Suicide Tourism

611 people not resident in Switzerland had
been helped to die between 2008 and 2012….all but four of whom had gone to
Dignitas….ages ranged from 23 to 97….over half of the ‘tourists’ were women.
Unlike the Caliphate-bound, hip-hop artists lusting after head-less homies, these Switzerland-bound folks are the gentle and thoughtful type. They kill themselves, presumably because they feel guilty of being a burden on their near and dear ones.

Indian patriots should be pleased…as of now the score reads: India: 1, China: 0. But this should be no ground for complacency, as they say, a good start is only half the game.

Switzerland (Canton of Zurich to be precise) is the primary beneficiary of suicide tourism because of Dignitas, the NGO foundation, which performs/advocates for euthanasia of unfit people – the old, the infirm, the tired and the sick (see link below). Just as Irish women travel to the UK for terminating pregnancies, scores of British (and German) tourists are traveling to Switzerland for terminating lives.

It is not our place to comment on public policy but we observe that tourism in India is facing some head-winds (lack of safety for women, lack of alcohol…even in God’s own country). Just like surrogacy tourism, suicide tourism can be a potentially new line of business. And unlike Dignitas, in India you have an infinite ways to end your life.

It is our understanding that this is very much in line with Indian (Hindu) culture and tradition. In Vedic times, a person’s life was divided into four phases or the Chatur-Ashram: Brahmacharya (study time as a child), Garhasthya (family time as a couple), Vana-prastha (literally escape to the forest, leaving the family behind) and finally, Sanyas (live your life out in the forest). The average age of the suicide tourist today is 69, which is exactly following the Vana-prastha/Sanyas mode.

The message (then and now) seems to be clear: do NOT trouble your family or the larger society with your old age problems. This concept of a life without value is also applicable to youth with health problems (presently as young as 23). It is surely a matter of great pride that people world-wide are appreciating (and following) age-old wisdom about old age.


The numbers of ‘suicide tourists’ going to Switzerland to take their own lives
have doubled within four years with citizens from Germany and UK contributing
to the largest per cent. Those with neurological conditions, such as paralysis, motor neurone disease,
Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, account for almost half of the cases.

While 123 people undertook suicide tourism in 2008, the number rose to 172 in
2012. The data shows that nationals from 31 different countries were helped to die in
Switzerland between 2008 and 2012, with German (268) and UK (126) nationals
making up almost two thirds of the total. Other countries in the top 10 include France (66), Italy (44), USA (21),
Austria (14), Canada (12), Spain and Israel (each with 8).

The data base made public on Thursday morning shows one case from India as well
in 2012.

The study by Oxford University looked at whether the availability of suicide
tourism in Switzerland had prompted changes in the law on assisted suicide

While assisted suicide (AS) is strictly restricted in many countries including
India, it is not clearly regulated by law in Switzerland. This imbalance leads
to an influx of people — suicide tourists — coming to the Canton of Zurich with
the sole purpose of committing suicide. Political debate regarding ‘suicide
tourism’ is taking place in many countries. Swiss medico legal experts are
confronted with these cases almost daily, which prompted our scientific
investigation of the phenomenon, said the researchers.

Researchers therefore searched the databases of the Institute of Legal Medicine
in Zurich for information on investigations and post mortem examinations among
non-Swiss nationals who had been helped to take their own lives between 2008
and 2012.

The search revealed that 611 people who were not resident in Switzerland had
been helped to die between 2008 and 2012, all but four of whom had gone to
Their ages ranged from 23 to 97, with the average being 69; over half (58.5%)
of the ‘tourists’ were women, who were 40% more likely to choose assisted
suicide in Switzerland than men.

The rises were particularly steep in certain countries,
especially Italy — up from 4 in 2009 to 22 in 2012, and France, up from 7 in
2009 to 19 in 2012. Overall, the numbers of people being helped to die in Switzerland doubled
between 2009 and 2012.

The study published on Thursday in the Journal of Medical Ethics suggest that
the phenomenon of suicide tourism, which is unique to Switzerland, has prompted
legislative changes and/or serious debate in Germany, the UK, and France—the
principal sources of this type of tourism.

Six official voluntary right-to-die organisations are active in Switzerland and
offer AS to their members, providing that they fulfil various conditions. Four
of the six organisations also offer suicide assistance to people who are
neither Swiss citizens nor resident in Switzerland, but who come from other
European countries, for example, the UK, France and Italy, where AS is
restricted by law and anyone contravening this law may be liable to several
years’ imprisonment.

The paper says “our results show that AS is chosen 1.4 times more often by
women. The median age of the suicide tourists in our study was 69 years, an age
at high risk of malignancy or chronic disease. After a decrease between 2008
and 2009, the number of suicide tourists doubled between 2009 and 2012.

“With respect to the underlying diseases, our results showed that
neurological diseases were the reason for AS in nearly half of the study group.
Neurological diseases and rheumatic diseases increased between 1990 and 2012,
while cancer became less common. These results imply that non-fatal diseases or
diseases that are not yet end stage are more often becoming the reason for
seeking AS.”

The authors said, “The phenomenon of suicide tourism has been growing over
the years and is still increasing unabated. Our results showed an increasing
proportion of neurological and rheumatic diseases diagnosed among the suicide
tourists. This implies that non-fatal diseases are increasing among suicide
tourists and probably also among Swiss residents, although potential suicide
tourists with a terminal illness might not be able to travel to a foreign

“The phenomenon of suicide tourism unique to Switzerland can indeed result
in amendment or supplementary guidelines to existing regulations in foreign
countries, as shown by our examples of the top three countries from which
suicide tourists traveled. Political debate in Switzerland and other countries
is continuing, with the possibility of further amendments in the near future,
in both Switzerland and elsewhere, unless Switzerland issues clear and
structured regulations on suicide tourism.”


Link (1): UK-researchers-confirm-worrying-increase-in-suicide-tourism

Link (2):



“Jihadi John” from Maida Vale

Do you have to be rich (or merely middle-class) to own a 1 mil pound home in Maida Vale, West London (W9)? It is part of posh Westminster and if you are a BPeep looking for a villa in St John’s Wood (just east of Maida Vale, home of Lord’s Cricket Ground) it is likely to cost you upwards of 10 mil pounds!!!

Maida Vale was founded in the 19th century and is named after Sir John Stuart, Count of Maida (1759–1815), who was a British Lieutenant-General during the Napoleonic Wars. Maida is a town in the Calabria region of southern Italy, 31 km west of the provincial capital Catanzaro. The British (under the leadership of Sir John) routed the French in the Battle of Maida in 1806 [ref. Wiki].

Maida Vale is primarily known for Little Venice bordering Regent’s Canal, but it has a new reason to be famous. It is the residence of Jihadi John, also known as Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary. John is a hip-hop artist whose rap music has featured on BBC. He is also a “person of interest” in the beheading of the American photo-journalist James Foley.

Perhaps a future Wiki entry will note that there were two famous Johns in Maida Vale, one who fought on behalf of the Anglos in the Mediterranean and one who fought against them in the Middle-East. Will this John be equally fortunate is his battles? We will shortly find out. 

MI5 and MI6 have identified the British fighter suspected of murdering the
American journalist James Foley, senior government sources confirmed last

The masked man with a London accent, who is said to be known to fellow
fighters as “Jihadi John”, was seen in the shocking video of Foley’s death
released by the Isis extremist army last week. While sources gave no details of the man they have identified, a key suspect
is Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary.

London rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 23, left his family’s £1million home in Maida Vale to join jihadis in Syria. His father Adel Abdul Bary is a suspected al-Qaeda mastermind extradited to the USA in 2012.

The Islamic State fanatic, whose rap music has featured on BBC
Radio 1 Extra, posted the Twitter picture of himself surrounded by bags
of terrorists’ favourite bomb material PETN, reports the Sunday People. A caption underneath read: “Fireworks ;)”

The Twitter page, which has since been taken down, also showed sick pictures of Bary apparently holding a severed human head. Underneath the horrifying image the depraved Londoner wrote: “Chillin with my other homie, or whats left of him.”


Link (1):

Link (2):





For a person who started out in adverts and jingles, Pradeep Sarkar is not half bad as a director (his photography is exquisite). We loved Parineeta (and we fell in love with the heavenly Vidya Balan).

Compared to the (slow cooked) celebration of (old Kolkata) nostalgia in Parineeta, Mardaani is a rough and tough thriller which zips through the jungles of Mumbai. We are not much of a Rani Mukherjee fan (her cousin Kajol is truly wonderful). However in Mardaani she (and her support cast) is very good.

This is a movie which show-cases strong women (Rani as Inspector Shivani Shivaji Roy and Priyanka Sharma as the street girl Pyari) in memorable roles and that is always a plus point in our book. Finally (and most importantly) the villains are authentic bad-ass and arouses just the right amount of revulsion. Good show!!!
Mardaani is a marked departure from convention. For one, the film is inspired by dire newspaper headlines and alarming United Nations reports about India’s missing girls. 
Moreover, in deference to its solemn theme and purpose, Mardaani completely abjures the musical interludes and glitzy frills that the banner usually revels in peddling. And,
last but not least, the film’s policewoman-protagonist has no romantic
interest to deflect her from her mission to rescue a teenage orphan who
has gone missing from an Andheri shelter home.

scores because it adopts an uncluttered approach to the tale of a
fearless Mumbai crime branch officer who pulls out the stops to counter
the wiles of a smooth-talking child sex trafficker in Delhi.

Director Pradeep Sarkar, coming off the twin debacles of Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Lafangey Parindey after the high of Parineeta, hits all the right buttons this time around.

Senior Inspector Shivani Shivaji Roy is given no grand entry scene. She is introduced even as the credits roll.

moment she is engaged in friendly banter with her team of cops in a
police jeep over the angry wife of their stern and unrelenting boss. The very next the armed lady leads a raid on a brothel to nab a fugitive criminal.

Datta’s editing is suitably spiky and cinematographer Artur Zurawski
captures the action without letting his camera get overly obtrusive.

lead actress, who despite being required to spout cuss words, does not
merely deliver dialogues; she speaks her lines with emotion and
directness. Rani does not take recourse to the kind of grandstanding that one usually encounters in Bollywood police action flicks.

the way the character of Senior Inspector Shivani Shivaji Roy turns
out, credit is largely due to the screenplay by Gopi Puthran, who is
also the film’s associate director.

On one hand, Mardaani
invokes the spirit of the Rani of Jhansi in its title itself, as also
of that mythical fount of feminine invincibility, Goddess Durga. The
latter is evoked as a prelude to an anthem that plays on the soundtrack
as the rousing, if somewhat over-dramatic, climax reaches its crescendo
at a point that is well under two hours into the film.

On the other, Mardaani invites inevitable comparisons with the many Bollywood superheroes in uniform that we meet every so often on the big screen. But Shivani Shivaji Roy, a Marathi mulgi wedded to a Bengali doctor (Jisshu Sengupta in a cameo), is a far saner version of Chulbul Pandey and Bajirao Singham.

achievements may be just as heroic as those of the aforementioned
crime-busters, but the methods that she employs are infinitely more
sedate and within the realms of probability.

Sharma makes her presence felt in the guise of the street girl Pyari,
whose abduction is the film’s principal flashpoint.

Because Shivani Shivaji Roy is not your average action ‘hero’, she might not appeal to Dabangg junkies. But for everyone else, Mardaani could be well worth a trip to the multiplex.


Link: mardaani-movie-review




Lion vs. porcupines

…Ananthamurthy said he would not want to live in an
India where the prime minister is Narendra Modi….”I would get phone calls asking me, ‘when are you leaving’?…I would like to visit Pakistan! I have friends there who love India”….“Modi wants India to be a lion but as a Gandhian I can tell you that
Gandhiji wanted India to be a porcupine”…..

As a metaphor it feels appropriate for now….a proud porcupine is any day better than a cowardly lion. Growing up in tiger-land, we know that even big cats are wary of the prickly little creatures. But why stop there? As India grows in strength and sheds its physical (and mental) shackles, she should aim to be an elephant– social, gentle (if you do not harm them), intelligent, and loving, welcoming of orphans (refugees) and quite capable of defending against vicious beasts.

Speaking of elephants and orphans, here is news (fairly typical) from the animal kingdom last week.
A six-months-old male baby elephant which had got separated from its
mother and was partially drowned in a river got its new mother in a
captive female elephant at Rajaji National Park (RNP). The female
elephant too accepted the calf by cuddling it.

According to
Nitishmani Tripathi, division forest officer of Lansdowne forest
division, the calf was found struggling to float in the Rawasan river at
5pm on Tuesday. The calf was rescued and was taken to a forest camp.

DVS Khati chief wildlife warden told TOI, “The elephants are social by
nature. In an elephant herd, when a calf is separated or its mother dies
then other female elephants accept and nurse the calf. In common
parlance, it is known as ‘auntie syndrome’ where other female elephants
become mother or aunts of the motherless calf. ” 


Now the lion of Gujarat has a (well deserved) reputation of crushing challengers without even bothering to shake his mane. However there are still a few porcupines who have no fear, who keep shooting thorns at the king (just like them Hamas rockets??). One example is the classical dance exponent Mallika Sarabhai, daughter of Mrinalini and Vikram Sarabhai (the father of  the Indian space program).  

Another one is the celebrated Kannada author Udupi Rajagopal-Acharya (UR) Anantha-Murthy (21 December 1932 – 22 August 2014). Please note below the excellent profiles by Sudheendra Kulkarni and Ramchandra Guha as well as a very special AIR Mysore interview with URA himself.

The reflections are mostly about Mysore – where bananas and giant pumpkins are abundant and people are generous, where oceans of knowledge are to be explored in the Maharaja’s college, and the bitter-sweet memories of marrying a Christian girl – as it was half a century ago.
It is true that over time Indian politics has become more democratic (the Leader is a Shudra while the main opposition party is led in the Parliament by a Dalit – Mallikarjuna Kharge from Karanataka). Unfortunately it has also become more shrill and people seem to be losing their sense of propriety. Prof. Ananthamurthy is a national icon, and when he passed away it is reasonable to wish for a dignified send-off. But that was not to be. Even as the Prime Minister was quick to send his condolences, Hindutva-vadis were bursting crackers and celebrating. This is not a good thing and Sudheendra Kulkarni is right to condemn it.

Of course URA was a petty man at times, especially in the way he used to bad-mouth Santeshivara Lingannaiah (SL) Bhyrappa, the all-time popular Kannada novelist who writes from the right field. But that is just professional (and ideological) jealousy. Again in such match-ups it is the skill (and fore-sight) that counts- SLB in his recent, rousing novel Avarana has a shifty character who resembles URA!!! With time people will (may) forget the masters but not their creations. It will be a pity if future generations recognize URA only from a book composed by his rival in arts.
Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad, Gopalakrishna Adiga are all recognized as luminaries in the Marxist-Socialist universe that drove the glorious Navya (new) movement in Kannada literature. Now they are all fading away or gone, just when the left as a whole is dying in India and the right is on the ascendant. Again it is a pity that literature has become so politicized (primarily driven by the need for getting grants in India and acceptance in the West). 

If some one wishes to enjoy an authentic Indian view (and viewpoint), our advise is to avoid the Indians-in-English “lions” and try instead the “vernacular porcupines” (best if read in the original, however excellent translations are now available). Samskara by UV Ananthamurthy (and Parva by SL Bhyarappa) are too good to be ignored by Indians who would like to know more about their history and culture, and to comprehend what needs to be preserved, and what needs to be thrown away. 

UR Ananthamurthy, the great
Jnanpith laureate Kannada writer who passed away in Bangalore on August
22 at the age of 82, will long be remembered for his controversial
remarks on Narendra Modi (before he became the prime minister) in the
run-up to the last parliamentary elections. “I’ll leave India if
Narendra Modi ever became India’s PM,” he had said, a statement that he
later withdrew.

there is far more to Ananthamurthy as a writer than the controversy
over a non-literary matter that he invited upon himself. A person from
literature should be judged, and remembered, primarily on the basis of
his or her creative writing. 

Literature is a product of solitude. It is
also read and experienced in solitude. Best fiction illuminates human
condition immensely more than either journalism or political discourse.

If this is true, then there is no doubt that all those who have read
Ananthamurthy’s novels or short stories, both in original Kannada and in
translation, will forever cherish him – and his characters such as
Praneshacharya in his most acclaimed novel Samskara (1965) – in their hearts.

I read Samskara
when I was studying in the seventh or eighth standard, in my little
home town Athani in Karnataka. I have re-read it several times
thereafter. It left a haunting effect on me.

Praneshacharya, its
protagonist, is a pious and scholarly priest living in a Brahmin village
where moral corruption and hypocrisy abound beneath the veneer of
religiosity. A peculiar set of circumstances, unleashed by the outbreak
of plague in the village and culminating in him getting attracted to a
noble-hearted prostitute, push him into a vortex of moral dilemmas. He
finds himself compelled to question Brahmin orthodoxy’s many verities
about untouchability, sex and bookish knowledge.

is not an overtly political novel. However, its story of how
Praneshacharya confronts his own socially inherited convictions about
the meaning and purpose of life contributed in some way to the awakening
of the rebel in me early in my own life. That rebellious attitude
shaped my response to the Emergency Rule (1975-77) imposed by former
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. 

I was a student at IIT Bombay those days
and got involved in Left-wing anti-Emergency activities both on and off
campus. When Snehalata Reddy, a committed Bangalore-based socialist and a
close associate of Ananthamurthy died during the Emergency, a victim of
torture in prison, I wrote a letter (in Kannada) to Ananthamurthy
expressing my anguish over the death of democracy in India and the need
to strengthen our collective voice against it. Ananthamurthy, whose own
allegiance lay with non-Marxist socialism espoused by Mahatma Gandhi and
Dr Rammanohar Lohia, wrote back to me with words of encouragement and

Incidentally, Snehalata Reddy was the heroine who played the role of Chandri, the prostitute, in the cinematic rendition of Samskara.
Girish Karnad acted as Praneshacharya in this gem of a black-and-white
movie, produced in 1970 by Snehalata’s husband and fellow-socialist
Pattabhi Rama Reddy. It became a trailblazer in Kannada cinema and went
on to win many national and international awards. Ananthamurthy’s short
story Ghatashraddha was made into another widely acclaimed film by Girish Kasaravalli in 1977.

Ananthamurthy’s other novels Bharathipura, Avasthe and Divya did not reach the story-telling excellence of Samskara.
I often felt that his literary creation was hampered by his activism.
Yet, as an activist and a public intellectual, he was always very
original and incisive in his thinking and in the way he responded to the
world around him. 

He stuck his neck out for the causes he believed in,
as is evident from his close association with the environmental
movement, his deep sympathy for the empowerment of Dalits, and his
spirited struggle for the protection of mother tongues in India. He
felt, rightly, that the great literary creations in Bharatiya languages
were overshadowed by several mediocre, but commercially successful and
globally more recognised works of Indian writers in English. He was a
patron of progressive theatre, especially Neenasam, a legendary cultural
institution in rural Karnataka founded by his friend KV Subbanna.

was a strong critic of the RSS and the BJP throughout his life.
Promotion of Hindu-Muslim amity was a cause very dear to him.
Yet, he
was a great admirer of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the admiration was
mutual. When the former Prime Minister went to Bangladesh on a
pathbreaking visit in 1999, he had taken Ananthamurthy (and also the
late Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh) as a member of his delegation. I met
him for the first time on that trip and we spent a lot of time on the
flight and in Dhaka conversing in Kannada.

Ananthamurthy was
non-traditionalist and yet he had almost a reverential admiration for
the good aspects of India’s cultural and spiritual heritage. I remember
one essay in which he posed an important question, which I am
paraphrasing here:  

“Why is it that even the best of political,
governance, educational and business institutions get weakened,
corroded, eroded and extinct with the passage of time, whereas several
religion-inspired institutions such as maths and seminaries remain alive
and vibrant for centuries? Is it because the former have their
foundation in the transient material world, in contrast to the eternal
certainties that the latter believe in? Is this the reason why people’s
allegiance to the former is always fickle, and to the latter fixed?”


He was
always full of laughter and lived life intensely even when sick. For
the last 10 years he has been critical many times. Through it all he
kept going. Till his last breath he was engaged—intellectually and
politically — which is so admirable.

The biggest loss is that
of a genuine public intellectual. I wrote a piece for his 80th birthday.
I said at the end of it that when he dies, his death will be mourned in
every district of Karnataka. When an English writer like me dies,
maybe, India International Centre will have a memorial meeting. Full
stop. He has such deep roots in society. I don’t think any of the
current writers have that kind of organic connection.

Writer as
a public intellectual, as a moral conscience of society – that’s a
phenomenon that was once quite common in every linguistic group in
India. URA is almost the last representative of it. As society gets more
commercialized, as writing itself gets commercialized, this larger than
life role of the writers gets reduced. He’s the last of the kind.

Twenty years ago, 40 years ago, we had Shivaram Karanth here, PK Atre
in Maharashtra, Nirmal Verma in the Hindi-speaking world, Mahashweta
Devi in Bengal — novelists who took a stand on public issues; who were
seen as conscience-like figures.
This tradition goes back to the 19th
century, to Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, later to Tagore. After print
arrived in India, novels, literary journals, newspapers began to appear
and from then onwards writers occupied an important position in moulding
public debate. They wrote essays and fiction on social reforms, women,
caste, India’s place in the world.

Today, as professions get
more specialized that tradition’s slowly eroding. As writers focus more
on their craft, career, books, advances and contracts, the larger role
is lost. I would say URA and Mahashweta Devi were the last of the those
who were also prominent public figures.


Abdul Rasheed: Welcome to AIR and welcome back to Mysore. What memories
do you carry of Mysore as you plan to return?

U.R. Anantha Murthy: When I come to Mysore, I feel like a student and a
teacher, which is what I was in this City. That trait is very important to me.
And as I come here to AIR, I have very fond memories of being first recognised
and identified as a writer by Mysore Akashvani.

Rasheed: You came to Mysore in 1950-51 from Tirthahalli after
taking part in a farmers’ struggle, after missing classes…

URA: And after failing in my exams.

Rasheed: Yes, after failing in your exams. Can you take us back
more than half a century to the Mysore of the days when you arrived here?

URA: There was a book-shop here called Progressive Book Stall,
run by D.R. Krishnamurthy or DRK as we knew him. As a socialist, I had a
passing acquaintance of DRK and he took me first to the house of Bharat Raj
. Although I had fought on behalf of Kannada medium, I had wanted to
do BA honours in English.

One of my earliest memories is of
Bharath Raj Singh giving me a list of books that had Jane Austen and T.S.
on them. I said I could him a different list, which had Gorky
and Shelley and others on them.

The point I am trying to make is
that I began growing in Mysore, and not just through teachers. When I went to K.V.
’s room I learnt. When I went to the Coffee House I learnt. To tell
you the truth to tell, we rarely went to college. We spent a lot of time in harate.

There was a canteen called Iyer’s
where we had an account. That was the era of one-by-two in Mysore.
Whatever we had, whether it was dosa or coffee, we had them in fractions of
And we would do this several times a day. In the mid-50s, when the
formation of Karnataka was underway, a joke began doing the rounds that in
Mysore there was a demand for two Karnatakas because we even wanted Karnataka

Rasheed: When you look at modern writing in Kannada, especially
after the Navodaya movement, there is a certain shyness, a kind of digbhrame,
that a young writer from a smaller town or village brings when he steps into a
bigger city. As someone who came from a small village yourself, when did you
gain the courage, when did you find your feet in Mysore?

URA: Actually, there was never any adhairya in Mysore.
In the Mysore of those days, there was never the kind of wealth that you see,
say, now in Bangalore. If there were one or two cars on the roads, we knew
whose cars they were. If there were a couple of motorcycles, we knew whose they

If there was anything overwhelming,
it was the knowledge and culture of the place.

When we were at Maharaja’s College,
every morning the word would go around, ‘Kuvempu barthidarante!’
(Kuvempu is coming), and sure enough he would come on a jataka gaadi. He
would get down, not look at anybody, not look this side or that, and then get
into the college. We would wait to see that.

Then word would go around, ‘DLN barthidarante!’
(D.L. Narasimhaiah is coming), and sure enough DLN would come in a peta
with an umbrella, holding it like a stick, never ever aware that it had a hold!

Then there was the founder of Mysore
Akashvani, M.V. Gopalaswamy. As I was coming into this interview, I
found a picture of his in the director’s office looking nice and regal in a zari
peta and coat. But that’s not the image I have from college where he
wore a jubba-pyjama.

There was great simplicity in the
Mysore of those days but there was an even greater ocean of knowledge in
Maharaja’s College. There were great speakers. If a good poet was to conduct a
reading, the Junior BA Hall would be overflowing to the aisles.

Rasheed: At Sarvajanika Hostel, you stayed with Subbanna, Kadidal
Shamanna, G.H. Nayak

URA: No. Subbanna stayed at Maharaja’s College hostel. Those
who had a little more money could afford to stay there. But yes, G.H. Nayak and
I stayed at Sarvajanika Hostel. For a few days, initially, I stayed at the
Suttur hostel because my father couldn’t afford to send me much.

But even so, we would manage to get
good food, free food at the Sarvajanika Hostel in Chamundipuram. It was run by
a Gandhian called Subbanna, who would go to the countryside each morning
and bring giant pumpkins and wonderful bananas every day for us boys.

I used to walk to College each day,
and I remember jumping up in the air and plucking twigs and leaves off the
avenue trees when I got a good idea or a nice thought passed through my mind!

What I remember from those days is
how much we would talk. G.H. Nayak and I would talk endlessly in our hostel
room. Then we would come to Subbanna’s room in the Maharaja College hostel and
talk some more. A magazine called Varsity Times had been started by Raghavan
and we would contribute there…

Rasheed: You have been all that any young Kannadiga would aspire to
be. What did you want to be when you were growing up.

URA: If I am a writer, it is because of the memories of my
youth. It’s like a trust from which I can keep drawing endlessly. I was born in
Melige but grew up in Kerekoppa. Ours was the only home in the whole forest,
and whoever came home would tell stories of tigers. I come from a time when
currency notes were still not around and the bearys (muslim merchants)
passing by would sell us paddy and my mother would give them betelnuts in

My father was a shanbhoga who
traveled around. A teacher came home to teach because I couldn’t go to school,
and even when I did so, it was to a Kannada school. From where I came, even
Tirthahalli, which was but a small village, seemed like a big town.
Tirthathalli was my world.

There was somebody called Charles
. I would take his medications to different people, one of whom was
a man called Srinivas Joshi who, even in those days, had shortened it to
‘Sinha’. He used to listen to the BBC on a dynamo he had cranked up. He used to
speak with an exaggerated accent he had picked up by listening to the radio. In
effect, when I was growing up, I could read a Bernard Shaw play, hear
about the Bhagwad Gita at school, and discuss dvaita/advaita
philosophies at the mutt. I became a writer because so many worlds commingled
in little Tirthahalli.

I told Malcolm Bradbury when
we met in Europe that occidental history is like a straight line; oriental
history is a curving one where centuries coexist. It was in Tirthahalli I
realised that, understood that. I met all kinds of people in a small place. It
is said Somerset Maugham traveled the world with a notebook to learn
the essence of life and Kafka sat in a room for the same objective. Yet
Kafka came out with a better world-view. Growing up in Tirthahalli was like

Rasheed: You were talking about your school shirt…

URA: Yes. I was a Brahmin boy who had been reared on strict
notions of madi and all that. My grandfather was very insistent on some
of these rituals. The shirt I wore to school was kept far and away from the
madi clothes and I would hang it on a nail on the wall.

It was at school, while wearing this
shirt, that I would come in touch with people of all castes—Muslims, Dalits,
Gowdas, everybody. I became a writer not by wearing madi clothes but by
wearing my school shirt. I was telling this to M.T. Vasudevan Nair, the
Malayalam writer, and he agreed. I became a writer by going to school, a common

Today, unfortunately, our kids go to
one kind of school and the children of poor people go to another kind of
school. The shared knowledge, the shared wisdom that was available to all of us
is no longer available to modern children. Our children are inhabiting
different Indias. I feel very much about this.

Rasheed: Kuvempu wanted to be an English writer. You too wrote in
English. Yet, you veered back to Kannada. Just what is it about Kannada that
drew you back?

URA: Kuvempu wrote very well in English. Bendre too
could write in English. In my middle-school, I had started a magazine called Taringini
which had pieces in Kannda, English and Sanskrit!

If we stayed with Kannada it’s
because we grew within it. We heard it night and day, at home, school, market,
everywhere we went. Those who know many languages accept the supremacy of one
of them and write in it. Those who know only one language—the niraksharavadigalu—they
are the one who have saved Kannada. I don’t mean to say we need more niraksharavadigalu,
I mean that it is they who have kept alive our art, dance, folk.

I went to Europe. The result was I
had the influences of Kannada, folk and the West. It is not possible to be so
rich in English. If I had started writing in English, I would have lost my
childhood. Writing in English takes you further away from your past, your
relatives, your friends, from your roots. That’s why you find such a strong
streak of socialism in Kuvempu, Bendre, Masti, Karanth. It’s because
they wrote in Kannada.

Rasheed: Tell us some more on your meetings with Tejaswi.

URA: I happened to marry a Christian girl (Esther). It
was difficult to get a house on rent. It was Tejaswi who found us accommodation
in Vontikoppal. It was a small house but a very beautiful house, which is where
my son (Sharat) was born.

Early in the morning, Tejaswi would
come home and we talk on this, that and the other. Then we would cycle off to
Coffee House, he on his cycle and me on mine, with my pregnant wife on the
carrier behind. And there would talk some more.

Then we would break off to go to Devaraja
Market and buy vegetables. Ah, the market, it was so beautiful, the fruits
stalls, the flower stalls, the sandige-happala stalls… There was only
one shop which had Nanjangud rasabaale, and the owner was such a stern
man that if we haggled over the price, he would refuse to sell us the bananas!
Mysore, back then, was a very special city.


Link (1): the-modi-controversy-did-this-great-writer-a-disservice-by-sudheendra-kulkarni

Link (2): A-moral-voice-has-fallen-silent

Link (3):




Don't cry for me Yezidi

Like everyone else I’ve pretty much been inundated with issues from the Ummah (Iraq, Pakistan etc).

It sure seems a lot easier when we had the triumvirate of Ottomania, Safavid & the Mughals (who were at the vanguard of syncretism fwiw).
It’s pretty obvious that the world is at an inflection (or reaction) point to Western globalising tendencies. Much as English will emerge as a lingua franca, it’s instructive to note that it hasn’t yet murdered any other languages (apart old Celtic rivals from centuries ago) and remains a real primacy in the Old Commonwealth.
While English in the Old Commonwealth has started to standardise to various varieties, which remain somewhat intelligible with Her Majesty’s Speech (which after all seems to be the central standard for this incredibly inchoate & ever-expanding medium) in the African & Asian New Commonwealth English has begun to evolve into different varieties (in Uganda, the language elides with Luganda to form Luglish, High standard English is an upper-class / educated phenomenon).
My point being is that analysts need a geo-historical perspective when analysing the world. I don’t write nearly enough these days (even the start of BP represented the last high tide of my writing) but then I’m rather occupied with harnessing my perspectives towards a corporate-commercial end (in my ever-ending war for this Bobo between the Bourgeois & Bohemian, as an aside the Ugandans use “ever” for when they mean “never”).
For instance people may agonise over ISIS but at the end of the day when have Sunni Arabs ever gone beyond deserts and plains? When have they gone into the mountains, that domains is for Persians, Turks & shi’ites. The nice tweak of geography is that it’s still salient, Israel 2000yrs later captured the wrong part of Palestine and actually is in Philistia instead of Judea.
As a final comment I see the unity of the British Isles so clearly in Uganda. The Irish may stayed apart because of Catholicism (which is no longer as determinant an identity) but the Celtic nations have so inter-mingled with the English that the boundaries are as faint & soft without disappearing. Ironically the United Kingdom is what the European Union dreams to be.

Kerala aims to be Gujarat (2025)

….The Congress-led United Democratic Front government, proposed to make Kerala alcohol-free in 10 years…..The cabinet has also decided to shut down 700 bars by cancelling their bar license…..from April 1, 2015, only five star hotels
will be granted bar licenses….Apart from the existing dry days, which include
the first day of every month, all Sundays would be dry days…

The first question that came to our mind: will no one think of the tourists? Not all tourists stay in 5-star accommodations (which will also run dry in 10 years).

And shock horror!!! We hear the proud denizens of Tamizh Nadu making unheard of demands: why cant we be like Mallus (and…Gujjus…more shock horror)?

There are liberal and conservative arguments for prohibition (and liberal arguments in opposition). Then you have blood-less economists who will focus on jobs and tax revenue- bars with dancing girls generate well paying jobs and huge money for the exchequer.

The push for a ban-on-bars is also a tale of women vs. women:  women in low-income families have long complained of husbands wasting their pay-packets on evil women (and the devil drink). This was the argument that convinced Maharashtra govt to shut down girls in bars. Many girls (primarily from Eastern India, Nepal, and Bangladesh) were then forced to become prostitutes.

The bigger argument is about full-on prohibition of drinking and here there is a morality play (backed by the religious lobby) as well as a public health one (doctors are for it). It is well known that prohibition failed in the USA, we have just not learned the lessons well enough.
We have mixed feelings about this- we are not fond of drinking but we dislike prohibition even more. A colleague is getting married in September. Her dad passed away few years back (due to excess drinking). The responsibility now falls on her Mama (uncle) to give her away. Recently Mama-ji has been diagnosed with liver cancer as well as cirrhosis (scarring). One would think that he would feel guilty and stop but that is not the case. Instead – since he has only weeks to live – he wants to drink to his heart’s content. The girl is in a state of shock and all she can say is “men do not listen.”

When we asked if religious affiliation makes any difference she said no. Her paternal side (Christian) and maternal side (Hindu) are equally robust drinkers. Now women have also joined in enthusiastically. Muslims drink almost as much as anybody else.

Prohibiting drinking is not going to make health problems go away….people will drink illicit stuff…poisonous stuff that has killed hundreds in Gujarat. Society needs to change via persuasion (and yes, men will have to start to listen) and not prohibition. 

India’s highest consumer of alcohol, Kerala, may soon become a dry state. The Congress-led United Democratic Front government, proposed to make Kerala alcohol-free in 10 years.

The cabinet has also decided to shut down 700 bars by cancelling their bar license.

The decisions will be formally recommended to the
Chandy Cabinet to act upon and from April 1, 2015, only five star hotels
will be granted bar licenses.

Apart from the existing dry days, which include
the first day of every month, all Sundays would be dry days in the
state, taking the total liquor holidays to a minimum of 52 a year.

The state has also decided to reduce the outlets
of the government-owned Beverage Corporation, the sole retail
distributor of Indian made foreign liquor in Kerala, by 10 percent every

The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC) is
the sole wholesaler of liquor and beer, which is sold through 708 hotel
bars and 383 state-owned retail outlets.
Sales of liquor zoomed past Rs.9000 crore in value terms last fiscal and contribution to the state exchequer by way of taxes was Rs.6,830 crore.

Rum reigns as the No.1 choice of tipplers,
accounting for more than 55 percent of the liquor sold, followed by
brandy with a close to 40 percent share. Vodka sales are at four
percent. Gin, whiskey and wine together account for a just one percent

A study by a doctor at a leading hospital in the
state said he has at least three new patients coming to him every month
with alcohol-related liver diseases and pointed out that those in the
37-45 in the age group with liquor-related diseases will go up
drastically in a few years’ time


PMK founder S. Ramadoss flummoxed his critics on Thursday, urging the
Tamil Nadu government to emulate the Kerala model to either clamp
prohibition in one stroke or usher it in phases.

In a statement here, he said Tamil Nadu was expressing its inability to
implement prohibition arguing that it was not feasible when the measure
was not enforced in the neighbouring States. But, Kerala was moving
towards prohibition in phases.

Pointing out that Kerala had 383 liquor outlets and 752 bars (permit
rooms), Dr. Ramadoss said that in one move, the government closed 418
bars. Then, it shut down 18 bars and 45 liquor stores. 
Quoting Kerala
Pradesh Congress Committee president V.M. Sudheeran, Dr. Ramadoss said
the Oomen Chandy government was striving for total prohibition ahead of
the 2016 Assembly polls.

Appreciating Kerala’s steps to protect its people from the ill-effects
of alcohol, Dr. Ramadoss, citing the Kerala State Crime Records Bureau
statistics, said the closure of bars had brought down the rate of crimes
by 15 per cent and the number of road accidents by 10 per cent. Even
sexual offences and crimes against women had come down.

Contrary to such trends, Tamil Nadu was opening more liquor, beer and
Tasmac outlets, Dr. Ramadoss said. This resulted in the crime rate
soaring and increasing concerns over the safety of women and children.


Link (1): kerala-to-completely-ban-alcohol-by-2025

Link (2): pmk-founder-s-ramadoss-tn-to-take-cue-from-kerala-in-antiliquor-drive




“A small incident of rape”

….’He calls (the gangrape of my daughter) a small incident bcos such things never happen to people like him.’
~ Asha Devi, Nirbhaya’s mother….Jaitley speaks out his mindset: 1 “small incident of rape” advertised world over is enough 2 cost us billions of $ in tourism…..@arunjaitley laments about one ‘small’ incident of rape, @PIB_India deletes small from speech text……

It is a fact that people have in-built expectations about how public figures will behave. We expect the (senior) Leader to be business-like (and dictatorial) in thought, speech and action. We expect the (junior) Leader to be a fire-breather: our Hindu sisters and daughters are in danger and we should take revenge. We expect Madam to stay silent on pogrom I (against Sikhs in 1984) and talk non-stop about pogrom II (against muslims, 2002). We expect Arundhati Roy to be cursing the super-castes and hero-worshiping the Maoists.

Arun Jaitley is a more complex character. He was the person who admitted (ref. Wiki-leaks) that for  the BJP, Hindutva is not a matter of conviction….just a ploy to win elections. Yes, we believe that is indeed the case (but it does not make us feel any better about the BJP or the tactics it chooses to use).

“Pressed on the
question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism ‘will always be a
talking point’ for the BJP. However, he characterized this as an opportunistic
Robert Blake, the Charge at the US Embassy, said to his government
after a meeting with Jaitley on May 6, 2005.

Jaitley is respected (and even loved) by friends and foes alike. He is that unlikely character, an under-stated and over-intellectual Punjabi Brahmin. The only negative comment we note is from William Dalrymple- he calls Jaitley a “dark genius.”

Looking beyond the ghastly faux-pas that he has made (compounded by refusing to apologize cleanly….we would recommend asking for forgiveness from the family), it provides us a worrisome glimpse into the elite mind.
They are really not too bothered about the fact that a girl in the 21st century does not have freedom to enjoy an evening with her partner in the capital city of India.The loss to business…the loss of jobs…that is the true worry.  

That also leads to a separate but important question: why do tourists come to visit India (or any other country) and what are their expectations? If a country was neat, clean, and safe, and cheap…would tourists give a second thought about human rights? Chinese tourists are visiting Sri Lanka (personal experience) while Germans have not stopped visiting Thailand.

There is no question that tourism has been affected…but that should motivate us even more to correct the problem. For us the equation is simple: India will improve (and not just the economy) only when the condition of the women improve. Yes, boys are falling behind, alarmingly so in many areas, and we should be mindful of that. But the patriarchy must go….even if it is replaced by anarchy (we dont believe that will happen).

At the end of the day Arun Jaitley showed that everything said and done he is just another “typical Indian man.” And that is both sad and disappointing.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was today
at the centre of a row over his “small rape incident” remark with attack
being mounted on him from various quarters even as he said he had not
referred to any particular case and that he had no intention of
trivialising any crime.


“I regret that the statement has been construed or some word that I have
used have been construed as insensitive. That was never my intention,”
he said in his clarification.

He was referring to his remarks made yesterday at the annual state
tourism ministers’ conference that “one small incident” of rape in
Delhi, advertised world over, was enough to cost India millions of
dollars in terms of global tourism.

Though he had not specified any incident, his remarks were seen to be a
reference to the rape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old paramedic girl
on December 16, 2012 in the capital over which the entire country was
outraged and protests were held all over.

Jaitley said he has always been outspoken on issues relating to crimes, particularly those against women. “I am very sensitive to these issues myself and there is no question of
trivialising any crime or any particular incident. I had not referred to
any particular incident,” he said.

The minister said he had spoken “in general” on how crime can hurt
tourism and the image of crime against women itself dissuades tourists
from coming to India.

Criticising Jaitley’s remarks, victim Nirbhaya’s mother said, “He has
disappointed me. During elections they had used Nirbhaya’s name for
political gains and after coming into power they call it a small

Her father said, “We are deeply hurt by what he has said. No rape is
small, each rape incident is shameful for a country and when public
figures and politicians make such statements it looks so insensitive.
They should remember that when they speak, not only our country but the
whole world listens.”

Member of National Commission of Women (NCW) Nirmala Sawant said, “It is
wrong from the part of a minister to make such remarks and compare how
such crime can hurt country’s economy. His remark is very unfortunate. I
condemn it.”

The word “small”, however, was edited out of his speech transcript released by the Press Information Bureau.


Link: One-Small-Incident-Of-Rape-In-Delhi-Arun-Jaitley




The (tiny) knife

….agree that jihadists are the
villains, but remain deeply uncomfortable with the idea that Americans
are the heroes…..My imagination is in thrall
to the tiny knife….how
difficult it would be, to sever a man’s head with a little knife like
that, and how painful….can’t help feeling that the knife was chosen
for that reason… provide a contrast with the air strikes of the military
industrial complex
…..message: “I may not
have many weapons at my own disposal, but look what I’m prepared to do
with whatever comes to hand”…..

Deborah Orr is a fantastic journalist and a clear-eyed leftist. She is no Arundhati Roy….no unquestioning ideology or blind America hatred for her. Yet when push comes to shove she betrays her own instincts, ignores the truth that stares her in the face, and….she is also wrong on  the facts. The Caliphate does have access to a whole armory of advanced weapons either left behind by the vanquished Iraqi army or purchased with funding from Qatar and Saudia.

One thing people will be puzzling over while perusing the last email the Caliphate wrote to John Foley (father of James): who is this woman….”our sister”….Dr Afiya Siddiqi? What are the circumstances behind her imprisonment by the Americans? Why is she such an inspirational figure for the Caliphate??

Deborah is clear on this point: the ambivalence that Europeans feel about condemning the Caliphate is tied to the fear that it would make heroes out of Americans. She is worried as to how the ISIS is poisoning minds which leads to islamo-phobia amongst common (white) people and blind prejudice against muslims and arabs.
The famous Jewish-American dissident Norman Finkelstein calls the attitude of Jewish liberals (who support the right of Israel to exist as a nation state) as shooting…but crying. Well, the attitude of the West-Left towards islamists is equally instructive. It is akin to a grandma who brings her ward to school and instructs the teacher on tantrum management: if the child makes trouble, then scold the boy next to him and he will calm down. It is as if  the chosen wards of the western left have no agency of their own…the soft bigotry of low expectations.

We have been a consistent fan of Prof Obama and how handles his job…he is the ultimate cool dude. He has been consistent on this point that he wants America to do less outside the borders and more inside. This is how it should be.

When has the last time the international community managed to speak in one voice, in support of the world’s policeman? Perhaps following 9/11 when we were supposedly all americans (that solidarity disappeared real fast). The outrage over James Foley is just a momentary thing, it is like a water-drop on a lotus leaf (one word in Sanskrit: nalini-dala-gata-jalamati-taralam). We hear ad infinitum about Iraq, why not a bit about how Americans saved Bosnia. Deborah has nothing to say about a genocide in Europe four decades after we were assured “never again.”

Now that the Caliphate has made a personal challenge, the President has a well thought-out response: We will get you and we will never forget. If he had just blustered that would not convinces us. Obama is no peacenik, he just wants to focus on (home) economics rather than war (abroad). But now that the choice is clear, we expect difficult times ahead for Al-Bakri (we would love to see his head on a stick, no non-violence for him).

The parents of slain journalist James Foley have released the final
email sent by Islamic State (Isis) militants a week before he was
beheaded and a video of the killing was uploaded onto the internet. They said they regarded the email as a hopeful sign they could negotiate with the Islamic militants.

Speaking on NBC’s Today, John and Diane Foley from Rochester,
New Hampshire, said they had last heard from the captors via several
emails in December.

John Foley said he was excited to see the latest email, even though it
threatened execution, because he hoped they would be willing to
negotiate. “I underestimated that point,” John Foley said of the threat. “I did not realize how brutal they were.”

Foley, 40, was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012. In the last email,
Foley’s Islamic State captors demanded USD 132.5 million from his
parents and political concessions from Washington. Authorities say
neither obliged.

The militants revealed Foley’s death in a video released on Tuesday. The
extremists said they killed him in retaliation of US air-strikes
targeting Islamic State positions in northern Iraq.

The Foleys said they had set up a special email address and sent
multiple messages to try to engage the captors. “We were just anxiously
waiting,” Diane Foley said.

Global Post,
a news site the American photojournalist worked for before his death,
said it had chosen to publish the letter “in full in the interest of
transparency and to fully tell Jim’s story”.

                                           Full text of the e-mail:


A message to the American government and their sheep like citizens:

We have left you alone since your disgraceful defeat in Iraq. We did not
interfere in your country or attack your citizens while they were
safe in their homes despite our capability to do so!

As for the scum of your society who are held prisoner by us, THEY DARED TO ENTER THE LION’S DEN AND WHERE EATEN!

You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted,

We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in
your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi, however you proved
very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in.

You have no motivation to deal with the Muslims except with the language
of force, a language you were given in “Arabic translation” when you
attempted to occupy the land of Iraq!

Now you return to bomb the Muslims of Iraq once again, this time
resorting to Arial attacks and “proxy armies”, all the while cowardly
shying away from a face-to-face confrontation!

Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS

You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours!

You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings!

The first of which being the blood of the American citizen, James Foley!

He will be executed as a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us!


Plenty of people are happy enough to agree that jihadists are the
villains, but remain deeply uncomfortable with the idea that Americans
are the heroes. Even some of the people who agree absolutely that
Foley’s death was far, far beyond excuse would argue that part of the
problem with westerners is that we only listen when other westerners are
telling the stories. Foley himself felt compelled to tell the story of
the suffering of Syrians, because he understood that western media
outlets need western translators.

Certainly, most of us don’t want
to sit staring at our screens watching un-contextualised clips of
atrocities. Instead, we want our news to be mediated, by people who
broadly share our values, not the values of the people who are the
objects of our pity or of our disgust. But even this story, which seems
straightforward, is harder to judge than it might appear.

don’t have to have seen the film to have picked up more detail about it
than you might want to know. 

My own squeamish imagination is in thrall
to the tiny knife, a picture of which the media in its wisdom has
decided can be published freely. I’m not so sure that it’s wise to bandy
pictures of that (assumed) murder weapon around. Actually, I see so
much meaning in that knife that I wonder if I might have strayed beyond
reason on this matter.

First, it makes a mockery of the idea that
you can protect yourself from the brutality of the attack on Foley by
declining to look at the film. It invites you to think about how
difficult it would be, to sever a man’s head with a little knife like
that, and how painful. You can’t help feeling that the knife was chosen
for that reason. Actually, it’s reported, even the film leaves the
actual butchery to the imagination, showing only its results. 

However, I
think that small knife was selected for reasons more fiendish even than
that unwelcome invitation to imagine it being used. I think it was
selected to provide a contrast with the air strikes of the military
industrial complex, the air strikes that the murderer claimed were
Foley’s real killers. I think it was a message and a warning: “I may not
have many weapons at my own disposal, but look what I’m prepared to do
with whatever comes to hand.”

Terrorists always argue that they
are forced to be brutal because brutality is their only weapon. Their
only weapon, in this case, apart from a knife of familiar and domestic
size, is a camera and every media outlet in the world. And that’s a
massive weapon.

That tiny knife puts me in mind, very much, of the
rockets of Hamas – puny weapons used symbolically, rebuke and
provocation both. “It only killed one person,” as Hamas would say. “Look
at all the people you have killed in your disproportionate response.” 

Maybe Islamic State are deluded enough to believe that their execution
of Foley will stop US air strikes. Maybe they think they will get the
kind of gigantic ransoms for their remaining prisoners that they asked
for in Foley’s case. Maybe they’re not even thinking, but merely
desperate, as some optimistic-seeming observers suggest.

But maybe
they have already got what they want – to be the most notorious group
on the planet simply because their propaganda has the power to unsettle
the minds of humanity. Their own minds may be small and nasty. But they
have still infected the minds of the world, and maybe our hearts as
well. On those terms, heaven help us, they’ve already won


Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s sister, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui said that
former President Pervez Musharraf handed over her sister and children to
USA in voracity of dollars while her sister had no links with the
banned organization.

Addressing the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) session on
Friday she said that the incumbent government was not working for the
repatriation of Dr Aafia.

She appealed to the lawyer fraternity and masses to run a campaign
for the release of Dr Aafia as they did against former dictator Pervez
Musharraf. She further said that the PPP led government should have
demanded the US government that if Dr Aafia was a culprit then her case
should be pursued in Pakistan.

Addressing the session, President LHCBA, Mian Abdul Qadus said that
that former dictator had handed over the Pakistani citizens including Dr
Aafia Siddiqui out of greed for money.
He demanded the trial of former dictator under Article 6 of the
constitution while all the responsible people who were involved in
handing over of Dr Aafia Siddiqui should be dealt with iron hands.

Pasban Lahore organised a march here on Friday to press for the
release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui by the US. The march was held from Shuhada
Mosque to Assembly hall where Altaf Shakoor president Pasban, Pakistan
addressed the participants. He urged students, labourers, lawyers and
journalists to intensify their efforts to free Dr Aafia.

He said that people should not be mislead by the false stories
against Aafia being churned out by anti-Muslim Jewish lobby. He demanded
of the government to support the daughter of the nation and fulfill its


Link (1): Last-EMail-ISIS-Sent-To-The-Foleys-Full-Text

Link (2): james-foley-murder-isis-infected-our-minds

Link (3): musharraf-handed-over-dr-aafia-in-lust-for-dollars-dr-fauzia




So…it was Hamas after all

….Arouri told the conference that
Hamas “did not have the intention at this time to ignite a large
battle”…..his group did not believe Israel wanted a war either”….”But Allah has chosen and willed that a large battle would be ignited”….

One thing we never understand and never will. All revolutionaries claim that in order to achieve utopia heavy sacrifices will be called for. But why is it (to take the Israel-Gaza war as a template) that while the fighters and leaders are protected deep inside tunnels the civilians have no choice but to take it on the chin.

So far the biggest complaint against Hamas was that they use Palestinians as human shields. The response to this is, well…they are a guerrilla army and this is how they fight. But this is a much more serious charge…they provoke the Israelis…and knowingly put their own people at risk. It is as if they consider their own flesh and blood as mere pawns (more dead children = better PR).

Hamas is just so relaxed about the outcome- they were able to shut down Tel Aviv airport for two days…is that it? A show of force, two thousand martyrs who will help prod the memories of the next generation, and the fight goes on. From the Israeli side…same story…they call it “mowing the lawn.” And of course they have their martyrs as well.

There is a problem with such continuous, calibrated, calculated, cruelties imposed on both sides. This much is true…when you create martyrs… also create monsters. There may come a time in the future when all the people on all sides will be devastated….imagine a Hiroshima on the Mediterranean. An ocean of bad blood…and suddenly not a drop of blood to spare (and to share). Think about it.

A senior Hamas leader has said the group carried out the kidnapping
and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June — the first
time anyone from the Islamic militant group has said it was behind an
attack that helped spark the current war in the Gaza Strip.

Arouri told a conference in Turkey on Wednesday that Hamas’s military
wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, carried out what he described as a “heroic
operation” with the broader goal of sparking a new Palestinian

“It was an operation by your brothers from the al-Qassam
Brigades,” he said, saying Hamas hoped to exchange the youths for
Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Hamas has repeatedly praised
the kidnappings, but Arouri, the group’s exiled West Bank leader, is
the first member to claim responsibility. Israel has accused Hamas of
orchestrating the kidnappings and identified two operatives as the chief
suspects. The two men remain on the loose.

Arouri’s admission
shows “Hamas has no qualms whatsoever about targeting innocent
civilians,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

kidnappings of the three teens while they were hitchhiking on June 12,
along with the discovery of their bodies two weeks later, sparked a
broad Israeli crackdown on Hamas members throughout the West Bank. Hamas
responded with heavy rocket fire out of the Gaza Strip, leading Israel
to launch an aerial and ground invasion of the territory.

than 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the
fighting, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials, while 67
Israelis have also been killed, all but three of them soldiers. An
Egyptian effort to mediate a cease-fire collapsed this week, leading to a
resumption of heavy fighting.

Arouri told the conference that
Hamas “did not have the intention at this time to ignite a large
battle.” He said his group did not believe Israel wanted a war either.
“But Allah has chosen and willed that a large battle would be ignited,”
he said.

Arouri is one of Hamas’ most senior figures. He founded
Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank two decades ago and now commands
the group’s operations in the area from exile in Turkey. He was deported
several years ago in a deal that freed him from Israeli prison.

this week, Israel identified Arouri as the mastermind of an alleged
plot to launch an uprising in the West Bank aimed at toppling
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Link: hamas-kidnapping-israeli-teens




Hussain Haqqani

….Sharif could
have handled the protests better…Imran Khan
and Tahir-ul Qadri….egged on by the military to clip
Sharif’s wings…
.Pakistan similar to Thailand….urban middle class, gang up with generals and
judges to undermine those elected by the people…..

The ex-Ambassador and current Professor of International Relations, Boston University speaks his mind.
It is difficult to say what is the truth. HH is expected to be biased against the Army which banished him from his homeland. That said, there is not much evidence that Imran Khan has made any impact with the non-stop drama-bazi.

Indeed, just like Arvind Kejriwal in India, IK seems better suited as a protester than a ruler. Kejriwal and the Aam Admi Party should have focused on governing Delhi and gaining the confidence of the people. Large sections of Indians from al backgrounds would have loved to vote for a non-BJP, non-Congress, secular, left-liberal platform (rather than cast a vote against the Dynasty or Hindutva). Even the neo-Gandhian, Irom Sharmila was sympathetic to the cause. She would have guaranteed an AAP seat in Manipur – a 25% increase from the current tally of four.

The key issue is if and when self-confidence (constructive) morphs into hubris (destructive). After having destroyed the seemingly invincible, four-term Chief Minister Sheila Dixit in Delhi, Kejriwal thought he could repeat the magic by defeating Narendra Modi in Varanasi. Admittedly it was a gamble not devoid of merit – the Sunni Muslim vote-share (15%) roughly equals that of the super-caste vote. But it was the Shia Muslims, the non-Yadav OBCs and the non-Jatav Dalits who contributed to a complete annihilation of the “secular” coalition in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere.

Instead of insisting that people do not pay their power bills, Khan should focus on better governance and better access to power, which is the primary reason why the Pakistan economy is suffering so much. It is not power for himself but power to the people that is the need of the hour.

Nawaz Sharif’s 1999 tenure ended in a military coup – are the
protests, led by Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul Qadri, an attempted
civilian coup? What will the impact on Pakistan’s democracy be?

The elephant in the room in Pakistan is always its overbearing
military and the ubiquitous intelligence service, the ISI. Sharif could
have handled the protests better – but I have no doubt that Imran Khan
and Tahir-ul Qadri have been egged on by the military covertly to clip
Sharif’s wings.

Pakistani democracy remains fragile and subject to the military’s
manipulation. If PM Sharif is forced out by a few thousand protesters
after being elected with millions of votes, it would mean that Pakistani
democracy remains subject to the whims of the military and its civilian

The winner would be Pakistan’s authoritarian tradition – the loser would be the idea of a democratic Pakistan.

What we’re witnessing in Pakistan is similar to Thailand where
losers, backed by the urban middle class, gang up with generals and
judges to undermine those elected by the majority of the people.

The protests raise allegations of corruption and rigging an election – how else could these issues be highlighted?

First of all, protests against an allegedly rigged election should
follow the election – not be orchestrated 14 months later. The excuse is
flimsy at best.

Imran Khan has even said his protest is really about four
parliamentary seats where he claims the vote was rigged. There is a
clear appeals process for such complaints. There is no justification for
a protest campaign of this nature.

What are the strategic repercussions for India?

A weak civilian government is less effective as an interlocutor for
India. The prospects of dialogue recede when Pakistan is in the midst of
such turmoil.

There is always the chance that jihadi extremists could embark on new
dangerous missions against India while PM Sharif is preoccupied.

Meanwhile, India has called off talks with Pakistan after Pakistan’s envoy met Kashmiri separatists in Delhi – what’s your view?

I was never optimistic about these talks. Meaningful talks cannot
take place amid posturing and regurgitation of previously stated

The Sharif government is just too weak to move forward with serious
talks. That is why they had to appear to be reiterating concern over
Kashmir, though India’s view on that is well known. Talks will only move
ahead when both sides are ready to negotiate substantive issues – not
just score points.

America is due to exit Afghanistan soon – how will the US withdrawal impact security in the region?

There will definitely be an attempt by the Taliban and their backers
to grab power as they did in the chaos following the Soviet withdrawal –
but Afgha-nistan is better prepared for the withdrawal of US troops
than many people realise.

Ideally, all countries of the region should help the Afghans maintain stability once American forces leave.


Link: military-pushing-imran-khan-nawaz-govt-too-weak-for-talks-husain-haqqani