Hello from Baroda

It’s my fourth visit to India since Dec’12. I’m very find of the place but it seems the Indian economy is definitely in slow-down mode, most of the bill boards around Calcutta airport were empty of ads.

The new airports cropping up in the metros are simply amazing (admittedly I’m referencing this to Africa but Bombay Airport’s can trump even Heathrow – the brief given to the interior decorators at Bombay airport was that amenities should be of such a standard that “people should miss their flights”).
I think the world is beginning to segment where we are also beginning to see a “Frontier” First, the urban regions (probably coastal America, Ny-Lon, Tokyo-HK) that are on the cutting edge of development and than the stable First World (Berlin, Paris). 
I think that the upcoming elections in India are going to be a watershed and it seems that Modi will be good for the economy. However the Gujarat riots were really something else (in the aftermath of those riots however they’ve come to a complete stop) since apparently there were detailed lists of minority-owned businesses and it had spread from Ahmedabad old town to the prosperous suburbs (one Hindu woman who had owned a Benneton? business with her Muslim husband had to stand outside it and recite the Gayatri Mantra? to prove she was Hindu).
Anyway I think that though Modi’s track record is patchy (the riots do seem to be a failure either way) he is the man to bring India back on track. Big government just cannot work here (or in Africa or elsewhere for that matter) since the largesse gets distributed all around.
My journeys to India now span east (Calcutta), south (Chennai), west (Mumbai, Baroda, Kolhapur) but ironically not the heart and north of India (the most “Pakistani” parts of the country Lolz).
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The Islamic System of Government

The opening of the farcical (probably intended as such) “negotiations” between powerless pro-Taliban negotiators selected by the government of Pakistan and equally powerless pro-Taliban negotiators selected by the Taliban (2 of their representatives, including cricket star and political buffoon Imran Khan, have already dropped out) has led to a rash of TV appearances by various luminaries discussing the suitability or otherwise of the Taliban’s demand that “Western Democracy” be replaced by the “Islamic System” in Pakistan. In this debate the Islamists obviously have a huge advantage, in that the founder of the state promised a state “based on Islamic ideals” where there will be “nothing but Quranic principles as our constitution”,  the first constituent assembly duly passed an “Objectives resolution” that states that Pakistan will be a state where Muslims can live “in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah” and the current constitution includes detailed “Islamic” provisions including the statement that no law shall be repugnant to the holy quran and sunnah. Still, there is some wriggle room in that the anti-Islam panelists can raise the question of “whose Islam” and thus defer the enforcement of Quran and Sunnah till such time as agreement can be reached about what it is that the Quran and Sunnah actually require of us. In the interest of the infidels and unislamic panelists, I want to point them towards a more substantive argument: The Shariah as traditionally understood (and various left wing Iranian jokers notwithstanding, there IS no other shariah yet) simply has NO POLITICAL SYSTEM. 

 No details about division of powers, method of selection of ruler, transfer of power, institutions of the state, etc etc. Nothing. Nada. There is no there there. If shariah is the set of rules and laws put together by the jurists of the four madhabs of Sunni Islam (nobody pretends that Pakistan is about to enforce some sort of Shia shariah, so that is besides the point) then they are practically nothing except detailed rules of inheritance, marriage laws and few penal regulations (regarding robbery, adultery, alcohol, murder but not, for example, about rape or transporting banned drugs across state lines). There are, of course, endless arguments about minor rules of social and personal conduct and hundreds of volumes of conflicting fatwas about farting during prayers and prayers to be said before and after sex.
But there is practically nothing about the political system or the constitution of a modern state. Any ruler and any state arrangement is OK as long as it is nominally Muslims and enforces the above rules for its Muslim population (and some humiliating ones for its non-muslim population). Once this is made clearer, we can proceed further.

Unfortunately for the infidel panelists, where we proceed next is also troublesome. It will turn out that while the constitution of Pakistan (or ANY other constitution) is more or less kosher as far as division of powers, elections, parliaments and supreme courts is concerned, the shariah DOES have a few rules about alcohol, amputation of hands and conversation with women…. and those rules are not being enforced in Pakistan.
Back to square one.

On a more serious note, i highly recommend Carl Brown’s Religion and State; the Muslim approach to politics. Must read. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2074197.Religion_and_State
Religion and State: The Muslim Approach to Politics

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GHQ Response to Taliban Demands

The TTP (Pakistani Taliban) has issued a list of 15 demands in the course of the farcical Taliban1 versus Taliban2 “negotiations” currently being used to keep ppl busy till the next operation in Pakistan.
In response, Mr Imtiaz Mahmood has issued a set of 15 demands that GHQ would have issued if it was not participating/directing/watching this insane farce.

15 point response to Taliban’s demands, should be as follows if Pakistan army had any balls, but we all know that they are deficient in that department:


1. Surrender. 
2. Face trial for your crimes against the state
3. Compensate your victims under Qisas and Diyat. 
4. Apologize to the entire world especially Pakistanis.
5. Deposit your weapons with the Pakistan Army
6. Name your handlers both in Pakistan and abroad
7. Rebuild all the schools you blew up.
8. Rebuild all the mosques, churches and Sikh Gurduwaras you blew up.
9. Confess to being child molesters and rapists.
10. Deposit all your funds in the state treasury so that these can be used to build girls schools in your area.
11. Admit that what you did was un-Islamic and against Shariat.
12. Repent
13. Take a shower.
14. Agree to voluntary castration.
15. Make a Gangam Style rendition video in FATA with Pakistani and US soldiers.

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A stirring reminder of India’s role in the British Empire

WWI – Indian taxpayers bore the brunt of Britain’s war.
By Armistice day 11 Nov 1918, the First World War had cost India, £379,000,000 (military expenditure, equipment, food). If that wasn’t enough the Viceroy presented the British Government an additional £100,000,000 in Imperial taxes. That’s a staggering £479,000,000 in total which would be worth approx £30,000,000,000 in today’s money. The next time some anti immigrant, anti Asian ****** asks what you’re lot have done for Britain, don’t get mad, share the facts.

I must say that the poster is somewhat amusing; how can a millennia old civilisation such as India be considered a “young lion” on par with Australia, Canada and NZ is somewhat surprising. 
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The global face of Islam

More Muslims live in India & Pakistan than all of Mideast & N Africa.

It seems Islam has really grown in the last decade, for some reason I’d always there were around a billion Muslims but it seems I was off by a fair margin. Global Religions:
ReligionAdherents
Christianity2.1 billion
Islam1.6 billion
Secular*/Nonreligious*/Agnostic/Atheist≤ 1.1 billion
Hinduismbillion
Chinese traditional religion*394 million
Buddhism*376 million
Ethnic religions excluding some in seperate categories300 million
African traditional religions100 million
Sikhism23 million
Juche*19 million
Spiritism15 million
Judaism14 million
Bahá’í7 million
Jainism4.2 million
Shinto4 million
Cao Dai4 million
Zoroastrianism2.6 million
Tenrikyo2 million
Neo-Paganism1 million
Unitarian Universalism800,000
Rastafarianism600,000
Scientology500,000
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Where is My Family In the Media?

Ever since the first Cheerios commercial last year showing an interracial family in a banal non-controversial context, there has been a lot of talk in the media about the topic. But one thing that has stood out in these treatments is a relatively narrow understanding of what interracial is. This is illustrated by an op-ed in The New York Times, Where Is My Family on TV? I looked up the various references to an interracial family/individual/relationship within the piece (I don’t watch television, so many were unfamiliar to me), and every single instance except for the very last, pointing out Bruno Mars at the Superbowl, is of a black-white nature.

The problem is illustrated by this pie chart produced by the Census: most interracial interaction in the United States is no longer black-white. About 20% of the people who chose more than one race on the 2010 Census selected black and white. When the original controversy over the first Cheerios ad occurred I remembered a Facebook share which featured interracial families. From what I saw ~80% were of the black-white variety. Perhaps this is the reflection of the background of the family in the Cheerios commercial, but it does get a little tiresome that a broad and general term like “interracial” gets totally specified in a way that excludes many people.

To be fair, perhaps I am not being especially sensitive to the history of black-white relations in the United States. Though most minorities in this nation are no longer black, the vast majority were black until the 1965 immigration reform, and this remained the case up to the 1980s. America’s history of race is to a great extent its history of black and white, and modern non-black minority consciousness is strongly influenced by this older template. And to be honest I don’t think of my own family as “interracial” very much, because in my own life race is not that big of a day to day factor. And, unlike the very cute actress in the Cheerios commercial my daughter is not visibly of mixed race*, so presumably her primary interaction with racial issues is going to be the small moments of surprise people feel when they realize that the brown-skinned man is her father. All this is likely related to the emergent reality of America’s true race dynamic being that of a black/non-black divide.

But if that is really what’s going on here, we need to update it more explicitly. Too often the media seem to assume a world that is stuck in 1965, with a white majority and a black minority. We’re nearly 50 years on from that. Our discourse should reflect that in some consistent manner.

* It seems that people of mixed South Asian and European ancestry can look totally South Asian or European in appearance, with most in the middle. My daughter for whatever reason happens to be much closer to a European appearance.

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Pakistan's dichotomy

Obviously I disagree with the joint family bit; it’s an extraordinarily efficient manner of living (if structured correctly) but tis true that us Pakis are a conflicted lot. 

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Another reason to hate Putin; fewer abortions?

The world (west) hates Russia because it’s resurgent? In the 90’s under “democracy” there were 2.5 abortions for every live birth (that’s an unimaginable statistic where one in 3.5 pregnancies make it to a baby) whereas coincidentally just after Putin took power the dramatic drop meant that 0.42 abortions for every live birth (5times less relatively). In this post-modern age where everything that is anti-life (anti reproduction) is venerated maybe that’s another cross to add to Putin’s sins; why didn’t Russian women continuing aborting their future towards a so-called golden democracy (not that the rest of the ex-USSR did any better after communism)?


http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2013/02/09/are-there-really-13-abortions-for-every-10-live-births-in-russia/

“Indeed the truly scary thing is that every single Eastern European country, even the ones that have fully integrated into the EU and NATO, was more demographically stable under communism.”


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