrong allegations, someone is doing
mischief. There are many problems with Maharashtra Sadan that have come
up, but I don’t even stay there.”

An incident report filed by the manager of the Sadan said “the mob”,
which included the MPs’ supporters and members of the media, damaged the
Resident Commissioner’s office.

“The mob threatened to break the glass door of RC’s chamber in New
Maharashtra Sadan, forced an employee to open the door, occupied the
cabin and started shouting slogans etc. Thereafter, the mob broke the
wall clock in RC’s cabin and wrote ‘Jai Maharashtra’ on the wall,” the
report said.

Mumbai-South MP Arvind Sawant said, “I have been living there for the
past two months, and have faced nothing but insults. There are so many
rooms here for MLAs, Ministers of State and Secretaries, but all the MPs
from Maharashtra have been boxed into tiny rooms. All of this, even as 4
MPs from Uttar Pradesh have larger rooms. Is this not an insult?”

Sawant added, “The food at the Sadan is terrible. It is run by the
Railways people who know nothing about Maharashtrian food. If you go to
Andhra Bhawan, you are served Andhra food, but here Railways people make
the food. They even gave stale water. 

We wanted to sort these issues
out amicably, and did not come with the intention of committing
violence. But even on that day, the Resident Commissioner refused to
meet us, and after a lot of delay, said that he had gone to receive the
Chief Secretary at the airport. Is that not an insult? No tod phod
happened at all, but we have been provoked in a sustained manner. Nobody
was manhandled, but if you keep abusing, will someone not slap?






Orwell in Burma-2

…..the shooting of the elephant…..The
owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing….legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to
be killed if its owner fails to control it…

….Among the
Europeans opinion was divided. The older men said I was right, the
younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a
coolie, because an elephant was worth more than any damn Coringhee

….I often wondered whether any of the others
grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool……

George Orwell has a fascinating account of how imperialism corrupts people, both the ruler and the ruled.
It is a good thing to remember while we see imperialism coming back in a big way-  ranging from let us have some clean fun with elegant women (soft- Thailand) to let us stone women to death (harsh- Iraqi Caliphate).

In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people –
the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to
happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an
aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter. 

one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through
the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her
dress. As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited
whenever it seemed safe to do so. When a nimble Burman tripped me up on
the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other
way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. This happened more than
once. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me
everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance,
got badly on my nerves. 

The young Buddhist priests were the worst of
all. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them
seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at

All this was perplexing and upsetting. For at that
time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing
and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better.
Theoretically – and secretly, of course – I was all for the Burmese and
all against their oppressors, the British. 

As for the job I was doing, I
hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like
that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched
prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey,
cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men
who had been Bogged with bamboos – all these oppressed me with an
intolerable sense of guilt. But I could get nothing into perspective. I
was young and ill-educated and I had had to think out my problems in the
utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East. 

I did
not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know
that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going
to supplant it. All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the
empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who
tried to make my job impossible.

With one part of my mind I thought of
the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in
saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another
part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a
bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts. Feelings like these are the
normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you
can catch him off duty.

One day something happened which in a
roundabout way was enlightening. It was a tiny incident in itself, but
it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of
imperialism – the real motives for which despotic governments act. Early
one morning the sub-inspector at a police station the other end of the
town rang me up on the phone and said that an elephant was ravaging the
bazaar. Would I please come and do something about it? I did not know
what I could do, but I wanted to see what was happening and I got on to a
pony and started out. I took my rifle, an old 44 Winchester and much
too small to kill an elephant, but I thought the noise might be useful
in terrorem. 

Various Burmans stopped me on the way and told me about the
elephant’s doings. It was not, of course, a wild elephant, but a tame
one which had gone “must.” It had been chained up, as tame elephants
always are when their attack of “must” is due, but on the previous night
it had broken its chain and escaped. Its mahout, the only person who
could manage it when it was in that state, had set out in pursuit, but
had taken the wrong direction and was now twelve hours’ journey away,
and in the morning the elephant had suddenly reappeared in the town. The
Burmese population had no weapons and were quite helpless against it.
It had already destroyed somebody’s bamboo hut, killed a cow and raided
some fruit-stalls and devoured the stock; also it had met the municipal
rubbish van and, when the driver jumped out and took to his heels, had
turned the van over and inflicted violences upon it.

The Burmese
sub-inspector and some Indian constables were waiting for me in the
quarter where the elephant had been seen. It was a very poor quarter, a
labyrinth of squalid bamboo huts, thatched with palmleaf, winding all
over a steep hillside. I remember that it was a cloudy, stuffy morning
at the beginning of the rains. We began questioning the people as to
where the elephant had gone and, as usual, failed to get any definite
information. That is invariably the case in the East; a story always
sounds clear enough at a distance, but the nearer you get to the scene
of events the vaguer it becomes. Some of the people said that the
elephant had gone in one direction, some said that he had gone in
another, some professed not even to have heard of any elephant. 

I had
almost made up my mind that the whole story was a pack of lies, when we
heard yells a little distance away. There was a loud, scandalized cry of
“Go away, child! Go away this instant!” and an old woman with a switch
in her hand came round the corner of a hut, violently shooing away a
crowd of naked children. Some more women followed, clicking their
tongues and exclaiming; evidently there was something that the children
ought not to have seen. 

I rounded the hut and saw a man’s dead body
sprawling in the mud. He was an Indian, a black Dravidian coolie, almost
naked, and he could not have been dead many minutes. The people said
that the elephant had come suddenly upon him round the corner of the
hut, caught him with its trunk, put its foot on his back and ground him
into the earth.

This was the rainy season and the ground was soft, and
his face had scored a trench a foot deep and a couple of yards long. He
was lying on his belly with arms crucified and head sharply twisted to
one side. His face was coated with mud, the eyes wide open, the teeth
bared and grinning with an expression of unendurable agony. (Never tell
me, by the way, that the dead look peaceful. Most of the corpses I have
seen looked devilish.) The friction of the great beast’s foot had
stripped the skin from his back as neatly as one skins a rabbit. As soon
as I saw the dead man I sent an orderly to a friend’s house nearby to
borrow an elephant rifle. I had already sent back the pony, not wanting
it to go mad with fright and throw me if it smelt the elephant.

orderly came back in a few minutes with a rifle and five cartridges,
and meanwhile some Burmans had arrived and told us that the elephant was
in the paddy fields below, only a few hundred yards away. As I started
forward practically the whole population of the quarter flocked out of
the houses and followed me. They had seen the rifle and were all
shouting excitedly that I was going to shoot the elephant. They had not
shown much interest in the elephant when he was merely ravaging their
homes, but it was different now that he was going to be shot. It was a
bit of fun to them, as it would be to an English crowd; besides they
wanted the meat. It made me vaguely uneasy. 

I had no intention of
shooting the elephant – I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself
if necessary – and it is always unnerving to have a crowd following
you. I marched down the hill, looking and feeling a fool, with the rifle
over my shoulder and an ever-growing army of people jostling at my
heels. At the bottom, when you got away from the huts, there was a
metalled road and beyond that a miry waste of paddy fields a thousand
yards across, not yet ploughed but soggy from the first rains and dotted
with coarse grass. The elephant was standing eight yards from the road,
his left side towards us. He took not the slightest notice of the
crowd’s approach. He was tearing up bunches of grass, beating them
against his knees to clean them and stuffing them into his mouth.

had halted on the road. As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with
perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him. It is a serious matter
to shoot a working elephant – it is comparable to destroying a huge and
costly piece of machinery – and obviously one ought not to do it if it
can possibly be avoided. And at that distance, peacefully eating, the
elephant looked no more dangerous than a cow. I thought then and I think
now that his attack of “must” was already passing off; in which case he
would merely wander harmlessly about until the mahout came back and
caught him. Moreover, I did not in the least want to shoot him. I
decided that I would watch him for a little while to make sure that he
did not turn savage again, and then go home.

But at that moment I
glanced round at the crowd that had followed me. It was an immense
crowd, two thousand at the least and growing every minute. It blocked
the road for a long distance on either side. I looked at the sea of
yellow faces above the garish clothes-faces all happy and excited over
this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot.
They were watching me as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a
trick. They did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my hands I
was momentarily worth watching. And suddenly I realized that I should
have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me and I
had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me
forward, irresistibly. 

And it was at this moment, as I stood there with
the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility
of the white man’s dominion in the East.  

Here was I, the white man with
his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd – seemingly the
leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet
pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived
in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own
freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the
conventionalized figure of a sahib.
For it is the condition of his rule
that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the “natives,” and so
in every crisis he has got to do what the “natives” expect of him. He
wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. 

I had got to shoot the
elephant. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. A
sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to
know his own mind and do definite things. To come all that way, rifle in
hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail
feebly away, having done nothing – no, that was impossible. The crowd
would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man’s life in the
East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at.

But I did not
want to shoot the elephant. I watched him beating his bunch of grass
against his knees, with that preoccupied grandmotherly air that
elephants have. It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him. At
that age I was not squeamish about killing animals, but I had never
shot an elephant and never wanted to. (Somehow it always seems worse to
kill a large animal.) 

Besides, there was the beast’s owner to be
considered. Alive, the elephant was worth at least a hundred pounds;
dead, he would only be worth the value of his tusks, five pounds,
possibly. But I had got to act quickly. I turned to some
experienced-looking Burmans who had been there when we arrived, and
asked them how the elephant had been behaving. They all said the same
thing: he took no notice of you if you left him alone, but he might
charge if you went too close to him.

It was perfectly clear to me
what I ought to do. I ought to walk up to within, say, twenty-five
yards of the elephant and test his behavior. If he charged, I could
shoot; if he took no notice of me, it would be safe to leave him until
the mahout came back. But also I knew that I was going to do no such
thing. I was a poor shot with a rifle and the ground was soft mud into
which one would sink at every step. 

If the elephant charged and I missed
him, I should have about as much chance as a toad under a steam-roller.
But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of
the watchful yellow faces behind. For at that moment, with the crowd
watching me, I was not afraid in the ordinary sense, as I would have
been if I had been alone. A white man mustn’t be frightened in front of
“natives”; and so, in general, he isn’t frightened. The sole thought in
my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would
see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse
like that Indian up the hill. And if that happened it was quite probable
that some of them would laugh. That would never do.

There was
only one alternative. I shoved the cartridges into the magazine and lay
down on the road to get a better aim. The crowd grew very still, and a
deep, low, happy sigh, as of people who see the theatre curtain go up at
last, breathed from innumerable throats. They were going to have their
bit of fun after all. The rifle was a beautiful German thing with
cross-hair sights. I did not then know that in shooting an elephant one
would shoot to cut an imaginary bar running from ear-hole to ear-hole. I
ought, therefore, as the elephant was sideways on, to have aimed
straight at his ear-hole, actually I aimed several inches in front of
this, thinking the brain would be further forward.

When I pulled
the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick – one never does
when a shot goes home – but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went
up from the crowd. In that instant, in too short a time, one would have
thought, even for the bullet to get there, a mysterious, terrible change
had come over the elephant. He neither stirred nor fell, but every line
of his body had altered. He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken,
immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had
paralysed him without knocking him down. 

At last, after what seemed a
long time – it might have been five seconds, I dare say – he sagged
flabbily to his knees. His mouth slobbered. An enormous senility seemed
to have settled upon him. One could have imagined him thousands of years
old. I fired again into the same spot. At the second shot he did not
collapse but climbed with desperate slowness to his feet and stood
weakly upright, with legs sagging and head drooping. I fired a third
time. That was the shot that did for him. You could see the agony of it
jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his
legs. But in falling he seemed for a moment to rise, for as his hind
legs collapsed beneath him he seemed to tower upward like a huge rock
toppling, his trunk reaching skyward like a tree. He trumpeted, for the
first and only time. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a
crash that seemed to shake the ground even where I lay.

I got
up. The Burmans were already racing past me across the mud. It was
obvious that the elephant would never rise again, but he was not dead.
He was breathing very rhythmically with long rattling gasps, his great
mound of a side painfully rising and falling. His mouth was wide open – I
could see far down into caverns of pale pink throat. I waited a long
time for him to die, but his breathing did not weaken. 

Finally I fired
my two remaining shots into the spot where I thought his heart must be.
The thick blood welled out of him like red velvet, but still he did not
die. His body did not even jerk when the shots hit him, the tortured
breathing continued without a pause. He was dying, very slowly and in
great agony, but in some world remote from me where not even a bullet
could damage him further. I felt that I had got to put an end to that
dreadful noise. It seemed dreadful to see the great beast Lying there,
powerless to move and yet powerless to die, and not even to be able to
finish him. I sent back for my small rifle and poured shot after shot
into his heart and down his throat. They seemed to make no impression.
The tortured gasps continued as steadily as the ticking of a clock.

the end I could not stand it any longer and went away. I heard later
that it took him half an hour to die. Burmans were bringing dash and
baskets even before I left, and I was told they had stripped his body
almost to the bones by the afternoon.

Afterwards, of course,
there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The
owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing.
Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to
be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it. 

Among the
Europeans opinion was divided. The older men said I was right, the
younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a
coolie, because an elephant was worth more than any damn Coringhee
coolie. And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed;
it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for
shooting the elephant. I often wondered whether any of the others
grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.






7 for 74

“There are good bowlers, and there are poor bowlers. Then there’s 500 feet of crap, and then there’s Ishant Sharma”..….
….”Behind every successful batsman there is a Kamran Akmal, but in front of them is Ishant Sharma”…..

(Turkish Czar) Recep Tayyip Erdogan once noted that – “The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army.” Of course he was too modest to say this but we suspect some of his followers/fans may have worship-fully cried out – “Erdogan is our Caliph.”

India is not blessed with too much military or ideological prowess (thankfully) but there is one indestructible weapon: the short ball from Ishant Sharma. The missile when launched will not be intercepted by any agency, not even the Iron Dome. The only problem is when the missile mis-directs and destroys its own. 

Still when you wait 28 years to win a test match at the Lord’s (and 3 years presently without an overseas test victory) you have to give the Ishant Sharma jokes a rest (temporarily).  The next test is at the Rose Bowl (Southampton) in 5 days. May the best side win!!!

“LOL is Ishant Sharma’s middle name.”

Bangalore, 2007.
India have made 626. Pakistan are 96 overs into their innings and every
batsman has made a double-figure score. There have already been three
hundreds and a double-hundred. A teen, more like a young boy, with more
hair than any human needs and an extremely prominent Adam’s apple, comes
on to bowl.

A ball from a good length jumps up and makes Faisal Iqbal’s forward
defence look idiotic. It flies off the gloves to a deepish short leg. It
is one of five wickets in the innings for a 19-year old bowling on the
many remains of deceased seamers who went before him.

India had found their missing link.

“Ishant Sharma is God’s answer to BCCI’s wrongdoings.”

‘Why does Ishant Sharma keep getting picked?’ It’s one of the most asked
questions to people who have just admitted they are cricket
journalists. You cannot escape that when you have played over 50 Tests
and average more than 35.

Indian fans, when they were taking a break from abusing Rohit Sharma,
would whip the Ishant boy all over social media. Tall for nothing.
Over-rated. Slow. Can’t keep his foot behind the line. Can’t move the
ball away from right-handers. Falls apart under pressure. Google
suggests Ishant-Sharma jokes as its third search suggestion.

It’s also not a shock to see why he is still around. He’s tall. He’s
fast. He gets natural movement. He can reverse swing the ball. They
don’t grow on trees in India, or really, anywhere. If he uses all these
things right, he’s a match-winner.
He’s also a match loser. Ishant
isn’t as fast as Johnson, or as tall as Morne Morkel. On a bad day, he
is a fast-medium bowler with a no-ball problem and average control.
Potential is a powerful aphrodisiac.

“Behind every successful batsman there is a Kamran Akmal, but in front of them is Ishant Sharma.”

A typical good Ishant delivery is angled in at the right-hander. The
good ones swing further in and carry above the stumps to the keeper with
a bit of heat on it. Akmal missed one such delivery like this. And
Ishant decided to tell him about it. Loudly.

The scene looks bad because Ishant is screaming over Akmal, who is about
a foot and three inches of hair shorter. Not to mention sledging a guy
with an ODI batting average of 26 is like picking on the kid who isn’t
allowed to use scissors in class. Ishant has to be removed from the

Against Australia, Ishant decided to sledge David Warner at the WACA
during the innings where Warner swung and connected with India’s head.
Warner came back with verbal aggression and they had to be separated.
But not before Warner said, “You’re kidding yourself, you are a bad

A short poor ball from Ishant is cut by Root. India are sure it is out.
Ishant is more sure. He’s surer than sure. He stands a few feet from
Root and discusses it with him. And discusses it. And discusses.
Eventually the two have to be removed. Replays show Ishant may not have
been right. Although I doubt any replay could have changed his mind.

It’s not even just small aggressive batsmen that Ishant likes. During a
piece of glacier-like fielding from Zaheer Khan, Ishant used a term that
suggested an incestuous relationship after watching the ageing seamer
allow an extra run.

Ishant has the anger.

“There are good bowlers, and there are poor bowlers. Then there’s 500 feet of crap, and then there’s Ishant Sharma.”

Australia need 44 from 18.

47.1 A wide half-volley. Four.

47.2 A short ball. Six.
47.3 A straight half-volley. Six.
47.4 A short ball. Two.
47.5 A short ball. Six.

“47.6 I Sharma to Faulkner, SIX, SIX MORE, what on earth? Ishant Sharma
had his critics before this game, there aren’t going to be many people
backing him after this, short once more, another pull, right off the
middle off the bat, and that sails into the crowd once more, crowd not
sure whether to be gobsmacked by this hitting from Faulkner or be
thrilled by this sensational turnaround, that’s Faulkner’s 50 as well”

Australia win with three balls to spare.

“Dear single guys, if a girl gives you as many chances as Dhoni has given Ishant Sharma, marry her.”

Ishant’s last Test started with him cutting down New Zealand’s top
order. He bowled quick. The ball moved. And Ishant took 6 for 51.
There were sexy short balls and tricky straight balls. It was lovely and
New Zealand had no answer to it. It was the sort of performance that
should have justified the selectors faith in him.

The next innings in the same game, Ishant bowled 45 overs, took no
wickets and went for 164 runs. It doesn’t seem to matter how good or bad
Ishant is, Ishant remains.

“Dhoni isn’t India’s greatest finisher, Ishant Sharma is.” 

The 50th over at Trent Bridge
started with a no-ball. Ishant bowls a lot of no balls. Ishant is
known for no balls. Then Ishant bowled a fast, reverse-swinging ball
that tailed in and smashed into Sam Robson’s pads. Ishant does bowl
reverse-swinging balls that tail in and smash into pads. Ishant is known
for reverse-swinging balls that tail in and smash into pads. Ishant
aggressively sent off Robson. Ishant often does aggressive send-offs.
Ishant is known for aggressive send-offs. 
Ishant then bowled a short,
slow long-hop that Ian Bell smacked for four. Ishant bowls a lot of
short, slow long-hops that get smacked for four. Ishant is known for
short, slow long-hops that get smacked for four. Ishant bowls a ball
drifting down leg side. Ishant bowls a lot of balls drifting down leg
side. Ishant is known for drifting the ball down the leg side.

That was one over. That was Ishant’s career.

“It was Ishant Sharma’s stunning form that made MS Dhoni take up bowling”.

A highlight package of Ishant’s best work looks as good as anything.
Balls flying off a length. Quick swinging balls. Fast short balls. The
hair, the necklace, the stare, the aggression. This is a fast bowler;
you can smell it through the screen.

Ishant’s best delivery is a short of a length ball that angles in, tails
further in and bounces quite well to the keeper. It’s a sexy ball, but
it’s not that likely to get you out. An edge will probably be an inside
edge that flies past the keeper. His height means the ball goes over the
stumps. It’s essentially a theatre ball for people to “oh” and “ah”
about. In the end, it’s a tragedy delivery. It’s the unlucky Ishant

Ishant was once clocked at 152kph, but his wrist doesn’t stay behind the
ball like it did that summer. 
Sometimes his head falls away as well. If
you can get the ball to reverse in, you should also have the attributes
to conventionally swing the ball out. Somehow Ishant doesn’t. He’s
flawed. And he’s a rhythm bowler, which is often code for – he can be
good, or really rubbish.

“RT if you can bowl better than Ishant Sharma!”

Australians have a different view of Ishant. They saw the young kid on
his first tour bowl very good, and on occasion, very quick. This is
despite the fact he only averages 44 against Australia, has an average
of 73 in Australia and only has a best of 3 for 115 in Australia. It’s
because of how many times Ishant dismissed Ricky Ponting.

In 2008, Ishant took Ponting’s wicket five times in Tests. Five times.
Ishant had the pace and bounce, and when combined with a bowler who
naturally moved the ball in, it was something Ponting never did well
against. Here was a teenager doing it. Over, and over, and over again.

Somehow this guy had made a master look like an awkward teen. They had
switched places. It wasn’t just the wickets that he took, but how silly
Ponting looked in them. His bat splayed weirdly. His balance leaving
him. He was always late. He was always trying to survive. At the other
end he would be Ponting, at Ishant’s end he was the soon-to-be-massacred

Ponting eventually overcame it, and was only ever dismissed twice more
in Tests by Ishant. By then though, the bunny stuff had stuck. And so
it should. How many bowlers in Ponting’s career dominated him for a
minute, let alone a year?

If you couldn’t get excited with Ishant at that stage, you were really fighting against basic human instincts.

“Newton’s third law modified: For every N Srinivasan, there is an equal and opposite Ishant Sharma.”

In the tour game in Leicestershire before Trent Bridge, Ishant conceded
64 runs in nine overs. He took two wickets, but even his mother would
find it hard to justify that spell. It was made worse by the fact that
his team-mates never took any of the Leicestershire players for more
than five an over.

Today, in his last seven overs, Ishant took five wickets for 27 runs. He
did it with five short balls. He did it with pace. He did it with
energy. He did it with passion. He did it with all his flaws. He did it.
He will forever be the bowler who bowled India to victory at Lord’s.

If you allow me to walk you through the third wall for a moment, you may
notice that there are some “jokes” in quotations throughout this piece.
When you google Ishant Sharma, ‘Ishant Sharma jokes’ is the third
There are many, many, many websites with lists of these jokes.
There is much history to make fun of. Little of it can be realistically

Ishant’s age at the moment is 25. Ishant is much maligned. Ishant is
unlucky. Ishant is a bad bowler. Ishant is a 25-year old Indian quick
who just took 7 for 74 at Lord’s to win a Test.

Today the joke was on England.






Bathuk-Amma (festival of flowers)

“Its been a long hard journey since my
comeback to tennis from my third surgery when my career seemed to be
over.. It is a very satisfying feeling to have bounced back…and to be ranked top-5…”

Bathukamma is a celebration of women (see below), a festival of flowers in the honor of Mother Goddess. 

While America awaits a Madam President in 2016, new-born Telengana has just been blessed with a Madam Ambassador, a living Goddess. 

She has rare talent (and beauty), and we feel she will serve her native land just as well as her native game. 
Our request to Sania Amma – kindly consider gifting the 1CR ($160,000) fee for the empowerment of women of Telengana. That would be an answer to so many prayers.
[ref. Wiki] Bathukamma is a flower festival unique to Telangana. It is celebrated for nine days during Durga Navratri.
It starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and the 9-day festivities
will culminate on “Saddula Bathukamma” or “Pedda Bathukamma” festival on
Ashwayuja Ashtami, popularly known as Durgashtami which is two days
before Dussehra. 

Bathukamma is followed by Boddemma,
which is a 7-day festival. Boddemma festival that marks the ending of
Varsha Ruthu whereas Bathukamma festival indicates the beginning of
Sarad Ruthu.

Bathukamma represents cultural spirit of Telangana. Bathukamma is a
beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers
most of them with medicinal value, in seven concentric layers in the
shape of potter’s clay like a cone. 

In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma’ means
‘Mother Goddess Come Alive’ and Goddess Maha Gauri-‘Life Giver’ is
worshipped in the form of Bathukamma – the patron goddess of womanhood
(Maha Gauri Devi).

It is the festival for feminine felicitation. On this special
occasion women dress up in the traditional sari combining it with jewels
and other accessories. Teenage Girls wear Langa-Oni/Half-Sarees/Lehenga
Choli combining it with jewels in order to bring out the traditional
grace of the attire.

 Indian tennis star Sania Mirza was on Tuesday appointed ‘Brand Ambassador’ of Telangana. She will promote the new “state’s interests” in India and abroad,
according to industrial infrastructure corporation managing director
Jayesh Rajan.

Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao handed over a
letter of appointment and also a cheque of Rs one crore to 27-year-old
at an interaction session with industrialists here. “Telangana is proud of Sania who is a true Hyderabadi. She’s now ranked
number five in international tennis and we wish she becomes the number
one,” the chief minister said on the occasion.

tennis ace Sania Mirza achieved a career-best rank of number five in
the world as the new WTA doubles chart was released on Monday.

Sania, who turned a pro in 2003 and overcame a career-threatening wrist
injury in between, has entered the top-five for the first time in her
career. Sania and her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black could not
go deep in the just concluded Wimbledon championships, but a second
round appearance fetched her crucial 130 ranking points, enough to push
her in the top-5.

“Its been a long hard journey since my
comeback to tennis from my third surgery when my career seemed to be
over.. It is a very satisfying feeling to have bounced back from those
despairing times and to be ranked in the top-5 of the world today,”
Sania said.

Her father and coach Imran Mirza said, “I’ve always
believed Sania had the potential to be a top-5 player. I’m happy she
has overcome heavy odds to justify her promise.”


Link (1):

Link (2):