Feelings (fears) of a (expat) Coconut

If this is the best of times for Gujarati expats, it is also the worst of times for non-Gujaratis like Saptarshi Ray.

These non-Gujju expats – (mostly) upper-caste folks, brought up in the non-UKIP, non-Tea Party traditions of the West, which celebrates minorities (and some minorities more than others) are also known as Coconuts (his expression).  
Right now, the Coconuts are suffering from a complex set of emotions:
(1) burning shame (our motherland is now run by RSS fascists who even make Nazi like salutes),
(2) bright-white anger and bewilderment (how could they vote for a shudra chaiwallah, we thought BJP is a manuvadi, Brahmin dominated party, controlled by Brahmin bosses from Nagpur) and,
(3) a tiny, little, nanoscopic bit of envy (these Gujarati baniyas, we will never give them our hard-earned money even if they promise better returns).

The following excerpts (expanded below) summarize the fears and feelings of a Coconut as he views India under Hindutva rule:
The money train of the Indian diaspora is especially pronounced among Gujaratis, and so many of them seem to love Modi,
as rupees, pounds and dollars from around the world fund everything
from schools to political campaigns. As chief minister of their home
state, he is held up as a man who can do business, and do politics.
He’ll make India great, goes the argument, and a great India certainly
doesn’t kowtow to any NRIs. Especially ones who disagree.

Modi and his goons—both within and without the mother country—want a
mythical India that celebrates Hinduism at the cost of other religions,
rides rough over its neighbours and looks purely inward. This is not
the India I know and love. A more confident India is to be welcomed,
but a global India is even better. 

There is currently a full-fledged Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions regime targeting Israel that has been put in place by a coalition of the West-Left and Islam. It reached its pinnacle when in 2013 several US academic bodies endorsed the boycotts. As we understand, the BDS program accelerated due to the provocations (settlements) unleashed by PM Binyamin Netanyahu and there was also a deadly raid of  the Turkish flotilla carrying humanitarian cargo for Gaza (May, 2010) which attracted severe international condemnation.

Members of the American Studies Association have voted in favor of endorsing the academic boycott
of Israel by a 2–1 margin, making it the second major U.S. scholarly
association, after the Association for Asian American Studies, to do so.

The resolution approved by a plurality of ASA members cites
as a rationale the lack of “effective or substantive academic freedom for
Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation” and
calls for the association to boycott Israeli higher education
which are described as being “a party to Israeli state policies that
violate human rights and negatively impact the working conditions of
Palestinian scholars and students.”

“I think what the vote indicates is that people recognize the illegal
occupation of Palestine as one of the major civil rights issues of our time globally,”
said Bill Mullen,
a professor of English and American studies at Purdue
University and a member of the ASA’s Caucus on Academic and Community
Activism, which first put forward the boycott resolution.  

“American scholars
now understand the physical violence that’s part of the Israeli occupation;
they understand the massive restrictions on academic freedom for Palestinian
scholars that is part of living under an illegal occupation.
These facts are
now irrefutable to so many people that the vote indicates a kind of coming to
consensus around the illegitimacy of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.”


Now we know that India will be ruled by a man who prevailed in an election remote controlled by Mossad (aided by the Jewish controlled global media), and a direct nexus has been established between Hindutva and Israeli groups. Is it not high time that the American Studies Association and other groups take up the case of India as a regime ripe for BDS style sanctions? TBH, how are things fundamentally different between Palestine and Kashmir? (Pankaj Mishra has written a book exploring this very issue. Arundhati Roy is of the opinion that the cleansing of the Pandits was a stunt allowed by India in an attempt to gain high(er) moral ground)

And if India is on the radar, can the People’s Republic of China be far behind (btw please dont even think about sending a humanitarian army to Xinjiang, the activists will be all thrown into boiling water…or something). Also we have Russia which recently annexed Crimea and placed the minority muslim population (Tatars) in open air prisons…the term normally used to describe Gaza. Burma, Thailand, Philipines…the list goes on and on.

Then we have the most curious set of culprits… the Islamic nations themselves (many of which have been formed to explicitly protect muslims). How many (muslim) folks are dead or dying in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iran, Saudia and elsewhere at the hands of goons who receive protection from the State? Prof Bill Mullen should also find the time to comment on all these “Palestines” such as Balochistan (for example). If not, why not?

To be clear, human rights is not a competition game, and all victims (muslims, non-muslims) are equally deserving. Inhumane actions (by humans) must be condemned (by other humans) and we should attempt to restore humanity as quickly as possible (India, for example, has the largest number of slaves in the world, Pakistan follows closely). But…..we still wonder, how will the Coconuts adjust to this new (harsh) reality of India, and how will they shape global attitudes and policies towards their beloved motherland as sublime love turns into bitter hate?

My friend Ramesh and I have a running joke that we will one day write a travel book called The Coconut’s Guide to India
(©)—an instructive, descriptive work for our brothers and sisters born
throughout the diaspora making their first trip to the motherland,
all the dastardly pitfalls it might entail. To be taken with a pinch
of salt, and a dash of garam masala, naturally.

The title may need some tweaking, coconut is after all a rather offensive term:
brown on the outside, white on the inside,
and as frequent visitors to
our homeland who speak the lingo and know the customs, we thankfully
don’t qualify; but we’ve always felt our fellow British Asians who
cannot or will not make a trip to their ancestral country are missing
out. Not just due to its beauty, history or notions of connecting with
one’s identity, but also because of the welcome extended to those that
hold the status of NRI. 

The generation that emigrated in the post-empire rush in the 1950s
and 60s were predominately born in India, so had the natural affinity
that comes from being an expat rather than an outsider—but for their
children born in the UK or US, Germany or Australia, the relationship
with the des (homeland) has always been more complex.


At first we were novelties,
familiar looks yet bemusing accents, unseasonable clothing and odd
music. As an infant I remember the children in my grandad’s village
used to come and stare at me when word got round we were visiting, as
they wanted to see the boy who was born in England—and I could see the
disappointment in their eyes that I looked just like them. We were both
foreign and domestic, it was an exciting and confusing time. It led to
some books and films and stuff.

But now I fear that Modi’s crude mix of jingoism and capitalism will
damage relations with India’s satellite communities, or certainly
create schisms within it. Outside his rather sycophantic, predominantly
Gujarati fan club, the rest of us might wonder what use he has for us
if we do not give him our cash.

Will this now lead to the Indian diaspora becoming a Modi diaspora? One
where rightwing Hindu ideology is extolled and secular tolerance
becomes a shibboleth for us NRIs? Entry allowed only if you believe
Indian Muslims shouldn’t get the vote? Or there should be a new temple
at Ayodhya? Even if you don’t say it, perhaps you should think
it—otherwise, on your rickshaw pal; if you’re not with us, well then …
you’re not really Indian. Resident or not.

After all, two-score and more years of the NRIs—which has come to mean us born abroad as well as those who emigrated—turning up
has already meant familiarity, adaptability and, in more recent times, a
little bit of hostility. NRIs pay tourist rates at the Taj Mahal,
prices will jump at restaurants, people end up in arguments that
usually begin with: “You NRIs, you think you own the place.” 
effect, we are losing our insider status; we are becoming just any old
tourists. But now will we have to pledge allegiance to a divisive

I am happy to pay more to see beautiful buildings and enjoy nice meals—I
am after all a guest, albeit a regular one—but there is a discernible
change in dynamics. The Indian middle class are becoming wealthier, and
when I say wealthy, I mean dollar wealthy, and more robust. Indian
business, well some of it, is booming. As are its sports.

And it is this nexus of tradition and commerce that Modi knows only too well.

The money train of the Indian diaspora is especially pronounced among Gujaratis, and so many of them seem to love Modi,
as rupees, pounds and dollars from around the world fund everything
from schools to political campaigns. As chief minister of their home
state, he is held up as a man who can do business, and do politics.
He’ll make India great, goes the argument, and a great India certainly
doesn’t kowtow to any NRIs. Especially ones who disagree.

Modi and his goons—both within and without the mother country—want a
mythical India that celebrates Hinduism at the cost of other religions,
rides rough over its neighbours and looks purely inward. This is not
the India I know and love. A more confident India is to be welcomed,
but a global India is even better.


Link (1): http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?290765

Link (2):  http://www.slate.com/articles/life/inside_higher_ed/2013/12/israel_academic_boycott_american_studies_association_joins_the_fight.html




On Tianenmen 25 Yr eve, tanks roll out in Urumqui

The Silver Jubilee of the massacres in Tianenmen Square (dated June 05, 1989) is just around the corner. The episode is mostly forgotten.

If people remember it at all, then the sentiment is most likely to be open admiration- there are no dearth of Chicom fan circles in the left-liberal universe in the West, and amongst dictator wannabes (hint, hint) in the third world.

However people who forget history (and historical crimes) are justly condemned to experience it once more….right now the tanks are rolling out in Urumqui, Xinjiang (aka Chinese Kashmir). The islamist nut-jobs have (in our opinion) made a terrible mis-calculation. The Han Chicom leadership is a very different proposition than Vladimir Putin, George Bush, Binyamin Netanyahu and even Narendra Modi.

There are four great lakes in Xinjiang, natural wonders all of them. These can all (are about to) turn red any moment. There is nothing anyone can do to save these people.

announced a security crackdown on Saturday in China’s Muslim northwest
after a deadly bombing raised questions about whether tightening
Beijing’s grip might be feeding anti-Chinese anger and a rise of
organized terrorism.

Thursday’s bombing at a morning street
market selling vegetables and other produce in Urumqi, capital of the
Xinjiang region, killed at least 43 people and left the region’s ethnic
Chinese on edge.

“We don’t know why there have been explosions,
but we are definitely worried about personal safety,” said Luo Guiyou, a
member of China’s Han ethnic majority who manages an auto parts store.

Police announced names of five people blamed for the attack and said
they were part of a “terrorist gang.” Based on their names, all appeared
to be Uighurs, the region’s most populous Muslim minority. Police said
four were killed in the bombing and the fifth captured Thursday night.

An anti-terrorism campaign with Xinjiang “as the major battlefield”
will target religious extremist groups, underground gun workshops and
“terrorist training camps,” the official Xinhua News Agency said.
“Terrorists and extremists will be hunted down and punished.”

Beijing blames unrest on extremists with foreign ties, but Uighur
activists say tensions are fueled by an influx of migrants from China’s
dominant Han ethnic group and discriminatory government policies.

“The violence is an indication that people are willing to take more
drastic measures to express their opposition,” said David Brophy, a
Xinjiang historian at the University of Sydney.

A heavy-handed
response might backfire by inciting sympathy from Central Asian radicals
about “the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang,” said Ahmed AS Hashim, a
terrorism expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technical University.

“In fact, groups like al-Qaida and others are now beginning to think
that China could be a new oppressor of the Muslim world,” he said.

In Beijing, the nation’s capital, police announced that they were
canceling vacations for officers and would step up patrols at train
stations, schools, hospitals and markets.

A measure under which
passengers at stations in central Beijing are required to undergo
security checks will be extended to three additional stations, the city
government said. Passengers at all stations already are required to
submit handbags and parcels for X-ray examination under rules imposed
ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

violence was the deadliest single attack in Xinjiang’s recent history,
and the latest of several that have targeted civilians in contrast to a
past pattern of targeting police and officials. It was the highest death
toll since several days of rioting in Urumqi in 2009 between Uighurs
and members of China’s dominant Han ethnic group left nearly 200 people

On Saturday, paramilitary police with rifles stood every
20 meters (70 feet) along the streets around where the bombing had taken
place. The street where the market had been was closed to vehicle

Li Shengli, who was in Urumqi on a business trip from Shanghai, brought three stems of yellow chrysanthemums. “I am here to remember the dead,” he said. He was quickly pulled away
by a propaganda official who warned him not to talk to reporters.

The family of one victim, Lu Xiangwang, a 58-year-old driving teacher, said they were waiting to receive his body.

In his parents’ apartment near the market, Lu’s mother sat sobbing on a
couch, surrounded by relatives. A neighbor, Ji Jinzhu, said Lu spent
the night before the attack at the apartment to look after his ill

“He was hit by an explosive just moments after he
stepped outside this residential compound into the street,” Ji said.
“The father is feeling very guilty because had it not been for his
illness, his son would not have had to come to take care of him.”

Ji, 80, said he was shopping in the crowded market Thursday morning
with his wife when the two off-road vehicles raced into the street. “When they passed me, I heard explosions and saw flames going up into the sky and smoke filling up the air,” he said.

An Associated Press reporter who visited a Uighur neighborhood was
escorted away by 11 uniformed police officers and street wardens.

The influx of ethnic Han Chinese has left Uighurs feeling marginalized in their homeland and excluded from decision-making.

Beijing has responded with an overwhelming security presence and
additional restrictions on the ability of Uighurs to travel and on their
culture and religious practices.

Recent attacks show increased
audaciousness and deliberateness. They are aimed at the public instead
of police and government targets. But their planning and weapons still
are relatively simple, suggesting a lack of foreign support.

don’t think there’s any doubt that these acts qualify as acts of
terrorism,” said Brophy, the Xinjiang historian. “But there’s still very
little hard evidence that would allow us to describe a terrorist
network or a terrorist organization operating in Xinjiang.”

Security was tightened still further after a bomb attack at an Urumqi
train station as Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting the region
last month. Three people were killed, including two attackers, and 79
were injured.

Prior to the train station attack, Urumqi had
been relatively quiet since the 2009 ethnic riots. The city’s population
of more than 3 million people is about three-fourths Han Chinese.

In March, 29 people were slashed and stabbed to death at a train
station in the southwestern city of Kunming. That attack was blamed on
Uighur extremists.

On Friday evening, some major roads in
Urumqi were closed while more than 100 army trucks and police vehicles
drove down them in a show of force, according to state media.

One banner carried by a vehicle read: “Fighting against violent crime
according to law to resolutely safeguard social stability.”

Beijing says an organized militancy with elements based overseas is
behind the attacks. However, little evidence has been provided to back
up the claim and many analysts doubt such an organization exists.

Xinhua, the government news agency, said the group blamed for this
week’s attack “took part in illegal religious activities, watched and
listened to terrorist violence video and audio materials.”

Beijing promotes the notion of a “terrorism movement” in Xinjiang to
justify heavy security while avoiding foreign criticism and possible
damage to relations with Islamic nations, said Hashim, the terrorism

A handful of Uighur activists might be veterans of fighting in Afghanistan, he said. “They seem to be getting better at what they are doing in terms of
causing violence,” Hashim said. “But it’s still, from my perspective,
not the dire threat that China wants to paint it to the outside world.”

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/China-launches-anti-terror-drive-after-bombing/articleshow/35564350.cms



How alike are Pakistan and Israel?

In much of our discourse we take postures based on a common body of “privately held” information, so naturally when people ask questions, we are taken aback (it cannot be helped that the archives are destroyed so a simple pointer will not suffice).

We think this question is primarily interesting because Israel and Pakistan are supposedly sworn enemies. In Bengali (Hindu) there is a phrase that a particular (religious) ritual is incomplete without singing the praise (sarcasm) of the person you detest with every fiber of your body. For the RSS/Hindutva types that would be the non-dharmic Muslims (to a lesser extent Christians) who cant even be bothered to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and pay respect to the national anthem (not to mention, the national song). 

For conservative muslims in general (and nationalist Pakistanis in particular) the above sentiment seems to hold true for jews- every single act of badness is because of a jew hiding behind the curtain. So to aver that Israelis and Pakistanis are soul brothers can be almost slanderous. But then curiously enough there is no lack of Pak nationalists who make that very charge- with a difference. The charge is that the Pakistani govt is a puppet of the Jews (because it is controlled by America, which itself is a puppet….of the Jews).

The response starts with (in Pankaj Mishra style) with a quotation:
Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from
Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of
Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse — Zia ul-Haq, Pakistan’s ruler, December 1981

P. R. Kumaraswamy is a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Institute of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. At a superficial level, it appears that a dastardly Indian is throwing stones on Pakistanis while hiding behind the Temple of Mount. But the thesis is actually well thought out and merits an honest response.

And if this source is a problem then there are other reputed sources to consider, in particular “Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea,” by Faisal Devji, which is reviewed at this link: http://www.haaretz.com/culture/books/.premium-1.549739 





Pakistan and Israel share the unique heritage of having been created
in the aftermath of World War II as religiously defined states.
In each
case, the new state emerged as the result of a twentieth-century
ideological movement, came into existence accompanied by violence, and
attracted a large immigrant population. Both met with initial rejection
from religious elements who more recently, on second thought, aspired to
gain political power. Despite these and many other similarities, the
two states have hardly ever been compared.2 We do so here in the hopes of understanding each one better by seeing it in the context of the other.


To begin with, however, it helps to note some of the outstanding
differences between Israel and Pakistan, starting with their historical
backgrounds. With the single and marginal exception of the medieval
Khazar kingdom, Jews were never sovereign after a.d. 70. In contrast,
Muslims in India had a grand tradition of rule that began in the
eleventh century and lasted until 1858 when India came under direct
British rule. While Jews learned how to adapt to rule by others, Muslims
always expected to be in charge.

“The Muslims were, or had been, the
ruling race. How could the former master now allow themselves to be
ruled by … slaves?”3 

Statehood in the 1940s thus had very
dissimilar meaning for the two: to the Zionists, it appeared as the only
solution to two millennia of discrimination, destruction, and death;
for the Muslim League, it offered a return to exclusive political power.

This difference lives on, for while Israel actively seeks to be the
homeland for its diaspora, Pakistan is even unwilling to absorb its own
people stranded in Bangladesh following the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.

The states that came into existence make an unlikely pair. They
differ greatly in political structure, with one a modern pluralistic
society and the other wavering between military autocracy, feudalism,
and democracy. They differ in standard of living, with Israel now
counted among the advanced economies and Pakistan still mired with a
per-capita income of about $415 a year. In international outlook, the
former is a close ally of the United States, the latter holds to a
policy of non-alignment even after the demise of the cold war. Israel
has a population of 5 million, Pakistan one of 130 million. The Arabs
who left Mandatory Palestine remain a first-order political issue while
the Hindus who left Pakistan have long since integrated into Indian
society. And, of course, one is predominantly Jewish, the other Muslim.

These differences notwithstanding, the Zionist and Pakistan movements
shared much in common, including their timetables, the irreligiosity of
their leaders, the novel nature of their nationalist ideas, and the
challenge of a minority population gaining political power.

Origins. The “love of Zion” goes back to early Judaism but modern
political Zionism began with the publication in 1896 of Theodor Herzl’s Jewish State4;

it acquired political reality with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and
only at the Biltmore Conference of May 1942 did Jewish nationalists
formally declare their intention to establish of a Jewish state in
Palestine. Pakistan has a similarly recent history. Although nationalist
scholars and politicians tend to romanticize the notion of 

with some even tracing its origins to the founding of Islam itself,5 the term Pakistan was coined only in 1933 by a Cambridge student, Choudhary Rahmat Ali. “Pakistan is both a Persian and Urdu word,” he wrote.

It is composed of letters taken from all our homelands-
“Indian” and “Asian.” That is, Punjab, Afghania (North West Frontier
Province), Kashmir, Iran, Sindh (including Kutch and Kathiawar),
Tukharistan, Afghanistan and Balochistan. It means the land of the Paks
— the spiritually pure and clean. It symbolizes the religious beliefs
and ethnical stocks of our people; and it stands for all the territorial
constituents of our original Fatherland.6

In March 1942, almost simultaneous with the Biltmore meeting, the
Muslim League (the organization pushing for an independent Pakistan) met
at Lahore and adopted the “Pakistan resolution,” endorsing the position
of Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876?-1948) the founding father of Pakistan and
a successful Westernized lawyer, that Hindus and Muslims could “never
evolve a common nationality” and any move that disregarded this would
inevitably lead to the destruction of any fabric of statehood.7

Irreligiosity. Ironically, the leaders of both these religiously
defined national movements were personally irreligious, and some even
outspoken atheists.
“Even Jews who opposed formal religion saw
themselves or at least were seen by others as having a common Jewish
culture, with its own literature, language, and modes of social
relations.”8 Zionism was not a religious doctrine; pioneers
of the Jewish state like David Ben-Gurion were motivated by
non-religious socialist ideals, not by messianic dogma. Jewish manual
labor, not prayer, was their chosen means. Jinnah was anything but a
religious person. Rather, he was known for his aristocratic tastes and
lifestyle. Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan aptly sums up Jinnah’s
complex personality:

He seemed on the way to leading India; he founded Pakistan
instead. For much of his life he championed Hindu-Muslim unity; later he
demanded, obtained, and, for a year, ran a separate Muslim homeland.
Neither Sunni nor mainstream Shiite, his family belonged to the small
Khoja or Ismaili community led by the Aga Khan; yet Mohammed Ali Jinnah
was in the end the leader of India’s Muslims. Anglicized and aloof in
manner, incapable of oratory in an Indian tongue, keeping his distance
from mosques, opposed to the mixing of religion and politics, he yet
became inseparable, in that final phase, from the cry of Islam in

A nation? Zionist and Pakistani thinkers both had to cope with the
same question: Did their religious community qualify as a nation?
could Jews, dispersed for over two millennia, constitute a single people
analogous to the Portuguese or the Chinese? Why should Indians who
converted to Islam make up a nation distinct from their non-Muslim
neighbors? In short, how could Jews from Berlin and Baghdad or Muslims
from Madras and Multan have enough in common to make up a single people?

In reply, Zionists held that history has treated the Jews as a
separate and distinct entity and nation. Any realistic solution to the
prolonged “Jewish problem” lies not in looking for new rulers but for
Jews to become rulers themselves.
Similarly, Jinnah held that Muslims
are “a nation by any definition.”10The Muslim League argued
that there were historical as well as cultural differences between
Hindus and Muslims that neither the passage of time nor interaction
could satisfactorily bridge.

Neither was willing to live as a protected or tolerated minority in a
post-British dispensation. Just as the Zionists rejected the idea of a
federal Palestine, the League turned down suggestions of autonomous
Muslim units within a unified India. Zionist arguments for a state
shared much with Jinnah’s justification of the Muslim minority retaining
its separate identity through the realization of a state.

In both cases, a substantial body of opinion argued against
religiously based nationalism. Binationalists like Martin Buber argued,
vainly one might add, that instead of exclusive Jewish or Arab nations,
Palestine could become a multinational state. In their view such a state
“represents a higher, more modern and more hopeful idea than the
universal sovereign independent state.”11 

Likewise, Muslim
members of the Indian National Congress belonged to an organization
vehemently opposed to the idea of religious faith’s defining a person’s

Redefining the population. Palestine consisted of Arab and non-Arab
populations, British India of Hindu and non-Hindu populations; any other
classifications ignored the prevailing demographic reality.
But such
divisions had little appeal to Zionists or the Muslim League, who needed
a demarcation that would strengthen their respective constituencies. 

Both daringly and successfully reversed the formula: Palestine was thus
composed of Jews and non-Jews, India of Muslims and non-Muslims. Thus
did the Balfour Declaration promise to maintain civil and religious
rights for the “non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” as though they
were a minority, and not some 90 percent of the population. Although the
League projected itself as the sole spokesman of the Indian Muslims, in
the first general elections in 1937, it won only 108 of the 485 seats
reserved for Muslims and was rejected by the Muslim majority areas which
later became Pakistan.

Cool to democracy. Zionists and Indian Muslims both suffered from
being a minority; both had to deal with a British administration
inclined to handle cultural problems with elections. And both responded
with vehement opposition to the principle of determining the
post-British political arrangement through democratic means.

Zionists’ rejection of self-determination in Palestine, plus their
effort to link the fate of Palestine to that of diaspora Jews, followed
mainly from the minority Jewish position in Palestine; a
one-man-one-vote policy would have placed them under perpetual Arab
control and domination. Muslims were always very aware of their minority
status in India and similarly shied away from democracy. 

For Jinnah,
“democracy can only mean Hindu Raj all over India. This is a position to
which Muslims will never submit.”12 Muslims also feared that “Western representative institutions would place them under permanent Hindu Raj.”13

Parity. Instead of democracy, Zionists and Indian Muslims preferred a
different formula, that of parity. Demographic considerations delayed
the Zionist demands for parity but the arrival of the fourth and fifth
wave of diaspora Jews making aliya enhanced the position of the
Yishuv (Zionist community) to the point that in 1936 Jews constituted
over 28 percent of the Palestinian population. This improved demographic
situation enabled the Zionist leadership to seek parity in British
consideration with the non-Jewish population.

Likewise, the Muslim League demanded that Muslims be treated
differently from non-Muslim Indians, then projected itself as their
exclusive representative.14 It thereby challenged the rights
of other political parties (the Congress Party in particular) to
represent Muslim interests or even to include Muslims among their
delegations and representatives. Jinnah’s “claim for parity developed
steadily from simple political parity between League and Congress to
communal parity between Muslims and Hindus and culminated finally in the
demand for ideological parity between Muslims and non-Muslims.”15


Once they came into existence as states, both Pakistan and Israel
experienced similar sorts of problems as nations in the making,
involving boundaries, migration, language, identity, and the legal

Geography. Both states had awkward borders at their start. Israel’s
territory resulted from the happenstance of war and led to such
anomalies as a divided capital city and a country with a waist only nine
miles wide; only in 1967 did Israel end these irregularities.
had an even more bizarre geography, for it consisted of west and east
wings separated by a thousand-mile Indian territory. Those two halves
“were remote from each other in everything from language and high
cultural tradition to diet, costume, calendar, standard time and social
customs.”16 The cession of the east wing in 1971, though very painful, did provide geographic contiguity and national focus to Pakistan.

In-migration. Between 1948-51, more than 600,000 immigrants arrived
in Israel, doubling the Jewish population and drastically altering
Israel’s cultural map, as most of the new immigrants came from Arab
countries. Pakistan’s formation was accompanied by the influx and
outflow of huge numbers of refugees, estimated at fifteen million, the
vast majority of whom arrived with little property (those with
possessions tended to stay behind in India). Absorbing this refugee
population proved a monumental task for both Israel and Pakistan (and
India too).

Besides having to provide for housing, employment,
education, and distribution of wealth and opportunities, and having to
allow for social and cultural adjustments, each new state had to provide
a sense of belonging and national identity. The challenge was
heightened in Israel’s case by the immigrants’ worldwide origins and in
Pakistan’s by the ethnic diversity of its native population as well as
the Mohajirs (immigrants from India).

Language. In both countries, few spoke the language that served as
official tongue. Hebrew, revived from millennia past as a vernacular,
had to be learned by nearly everyone. In many families, parents
continued with their diverse mother tongues while Hebrew became the
language of the children.
Had demographic considerations predominated in
Pakistan, Bengali would have been the national language, spoken as it
was by more than half of Pakistan’s original population. Instead, Urdu
— spoken primarily in the Gangetic belt that lay outside its borders17 and not the principal language of any province that composed Pakistan — became the country’s official language.18

Establishing a national identity. Internal disagreements among both
Israelis and Pakistanis are acute. The religious-secular debates are at
times extremely intense and eventually could damage the state. Tensions
between the Ashkenazi (i.e., Europeans) and the Sephardi (Middle
Easterners) has a lesser role but played a crucial role in the defeat of
the Labor alignment in 1977.
Pakistan was anything but a homogeneous
entity at the time of its formation; other than being Muslims, the
citizens had very little in common — and even as Muslims, the Sunnis,
Shi`is, Ahmadis, and Isma`ilis differed ferociously among themselves.
Establishing a Pakistan identity among a divided population was the
primary task of the new state, one not fully achieved, for the country
remains riven by these divisions, especially the Sunni-Shi`i one.

Who is a Jew, a Muslim? Who is an Israeli or a Pakistani? What is a
Jewish or Islamic state? Both states have struggled to define their core
identity. Internal divisions prevent a consensus on the question of who
is a Jew or Muslim. As a nation committed to “the ingathering of the
exiles,” one would expect a general agreement on the Jewish identity. On
the contrary, “who is a Jew?” has become among the most controversial
and contentious issues in Israel and the passage of time only
intensifies the tension. For example, the massive immigration from the
former Soviet Union led to major disagreements when, on halachic
grounds, the religious establishment questioned the Jewish credentials
of many immigrants. 

Because of their questionable Judaism, those who
fought and died in defense of the country have at times been refused
burial in Jewish cemeteries. Likewise, conversions to Judaism under
Conservative or Reform auspices are not accepted in Israel.

In Pakistan, a fundamentalist Jamaat-i Islami group put this issue on the national agenda in 1953 by demanding that Ahmadis19
be declared non-Muslims. When the government rejected this demand, the
Jamaat engaged in anti-Ahmadi violence. The chief justice of the Supreme
Court, Mohammed Munir, headed an commission of inquiry that drew an
interesting observation: the ulema (religious authorities) could not
agree on the question of who is a Muslim.20 The
fundamentalists lost this battle but not the war; to retain their
support, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1973 conceded to include
an amendment to the newly promulgated constitution that declared the
Ahmadis non-Muslims. 

Take the case of Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, a
political and legal luminary who consciously opted to live in Pakistan
and make it his home: he served the new Islamic Republic as its first
foreign minister, skillfully articulated Islamic positions in
international fora, took Pakistan into the SEATO alliance, and became
the first Pakistani judge at the International Court of Justice in the
Hague. Yet the 1973 constitution of Pakistan declared Sir Zafrulla a
non-Muslim and he died in 1985 a kafir (infidel) in his own country.

Constitutions. In Israel, domestic differences impeded a written
constitution; for the same reason, Pakistan had too many of them.
Conflict over the role and position of halacha (religious law) in
the Jewish State significantly inhibited Israel from enacting a
constitution. What began as a compromise British model of not having a
written constitution gradually became a Pandora’s box. With the growing
influence of religious parties, writing a constitution has become more
distant than ever. In its five decades, Pakistan has had seven
constitutional arrangements — those of 1935, 1956, 1958, 1962, 1969,
1973, and 1985.


Secular movements. The parallel religious response to the new states
holds particular interest. Supporters of the Zionist and Pakistani
enterprises came primarily from the secular middle-class and neither
intended to create a theocratic polity. Reflecting on the Declaration of
Independence, David Ben-Gurion later remarked that it

said something that I know conflicts with the Halacha,
universal and equal suffrage without distinctions of sex, religion, race
or nationality; and this was adopted even though according to the
Halacha women do not have equal rights…. We must undoubtedly respect
any Jew who is faithful to the Halacha, but the Halacha does not
obligate every Jew.21

At a press conference on July 4, 1947, just a month before partition,
Jinnah remarked that it was “absurd” to think that Pakistan would be a
religious state.22 On the eve of partition, he categorically told members of the Constituent Assembly,

You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to
your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of
Pakistan…. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that
has nothing to do with the business of the State…. Hindus would cease
to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims –not in the
religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual,
but in the political sense as citizens of the State.23

According to first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, “Pakistan came
into being as a result of the urge felt by the Muslims of the
sub-continent to secure a territory, however limited, where Islamic
ideology and the way of life could be practiced and demonstrated to the
world.”[24] The recognition of the centrality of Islam in the new state
was not aimed at making its Shari`a the guiding principal. In the words of Paul Brass,

The League leaders were oriented towards achieving secular
political power in a modern constitutional-bureaucratic state structure,
in which the shari’a would be respected but would not prevent
legislatures from acting in a sovereign manner and in which secular
political leaders would be dominant in a representative regime. In both
their goals and their political skills, the Muslim League leaders were
more oriented towards and ultimately more successful in the secular
political arena in which the political choices had to be made.25

Early opposition. In both cases, religious leaders responded
negatively to nationalist demands for a religiously-based state.

Orthodox Jewry found Zionism unattractive because it contradicted their
view that the Jewish state must be formed by the Messiah and not by some
nonobservant Zionist mortals. Even today, a substantial body of the
Orthodox rejects the state, some going so far as to consort with its
enemies. This applies even to government functionaries: a former chief
rabbi remains seated and studies a religious text while the audience at
an official function sings the national anthem; a deputy mayor of
Jerusalem dismisses the Israeli flag as a rag.

The idea of a separate Islamic political entity runs counter to the
universal brotherhood preached by Islam; if Islam is the authentic
nationality of the Muslims everywhere, then political divisions within
the Islamic world can only be temporary. If were Pakistan somehow
attained, it would confine the sway and glory of Islam to mere corners
of the country, Muslims remaining in India would be weakened, and
Pakistan would not be a truly Islamic state.26 Thus, the
principal “opposition to the Pakistan demand and to the Muslim League
among Muslims came from that segment of the Muslim elite most concerned
with the protection of Islam and Muslim culture, from the ulama.”27
In addition, their opposition had much to do with self-interest; the
ulema did not see in the Muslim League and in the Pakistan idea an
appropriate leadership position for themselves as the true protectors of
Islam and Shari`a.28 They also opposed Pakistan on the grounds that Pakistan was an unrealistic goal.

As a result, influential elements of the ulema, especially the
Jamiyyat-i-Ulama-i-Hind, sided with the Congress Party and against the
Muslim League.29 Kifayatullah (1872-1952), mufti of Delhi and founder of Jamiyyat-i-Ulama-i-Hind, also raised doubts in his fatwas about Jinnah’s Islamic credentials.30
He pointed out that Jinnah was expert “of English law, not of Islamic
law of British politics, not Islamic policies.” He lacked even an
elementary acquaintance with Islamic jurisprudence. Other of the ulema
of the Barelvi school pointed out that as a Shi`i, Jinnah should not
lead the faithful. Even those who sought a theocratic state in the
sub-continent, like Maulana Abul A`la Maududi (1903-79), had
reservations over Jinnah’s non-Islamic orientation and approach. Jinnah,
whom Indian Muslims had hailed as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader), Maududi
once dubbed Kafir-i-Azam (Great Unbeliever) because he felt Jinnah “was
not a practising Muslim.”31

The religious reconsider. Oddly, some of those initially indifferent
or even hostile to a state based on religion latterly became among its
most fervent advocates and then ambitious to seize control of it.
non-Zionist Orthodox Jews “soon realized that, in a western style
democracy, a determined minority has the power to prevent the government
from passing laws that ostensibly threaten their sacred principles.”32
Before long, they became key players in the Zionist Knesset and at
times indispensable coalition partners. Once Pakistan was created as a
“homeland” for the subcontinent’s Muslim minorities, religious elements
would inevitably try to take control of it.33Besides making
Pakistan an Islamic Republic the ulema played a crucial role in the
legitimization of military rule.

An otherwise powerful dictator like
Ayub Khan had to make concessions to the ulema and declare Pakistan an
Islamic republic. Democracy has been good to the growing ambitions of
the religious, with elections enhancing their strength and influence as
rival secular parties are compelled to court and solicit the support of
the religious leaders and establishment. Religious activists in both
countries want such personal and community functions as marriage,
divorce, adoption, conversion, burials, and food and travel regulations
to come under religious control.

Religion’s increased role. The year 1977 was a major landmark in the
approach to religion in both countries, as unprecedented political
changes compelled rulers to be more accommodating to the religious
The ninth Knesset elections of that year abruptly ended
the Labor Party’s perpetual domination of Israeli politics and when
Menachem Begin became prime minister, he was joined, after a gap of over
two decades, by the Agudat Israel, a non-Zionist party.34
Begin conceded various demands made by the religious establishment that
previous Israeli governments had hitherto denied. For example, he gave
the National Religious Party control of the coveted education ministry,
with its ample financial resources and extensive education network.

Pakistan also underwent serious change in 1977 with the imposition of
martial law and the overthrow of Zulfiqar Bhutto by General Zia ul-Haq,
who ruled until 1988. In need of ways to legitimize his rule, Zia ul-Haq
looked to Islam. Projecting himself as a pious Muslim seeking to
promote the cause of Islam, he introduced a series of legislative acts
toward this end.

Today, both countries face severe fundamentalist pressures. Religious
parties made significant gains in the 1996 elections, to the point that
Binyamin Netanyahu, a secular, modern, and American-educated leader,
had to court the religious establishment to ensure his election as prime
minister. The Oxford-educated Benazir Bhutto’s alienated the religious
establishment in Pakistan partly contributed to her downfall as prime
minister on two occasions.

The historical circumstances of their creation mean that secularism
is not an option for Israel or Pakistan; that would question their very
raison d’être. Israel and Pakistan both fall somewhere between theocracy
and secularism. Both engage in intrusive scrutiny of individual and
collective behaviors; yet greater religious influence would accentuate
internal discord and divisions.


Israelis spend little time publicly discussing Pakistan but are
favorably disposed toward the country. The first known Zionist contacts
with the Indian sub-continent were with Muslim League rather than
Congress leaders: Chaim Weizman met Shaukat Ali in London in January
1931. Israel sees Pakistan as an important Islamic state, a key player
in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and a country with
nuclear capability. In the public sphere however, relations are not so
good, as symbolized by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s abortive attempt
to visit the Palestinian autonomous areas in Gaza in August 1994 without
“any contacts or coordination” with Israel; this drew sharp rebuttal
from Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the visit did not take place.

As this incident suggests, Pakistani leaders long placed themselves
at the forefront of the “anti-Zionist” struggle and saw their commitment
to the Palestinian cause as a way to display their Islamic credentials.
In 1947, Pakistan led Islamic opposition to the partition plan, and the
passage of time only intensified this zeal. No other Arab or Muslim
figure could have presented a more vociferous defense in support of the
Palestinians than did Sir Zafrulla Khan, the first foreign minister of
Pakistan, at the United Nations debate to partition Palestine.35
He deemed any comparison between the partition of the Indian
subcontinent and similar demands in Palestine false, even preposterous,
because unlike the Jews in Palestine, the Muslim minority was part of
the sub-continental population.36 Conspiracy theories are
often used in Pakistani public life to discredit political opponents as
Zionist agents and spies; during the 1997 election campaign, some have
charged that “Jewish money and power” is trying to influence and control
Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policies. 

That the father-in-law of
former cricket star and founding leader of Imran Khan, founder of the
new political party Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, is a British Jewish
billionaire adds flavor to the debate. Reacting to reports that
Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations had attended a reception
hosted by his Israeli counterpart Gad Ya’acobi, one Urdu daily warned:
“Any Muslim or patriotic Pakistani will consider making contact,
developing relations, or attending the receptions of Israeli leaders as a
conspiracy against the country and the community until the independence
of Jerusalem is secured and a sovereign Palestine is established.”37


As states that came into existence to protect and promote the
interests of religious minorities, Israel and Pakistan have more in
common than is generally recognized. Their histories overlapped in many
ways. As nations in the making, they had to create identities, impose
languages, and contend with strange boundaries. While both have
consciously avoided theocracy, in both places an initially reluctant
orthodox segment has successfully gained disproportionate power. 

Although Israel and Pakistan came into existence to serve as a homeland
for all Jews and all Indian Muslims, both confront the fact that more
Jews and Indian Muslims live outside the new countries than in them,
suggesting that these national enterprises are far from complete.


1 The Economist, Dec. 12, 1981, p. 48.
The few exceptions mostly aim at painting Pakistan in a positive light
vis-à-vis Israel; thus Moonis Ahmar, “Pakistan and Israel: Distant
Adversaries or Neighbors,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Fall 1996, pp. 20-45.
Sadiq Ali Gill, “Anglo-American diplomacy and the emergence of
Pakistan, 1940-1947,” unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Kansas,
1984, p. 206.
4 Theodor Herzl, Der Judenstaat (Leipzig: M. Breitenstein, 1896).
“Official historiography in Pakistan traces the origin to the idea, if
not the country itself, to at least a half a dozen different dates and
places. There are writers whose expansive Pan-Islamic imaginings detect
the beginning of Pakistan in the birth of Islam in the Arabian
peninsula.” See Ayesha Jalal, “Conjuring Pakistan: History as Official
Imagining,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Feb. 1995, pp. 78.
6 Quoted in Hector Bolitho, Jinnah, Creator of Pakistan
(London: John Murray, 1960), p. 125. Hardly all the homelands, for
Bengal, the most populous province of the future state, was not
included. To which Salman Rushdie remarks in Shame (New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1983), p. 91: “No mention of the East Wing, you notice;
Bangladesh never got its name in the title, and so, eventually, it took
the hint and seceded from the sessionists.”
7 Quoted in Rajmohan Gandhi, Eight Lives: A Study of the Hindu-Muslim Encounter (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1986), pp. 153-4.
8 Daniel Shimshoni, Israeli Democracy: The Middle of the Journey (New York: Free Press, 1982), p. 36.
9 Gandhi, Eight Lives, p.123.
10 Quoted in Stanley Wolpert, Jinnah of Pakistan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 182.
11 Judah Magnes and Martin Buber, Arab-Jewish Unity (London: Victor Gollancz, 1947), p.55.
12 Quoted in Bolitho, Jinnah, p. 125.
13 S. M. Burke, Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani Foreign Policy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974), p. 9.
14 Farzana Shaikh, “Muslims and political representation in colonial India: The making of Pakistan,” Modern Asian Studies, July 1986, pp. 539-57.
Shaikh, “Muslims and political representation in colonial India,” p.
550. Congress rejected this position, holding that the role of Hindus in
the organization merely reflected demographic realities and worried
that accepting the Muslim League demands would imply accepting those of
other ethnic and religious groups, and thereby the viability of the
Congress. Much to Jinnah’s displeasure, Congress continued to give
prominent positions to Muslims within the party, even appointing Maulana
Abul Kalam Azad as its president.
16 Daniel Pipes, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (New York: Basic Books, 1983), p. 153.
And therefore the mother tongue of Muslims from North India who
migrated to the new state. The difficulties facing the absorption of
Mohajirs even decades after Pakistan’s formation are manifested in the
protracted violence in the port city of Karachi. See Farhat Haq, “Rise
of MQM in Pakistan: Politics of ethnic mobilization,” Asian Survey, vol. 35, no. 11,Nov. 1995, pp. 990-1004; and Feroz Ahmed, “Ethnicity and politics: The rise of Muhajir separatism,” South Asia Bulletin, vol. 8, 1988, pp. 33-45.
The imposition of Urdu partly contributed to the disharmony between the
two wings and led to the eventual cession of the East and emergence of
Bangladesh in 1971.
19 Followers of Mirza Ghulum Ahmad
(1839-1908), who believe him to be a prophet and thereby reject the
Islamic tenet that Muhammad was the last prophet.
20 Rubya Mehdi, The Islamization of the Law in Pakistan (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 1994), p. 22.
21 David Ben-Gurion, “Who is a Jew?” New Outlook, June 1970, pp. 44-5.
22 M. J. Akbar, India: The Siege Within, revised edition (New Delhi: UPS Publishers, 1996), p. 21.
23 Quoted in Bolitho, Jinnah, p. 197.
24 Quoted in Burke, Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani Foreign Policies, p. 116.
25 Paul R. Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974), p. 165.
26 Arun Shourie, The World of Fatwas: Or the Shariah in Action (New Delhi: ASA Publications, 1995), p. 244.
27 Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India, p. 163.
28 Ibid., pp. 178-80.
Yohanan Friedmann, “The attitude of the Jamiyyat-i-Ulama-i-Hind to the
Indian national movement and the establishment of Pakistan,” Asian and African Studies, 7 (1971): 157-80.
30 Shourie, The World of Fatwas, pp. 223-45.
31 Rafiq Zakaria, The Widening Divide: An Insight into Hindu-Muslim Relations (New Delhi: Penguin, 1996), p. 205.
32 Menachem Friedman, “The Ultra-Orthox and Israeli society”, in Keith Kyle and Joel Peters ed., Whither Israel? The Domestic Challenges (London: I. B. Tauris, 1993), p. 185.
33 S. M. Burke, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 66.
34 Ira Sharkansky, “Religion and State in Begin’s Israel,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, Spring 1984, pp. 31-49.
35 Michael B. Bishku, “In search of identity and security: Pakistan and the Middle East, 1947-77,” Conflict Quarterly, Summer 1992, p. 36; Burke, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, pp. 137-8. His eloquence yet lives on; for example, an article on “Palestine at the U.N.O.” was reprinted in Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1987), pp. 709-22.
36 Burke, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, p. 138.
37 “Contacts with Israel,” editorial, Khabrain (Islamabad), Feb. 21, 1995, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (hereafter FBIS), Daily Report: Near East and South Asia, Feb. 22, 1995. See also “The Islamic summit: Attempt to secure recognition of Israel and Pakistan”,Nawa-i-Waqt, Dec. 11, 1994, in FBIS, Dec. 13, 1994.

Link: http://www.meforum.org/348/the-strangely-parallel-careers-of-israel


S Anand

Outside the activist world not too many people know about S Anand, CEO of publishing house Navayana. We have covered him many times here at BP:




In Pali, the word “navayana” means “new vehicle”. Dr BR
Ambedkar used the word in 1956 to describe the branch of Buddhism that wouldn’t
be mired in the Hinayana-Mahayana divide, but would help dalits gain equality
in India.
It’s a fitting name for the publishing house that S Anand and
Ravikumar set up in 2003 because their Navayana, which won the British
Council-London Book Fair International Young Publisher
of the Year award in
2007, continues the good fight for a more equal and unprejudiced society. 
publishes books that tackle caste and caste-based prejudice and in just a few
years, their titles have won praise from all over the world for being produced
beautifully and provocative. Go to their website and you’ll see bravos from
people like Noam Chomsky and Mohammed Hanif. 

In the first section of a two-part
interview, publisher S Anand talks about running an independent publishing
house at a time when big players are fretting about the future of publishing. 
When did you start Navayana and why?  
Navayana was started in November 2003 by
me and Ravikumar, an intellectual and activist in the civil rights movement in
Tamil Nadu and a bank employee back then. I was a journalist then and I worked
for Outlook. 
By 2006, Ravi became a member of a political party, Viduthalai
Chiruthaigal (Dalit Panthers’ Tamil version) and became an MLA;
and in 2007, I
turned to full-time publishing quitting my day job as journalist. Spurred by
winning the British Council-London Book Fair International Young Publisher of
the Year award in 2007, by when Navayana had done only 12 titles, I moved to
Delhi in May 2007. 
It took me a year to find my bearings in this megapolis. In
some senses, Navayana really took off as a serious venture only in 2008. In
2003, we had started Navayana on a whim – the need for Navayana was felt simply
because there were publishers engaging with environmental issues, ‘communalism’
(as the Hindu-Muslim question is called in India); there were independent
publishers engaging with Left issues, such as LeftWord; you had specialist
children’s publishers, women’s movements and feminist publishers, but you did
not have anybody in English language publishing saying that caste is an issue
that infects and inflects everything in India. So there was clearly what we identified
as a ‘gap’ and we decided to try and address this gap with an exclusive focus.
Publishing seems to be a shrinking business. 
Were you ever daunted by the task
of bringing out the titles that make up Navayana’s catalogue? 
In fact, one
finds that in trade and commercial publishing, risk-taking has drastically come
down. Most mainstream publishers want to do ‘safe’ titles that do not incur
financial, political or intellectual risks. The sad part, as the pioneering
American publisher of Pantheon and founder of The New Press, Andre Schiffrin,
says is that publishing was for the longest time not seen as a ‘business’ as
such. A collage of titles published by Navayana. A collage of titles published
by Navayana. Image courtesy: Navayana website People were happy with 4 percent
profits—what you got from a savings bank account. Suddenly with conglomerates
entering the market, with holdings companies treating books like any other
‘investment’, books came to be treated like FMCG products; expectations of
profit went up to an unreasonable 20-25 percent. 
A friend who returned from the
recent London Book Fair says the most interesting titles in the UK are being
done by small and medium-sized independents like Saqi, Serpent’s Tail, Comma
Press, etc. The same holds true for India where presses like Yoda, Blaft, and
Navayana have shown that you can do cutting edge books. Older players like
Seagull and Zubaan have fortified themselves. Seagull has in fact gone
seriously international; they have a Nobel laureate like Mo Yan in their list;
they have all of Mahashweta Devi. So all this gives me courage to be bold,
innovative and experimental at Navayana. But do not forget that the guesstimate
for per capita spending on books in India is an abysmal Rs 80 – per person per
year. Even if only 20 million of the 1.2 billion have the luxury of reading for
pleasure in India, that’s a huge market. And they don’t seem to be reading as
much as they ought to, the mind-numbing sales of the Chetan Bhagats and Amish
Tripathis notwithstanding. 
How involved are you as far as the commissioning
books is concerned? Are you also involved with the design and production of the
Well, I have to do all of that. Navayana works with very low overheads.
I have one assistant editor working with me and one full-time admin person. So
all the commissioning and selecting and handholding of authors and raising
finances has to be done by me. I respond to emails, handle orders, organize
launches, oversee my website, lobby for reviews etc etc. In most post-DTP small
presses, the publisher wears many hats. Since 2008, I have worked with an
excellent designer Akila Seshasayee, on all our covers, but yes I do get
involved with design. A project like Bhimayana was conceived of and curated by
me, and with such excellent artists as Durgabai Vyam and Subhash Vyam it mostly
designed itself. 
What has been the biggest challenge as far as Navayana is
Money! And most small publishers would give you the same answer
likely. I do not seem to have a good head for the business end of things.
Bhimayana has been our only funded project, but otherwise it is quite hand to
mouth. Navayana survives primarily on the generosity of friends, though since
2010, after Slavoj Zizek’s first annual Navayana lecture, our market presence
matches the best. We do make sure all our titles are well reviewed. In terms of
profits, I doubt if even the bigger presses really make any profits with all
the heavy overheads they have. The real profit-earners in Indian publishing are
textbook publishers. Ratna Sagar’s turnover could well be more than
HarperCollins or Penguin’s, but the overall visibility of a Ratna Sagar will be
poor. What has been the most satisfying part of Navayana? The fact that one has
done a range of titles which no one else would have done. And that I get to
pursue my passion as an anti-caste junkie. 
Could you pick five titles from your
catalogue that you would categorise as “must-have”? 
 This is a tough
choice to make since I do not publish books that you ought not have on your shelf.
But still, since list-making is one of journalism’s many ways of simplifying
things, here we go: Bhimayana Ajay Navaria’s Unclaimed Terrain Anand
Teltumbde’s The Persistence of Caste, pegged to the Khairlanji carnage Namdeo
Dhasal’s A Current of Blood Srividya Natarajan and Aparajita Ninan’s A Gardener
in the Wasteland, a graphic adaptation of Jotiba Phule’s 1873 text, Gulamgiri.
I do feel bad leaving out Gogu Shyamla’s Father May be an Elephant…, Namdeo
Nimgade’s In the Tiger’s Shadow and Shashank Kela’s A Rogue and Peasant Slave.
Among the forthcoming titles you must look out for A Word With You, World, the
autobiography of Siddalingaiah, a Kannada poet and co-founder of the Dalit
Sangharsha Samiti. Out in July, it is a Chaplinesque work that will make you
laugh and cry. Then in 2014 we will have Jeremy Seabrook’s as yet untitled work
on the sweatshops of Bangladesh, a work that will tell you what’s so terribly
wrong with the Katherine Boo school of nonfiction that’s made to read like




Ghazi Ilm-ud-Din Shaheed

Raza Rumi has an extensive history of blasphemy (see below) and anti-blasphemy activism in Pakistan (even as part of an unified India). Apparently it all started with the actions of one deeply faithful man-child, Ghazi Ilm-ud-Din Shaheed of Lahore, who was cited for his courage by the likes of Iqbal and Jinnah.

It shines light (again) on that famous comment which in our opinion crystallizes the Two Nation Theory: Hindus and Muslims can never co-exist….their heroes are our villains and vice versa

There are shrines and roads and squares all over Pakistan commemorating the memory of Ilm-ud-Din. But sad to say, the grave of Dr Abdus Salam has been defaced. The nobel laureate was also a proud son of Pakistan and he belongs to the Ahmadi tradition – the same Ahmadis, who as a group were in the forefront of the Pakistan movement. Pakistan has honored one son but not the other. Too bad.
“As Iqbal placed the body of Ilm Din into the grave, he tearfully
declared: “This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated

The 1920’s in India witnessed the publishing of an inflammatory book
vilifying Prophet Muhammad (SAW) thereby adding fuel to the existing
Muslim/Hindu tensions.
The British Raj ruled India and the creation of
Pakistan was still a distant dream in the hearts of the Indian Muslims.

The Muslim population was understandably incensed and mass protests were
held. Prashaad Prataab had authored Rangeela Rasool (The Colourful
Prophet), under the pen name of Pandit Chamupati Lal. The word rangeela
means ‘colourful’ but can be understood in this context to mean


Rajpal was a Hindu book publisher from Lahore. He took the
responsibility of publishing the book in 1923 and pledged not to
disclose the author’s real name. Pressure from the Muslim community
resulted in the matter being taken to Session court Lahore which found
Raj Pal guilty and sentenced him.

Subsequently Rajpal appealed against
the decision of Session Court in the Lahore High court. The appeal was
heard by Judge Daleep Singh who gave leave to appeal on the grounds that
on the basis of criticism against the religious leaders, no matter how
immoral it is, is not covered by S.153 of the Indian Penal Code.
Rajpal could not be sentenced as law did not cover blasphemous criticism
against religion. The High Court decision was widely criticised and
protests were made against it by Muslims of India. Little did anyone
suspect that one young man’s course of action would bring about a
significant change in the Law, ensuring that Islam would be covered by
blasphemy laws.

Ilm Din was an illiterate teenager from Lahore. His father was a
carpenter. One day he was passing near Masjid (mosque) Wazir Khan. There
was a huge crowd shouting slogans against Rajpal. The speaker
thundered: “Oh Muslims! The devil Rajpal has sought to dishonour our
beloved Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) by his filthy book!”

Ilm Din was deeply affected by this passionate speech and vowed to take
action. On 6th September 1929 Ilm Deen set out for the bazaar and
purchased a dagger for one rupee.
He hid the dagger in his pants and
waited opposite Rajpal’s Shop. Rajpal had not arrived yet. His flight
had arrived at Lahore airport and he proceeded to phone the police in
order to request them to provide him security. Ilm Deen did not know
what the publisher looked like. He asked a few passer-by’s as to
Rajpal’s whereabouts and said that he needed to discuss something with
him. Rajpal entered the shop without detection but soon after a man
alerted Ilm Din that Rajpal was inside. The young man entered the shop,
lunged forward and attacked him. He stabbed his dagger into the chest of
Rajpal with such force that his heart was ripped from his body. Rajpal
fell dead on the ground. Ilm Deen made no attempt to escape. Rajpal’s
employees grabbed him and shouted for help.

The police arrived at the scene and arrested Ilm Deen. He was kept in
Mianwali jail. The case went to court and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali
Jinnah was his defence lawyer. Jinnah fought Ghazi Ilm Deen’s case on a
special request from Allama Iqbal.
Jinnah urged Ilm Din to enter a
plea of not guilty plea and to say that he had acted due to extreme
The fact that Ilm Din was only 19 years old would have also
worked in his favour. Ilm Din refused to offer such a plea and insisted
that he was proud of his actions. This case was the only one that
Jinnah ever lost.
The Session Court awarded Ilm Din the death penalty. Against his wishes, the Muslims lodged an appeal, but it was rejected.

Ilm Din’s execution occurred on 31st October 1929. When asked if he
had any last requests, he simply requested that he be allowed to pray
two rak’at (units) nafl (voluntary) prayer, thus following the example
of Khubaib (RA) who also prayed 2 rak’ats nafl before the pagan Quraish
executed him.

As the noose was put around the neck of Ilm Din, he repeated before the huge crowd:
“O people! Bear witness that I killed Rajpal to defend our last
Prophet Muhammed S.A.W, and today they are going to hang me. I am
sacrificing my life whilst reciting the kalimah (shahadah – testimony of

The young man was killed and the authorities buried him without any
Janazah (funeral) prayer being offered for him. Mass demonstrations
broke out and there the tension between the Hindu and Muslim communities
was palpable. 

The inhabitants of Lahore wanted Ilm Din’s body returned
in order to give him an Islamic janaza (funeral).
Two celebrated
activists — Dr. Muhammed Allama Iqbal and Mian Abdul Aziz — campaigned
to have the body of Ilm Din returned to Lahore for the Janaza prayer.
The British were worried that this would incite unrest. Only after
Allama Iqbal gave his assurance to the British that no riots would
erupt, was permission given.

When the body of Ilm Din was exhumed from its grave, it was found to
be the intact without any change whatsoever. The kaffan (shroud) had not
changed its colour. This occurred on 14th November 1929 — a full 15
days after the hanging. After a two-day journey, the body arrived in
Lahore. Muslims from the whole city and millions from adjoining areas
attended his funeral.

Ilmuddin’s father requested Allama Muhammad
Iqbal to lead the funeral prayer and this shivered Dr. Allama Iqbal who
replied that I am a sinful person not competent to do this job to lead
the funeral of such a matchless warrior. 200,000 Muslims attended the
funeral prayer which led by the Imam of masjid Wazeer Khan, Imam
Muhammed Shamsuddeen. Mawlana Zafar Ali Khan said ahead of the burial: “Alas! If only if I had managed to attain such a blessed status!”

Allama Iqbal carried the funeral bier along its final journey. As Iqbal
placed the body of Ilm Din into the grave, he tearfully declared: “This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones.”

The killing of Ilm Din had far-reaching repercussions. A provision
was added to the Penal Code, making insult to the religious beliefs of
any class an offense.
Allama Iqbal’s proposal of a separate Muslim
state in 1930 resulted in the creation of Pakistan in 1947. The Pakistan
Penal Code makes it a crime for anyone who “by words or visible
representation or by an imputation or insinuation, directly or
indirectly, defiled the name of the Prophet Muhammad”. 

1982, President Zia ul-Haq introduced Section 295B to the Pakistan
Penal Code punishing “defiling the Holy Qur’an” with life imprisonment.
In 1986, Section 295C was introduced, mandating the death penalty for
“use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet” in keeping
Islam’s hudood (prescribed punishments). 

Ilm Din’s legacy is still
visible across Pakistan, where parks, hospitals and roads carry his


Human rights lawyer
Rashid Rehman was killed for defending a man accused of blasphemy [EPA]. The
recent murder of a brave human rights lawyer Rashid Rehman reminds us of the
society we have shaped. It is now an unregulated space where even defending the
rights of an accused is a crime. 
Rehman had made all the
threats, including those in the courtroom, public.  The local state authorities did next to
nothing to protect him or rein in the individuals and groups preaching violence.
It seems when it comes to religiously motivated violence the might of the
state disappears. Victims of blasphemy law are no longer fit for due process.
They need to be punished directly.
A few days after the murder of Rehman,
another accused of blasphemy was shot dead by a teenager in a police station
near Lahore.
Since the brutal murder
of Salmaan Taseer in January 2011, debates on the colonial blasphemy law have
disappeared from the public domain. Those who advocated against its misuse were
also silenced through litigation in courts by the right-wing lobbies that no
longer constitute the lunatic fringe. In fact, the idea of blasphemy as a
threat to Pakistan’s carefully constructed “Islamic” identity mixes
passion, politics and power. A state that quietly smiles at the success of its
project is now complicit in mob justice and even brutal killings such as the
one that took Rashid Rehman’s life.
Earlier in March, on the
eve of Hindu festival Holi, an allegation of blasphemy against a local Hindu led
to the attack on a community centre and a temple in the stronghold of liberal
PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) Larkana in Southern Pakistan.
The scenes of
vandalisation in Sindh province, otherwise known as the land of Sufis and where
the largest number of the Hindu population lives, were chilling.
It is pointless to moan
the response of the state officials who are content with terming such issues
“sensitive” or in other words a no-go area carved in the public
A report by Reuters states that March 2014 was the
“worst month for attacks on Hindus in 20 years with five temples attacked,
up from nine during the whole of 2013”.
Nearly a month ago, a
Lahore court awarded death sentence to another alleged blasphemer, Sawan Masih,
marking a new low in our legal and judicial system. A low income settlement in
Lahore – Joseph Colony – was attacked in 2013 and nearly a hundred homes were
torched. The mayhem was triggered by an ‘allegation’ of blasphemy. To give
credit where it is due the Punjab government promptly helped in rebuilding
these homes. However, its police and prosecution failed to nab those who were
involved in this kind of “collective punishment”. 
The ruling party even
failed to take cognizance of the reported involvement of its local leader from
the area. And the judicial system – trained in the curricula and discourse of
Islamisation and deeply afraid – meted out a tough sentence to another Christian.
The Punjab based
militant organisations according to reports maintain close surveillance of
Christian settlements. The results of this activism have been witnessed in
Gojra, Jospeh Colony and elsewhere. Collusion by political parties and
inability of law enforcement agencies have led to a state of confusion and
has the unique distinction of abusing the controversial blasphemy laws and
according to a recent report (prior to Sawan’s sentence), 14 individuals were
on death row on blasphemy convictions and 19 convicts were serving life
are hundreds of others who have been arrested or charged with the crime. It is
not the execution of a sentence but the fear and mob justice that comes in the
wake of such charges. After Rehman’s murder, lawyers would think twice before
taking such a case. Judges would be afraid to deliver verdicts and the police –
already partisan – will further abandon its job.
After the sentencing of
Sawan Masih, a few parliamentarians raised this issue in the national assembly
but nothing changed. Outraged citizens protest, write op-eds in the English
press and few reckless types like me, who tried to raise these issues on
television, face bullets.
Currently, Pakistan’s
largest private TV network – GEO – is under attack for allegedly airing a
blasphemous morning show. The controversial content was a lapse of editorial
judgment but the charges have put thousands of workers’ lives at risk. The
channel that has been in a tug of war with Pakistan’s premier intelligence
agency – the ISI – has now been entangled in the ultimate crisis. It may mend
its relations with the state but charges of blasphemy will continue to risk its
Pakistan has turned into
a society where even an allegation of blasphemy is enough to sentence and burn
people. In Sindh and Punjab mobs have burnt the accused reminding one of the
ugliest of practices in human history. The abuse of blasphemy law is nothing
but an issue of power and ideological supremacy by the fanatics in our society.
Ghazi Ilmudin Shaheed, who killed a Hindu writer for blasphemy
in the early twentieth century, is a national hero of Pakistan’s collective
It cannot be denied that the love and veneration for Prophet
Mohammad (pbuh) is a tenet of lived Islam across the Muslim world.  
However, in Pakistan’s
case, this is less of a religious obligation and more of a political project.
Implementing the blasphemy law with or without the due process is a means of
dealing with a pre-Islamic past, the colonial experience, and modernity.
Above all, it is a
direct result of a state project which has drummed Islamo-nationalism to build
widespread public support for “strategic” aims. The battle with
India is not about Kashmir or water but it is about believers vs infidels.
the engagement with the West can be managed by invoking the spectre of West
attempting to harm Islam and Muslims.
This is why a good
number of my countrymen view the debate on blasphemy law as “Western
agenda” and something that West sponsored “evil” NGOs propagate
to damage Islam and Pakistan.
Are we the only Muslim
country on earth? There are at least a billion Muslims living outside Pakistan
and we cannot assume the gatekeeping of Ummah. No one denies that the Western
aggression and misadventures haven’t helped either. But we are now trapped in
our own discourse, glued to an identity that values exclusion over pluralism.
The rise of such discriminatory discourses in Pakistan through publications,
media, militant groups – considered legitimate – have compounded our everyday
reality. Upholding human rights is now a sin punishable by death.
We do stand at an abyss
whether we like it or not.
In the short term,
Pakistan’s Parliament needs to change the investigative procedure of the
blasphemy law and institute safeguards against adverse police reporting. Most
importantly, it will need to protect the judges and lawyers who defend human

Link (1): http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/05/pakistan-blasphemy-law-2014523184543404502.html

Link (2): http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?53028-The-Story-of-Ghazi-Ilm-Din-Shaheed



Arundhati Roy explains the Modi-plan

Not to worry, no muslims will be killed (any more) only the noble tribals who represent the real India will be sacrificed for the pleasure of the corporates (and Israel).

Now  that Pankaj Mishra and S Anand have spoken out (eloquently) about the Modi menace, can the grand lady representing all that is pure and beautiful about India…..the rivers and the fish which swim up 800km from the ocean, the paintings of Bhimbetka, the blue flowers of the Nilgiris, the Chinar trees planted by some Sufi.….remain silently on the sidelines?

Key points: “Now,
we have a democratically elected totalitarian government,”
continues. “Technically and legally, there is no party with enough seats
to constitute an opposition. But many of us have maintained for several
years that there never was a real opposition. The two main parties
agreed on most policies, and each had the skeleton of a mass pogrom
against a minority community
in its cupboard. So now, it’s all out in
the open. The system lies exposed.”

“What he [Modi] will be called upon to do is not to
attack Muslims, it will be to sort out what is going on in the forests,
to sweep out the resistance and hand over land to the mining and
infrastructure corporations,” explains Ms Roy. 

Ms Roy believes that India’s
chosen development model has a genocidal core to it.
“How have the other
‘developed’ countries progressed? Through wars and by colonising and
usurping the resources of other countries and societies,” she says.
“India has no option but to colonise itself.”

Also, the hyper Hindu-nationalist discourse which has been
given popular affirmation will allow those resisting ‘development’ to be
called anti-nationals.  

So is there no democracy in India then?
“It would be too sweeping to say that,” she retorts.
She opines that “some amount of democracy” in India is
reserved for its middle classes
alone and through that they are
co-opted by the state and become loyal consumers of the state narrative
of people’s resistances.

In Pakistan, apprehensions are rife about Narendra Modi’s
flamboyant success. But fervent Modi supporters in the Indian middle
classes prefer to place him in the economic governance arena. Dawn
recently talked to renowned Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, in Delhi to
explore what Modi’s rise means for India.

“The massive,
steeply climbing GDP of India dropped rather suddenly and millions of
middle-class people sitting in the aircraft, waiting for it to take off,
suddenly found it freezing in mid-air,” says Ms Roy. “Their
exhilaration turned to panic and then into anger. Modi and his party
have mopped up this anger.”

India was known for its
quasi-socialist economy before it unfettered its private sector in 1991.
India soon became global capital’s favourite hangout, sending its
economy on a high. The neo-liberal roller coaster ride, however, hit
snags. The Indian economy, after touching a peak of over 10pc growth in
2010, tapered down to below 5pc in the last three years. The Indian
corporate class blames this lapse solely on the ruling Congress party’s
‘policy paralysis’. Its ‘meek’ prime minister, Manmohan Singh, was now
identified as a hurdle. The aggressive Modi thus provided the ultimate

“What he [Modi] will be called upon to do is not to
attack Muslims, it will be to sort out what is going on in the forests,
to sweep out the resistance and hand over land to the mining and
infrastructure corporations,” explains Ms Roy.

“The contracts are all
signed and the companies have been waiting for years. He has been chosen
as the man who does not blink in the face of bloodshed, not just Muslim
bloodshed but any bloodshed.”
India’s largest mining and energy
projects are in areas that are inhabited by its poorest tribal
population who are resisting the forcible takeover of their livelihood
resources. Maoist militants champion the cause of these adivasis and
have established virtual rule in many pockets.

“Bloodshed is
inherent to this model of development. There are already thousands of
people in jails,” she says. “But that is not enough any longer. The
resistance has to be crushed and eradicated. Big money now needs the man
who can walk the last mile. That is why big industry poured millions
into Modi’s election campaign.”

Ms Roy believes that India’s
chosen development model has a genocidal core to it. “How have the other
‘developed’ countries progressed? Through wars and by colonising and
usurping the resources of other countries and societies,” she says.
“India has no option but to colonise itself.”

India’s demographic
dynamics are such that even mundane projects, such as constructing a
road, displace thousands of people, never mind large dams and massive
mining projects. The country has a thriving civil society, labour unions
and polity that channel this resistance. The resistance frustrates
corporate ambitions. “They now want to militarise it and quell it
through military means,” she says. 

Ms Roy thinks that the quelling “does
not necessarily mean one has to massacre people, it can also be
achieved by putting them under siege,
starving them out, killing and
putting those who are seen to be ‘leaders’ or’ ‘instigators’ into
prison.” Also, the hyper Hindu-nationalist discourse which has been
given popular affirmation will allow those resisting ‘development’ to be
called anti-nationals.
She narrates the example of destitute small
farmers who had to abandon their old ways of subsistence and plug in to
the market economy.

In 2012 alone, around 14,000 hapless farmers
committed suicide in India. “These villages are completely resourceless,
barren and dry as dust. The people are mostly Dalits. There is no
politics there. They are pushed into the polling booths by power brokers
who have promised their overlords some votes,” she adds, citing her
recent visit to villages in Maharashtra that has the highest rate of
farmer suicides in India.

So is there no democracy in India then?
“It would be too sweeping to say that,” she retorts. “There is some
amount of democracy. But you also can’t deny that India has the largest
population of the poor in the world.
Then, there hasn’t been a single
day since independence when the state has not deployed the armed forces
to quash insurgencies within its boundaries. The number of people who
had been killed and tortured is incredible. It is a state that is
continuously at war with its people. If you look at what is happening in
places like Chhattisgarh or Odisha, it will be an insult to call it a

Ms Roy believes that elections have become a massive
corporate project and the media is owned and operated by the same
corporations too. She opines that “some amount of democracy” in India is
reserved for its middle classes alone and through that they are
co-opted by the state and become loyal consumers of the state narrative
of people’s resistances.

“The 2014 elections have thrown up some
strange conundrums,” she muses. “For eg, the BSP, Mayawati’s party,
which got the third largest vote share in the country, has won no seats.
The mathematics of elections are such that even if every Dalit in India
voted for her, she could have still not won a single seat.”

we have a democratically elected totalitarian government,” she
continues. “Technically and legally, there is no party with enough seats
to constitute an opposition. But many of us have maintained for several
years that there never was a real opposition. The two main parties
agreed on most policies, and each had the skeleton of a mass pogrom
against a minority community in its cupboard. So now, it’s all out in
the open. The system lies exposed.”

India’s voters have given
their verdict. But the blunt question that Ms Roy raises remains
unanswered: where will India’s poor go?

Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1108001/now-we-have-a-democratically-elected-totalitarian-government-arundhati-roy



Mossad + (jewish controlled) Twitter = Victory!!!

Success has a hundred fathers. Here comes the claim that this was a Twitter election and it was the social media gap that was a big deal with youngsters who are standing with Modi (he has promised jobs for all of them). Twitter has now promised to harvest all the technology innovations developed for Indian elections and utilize them for the upcoming elections in Brazil, Indonesia and in the USA (see below).

Failures have a thousand excuses. There is a claim by Mohan Prakash a Congress bigwig, that Mossad won it for Modi. Mossad is (justifiably) feared for its effectiveness and ruthlessness only behind the ISI. Many wise people have noted the many points of similarity between Pakistan and Israel. It is no surprise that the two secret services are also gold-star organizations driven by a shared zeal to succeed.

It goes to the credit of extensive pajamas media-led investigation (30 sec on the internet) that BP is able to connect the two claims on behalf of Twitter and Mossad.  
The logic path is as follows: (1) In any American top-tier media organization you are guaranteed to find a Jewish name or two. Thus you have Issac “Biz” Stone, a founding father of Twitter (there are also unconfirmed rumors about Jack Dorsey, another Twitter FF; and finally, Jason Goldman, a heavy-weight alumnus of Twitter is also Jewish).  
(2) Whenever something goes “wrong” in any part of the world, especially in muslim lands or near-abouts, the Jews will be blamed (or at least the Jewish controlled media). 

Consider this representative sample from a Canadian-Muslim author (Rehmat’s world). There is an obligatory Arundhati Roy reference that will please her fans.

The Jewish-controlled mainstream media in the US, Canada, Britain and
Israel is overjoyed at the unexpected “landslide” victory of Narendra
Modi, known as Butcher of Gujrat state
In 2002, Modi, as chief minister of Gujrat state supervised the Hindu
fascists who murdered over 2000 Muslim men, women and children – and
burned Muslim houses, shops and mosques.

The Jewish media, as usual, has portrayed India as the largest
democracy while ignoring the fact that more than half of India’s
population lives below poverty line.
India is also world’s largest arms buyer.
India’s top arms suppliers are Russia followed by Israel and United
States. India-Israel cooperation includes also military exercises,
sharing of intelligence, and joint academic research programs. 

Modi lead anti-Muslim Hindutva racist parties against the ruling
Congress Party. Israeli leaders have maintained very close ties with
Hindu extremist group based on their common hatred toward Islam and
They have great expectations from Modi as the next prime
minister of India against Pakistan, Iran and Hamas. Last year, India’s
Union Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, blamed India’s two major opposition parties, Bharatia Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
for promoting “Hindu terrorism” via their training camps which teach
Hindus hatred toward Muslim, Christian and Sikh minorities. Mossad
agents have visited these camps as instructor.

And finally, the latest “words of wisdom” from
American Jewish writer and blogger Roger Tucker that could be a lesson
for the Indian voters in the future. 
“When the Palestinians do finally return, as
they surely will, I hope for their sake that they expel all the Jews – I
call it the Algerian option. Otherwise, it will be like South Africa,
with the despised Palestinians (except, of course, for the 1%
of quislings at the top) slaving away for their masters.  
We know now
that even a very small percentage of Jews would wind up running the show
and getting fat on the labor of others – just look at the US, the UK,
Canada, Australia, France et al.
Only the direct descendants of the
Palestinian Jews would be entitled to remain.
Listen to Indian author Arundhati Roy explaining why Israelis love Modi.
Incidentally, Rehmat also has strong views on who are the Zionists in Pakistan (not Imran Khan) and also about the past India (as seen by many muslims) as well as the (Modified) future:

….Imran Khan is not a Zionist though he married Lord Goldsmith’s
daughter after she converted to Islam.
Lord Goldsmith is not related to
Rothschild family. However, as a Jewish billionaire, he financed a lot of
Israeli projects. The famous Pakistani Zionists were Sir Feroz Khan Noon and several Qadiani leaders like M.M. Ahmad.

….Al-Hind (India) was creation of 1000 year
Muslim rule. Before Indian sub-continent comprised of over 5000 Hindu
princely states which kept killing each other.
You should read Pandit
Nehru’s book on Indian history. Yes, everyone knows that like United States, Canada is also an
Israeli colony. That’s what Modi is going to accomplished during his
5-year Hindutva rule.

social networking company Twitter is planning to replicate parts of its
India election strategy across countries that go to polls this year,
after it emerged as a key tool for politicians and media companies
during the world’s largest democratic exercise.

In India,
Twitter Inc worked closely with politicians including the victor
Narendra Modi who used the platform for election campaigning, and also
partnered with mobile and media firms to distribute tweets online and

Now, with polling due in countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and the
United States later this year, the San Francisco-based company plans to
take its India lessons abroad to expand its foothold in the political
arena and increase its user base.

“The election more than any
other moment provides a nice microcosm of the value Twitter can add …
we are sharing widely the lessons of this Indian election around the
world,” said Rishi Jaitly, India market director at Twitter.

Last week, the company sent its top political strategist to Brazil to
explain the potential of the social network to senators, who are likely
to use Twitter’s six-second video app Vine for campaigning after it was
used by Indian politicians, the company said.

For the US
election, the company has started looking for partners to replicate
their “Tweet To Remember” feature used in India, which enables users to
add the voting date automatically to their mobile calendar using a

Twitter widely emerged as a political tool first during
the 2012 US presidential elections, and then during the Arab Spring
uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. Today, US president
Barack Obama has more than 43 million Twitter followers. In
India, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) embraced the technology ahead
of rivals, collaborating with thousands of volunteers to spread the
Hindu nationalist leader’s message and counter criticism on the web.

It was the country’s first major Twitter election, and the novelty of
the technology gave an advantage to the politicians who adopted first –
especially the BJP, said Milan Vaishnav of Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace.

“The Indian experience will serve as a
model for other developing countries … In the US, the saturation of
the social media space by all parties may have a cancelling out effect,”
Vaishnav said.

Tech-savvy Modi, who now has 4.3 million Twitter followers, used the
platform relentlessly. He recently tweeted “selfies” and pictures with
his mother. On May 16 he set a Twitter India record with his victory
acknowledgement tweet.

His rivals lagged. A few years before
India’s mammoth election, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor asked Rahul
Gandhi, the lead campaign manager of the now ousted party, to join
Twitter. Gandhi declined.

With about two-thirds of India’s
population under 35, Modi targeted the young and smart by topping up
campaigning with social media, holograms and recorded voice calls.

The potential was, and still is, huge: India has the world’s third
largest internet user base of 239 million and more than 900 million
mobile connections. Many access web on their phones.

reach was not restricted to its estimated 35 million India users, as
nearly 400 multilingual news channels that closely tracked politicians
on the website reached 153 million households, data from TAM Media
Research showed.

Modi, who is due to be sworn in on Monday, has
not let up his Twitter onslaught since the election and like other
global leaders will make the service a central part of his
communications arsenal.

Tharoor, for now, has again advised his
top leadership to adapt to social media platforms as a part of their
renewed strategy to improve communication. “There is no reason
why we should cede that space to the BJP. This is an area in which we
can be just as good,” said Tharoor, who has over 2 million Twitter



Link (1): http://rehmat1.com/2014/05/17/modi-israels-favorite-wins-election-in-india/

Link (2): http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/social/Twitter-to-take-India-election-innovations-global/articleshow/35553707.cms



An american visits Un-India (discovers Modindia)

We are not sure how Daniel Berman (is he Jewish??) figured out that BJP/NDA will win big by visiting the un-India belt of Kolkata and Chennai but that is just our cynical, suspicious selves.

Overall analysis is pretty much up to the mark. The new paradigm (as we see it) is: Modified Indians think that India is a sleeping developed country. Better not tell that to S Anand or else he will be back with a five hundred page essay (without commas, apostrophes and full stops).

Bottomline, Obama is not amused with a Modi victory (he counts Manmohan Singh as one of his five top global friends) but Modi will want to bond closely with the USA (really? we thought he was a China fan. Perhaps if he is smart enough he will play one against the other).

BTW Daniel’s reference to a major city with rolling blackouts must be Chennai (Kolkata has no industry to speak of and hence no power cuts either).  So by this limited measure at least Kolkata wins (also in IPL cricket where the Kolkata Knight Riders won massively due to a blitz by Yusuf Khan- 72 runs in 22 balls and presently ranking above Chennai Super Kings). Ho ho ho.

I had the pleasure this winter of visiting India for three
weeks. Unlike many Americans who head to India in University or after, I did
not go with the intention of finding spiritual enlightenment, to walk India Gandhi’s
footsteps, or to learn more about development.
Nor will I attempt to claim any
special insight into the nature of India from my trip. I recognize that what I
saw in Kolkata(Calcutta) and Chennai(Madras) was only a small slice of India,
even if I was blessed to meet with diplomats and leading business figures
during the trip, as well as representatives of local newspapers.

Nonetheless, as someone interested in electoral politics
around the world, I could not help questioning those around about India’s
upcoming elections. Those elections, which pit the Indian National Congress
against the right-leaning Bharatiya Janata Party, and its leader Narandra Modi
have largely been portrayed in the west as a choice between two bad options.

Congress is portrayed as corrupt, while a large degree of focus is attached to
Modi’s role in the 2002 riots in Gujarat where over 2000 Muslims were killed in
retaliation for an attack on Hindu pilgrims that saw a number burned to death.
Modi was first Minister at the time, but has been cleared of responsibility bythe Indian Supreme Court.

Where one comes down in the coverage in the West tends to
come down to what you care about regarding India. If your interest is primarily
financial, as the Economist is, you’re likely to see the race as a trade-off
between better economic performance and human rights. If, on the other hand,
you are deeply invested in the idea of India as some sort of romantic image of
a spiritually-inclined indigenous culture that threw off colonial rule, as far
too many Western twenty-something’s who spend time in India before returning as
amateur analysts are, then you are likely to be horrified by Modi as he
represents a challenge to the Nehru paradigm that has dominated India since
In either case however, one is inclined to project those concerns onto
the Indian electorate, with the result that outside analysts expected a weak
Modi performance, perhaps with major gains for third forces.

I did not believe that was going to happen. When I was India
I saw a poor country. For all the talk of India as a rising superpower, I saw a
country with no traffic lights in major cities, one where it was impossible to
get back correct change at any establishment without haggling, and one where
one of the major cities in the country has rolling blackouts on a daily basis. This
is not to in anyway condemn India, only to point out that I failed to see much
spiritual or noble in streets that are dangerous to drive on, and where it
takes over an hour to go seven kilometers.

Most importantly, when I spoke to people I saw a country that
was tired of being poor. For all the discussion about BRICs and solidarity with
rising powers like Brazil to undermine Western dominance, I found that most of
those I met had no time for those flights of fancy that seem to
entertain Western political scientists and which have been a staple of Congress’
Foreign Policy ever since Nehru co-founded the non-aligned movement. Instead I
saw people who while admitting that Modi had drawbacks, saw him offering a different
narrative and wanted it. Almost everyone over 45 who I spoke with opposed him;
every single person I spoke with under 40 was voting for him.

Why? Because Modi this year offered a different narrative,
one that is far more attuned to Indian aspirations than the one it has been
cast in. Rather than seeing India as a leader of the developing world and a
peer of Brazil, Modi and the BJP portray it as a sleeping developed country, a
peer of European and Chinese civilization as one of the three great cultures of
world history, condemned by invasion, Arab in the 9th century, not
British in the 19th, to weakness and underdevelopment. 
For Modi and
the BJP, Congress by embracing non-alignment and its sequel in the BRIC concept
had condemned India to underdevelopment, using its affirmative action programs
to turn one of the most effective civil services in the world into one of the
world’s least efficient and corrupt.

For those observers then who see a decision to vote for Modi
as a clash between the good(economic development) and the bad(communalism and Hindu
nationalism) fail to grasp that in his case the two are intrinsically linked.
Modi is offering to make India great again, and if his promises are excessive
or likely to prove difficult to keep, they may well be the only way to justify necessary
reforms of the labor system, tariff 
controls, and monetary policy that are going to be painful for many.

Witnessing this in my conversations, I became convinced that
not only was Modi likely to win; he was likely to win big. Just as Obama
offered hope in 2008, the vote was a choice between more of the same and
potential for change. That may be the case in any election, but in this case
the “more of the same” was the state policies since 1947, and the “change” was
something entirely new.


Furthermore, his opponents in the Congress party blundered in making the
campaign about Modi rather than presenting any form of positive vision.
This meant that while the BJP ran a campaign promising reform and
economic growth, Congress talked endlessly about the 2002 riots. 
mistake here was not that the riots were an asset to Modi; on the
contrary, they were a liability. It was rather that they were less
important to many voters than pocketbook issues, and Congress, by
attacking Modi personally, failed to engage or provide a competing
narrative to his policies. As a consequence, Modi was allowed to promote
the narrative of his economic wizardry unchallenged, and in a choice
between fear for minority rights and a desire for economic growth and
national success, the voters are likely to chose the latter.

Exit polls so far show that the BJP’s performance likely
exceeded all expectations, with the party winning anywhere from 240 seats to
more than 280 in the Lok Sabha out of 545. We will find out the truth tomorrow
when official results are announced.

What will this victory mean for the United States? Currently
Modi is denied entry into America, a procedural decision of a Bush Administration
which at the time was trying to build support in the Islamic world, and one undoubtedly
continued by the Obama administration out of sentiment; Obama named incumbent Indian PM Singh as one of his five closest friends among world leaders.
Nonetheless, if Obama may dislike a Modi victory, the feelings are not
reciprocated. The BJP is pro-American and Pro-Western because it sees India fundamentally
as Western; it sees America, Europe and Japan as its peers, not Iran, South
Africa or Brazil. The BJP has had a table set up at every Republican National
Convention for a decade, and has bought space at the Conservative Political
Action Conference. A BJP ruled India is a potential ally of America in a way
and manner a Congress-ruled India can never be.

That requires Obama to let it. By instinct the very definition of a man
too broadminded to take his own side in quarrel, Obama has always had
difficulty with Nationalists, whether they be Putin or Modi. He seems to
believe everyone should be as broadminded as him. Yet beyond that he
has embraced an Asian pivot, and recognize the need to contain China,
and hence the need for good relations with India.

Link: http://www.therestlessrealist.com/2014/05/pre-result-thoughts-on-indian-elections.html



Kashmiri students expelled from Meerut

First charged with sedition, now expelled from college. This will create even more bad feelings, in our opinion, young people must be allowed to have their say, else they may go down the path of violence. Post 2014, India and Pakistan must have a public plan for Kashmir, put things down in pen and paper, and reduce tensions and improve commerce. Enough is enough.
10 Kashmiri students caught in a row over cheering for the Pakistani
cricket team have been expelled by a private university here after they
were found guilty of misconduct and damaging property while the
suspension of 57 other Kashmiri students was revoked.

Over two months after a controversy broke out over Swami Vivekanand
Subharti University taking action against students for allegedly
cheering for the Pakistani team, a disciplinary committee set up by the
university found ten students guilty of misconduct and damaging
university property, Vice- Chancellor Prof Manzoor Ahmed said here

However, the committee revoked the suspension of 57 other students.

“The 10 students are writing their exams now. Once exams get over, they will be sent back home,” he told PTI, adding after their exams are over, they will be issued migration certificates.

67 Kashmiri students of the SVSU were suspended after they had allegedly
distributed sweets at the university hostel and cheered for the
Pakistani cricket team’s victory in a cricket match with India on March


The university authorities had set up a disciplinary committee to probe the incident.

The city police even slapped sedition charges on students which was
later withdrawn following widespread criticism, including from Jammu and
Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The local police is also probing the matter and they have recorded
statements of the university administration and committee members.

Link: http://news.outlookindia.com/printitem.aspx?841687




The long war continues with proxies in the lead. There were bombings yesterday in Xinjiang as well. The islamists are ambitious but they may be making a big mistake in provoking China. However Chinese Kashmir is much more vulnerable to civilian attacks due to the Chicom policy of settling Hans in Xinjiang (to the point where Muslims have become a minority).
I’m a bit surprised that the explosion that killed dozens of people at an open-air market in the city of Urumqi in China’s Xinjiang
province yesterday hasn’t gotten more international notice…..But I suspect it’s also because these incidents are becoming
depressingly commonplace. Today’s explosion follows recent deadly
attacks on train stations in Guangzhou, Urumqi, and Kunming, all of them blamed on Uighur extremists from Xinjiang.

Today’s attack, however, is of another order of magnitude more
serious. With at least 30 dead, it may be China’s most serious terrorist
attack in years,
and the use of explosives indicates an escalation in
tactics over the other recent attacks, most of which were mass
stabbings. The mysterious car attack on Tiananmen Square, which took
place while I was in Beijing last October, would have been a substantially more serious event if the perpetrators had used the tactics seen today. 

A Xinhua article this month also highlighted the fact
that “Separatists appear to be shifting their focus from symbols of the
government – such as public security stations and police vehicles – to
random, ordinary civilians, and operating in areas outside Xinjiang.”

After the last attack in Urumqi, President Xi Jinping promised a “strike first” strategy
against separatists in Xinjiang, where Uighur Muslims have longed
agitated for independence and claimed discrimination by the authorities.

But with attacks expanding in both geographical scope and severity,
it’s becoming increasingly clear that Beijing’s default strategy of
cracking down hard on Xinjiang isn’t working.


The Indian Consulate in Afghanistan’s
Herat province was today attacked by heavily armed gunmen, who were also
carrying rocket-propelled grenades, top Indian officials said, adding
that everyone was safe.

“India’s Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan attacked. Brave ITBP
(Indo-Tibetan Border Police) personnel and Afghan soldiers rebut
attackers. All are safe,” said a spokesperson in the Ministry of
External Affairs in New Delhi.

Three gunmen were killed, one by the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border
Police) and two by the Afghan Police, out of four attackers who struck
the Consulate which houses two buildings, Indian Ambassador to
Afghanistan Amar Sinha said.

In a pre-dawn assault, the gunmen attacked the building which houses the
residence of the Consulate General, Sinha said, adding that there were
nine Indians in the mission apart from local Afghans.

One attacker was killed while climbing the wall to enter the premises of the consulate, Sinha said.
“India-Afghanistan officials (were) in touch on attack on India’s
Consulate in Herat. Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh (was) monitoring
(the) situation,” the official said.

Afghan police officials said that three gunmen armed with machine guns
and rocket-propelled grenades opened fire on the consulate early this
morning from a nearby home. The police killed two of them, though one
continued to fire on security forces.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.


India has invested in some major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan
like Salma Hydroelectric Dam in Herat province and the Afghan Parliament
building in Kabul.
India’s development assistance programme for Afghanistan currently
stands at USD 2 billion, making it the leading donor nation among all
regional countries.


Afghanistan has experienced a rise in Taliban attacks as foreign troops
plan to withdraw from the war-torn country by the end of the year.

In August last year, a failed bombing on the Indian Consulate in
Jalalabad city near the border with Pakistan killed nine people,
including six children. No Indian officials were hurt.

The Indian Embassy in Kabul was attacked twice in 2008 and 2009 that left 75 people dead.


Link (1): http://news.outlookindia.com/printitem.aspx?841659

Link (2): http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2014/05/22/urumqi_explosions_china_has_a_real_terrorism_problem_now.html