I had posted this last night but saved it in the draft. I just heard a story about a Bursar of a Cambridge College telling an *Asian* lighting Engineer that he should watch out with the lighting because otherwise you can’t see “black people in the dark except for their teeth.” Continue reading “The unconscious whiteness of Britain-“
Readers of this blog are familiar with Pakistani military historian Major Agha Humayun Amin. Major Amin has recorded a number of podcasts on the Anchor app and they are worth a listen if you are interested in military history, Indian history and related topics.
This podcast in particular is a good introduction to Major Amin’s own background (he has worked with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, has been a Taliban prisoner, and then a contractor in post-American Afghanistan, with extensive experience in the region). He also mentions his mentor Edward Luttwak.
In this podcast he makes many interesting observations and has his usual blunt and sometimes harsh opinions. Some of his topics here include:
His view is that there is no such thing as a “non-state actor”. All actors in Afghanistan are proxies of some state or the other. In the case of the Taliban, that means Pakistan.
How the Americans were fooled into bombing (via drones) and paying for bombing (Pakistani armed forces) the FATA region, while Taliban were actually located in Balochistan.
How Kiyani prolonged the FATA operations to milk American coalition support funds.
FATA Pakhtoons as “Red Indians” , subject to endless operations, not just today but many years ago, regarded as “our firing range”. Regarded as such not just by non-Pakhtoons, but also by many “settled area” Pakhtoons.
Some of the nuts and bolts of this endless war.
Pakistan’s theory of nuclear brinkmanship, developed initially with American acquiescence (because they did not want India to attack Pakistan and disrupt their Afghanistan operation).
The renewed Kashmir infiltration in the last few years.
Pakistan army’s mindset and some of the more interesting nonsense that is promoted in its cause (such as Javed Hasan’s classic “India, a study in profile”).
The security setups of both sides leak like a sieve. Nothing is really secret, yet most things are unknown to their own politicians and common people.
No Indo-Pak war is likely, but proxy war will accelerate.
Trump will abandon Afghanistan for electoral reasons, civil war will accelerate.
You don’t have to agree with Major Amin’s views. But his detailed knowledge of this murky world is worth a listen. At a minimum it should make you wary of all state propaganda narratives.
I don’t want to detract from the intensely sad news emerging out of Sri Lanka however I came across this ad on instagram and I found it rather amusing. Anyone who has read my views over the years, will know my thoughts on this so there is no need to repeat them.
There were plenty of indications that some kind of incident was going to occur. Some Muslim Leaders/Politicians had warned the govt of possible terror attack, some even naming possible suspects*. The incidents or information were either ignored or worse perpetrators were released.
*This is quite different from main stream Tamil politicians who kept shielding at minimum or encouraging the LTTE who were referred to as our “boys”. eg SJV Chelvanayagam, Amirthalingam etc who finally were assassinated by the “boys”.
Possible reasons for Inaction by the Govt a) In fighting within the govt and finger pointing at the previous Rajapakse regime. b) Current govt and President were elected on a minority vote and reluctance to clamp down on a segment of their constituency.
A simple timeline a) December 2018. Buddhist Statues vandalized in Mawanella
d) March 2019: Mohamed Razak Taslim, Minister Kabir Hasims’s Coordinating Secretary is shot by muslim extremists. Taslim had been assisting the CID in investigating December 2018 vandalizing of Buddhist statutes.
e) April 2019: Easter Sunday Massacre targeting Christians and Westerners: 300+ killed.
**Wanathavilluwa is kind of middle of nowhere, big (for SL) rolling coconut Farms/estates and scrub jungle, but still a center. 10 km from Wilpattu National Park (Jungle). 140 km from the Colombo center. From nearby Kalpitiya or Karaithivu by boat approx 100 km to Dhanuskodi or Toothukudi
Ancillary Information a) National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) and leader Mohamed Zahran (Abu Ubaida) also called Moulvi Zahran Hashim were responsible for the massacre.
b) Note there is Sri Lanka Towheeth Jamaath (SLTJ)., Ceylon Towheeth Jamaath (CTJ) and a Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath.
c) Apparently Moulvi Zahran Hashim and NTJ have/had YouTube videos in Tamil calling for killing of Kafirs (non Muslims) and jihad. The local villagers say those videos were common and had watched at least some of them.
What can be done a) Stop teaching of Arabic after school. All the Muslim children in this village do two hours of Arabic lessons after school. Prevention is better than cure b) Moulavi/Lebbes/Imams visiting Pakistan or Saudi Arabia should be kept under investigation. c) Madrassas should be investigated. d) Either heavy military presence in mono ethnic enclaves, including Jaffna. Or change in population composition, if needs be by State intervention, so be it. e) Foreign Aid, donations cannot be to a single ethnic group or religion.
Some excerpts from News http://www.ft.lk/top-story/Blame-game-over-terror-attacks/26-676853 Meanwhile, Highways and Road Development Minister Kabir Hashim claimed that some of the members linked to the NTJ and suspected to be responsible for the terror attacks on Sunday had earlier been arrested over the Wanathawilluwa explosives raid on 18 January but were later released. “I have been informed that one or two persons that were arrested during Wanathawilluwa explosive haul were released by the Police because of political influence. There is speculation that one person that got released was involved in a suicide attack on Sunday,” he added. However, Hashim said that he could only confirm this information within the next couple of days. Police also identified the suicide bomber of the Shangri-La Hotel as Imzaan Seelavan. Presenting evidence before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, Police said that Seelavan’s wife, his brother and two children had died in the explosion in Dematagoda on Sunday. Seelavan, who was an owner of a factory in the Wellmapitiya area, had about 100 people in his employment, Police told courts. Nine of his employees had been arrested during a joint operation by the Colombo Crimes Division and Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). The nine suspects were remanded till 6 May. Court ordered Police to conduct an in-depth investigation and present the findings to Court. The magistrate also gave permission for Police to obtain phone records of the nine suspects. The three Policemen who died in the Dematagoda blasts were posthumously awarded promotions.
There it is, guys. The seemingly secular Razib Khan let's slip that he holds hatred towards "self-righteous white saviors" (by which he means white Christians). But would that hatred go away if they were brown Christians? Not on your life.
This is Major Amin’s review of “Limited War in South Asia”
In 2018 when I saw this book by Kaushik Roy I was surprised since to my mind Kaushik Roy does very well with archives and records but is not a real military historian who understands hard core military matters. I therefore decided to procure this book and read it , and find out what Mr Kaushik Roy has found out. Below is my review of Kaushik Roy and Scott Gates book. The maps which are published at the start of the book are poorly drawn, inaccurate and impossible to understand as the scale is too small.A serious failing for a book published by a publisher as eminent as Routledge as late as 2017 ! For example all Pakistani formations are marked incorrectly although the Pakistani order of battle is known worldwide.This is a simply inexcusable failure. Like Pakistan’s 1 Corps is marked as 2 Corps while Pakistan’s 2 Corps is marked as 1 Corps and even its dispositions are not marked accurately. Further the map invents a new corps which has never existed in the Pakistan Army, ie 3 Corps.Thus Lahore’s 4 Corps is shown as 3 Corps. The writer magnifies the role of Indian Army in North Africa and Italy while in reality in both theaters Indian Army was part of a much larger British Australian New Zealand South African American force and enjoyed massive numerical superiority in both theaters. Thus Indian Army casualties in North Africa were very low and the same was the case in Italy.In most ways the Indian Army learnt little about higher command as British Indian Army was never trusted with major offensive operations. The brigade and divisional commanders were always British and each Indian brigade had one British infantry unit. Continue reading “Book Review: Limited War in South Asia”
A minimal amount of research will show that it’s not all roses in Bangladesh. There are huge governance issues, overreliance on textiles is probably not a good long-term optimum, and human capital accumulation may not keep up with the shifts toward a high-technology 21st-century economy (most of the world’s population will have to face this though).
So here is the weird thing I want to note: this blog gets about 10x more traffic from Pakistan than Bangladesh. And, it gets 100x more traffic from India than Bangladesh. This blog gets more readers from Singapore than Bangladesh!
She simply raises an eyebrow, twirls a finger, twinkles her eyes — and the screen goes ablaze. I wanted to join the front-benchers screaming with delight when, pre-interval, she naughtily murmurs, philhaal is guftagu se thak gaye hain hum.
We went to watch Kalank starring Alia Bhat and Varun Dhawan last night. I don’t have much to add to the film reviews, who’ve done a pretty fine job in pointing out both the strengths and the weaknesses.
Karan Johar and his runaway success straddles both new and old Bollywood. One of the reviews chimed in perfectly with what I felt; that Karan is all about “more is more.”
It detracts from the essence of the film and Bollywood is now the inverse of Pakistani dramas. Pakistani dramas convey exceptionally powerful stories on shoestring budgets (Hum Safar was shot on 5,000 USD and it, along with Dastan, revitalised the Pakistani Drama industry).
One of Vidhi’s podcast suggestions is asking why Bollywood doesn’t garner the same level of international respect as Persian Cinema. We’re iA going to explore it in a future podcast but the splintering of a Unified India’s High Culture, where Pakistan got the Mughal bits and India the rest, has had some lasting damage.
Kalank also descends into a farce because it’s as realistic about Hira Mandi and pre-Partition Punjab as Aladdin is about “Arabia.” I enjoyed the performances all around but they lacked that raw intensity of the Khans.
Madhuri Dixit stole the show but even she had to navigate the difficult corners of the script. One reviewer touched on various influences on the film (Pakeezah, Raazi) but what came to mind is that this was supposed to be the Desi Titanic.
Partition is a painful and difficult subject; the cumulative and untold trauma can spin a thousand romances and tragedies. Like most psychic wounds it can be mined for great art but if KJo wants to pioneer Urdu cinema (Ae Dil Eh Mushkil) he has to first learn that the language of love is spoken with the heart.
It’s what powers the great Pakistani plays and initially I was surprised that the screen play was by Abhishek Varman, the language used was so elegaic and chaste (I thought more Urdufied than Urdu but that is to quibble over little details) but then I heard in one of the reviews that the writer was a Muslim.
In the end though I appreciated the nod towards Urdu culture though I found one line rather offensive, which roughly translated, “her face was Irani but her dress was Indian.” Self-respect starts at home.