Jamia Hafsa (Lal Masjid) builds a new shrine

We all need heroes…even if they are shipped in from foreign shores. 
Also it is an incontrovertible fact that one man’s terrorist is another (wo)man’s freedom fighter. 

Finally when a legend is born, it is not possible to kill it by getting rid of a mere man, that golden voice will continue to speak (and command) from beyond the grave and it will be resounding deep in our (faithful) hearts.

Jamia Hafsa, a religious school for women in the Pakistani
capital Islamabad connected to the notorious Lal Masjid
has renamed its
library in honour of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The
seminary is run by controversial hardline cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz,
the imam of the city’s Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), once infamous as a
hideout for hardliners with alleged militant links.

Now the Jamia Hafsa seminary connected to it has
named its small library, stocking Islamic texts, in honour of bin Laden,
who masterminded the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

“It is
true that we have named the library after Osama bin Laden,” a source
told AFP Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He might be a terrorist for others but we do not consider him as a terrorist. For us he was a hero of Islam.”

A small printed sign stuck over the library door gives bin Laden’s name and refers to him as a “martyr.”
….
Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1100526/lal-masjid-names-library-after-osama-bin-laden
….
regards

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“Dad, don’t worry. I’ve got a life vest on…”

Even though it is really morbid, we have to admit that we laughed at that one. The fibs that our children tell us, in this case so that poor dad does not get to know how terrified his daughter actually is, texting while drowning in a dark boat, with mindless chaos all around you, and the bitter cold ocean as your last memories on earth.  

Of course the subterfuge is of no use, we (as parents) would already be dead with worry and frozen with fear… and we would know that the kids are lying…and we will be forever grateful for those last words (texts).

The night-flares lighting up the sinking ship will remain one of the most beautiful/sad scenes that
we will experience (even if vicariously) over our lifetime.


It has of course happened before, for example with the last (Let’s Roll) 9/11 plane.
The people on the ground new in advance (via mobile) that their loved
ones were doomed…and there was nothing that they can do. Even
exchanging seats would not be an option.

The first prize should always be reserved (in our opinion) for the Beslan massacre which took place in North Ossetia (01 September, 2004). The Chechen/Ingush terrorists had cornered 1100 people including 777 children. Some
parents were given permission to leave with their (very small in age)
kids. It was well understood that the older kids would perish (as they
eventually did). There
was a mother with two daughters who had to leave one daughter behind.
The last thing the mother remembers is her (elder) daughter crying and
pleading with her.

….
“Dad, don’t worry. I’ve got a life vest on and we’re huddled together,”
one 18-year-old student, identified only by her last name, Shin, texted
her father, according to MBC News, a Korean news station.


The father replied: “I know the rescue is underway but make your way out if you can.”

“Dad, I can’t walk out,” she replied. “The corridor is full of kids, and it’s too tilted.”

The student was among the 287 still reported missing.

A boy texted his mother, who was unaware at the time that the ferry was in distress.

“Mom, I might not be able to tell you in person. I love you,” the student texted, according to MBC.

“Me too, son. I love you,” the mother texted back, followed with three heart symbols.

Fortunately, that student was among the 179 people who have been rescued, MBC reported. 

A student texted his older brother as the ship ran into trouble. “The ship ran into something and it’s not moving. They say the coast guard just arrived.”

Brother: “Don’t panic. Just do what you are told to do and then you will be fine”.

But there was no further communication after that.

….
Another question on which we remain confused and will perhaps always be: Is it heroism or foolish courage to value everybody’s life above yours?


One crew member, named as 22-year-old Park Ji-Young, is said
to have lost her life while struggling to make sure passengers on the
upper floors of the ferry wore life jackets and found their way out.

“I repeatedly asked her why she did not first wear a life
jacket. Park just said she would get out of the ship after making sure
that all passengers were out,” a survivor told local media.


“Park pushed shocked passengers toward the exit even when the water was up to her chest.”

The Korea Herald reports that
she joined the ferry company in 2012 to earn money to support her
family. When her body arrived at hospital, the paper reports, her mother
cried: “I can’t believe you left us”

….
Link (1): http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/south-korea-ferry-survivors-recall-being-told-to-stay-on-ship-the-ones-who-stayed-are-trapped-9265314.html

Link(2): http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27045924

regards

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17/7 Rajputs for 24/7 defense (against China)

The 17/7 Rajput regiment is in charge of guarding the North-Eastern (India) borders aka “undisclosed high-altitude location under Eastern Command”

Most of us are not really familiar with the (Indian) military and its ways. For example, is a Rajput regiment composed of only Rajputs (khatris)? Look deep and ye shall find. 

The “barhe chalo” regiment was raised during the WWII by Field Marshall Cariappa and fought in the North-Eastern Frontier (Kohima, Nagaland on the Indo-Burma border) against the mighty battalions of the Japanese Imperial Army. They will now be prepared to defend the north-east frontier once more, this time against the mighty battalions of the People’s Liberation Army.
….
“Among all
battalions of the Rajput Regiment, 17 Rajput has a unique place in present day
history of the Indian Army. It was raised during the period of Quit India
Movement in 1942. It was also among 10 other Rajput Battalions that were raised
following outbreak of World War-II from 1940 to 1943.”


In so far as its historical significance is concerned, 17/7 Rajput as it was
then known, was the only ‘War Raising’ battalion by any Indian officer who was
none other than Lt col KM Cariappa, OBE, popularly called ‘Kipper’ who went on
to become the first Indian commander-in-chief and later the chief of army
staff. He was also conferred the highest rank of field marshal on April 28,
1986.


 

17/7 Rajput was raised at Fatehgarh on April 15, 1942 as the Machine Gun Battalion
of the erstwhile 7th Rajput Regiment.
A distinctive colour of maroon and blue
was adopted for the new outfit. On August 1, 1942, the battalion was converted
into a Regiment of Indian Armoured Corps (IAC) and designated 52nd Rajput
Regiment IAC (Bawanja Risala) and moved to Lahore.



 
On September 15, 1942, the battalion was converted into a ‘Lorried Battalion’
and moved to Secunderabad to form part of 268th Lorried Brigade. On March 16,
1943, Kipper was transferred and succeeded by Lt Col G.B. Macnamara. In May
1944, 17/7 Rajput moved to Kohima and later deployed at Imphal.



 
Informed readers may know that Rajput Regiment is one among the senior most
regiments of our country. It must therefore, logically, rank higher in the
hierarchy of the nomenclatures. Then why the seventh standing? Evidently, Maj Gen Parr, who had commanded the 7th Rajput in Mesopotamia during
world war-I desired that the Regiment to which his battalion belonged be named
7th Rajput Regiment.
The suffix ‘7’ was adopted and remained so for all
battalions of the Rajput Regiment between 1920 till Independence, where after
it was dropped altogether.


 

In the redesignations that followed, Barhe Chalo became 17th Battalion of the
Rajput regiment on May 1, 1948. Later when its founding father, Lt Gen KM
Cariappa became Army Chief on January 15, 1950 (commemorated as Army Day), an
honour was bestowed on the battalion. The distinct maroon and royal blue hackle
of the unit was now adopted by all Rajput Regiment battalions. 

In 1965, Barhe
Chalo participated in Op Riddle as part of 7th Infantry Division, where it
successfully executed its task of capturing Bedian bridge. The unit also
participated in Op Cactus Lily in 1971 as part of 86 Infantry Brigade in Dera
Baba Nanak sector, where it captured Khokherke and Sadhuwan posts of enemy and
provided a firm base for Op Akal. The unit was also successful in capturing a
crucial enemy post for which Capt Nawal Singh Rajawat and Late Sep Satyawan
Singh were awarded VrC.



 
In 1982, the battalion underwent a change in class composition and reorganised
to include Rajputs, Gujjars, Brahmins, Bengalis, Jats, Ahirs and Muslims in
equal percentage composition.

The battalion was also the first unit of Rajput Regiment to be inducted in
Siachen Glacier in 1991. The unit had a successful tenure without having a
single fatal casualty, which indeed is a unique achievement.


 

Among the wars and major operations that Barhe Chalo participated include world
war-II, between May to August 1944, Indo-Pak War of 1965 between September 1965
to February 1966 and Indo-Pak War 1971, from October to December 1971. Among
the various military operations include Operatons Orchid, Rhino, Vijay, Rakshak
and Parakram.


 

Glory to the Barhe Chalo has been brought through its gallant officers and
soldiers through 2 Military Cross, an OBE and PVSM each, 7 Kirti Chakras, an
AVSM, 4 Shaurya Chakras, 3 Vir Chakras, 12 Sena Medals, 3 VSM, 6
Mention-in-Despatches, 38 COAS, 7 VCOAS and 33 GOC-in-C Commendation Cards
including several other gallantry certificates.


 

The battalion is presently serving at an undisclosed high altitude location
standing vigil under Eastern Command. The Barhe Chalo battalion is presently
being commanded by Colonel Balbir Singh Siwach, a second-generation army
officer, commissioned in December 1990.


regards

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283 children lost at sea (South Korea)

Updated missing count: 287. This is horrible!!! SoKo is (almost) a developed country. Disasters of this magnitude are expected only when Rohingyas escape on leaky katamarans to Malaysia.

It is an unimaginable loss for the parents whose children were out on a pleasure trip. Hopefully more people will be rescued, however chances are much reduced after a few hours (water temp is only 12C).
….
A
ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight
trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea’s southern coast on
Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic,
hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four
people were confirmed dead and 55 injured.

The high number of
people unaccounted for — likely trapped in the ship or floating in the
ocean — raised fears that the death toll could rise drastically, making
it one of South Korea’s biggest ferry disasters since 1993, when 292
people died.



Local television stations broadcast live
pictures of the ship, Sewol, listing to its side and slowly sinking as
passengers jumped out or were winched up by helicopters. At least 87
vessels and 18 aircraft swarmed around the stricken ship. Rescuers
clambered over its sides, pulling out passengers wearing orange life
jackets. But the ship overturned completely and continued to sink
slowly. Within a few hours only its blue-and-white bow stuck out of the
water.

The ship had
set off from Incheon, a city in South Korea’s northwest and the site of
the country’s main international airport, on Tuesday night for an
overnight, 14-hour journey to the tourist island of Jeju.

Three
hours from its destination, the ferry sent a distress call at about 9am
on Wednesday after it began listing to one side, according to the
ministry of security and public administration. Officials didn’t know
what caused it to sink and said the focus was still on rescuing
survivors.

Lee Gyeong-og, a vice-minister for South Korea’s
Public Administration and Security Ministry, said 30 crew members, 325
high school students, 15 school teachers and 89 non-student passengers
were aboard the ship.

The water temperature in the area was
about 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit), cold enough to cause signs of
hypothermia after about few hours of exposure, according to an emergency
official who spoke on condition of anonymity citing department rules.
Lee, the vice minister, said the ocean is 37-metre (121 feet) deep in
the area.

The students — about half of them boys and half girls— are from Danwon
High School in Ansan city, which is near Seoul, and were on their way to
Jeju island for a four-day trip, according to a relief team set up by
Gyeonggi province, which governs the city.

….

regards

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The decline and fall of Islamic science

More accurately, science as practiced by people who happened to be muslims. The conventional wisdom that (conservative elements in) Islam was the sole cause for arresting the march of science in the Middle East may not be quite true .

….though religious extremism certainly was the reason why Abdus Salam had to leave his native land for good and whose glorious contributions to science will forever be disowned by his own (majority) countrymen.
…..
According to Thomson Reuters’ Science Watch,
the Arabian, Persian and Turkish Middle East produces only 4% of the
world’s scientific literature. Paltry by almost any standards, that
value is even more diminutive when paired with the fact that the Middle
East, at one time, led the world in science.






So what happened?

It’s easy to point to modern fundamentalists in the Middle East and utter a single answer: “religion.” But most historians of science
dismiss this oversimplified explanation. Instead, a confluence of
factors ended science’s golden age in the Muslim world, and created a
mire in which science has been bogged down ever since.


War was perhaps the biggest reason for the decline.
In the 11th and 12th Centuries, crusading Christian armies from Europe
invaded the Middle East in order to reclaim the Holy Land. The attack
left the Islamic Empire severely weakened. When the Mongols invaded from
the east some years later, they were met with meager resistance.
Ultimately, Baghdad was put to the torch in 1258, along with a great
deal of priceless books and manuscripts.


Fast forward to the 1400s. The printing press is beginning to
revolutionize the spread of ideas. Sadly, the Muslim world is left out
for a crucial two hundred years. The Arabic language, which in the past
served science incredibly well due to its precision, proved unwieldy for
typesetters. While ideas flowed in Europe, mostly through books printed
in Latin, their spread stagnated in the Middle East.


Christopher Columbus’ discovery of “The New World” was another nail
in the coffin of Islamic science. Suddenly, trade routes changed, and
money started pouring into Spain, Italy,
and England instead of the Middle East. In turn, wealthy benefactors
began bankrolling scientific endeavors in Europe. Concurrently, squalor
began seeping into the Muslim world.




Though Islam can be interpreted as condoning,
even compelling, the study and exploration of the natural world, that
view has been in the minority among those in power. Thus, it is
political autocracy and theocracy that has likely held science back in
the Middle East for the last century or so. Science appears to be germinating in parts of the Islamic world — in Iran and Turkey, for example — but whether the trend will continue remains to be seen.

…..
regards

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(slow) Train to Ernakulam

We are familiar with strange truth (stranger than fiction). Here is an example of plain scary truth (not as scary as flying by Malaysian Airlines, but still….)

Above we have the map of (Indian Railways) South-Western Zone. The original route was along the west coast (Konkan Railway shown in green). Instead the train got diverted to Pune (top left corner in yellow zone). At that point it should have moved directly south to Miraj and from thereon turn west to reach Goa. Instead it traveled south-east (right-wards in the map) to Solapur and then on to Gulbarga, a few hundred km on the wrong track.

Not a single official noticed (the passengers eventually did). BTW Udupi is a town on the west coast near Mangalore.


Passengers
of the Okha-Ernakulam express from Gujarat to Kerala were stunned when
they saw that their train had reached Gulbarga station in Karnataka on
Tuesday.

The train was on track till 10.30pm on Monday but
passengers were alerted at Punwale that due to an accident near
Ratnagiri, the train would be diverted towards Pune and then it would
reach Wadgaum in Goa via Miraj. But at Pune, the train was mistakenly
diverted to Solapur and then to Gulbarga.

Passengers were
shocked early morning when they saw their train at Solapur station at
6am. They informed the station master at Solapur and were told the train
would be diverted at Guntakal to Hubli….

..
The train reached Gulbarga at 11.30am and
was parked 1km from the station and later taken to the station.

..Keerthan, a passenger
on the train who was supposed to reach Udupi at 11am Tuesday, got down
at Gulbarga and took a bus to reach his destination. He said almost 30
passengers in the bus he was traveling, were passengers from the
mis-routed train.

…..

regards

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Atheists please STOP (beating your wives)

….and murdering homeless people. We understand that your spirit is willing but your flesh is weak. Please try a bit harder to become a model (moral) minority. Thanking you, your fellow (concerned) citizens.

What do Americans think of atheists? They are tolerated but not celebrated. The latter would be difficult because most Americans consider atheists to be living an immoral life. And here is a shocker, even hard-core atheists would agree with this sentiment!!!! 
…….

Atheists have been speaking up more loudly in recent years, adding a fresh
perspective to debates over meaning and morality. But in spite of this new
visibility, the way Americans view non-believers remains extremely negative,
according to a newly published study.

Participants in the first experiment—237 Americans—read a description of a
man engaged in unambiguously immoral behavior. “Dax” was described as someone
who harmed animals as a child, and then went on to kill a series of homeless
people as an adult.

Afterwards, they were asked whether it is more probable that the man is (a)
a teacher, or (b) a teacher and some other descriptor. The descriptive terms
were “is a Buddhist,” “is a Christian,” “is Jewish” and “is a Muslim,” and
“does not believe in God.”

In this formulation, the first answer (“is a teacher”) is always correct,
since any of the other answers are subsets of the first. The fact is not
logically possible for any of the other answers to be accurate makes them good
indicators of bias: If you, say, hate Muslims, you’ll be tempted to check that
box without stopping to think through your answer.

When the second possible answer was one of the aforementioned religions, the
vast majority of participants did not make the error in logic, choosing the
correct answer (simply “a teacher”). However, when asked to choose between “a
teacher” and “a teacher who does not believe in God,” nearly 50 percent checked
the latter.

This suggests “one particularly vivid example of immorality—serial murder—is
seen as representative of atheists,” Gervais writes.

Gervais duplicated these results by testing acts representing different
types of moral violations (including incest), and comparing atheists with
representatives of other minority groups. Non-believers consistently fared
poorly. In one experiment, he writes, “participants found descriptions of a
moral transgressor to be more representative of atheists than of gay people.”

Surprisingly, when Gervais looked at the responses of hard-core
atheists—that is, those “who both self-identified as atheists and who rated
their belief in God at 0”—he found even they “viewed immorality as significantly
more representative of atheists than other people.”

What’s the basis of this bedrock belief that counteracting immoral impulses
requires religion? History and evolutionary psychology suggest that “religion
likely does exert some influence on morality in at least two ways,” Gervais
notes. One is creating communities where certain ethical standards are expected to
be upheld. The other is the thought that some higher power is watching you,
judging you, and perhaps preparing to punish you if you step out of line.


……
regards

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Ugly duckling hopes to be a swan

Many many people question the value of democracy in a country like India filled with poor, illiterate, low information people. This thinking can be logically extended to the necessity of a popular ballot. After all the elections will consume of the order of $5 Bil. Why do it?


One answer to the above question is that it demonstrates at least one area where the Indian state does a gargantuan job reasonably well (also getting better with time with further scope for improvement). Heavy-weight candidates lose elections by a 1000 votes and accept the result without comment. This is such a remarkable fact…that it is ignored for the most part. 

The Economist is inspired by the election process (if not the headline candidates) and inspects the functional parts of the Indian state and considers how to improve the non-functional parts. Excellent advice for the most part.

One thing that did not merit a few bytes is the importance of (appearance of) non-partiality. The reason the Election Commission is so widely respected because it calls out ALL the bandits in equal measure. Thus both Azam Khan (muslims won Kargil war) and Amit Shah (hindus should consider taking revenge) have attracted the maximum penalty. In a country like India it is essential that the government is fair and seen to be fair. Nothing else will do.


On the face of it, such a triumph is puzzling. Ask Indians about the
capacity of their state, and the typical reaction is dismissive. Much else
organized by public officials is notably shoddy: try making use of state-run
schools or hospitals, getting help from a policeman, or relying on food-subsidy
schemes. Corruption, waste, delays and mismanagement are depressingly common….

How can India get the electoral process to work so well, when much else is done
so badly?

One answer is that elections are narrowly focused tasks of limited duration
that are regularly repeated.
Where similar conditions hold, bureaucrats prove
similarly successful.

A second answer is that state employees respond
well when given tasks of great prestige and put under careful public scrutiny.

Thus India’s space agency last year launched a spaceship to Mars which
continues on course, for a remarkably small budget. Similarly, public-health
officials recently announced that India had eradicated polio. 

A third answer is
that bureaucrats succeed when free from political meddling and corruption.


The electoral process may hold lessons that could be applied elsewhere. One
is the value of setting a simple, well-defined target. How about next telling
officials to reduce by ten places a year India’s rotten ranking of 134th (out
of 189) on the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” index? 

Another lesson is
the importance of transparency.
It is harder for politicians to meddle and
steal when bureaucrats, like election officials, are under intense public
scrutiny. Extending the country’s right-to-information law, however
embarrassing the rot that has been exposed, has proved immensely valuable. 

Last, bureaucrats become more efficient, and less corrupt, when they lose
discretionary powers.

…..

regards

The
contrast with bloody elections experienced by the neighbours—Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and even the Maldives—could not be more
stark.
On the face of it, such a triumph is puzzling. Ask
Indians about the capacity of their state, and the typical reaction is
dismissive. Much else organised by public officials is notably shoddy:
try making use of state-run schools or hospitals, getting help from a
policeman, or relying on food-subsidy schemes. Corruption, waste, delays
and mismanagement are depressingly common. Notice, too, the
embarrassing failures of India’s navy, plagued by fatal accidents in the
past year, the prolonged lack of investment in the national railways,
or the state’s failure to build enough roads, power lines or ports. How
can India get the electoral process to work so well, when much else is
done so badly?
One answer is that
elections are narrowly focused tasks of limited duration that are
regularly repeated. Where similar conditions hold, bureaucrats prove
similarly successful. One example is the ten-yearly national census;
a newer success is a scheme to build the world’s largest biometric
database, which has enrolled some 600m people, scanning their eyes,
fingerprints and more. (Whether this data will be put to good use is
another matter. It is worth noting, too, that much work was done by
private contractors overseen by public officials.) A second answer is
that state employees respond well when given tasks of great prestige and
put under careful public scrutiny. Thus India’s space agency last year
launched a spaceship to Mars which continues on course, for a remarkably
small budget. Similarly, public-health officials recently announced
that India had eradicated polio. A third answer is that bureaucrats
succeed when free from political meddling and corruption. The Election
Commission, like the central bank, is independent. And whereas policemen
spend much of their time collecting bribes to pay to their superiors,
election officials have neither big budgets to divert, nor much
opportunity to extract bribes.
The electoral process may
hold lessons that could be applied elsewhere. One is the value of
setting a simple, well-defined target. How about next telling officials
to reduce by ten places a year India’s rotten ranking of 134th (out of
189) on the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” index? Another lesson
is the importance of transparency. It is harder for politicians to
meddle and steal when bureaucrats, like election officials, are under
intense public scrutiny. Extending the country’s right-to-information
law, however embarrassing the rot that has been exposed, has proved
immensely valuable. Last, bureaucrats become more efficient, and less
corrupt, when they lose discretionary powers. Those who organise
elections have no discretion to decide who is allowed to vote or where;
they are only supposed to ensure it all works efficiently, leaving
little incentive for people to bribe or bully them. Whoever wins this
year’s election could do worse than look at the electoral process itself
as a model of how to sharpen up India’s bureaucracy.
– See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/04/economist-explains-1#sthash.B7JUWtsd.dpuf
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Vijay-anna ki Pulitzer vijay

Congratulations are in order for (one more) distinguished Tam-Brahm. We fully expect that dear Anna (elder brother in Tamil) will be enjoying a long, productive life and reaching even higher levels of glory (next step Nobel?). 

Why not question him on his views of the impact of Indian elections at home and abroad, and how it is creating cracks in the house of creators, to the point where a publishing house which owes its living to the First Amendment will black-list its own star author for the crime of holding politically incorrect opinions.

We discovered a 2005 link from Sepia Mutiny (which died 2 years ago this April) and a separate link from Amardeep Singh (one of  the mutineers). VS is referred to as a 2nd gen (1.9 gen) gent because he migrated to the USA at an early age.


….
Bangalore-born Vijay Seshadri, who moved to America at the age of five in 1959, has won the 2014 Pulitzer prize for poetry for his collection of poems 3 Sections (Graywolf Press), which was described by the jury as “a
compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from
birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave,
compassionate and remorseless.”



Seshadri has received grants from the New York Foundation for the
Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been awarded the Paris Review’s Bernard F. Conners Long Poem Prize and the MacDowell Colony’s Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement.



He holds an A.B. degree from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. from
Columbia University. He currently teaches poetry and nonfiction writing
at Sarah Lawrence College, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.




His collections of poems include James Laughlin Award winner The Long Meadow (Graywolf Press, 2004) and Wild Kingdom (1996).



His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in AGNI, the
American Scholar, Antaeus, Bomb, Boulevard, Lumina, the Nation, the New
Yorker, the Paris Review, Shenandoah,Southwest Review, Threepenny
Review, Verse, Western Humanities Review, Yale Review, the Times Book
Review, the Philadelphia Enquirer, Bomb, San Diego Reader, and TriQuarterly, and in many anthologies, including Under 35: The New Generation of American Poets, Contours of the Heart, Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times, and The Best American Poetry 1997 and 2003.

….

regards

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Coastal Leader for a prosperous India

So far Indian leaders have been almost always from up north (as far north as Kashmir), far away from the coast and with little understanding of coastal people and their lives (and livelihoods). Even PV Narasimha Rao was a Brahmin from Karimnagar, Telengana, which does not have a coastal (read: trader) ethos.

Joe D’Cruz is by some estimates, the greatest Shudra author in modern times and
he is on-record with his heart-felt love (scroll to the bottom) for
the tallest Shudra Leader today: Shri Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi-ji.
As a Coastal Leader first and foremost, Joe is sure that NaMo will wield his magic wand and restore the reputation and fortunes of Coastal India. And all of India will benefit from this rising tide.

In the old days famous poets used to sing the praise of mighty kings – prashasti in Sanskrit-
which would be inscribed on rock-tablets for posterity. In 21c. we are
(unfortunately) lacking in omnipotent men as well as master poets. Now
at long last, the wait is over. Look on these glorious words below, ye BPites….and you will be filled with either despair or delight.

The liberals are (naturally) outraged and have declared Joe to be an out-caste (untouchable).

Just like the historic divisions between Shias and Sunnis will not remain buried under anti-idolatry passions (non-Sunni muslims may even vote for the BJP as a protest vote against Sunni-led acts of discrimination), similarly the divisions between the Middle Castes (Shudras) and Lower Castes (Dalits) will also sharpen as both communities come out of the shadow of the upper castes and take their rightful place under the sun.  

In that sense the General Elections 2014 will be a reality show that will show-case the puzzle that is Indian society and how it re-arranges itself along and across caste lines. The exercise (and the execution) is nothing but fascinating to observe at a close distance and in real time, and is also the closest that India can get to a social (often violent but at low level) revolution without completely breaking up into so many Pakistans.

India is Shudra nation- this is a simple numbers game. But what is interesting now is that Dravida pride is cutting across all pre-existing bonds of religion, language and community that would normally separate one Indian fom the other. No wonder Narendra Modi is portraying himself as an OBC tea-seller with Hindutva loyalties against the aristocratic Brahmin first family (backed strongly by Dalits and minorities). The same pattern repeats in UP where Mayawati would like to stitch together a Brahmin-Muslim-Dalit front, and has made her strategy explicit in the form of the candidate composition for the General Elections 2014.

The coming together of the Dravidas as the dominant race (jati) in India is what Meena Kandasamy wrote about after a Dravida girl dared to fall in love with a Dalit boy:

Though Tamil Nadu comes at the bottom of the all India list on
inter-caste marriages, with less than two per cent of marriages taking
place between Dalits and non-Dalits, the state faring marginally better
than J&K and Rajasthan, Doctor Ayya was quick to launch his war on
the global terror named Inter-caste Love.
Although he was arrested for
challenging the Jayalalitha government and daring the police to prove if
it was possible to imprison him, his hate speech did not subside.….His concept of (Dalit) men on the prowl might have
unintentionally advertised their desirability—smooth/ suave/ sexy—but
his plan paid dividends.  

Untouchability, outlawed under the
Constitution, was back in business. It has burnt villages, killed young
people and recently cobbled up a non-Dalit (read anti-Dalit) caucus of
intermediary castes like Gounders, Kallars, Udayars, Yadavas, Mudaliars,
Naidus, Nadars and Reddys to work alongside the Vanniyars. Their two
common demands—ban on ­inter-caste marriages and an abrogation of the
Prevention of Atrocities Against sc/st Act—gave away their true agenda
of upholding untouchability.

The only piece of the puzzle that will not be re-arranged so easily are the Muslim (Sunni) Shudras. So far their religion has proved to be a greater bond (common cause with the upper-caste Ashrafs) than caste pride. If and when that happens, the Dravida alliance in India will be complete (and dominant forever).

Gautam Bhatia has properly denounced Navayan’s censorship of JDC as an author (even though they have the right to do so) because they dont agree with his politics. Making some-one an out-caste is not something that Navayan should stand for. They should be ashamed of themselves.
 
…..
Navayana had signed up to publish a translation of Aazhi Soozh Ulagu (Ocean Ringed World), the 2005 debut novel of Joe D’Cruz, who subsequently won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2013 for his second novel Korkai.
The translation was done by V. Geetha, feminist writer and translator,
and the English edition was due in late 2014.  

In the light of D’Cruz
publicly endorsing
Narendra Modi’s candidacy for prime-ministership, both Navayana and
Geetha have decided to cancel the agreement signed with D’Cruz and
withdraw the book.


S. Anand, publisher, Navayana, said: “It is both appalling and
disturbing that D’Cruz, who captured the rich and unique history of the
seafaring community of Tamil Nadu in an epic tale spanning three
generations, should call a fascist like Modi a ‘dynamic visionary’.
Initially, I did not believe this till Joe told me over the phone that
this was indeed his stand and that his decision was personal. 

However,
there cannot be a place for such an author in a political publishing
house like Navayana. Navayana is more sad about Joe’s decision than
about having to withdraw from this publication. But we are glad we came
to know Joe’s stand before the novel was published.”


Geetha, in a statement, said: “I was terribly distressed when I read
Joe D’Cruz’s statement of support for Modi. He is entitled to his
political opinion, but I don’t want to be associated with anyone or
anything linked to Modi. Modi in my opinion is not only a political
disaster, but downright evil.
We can’t forget Gujarat 2002—no one must
be allowed to, either.
I still stand by his novel, which I think is a
fantastic saga of fisher life, and I am sorry Joe has decided to trade
his considerable gifts as a novelist for a politics that is fascist and
dangerous. I have therefore decided to withdraw my translation.” 

……
What follows is Joe D’Cruz’s statement in support of Modi:

Why do I want Mr.Narendra Modi to be the Prime Minister of India? Being a
proud son of our great nation, I want my Mother India to be strong and
prosperous among the world nations… Who can do that? 

A person who knows the problems of ordinary persons like you and me and a
billion others! 

Like you and me he was born in humble surroundings … son of a tea vendor …
working in the railway platform even in his school days and today he
represents the heart and hope of India because he personifies honesty,
integrity, determination and patriotism…

He is a leader who has evolved from the bottom of the pyramid to become the
Himalayas…

Today he is a seasoned politician, with passion for development, who takes
responsibility for his actions and who is a determined servant of the nation.


He is a dynamic visionary, a quick decision maker, who knows the pulse of
every rural and urban citizen of the nation.


He has delivered efficient governance and able administration. He is an
established statesman who respects the strengths of our human resources.

He respects our culture. His 5 ‘T’s are set to transform India: he has
understood the innate strength of the nation: talent, tradition, technology,
tourism and trade.

A revolutionary, bold and committed visionary who thinks not for the next
election but the next generation… solar revolution over the Narmada river – the
first of its kind in the world, the education for the girl children… all these
are schemes not for the next election but for the next generation… for the
children of you and me….


He has shown himself to be above politics and hence he is the need of the
hour for India. Envied by global policy makers, even before he has become the
PM the world nations have started taking India seriously.


Here is a leader who spoke through his actions than his words. Here is a
leader who can make India great once again through his sweat and sacrifice.

And here is the leader who understands the life of Coastal India.

I am sure he will lead the country to unprecedented zenith and regain our
pride and a glory greater than our past. We want our children to be proud of
our rightful choice. We want generations to thank us for giving India her best
PM. Hence I want Mr.Narendra Modi to become the Prime Minister of India.


Let us think different and come together to commit our support for this
great visionary-doer to come to power.

…..
regards

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