Visiting the UK: dos and (mostly) donts

The latest missive from the Al Qaeda black guards. AQ is enlisting the services of British Jihadis (who are presently engaged in the fighting in Syria) to target the Queen when they return home. Also football matches (at the final whistle). And the Savoy hotel. And Epsom….

It should be considered a minor blessing that the directions are so crystal clear. Now you know what to do in order to protect yourself while visiting the UK- always leave a football match by half-time, dont stay in the Savoy, avoid Cheltenham and Epsom etc etc.

Britain’s
most important citizen – the Queen, the country’s most important
sporting events – Wimbledon, English Premiere League matches and horse
race at Cheltenham and the country’s most revered hotel – The Savoy in
London are now the target of jihadis returning to UK from Syria.

al-Qaida has urged “lone wolf” jihadists returning from Syria to carry
out bomb attacks at sporting events in Britain specially those attended
by the Queen. Wimbledon fortnight and FA Cup matches are right on top the hit list as al-Qaida calls for “maximum carnage”.

The terror group recommends that such operations be carried out either
by a “martyrdom bomber” or with explosives linked to a timer or a remote
device.

An English-language publication, produced by al-Qaida outlines a list of possible targets in Britain, America and France. Britain and France’s seaside towns to be the home of thousands of
tourists as summer months inch closer will also be prime targets,
according to Britain’s intelligence agencies.

al-Qaida asks the jihadis “Hit two birds with one stone; both the
English and the French. In the beginning of summer we have Cheltenham,
and at the end of summer we have Epsom, whereby horse races are attended
by thousands from around the kingdom including the Queen”.

The
author, named as al-Qaida Chef, adds “You have soccer stadiums,
especially during Premier League and FA Cup matches. They have worldwide
live media coverage. The best time is after the final whistle, when
huge crowds leave the stadium and celebrate around the entrances”.

The magazine, published on March 14, encourages readers to build their
own car bomb – which it provides instructions of how to do – and
detonate it outside the hotel.

Britain’s home minister Theresa
May has removed the citizenship of 37 people since May 2010 for joining
terror forces in Syria.
In 2013, the home minister has revoked the British citizenship of 20 people.

Britain’s foreign minister William Hague recently told parliament that
Syria is now the “number one destination for jihadists anywhere in the
world”
including “70 to 100 individuals connected with the United
Kingdom”. “The conflict is creating opportunities for extremist groups,” Hague said.  

Nearly 600 Europeans have gone to Syria since early 2011, representing 7-11% of the foreign fighters there in total.

regards

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Sunanda Pushkar: foul play confirmed

So it was murder after all. We will perhaps never know who did it (the all
powerful ISI? IPL cricket mafia??).

We are of the opinion that her fate was sealed the moment she confessed
that she had committed perjury.

Here is some valuable advice to sisters of Sunanda from a Pakistani sister

Sunanda, the
deceased wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, supposedly committed suicide
after finding out about her husband’s alleged affair with a Pakistani
journalist. The Pakistani journalist claims that the two were merely
‘intellectual companions.’

No matter what
the reason might be, infidelity can be painful for both the ’unfaithful’ and,
most definitely, the ‘faithful’ in a relationship. And, to me, all forms of
responses to a partner’s infidelity are acceptable, but the one that Mrs.
Tharoor chose.  

Never kill yourself for your man’s infidelity. Never.

It’s okay to
divorce, yell, burn his car, smash his computer, take all the money out of his
bank account (and get a boob job with that), turn his kids against him, nag for
years to come, eat too much (and get fat), sleep with his best friend in
revenge, have a few flings of your own. The list is endless.

But it’s never okay to
kill yourself.  

No man is worth your life. 

They are there
to make your life beautiful, not to take it away. If one man is not doing a
good job at making your life beautiful, it’s okay to try the next one.
And
sometimes you have to shop till you drop – by natural causes, of course.
Another pun not intended.

Initially,
some called the Pakistani journalist an ISI agent.
They said Sunanda’s death
was the accomplishment of the ISI. Well, if the ISI was that powerful or
clever, Pakistan would not be drowning in terrorism, corruption and civil war.

Did
Sunanda’s husband kill her?
Can a seasoned politician be this stupid to kill his wife
within 48 hours of such allegations of infidelity? But then he is also the same
guy who doesn’t know how to protect his Twitter account.

Rest in
peace, Sunanda! Or better yet, come back as a beautiful woman again in your
next janam. And this time, when your rich, powerful, handsome husband cheats on
you, choose one of the other options. Revenge should be sweet.
 

….
Sunanda Pushkar’s viscera report has brought back the
possibility of foul play in the mysterious death of the 52-year-old
businesswoman in a south Delhi luxury hotel on January 17 this year.

Sources said the report not only rules out the presence of any poison in Sunanda’s
body but also finds no trace of the
anti-anxiety drug, Alprax, in her stomach at the time of the death.
This
directly contradicts the autopsy report which had concluded that Sunanda died
of drug poisoning and had indicated the presence of Alprax.

Investigators, who had recovered near-empty strips of Alprax from Sunanda’s
hotel room, are stumped by the new findings. If the viscera report is to be believed, Sunanda either took the pills
as per the prescribed dose or the strips were planted in the room to mislead
investigations, a source said.


“We had recovered two strips of Alprax, each
capable of holding 15 tablets. The first was empty and the second had just
three tablets. If she was taking the pill as per dosage, we need to find out why
an empty strip was in the room,” said an investigator.

Sunanda,
wife of junior HRD minister Shashi Tharoor, was reportedly depressed. Days
before her death, she accused Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar of having an
affair with her husband in the course of a ugly Twitter spat.

Sunanda had checked into the Leela
Palace hotel in Chanakyapuri on January 15, alone. She was staying in a room on
the third floor and was visibly depressed when she arrived at the hotel. The
hotel staff has reportedly told police that she had hardly eaten during her
stay.

Tharoor, sources said, had checked into the hotel on
January 16, when the couple shifted to a suite number 345. They were engaged in
a night-long argument, investigators have found, and Sunanda went to sleep only
around 6.30am on January 17. She did not order any food. Soon after (around
7am), Tharoor left to attend the AICC meet at Talkatora Stadium and found her
dead upon his return.

regards

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“hard slap” vs. “blatant aggression”

It is like the Syldavia and Borduria of the famed Tintin comics, except that this is real life and shooting down planes is not really funny.

A “hard slap” has been personally delivered from Erdogan to Assad. No doubt this is a dangerous way to extend (and expand) the scope of the war (and will help improve Erdogan’s image).

The international liberal-left shouted so loudly (and long) on Iraq, where are they now? At the least they should send out mass warnings on Twitter, that be a good excuse for Erdogan to launch another hard (electronic) slap by banning Twitter (again)..

….Turkey’s
armed forces shot down a Syrian plane on Sunday after it crossed into
Turkish airspace in a border region where Syrian rebels have been
battling President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

“A Syrian plane
violated our airspace,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an election
rally of his supporters in northwest Turkey.

“Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard,” Edrogan.

The rebels have been fighting for control of the Kasab crossing, the
border region, since Friday, when they launched an offensive which
Syrian authorities say was backed by Turkey’s military.


Syria
said Turkish air defences shot down the jet while it was attacking rebel
forces inside Syrian territory, calling the move a “blatant
aggression”.

State television quoted a military source as
saying the pilot managed to eject from the plane. The Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights monitoring group said initial reports from the area
said the plane came down on the Syrian side of the border. 




regards

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Sardar Ahmad

Killing (muslim) journalists is not good for propaganda but then the Taliban is not usually known for finesse.

Also the teenage soldiers cant seem to (understandably) shoot straight, the two year old baby of Ahmad did manage to survive (still in ICU).  

Perhaps one day he will try to avenge the actions of the killers of his parents and siblings….by becoming a journalist. Best wishes for the kid who (thankfully) does not understand the scope of his loss.

One more feather in the cap for the ISI (as the Afghans are calling it).

The Guardian links to the last story that Ahmad filed before he died.

Kabul zoo on Tuesday unveiled its new star attraction – Marjan
the lion,
who lived on a rooftop in the city until being rescued by animal welfare officials last year when close to death.

A
businessman in the Afghan capital had bought the male lion cub as a
status symbol for $20,000, and kept his pet on a roof terrace.

But the fast-growing cat was seriously ill when Kabul municipal officials tracked him down last October. “We
found him in a very dire condition. He was almost dead. He couldn’t
move. He couldn’t even raise his head,” vet Abdul Qadir Bahawi told AFP. “We
were not sure that he would survive. But our efforts paid off, and he
is much better. Now he loves to play with us. I think he loves us a
lot.”

Marjan is named after a famous half-blind lion who lived at Kabul zoo and became a symbol of Afghanistan’s national survival after living through coups, invasions, civil war and the hardline Taliban era, before dying in 2002. The
first Marjan, born in 1976, was blinded by a grenade thrown by a
soldier whose brother had been killed after entering his cage.


Government
inspectors took him from the owner and started an intense five-month
rehabilitation programme at the zoo to bring him back to health,
including regular massage and physiotherapy sessions.

….Afghanistan
said an attack on a Kabul hotel that left nine civilians dead,
including an AFP journalist, was planned “outside the country” in a
veiled reference to Pakistan.

The NSC said the attack on the hotel, which was carried out by four
teenage gunmen and claimed by the Taliban, was in fact the work of
“foreign intelligence services” — a phrase normally meant to mean
neighboring Pakistan.

“Witness testimony and preliminary
information analysis shows that this terrorist attack was directly
executed or carried out by foreign intelligence services outside the
country,” the council said in a statement.

“Another information
of the NDS (National Directorate of Security) shows that earlier when
one Pakistani diplomat entered the Kabul-Serena hotel to use its sport
club, he filmed the corridors of the hotel which the hotel staff raised
objections to,” it added.

The victims of Thursday’s attack included AFP
journalist Sardar Ahmad, his wife and two of their three children,
along
with another Afghan and four foreigners — two Canadians, an American
and a Paraguayan. The couple’s youngest son, two-year-old
Abozar, survived with bullet wounds to the head, chest and leg and
remained in intensive care today.

Afghanistan made a similar
allegation following a deadly restaurant bombing in Kabul in January
that killed 21 people including 13 foreigners.

regards

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The Dalits need no religion

Behenji (dear sister) Mayawati hates (justifiably) the Hindu caste system with every fiber of her body.

The famous slogan of Kanshi Ram (her mentor) was : Tilak, taraju aur talwar, unko maro juthe char (Brahmins, Baniyas and Khatriyas should be given a good kick).

One of the pressing problems facing India (as our overlords see it) is the religious affiliation of the dalits and tribals which will translate into muscle power and as cannon fodder. They are officially listed as (mostly) Hindus.

In Maharashtra a section of dalits have adopted neo-Buddhism (with all the rituals of Hinduism extending to idolatry). The dalit army is named Bhim-Sena after Bhima of Mahabharata who married a dalit lady (Hidimbi) and had a valiant progeny (Ghatot-kacha).

We believe this strategy kills two birds with one stone- it establishes Dalits in the Dharmic sphere and embeds them firmly in the fold of Indian mythology and culture (as the original Indians even). This also achieves a degree of separation with the foreign origin religions/cultures of Islam and Christianity.  

While RSS and other Hindutva organizations may not be pleased by this strategy of subversion there is little they can do about it. And as far as the eager-to-convert emissaries of desert religions are concerned, their talking points dont work against the (supposedly) egalitarian Buddhism. And the foreign origin point is un-answerable. 

Thus just like all forms of carbon will eventually convert into diamond, Buddhism should be the default religion of all Indians. Presumably this is what Mayawati would wish for but for now she needs the Brahmins on board to defeat the pesky Shudras. This is why she has
a (successfully tested) reservations carrot for the upper-caste (economically
backward) folks as well.  It is her own special form of Marxism- class equations merged with caste equations.

In conclusion electoral compulsions has forced Behenji to be a sister for the Tilaks aka Brahmins instead of kicking them into the mud. Another magical aspect of the (bottoms up) social revolution.

BSP
supremo Mayawati on Sunday slammed religious conversion and asked
members of weaker sections, dalits and tribals to change the government
instead of their religions.
“I understand that people from BJP
and RSS visit remote areas of Odisha and persuade adivasis and dalits to
go for reconversion in order to change their living standards. I am
telling you not to change religion, but governments both in the state
and the Centre,” Mayawati told a public meeting.

Stating that
about 50% of Odisha’s population comprised tribals and dalits, Mayawati
said there had been no development of poor people even 65 years after
Independence. She also highlighted the plights of poor people among the
upper caste communities.

Blaming the economic policies of both
Congress led UPA government and previous BJP led NDA regime at the
Centre, she said “while a huge amount of black money is stashed in
foreign banks neither Congress nor BJP had made any effort to bring it
back.”

“If the black money is brought back, most of the
problems faced by the poor, dalits and tribals would be over for all
time to come. But, those in power don’t take such step,” she said.

Holding poverty and unemployment responsible for the growth of left
wing extremism, Mayawati said the Maoist menace would certainly come
down if the government took steps to uplift the poor members of the
society.

She said Odisha remained poor and backward for ages
due to faulty policies of successive governments in the state and the
Centre. “We will fulfill Odisha’s demand of a special category State
status if voted to power in Centre,” Mayawati said.

“We have
reduced poverty in Uttar Pradesh and distributed unutilized government
land to landless people. Same can be done in Odisha and elsewhere,” she
said.

Appealing to people to vote for BSP candidates in the
ensuing twin polls, Mayawati said “we do not have alliance with anyone
in the state. BSP has put candidates in all the 21 Lok Sabha and 147
assembly segments of Odisha.”

On the thin attendance in her
first public meeting here, Mayawati said she was happy that poor people
attended the BSP rally. “We do not bring people by bus or train to show
fake strength. I am happy that so many people attended the meeting
despite scorching heat,” she said.

regards

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Ragini (MMS 2) is a scary good lady

This lady is a disturbingly good, bad-ass actor in a sophisticated role that will tickle your gray cells (you must have heard the joke about enjoying the interviews in Playboy, right?) A nice, low-profile, movie for you and your close friend.

Not recommended as a family movie, but then with the daadis and naanis becoming more and more hip in front of our eyes, who knows?


Failed film director announces a new
project starring a porn star, Sunny Leone (played by Sunny Leone, of
course), in the lead role and an ensemble of TV actors. The film, based
on the story of Ragini whose MMS went viral three years ago, is to be
shot in the same haunted house, Patwardhan Villa, where Ragini’s MMS was
shot. Ragini, since who has since been the inmate of Room No. 26 of a
mental institute, either scratches the walls of her room, or sits on her
bed rocking and mumbling to herself.

Rocks,
Sunny, Rocks’ film writer Satya Kumar (Sahil Prem), a failed novelist
who takes all this chudail business seriously, and the film’s two other
actors, Monali (Sandhya Mridul), a sidey actress in search of the
casting couch, and Maddy (Karan Mehra), a horny TV hero, land up in the
house despite the warning put up by the ASI about staying away from the
area after sunset and before sunrise. 

As the shooting of Rocks’ film
begins, we are in the company of interesting and believable characters.
And while we while we laugh at and with them, we also see a shadow
lurking behind, or the sudden, quiet appearance of a child. We are privy
to much more than them, and that’s part of the thrill.

I haven’t enjoyed getting scared for years like I did today.
 

Director Patel has very cleverly
mounted on screen a script which is packed with jokes, ghatiaya
dialogue, dirty talk and even a female orgasm.

Sunny
Leone has never been used more effectively and sensibly than she has
been used here. And when I say used, I mean in the proper exploitative
way as a hot actress is used in a B-Grade flick.
She gets to wear all
the sexy lingerie you wanted to see her in, and thrusts her stuff
repeatedly. Luckily she’s supported by the very able team of actors,
Sandhya Mridul and Karan Mehra, without whom the film would have been a
big bore.
They make us laugh before the director says bhau!

regards

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(un) Indian mother

India (length and breadth) by bike in (about) a hundred hours.

To all appearances, here is a middle-class, ordinary mother. IMO she should be given a medal for encouraging her boy (who suffered a bike accident and went into coma) to keep following his dreams in the face of extreme adversity (granted it is an exercise in stupidity but still). For India and Indians to grow (and grow up), many more of such mothers will be required.

Congratulations to Manish.
 ….
Raised
in Ranchi, Manish is currently a manager at an MNC in Bangalore. He did
his graduation in commerce from St Xavier’s College, Ranchi in 2000,
and followed it up with an M Com from Marwari College, Ranchi and MCA
from BIT Mesra.

Manish started his east-to-west India
expedition on April 16, 2013 at 10.30 am from Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh
and ended the trip at Koteshwar in Gujarat on April 21 at 5.30 am,

covering a distance of 3,830 km, following the route-map provided by
Limca Book of Records in four days and 19 hours (115 hours). The
previous record was of 119 hours.

He started his expedition of
north-to-south India on May 31, 2013 at 7.30 am from Leh in Jammu &
Kashmir and ended at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on June 4, 2013 at 9 am.

This distance of 3,843 km was covered in four days and 1.5 hours (97.5
hours). He broke the previous record of 102 hours.

The records mean a lot to Manish, he had met with
an accident while riding a bike in 2004 in which he ruptured his spleen
and fractured his knee and collarbone and was in coma for three days.
He said, “I am thankful to my parents who understood that it was an
accident and never discouraged me from getting on a bike thereafter.
Especially my mom, who unlike other mothers, never asked me to refrain
from riding.”

 regards

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The fear of the Ummah

It is interesting to note that while the West has reconciled with the transfer of power to Hindustan it has not yet managed to hand over the baton in “Muslim lands” of Middle East and North Africa (Pakistan included as part of MENA).

If we were inclined to conspiracy theories, we would say it is all about oil. Oil is no doubt important. But what appears to be much more of a determinant is the western fear of facing an united Ummah (which may also capture the West from within). After all this is an old (and familiar) enemy.

The same play-book that was used in India was also put in action in the Middle-East. The Ottomans were deliberately destroyed to remove the (native) power structure in the name of federalism. The Shias have been aligned as being opposed to the Sunnis and vice versa (for the last 1300 years we are told). And now we have  the entire MENA up in flames breathing new life into theories as to why the natives are unfit for self-rule and why the good old, white commonwealth should re-colonize and restore order.

In contrast to the handful of partitions in South Asia we are presently witness to a hundred partitions in MENA with no end in sight (Kurdistan and Eastern Libya are the latest mini-states to take shape). A far-sighted project that has been excellently managed by the best minds in the West.

Ironically (and sadly enough), one effect of these divide and rule games will be the extinction of local, native Christian populations in MENA. The contrast with the Christians in India, even in a future Modi-fied country, seem to prove the point that less western interference is better for the health of eastern populations.

The rise of Gandhi and the demand for Swaraj (independence) was unpleasant for many folks: the British (obviously), the aristocrats (fear of socialism). Even many common Indian folk felt a strong sense of loyalty to the (british) royalty. The British also masterfully neutralized the dominance of Congress by playing one community against the other. Gandhi managed to keep the dalits onside by coming to terms with Ambedkar in 1932, however he would not be able to stop Jogendranath Mandal from locking arms with Jinnah in 1946.  

During WWI (and even afterwards) the British feared a Sikh revolt and Muslim resentment but never a Hindu uprising- Hindus were too weak, passive and divided before Gandhi.

However the Great War (followed by WWII) made independence inevitable.

….
It is easy to see why the Great War
of 1914-1918 is so often seen as the great turning point in India’s modern
history and the moment at which freedom from British rule began to seem
possible. Indeed, we can see at work three great transitions that occurred
almost simultaneously: their cumulative effect was, or so it seemed, to weaken
both the British will to rule and the sources of their power. 

Before 1914, it would have taken a
visionary to imagine the astonishing campaign of satyagraha that Gandhi was
able to orchestrate between 1920 and 1922. The British had acknowledged the
wisdom of drawing more of India’s Anglophone elite into their system of
government by offering very limited representation on the provincial councils.
They were careful not to permit the creation of large popular constituencies
and happy to concede separate electorates to Muslims. 
The Congress deeply
resented the refusal to grant parliamentary government at the centre (the key
demand in their constitution) and the effective exclusion of Indians from the
ranks of the ruling oligarchy, the Indian Civil Ser­vice. But its leaders (with
the exception of Balgangadhar Tilak) rejected an appeal to the masses, and
viewed with horror the recourse to civil disobedience, let alone violence. 
To
later generations, this ultra-cautious appr­o­ach suggested a lack of
commitment to Indian freedom, a lack of nationalist ‘fire’. This verdict is
wrong. What the pre-war leadership grasped was that India could only be united
and free if the nation was built from the top down not the bottom up. That
meant winning control of the legislature and then drawing the masses step by
step into the ‘political nation’. Their model was obvious: it was Gladstonian
liberalism which worked on exactly this principle. In the light of India’s
later history, we might commend their wisdom but regret the impossibility of
their plan ever working.

What the Congress leaders wanted was
for the British to hand over control of the Indian legislature and the civil
service without a struggle, because a struggle would damage the very
institutions they valued so highly as the machinery for nation-building. But
the British were never going to do so, partly because they denied the claim of
the Congress to represent anyone but themselves, partly because they remained
utterly confident in their power to repress any symptoms of political unrest.

Before 1914, therefore, Indian politics was in a form of stalemate. 
The British
had created a small public space in which representative politics could be
practised. But it was carefully ring-fenced and the ‘exit’ closely guarded.
However, almost as soon as the war broke out, the Congress leaders sensed a new
opportunity. India’s loyal response, the dispatch of the Indian army to the
Western Front and the Middle East, would create a political debt that the
British would have to repay.
They needed the vocal support of India’s public
men to rally volunteers to the army and to soothe the resentment that India’s
wartime mobilisation aroused—as prices rose, transport links became strained
and taxes grew heavier. 

There was an old tradition in
Britain’s Indian policy that London would lay down the outlines of any new
constitution for India but leave the details to the experts—the Indian Civil
Service. Montagu decided to take this bull by the horns. He came to India in
1918 to discuss a new constitution with the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, but really
to persuade the Civil Service ‘barons’. Their reaction was cool, their
obstruction Machiavellian. The outcome, much revised and amended, was the
notorious scheme for ‘dyarchy’ in which elected Indian politicians would gain
some limited executive power in the provinces (but not over finance or
security) but none at all at the centre.
After all the promises, it seemed to
the most moderate of Congressmen a bitter betrayal. 
To make matters worse, with
the ‘Rowlatt Act’ the British announced the continuation of the stringent
coercive powers they had employed during the war against those suspected of
treason. To many in the Congress, it seemed the end of the political road.

In fact the Rowlatt Act was
symptomatic of a crucial new factor in the political game. During the war, the
British had been alarmed by the fear of a Sikh conspiracy. But their real cause
for anxiety arose from the fact that they were fighting a war against the
Muslim power in the Middle East (the Ottoman Empire) with an army that
contained many Muslims. To some of the most vocal ‘Young Muslims’ in India,
this war was an outrage. The British reaction was to lock them up.
With the end
of the war, this ill-feeling might have been expected to fade. In fact it grew
worse, much worse. 
This was because the British were determined to break up the
Ottoman empire for good, and to banish the sultan, who was also the Muslim
Caliph or Khalifa, from his historic capital in Istanbul. The spectacle of the
British invasion of the central Islamic lands and their contemptuous treatment
of the greatest Muslim dignitary aroused a furious reaction (and helps to
explain why the British passed the Rowlatt Act). It created a completely new
political climate in India of electrifying possibilities. There was someone on
hand who knew how to exploit them.

Gandhi had returned to India in 1915
to engage in ‘social uplift’. His manifesto, Hind Swaraj, which outlined
a plan for the peaceful rejection of British authority by a moral revolt, had
been promptly banned on publication, and its contents had little appeal to most
active Congressmen. But during the war Gandhi had demonstrated an impressive
capacity to mobilise but also control wider public participation in local
campaigns while avoiding a con­frontation with the British. Thus when he
proposed a large-scale public protest against the indignity of the Rowlatt Act,
many Congressmen sym­p­­athised. The terrible outcome at Amr­­­itsar in April
1919 might have con­firmed the unwisdom of this experim­ent in mass politics.
But Gandhi ski­­l­­fully denounced the immorality of British rule and then
found a new con­stituency. He appealed to Muslims to join the Congress, and
with their sup­port swung the Congress behind his great campaign of
non-cooperation in 1920.

So what difference had the war
really made? The British had been given a fright but the Raj was still there.
To many Congressmen, Gandhi’s new politics had been a terrible failure. The
British comforted themselves that the strange Gandhian moment had passed. Those
masters of the constitutional small print, the Indian Civil Service, set to
work to devise a new political system that would enlarge Indian politics but
disarm Indian nationalism, or at least the Gandhian variety.
Their solution was
federation: devolving most power to the provinces whose political differences
would make all-Indian nationalism a shadow of its Gandhian self, and leave the
British at the centre in command of the army, the rupee and trade —the things
that mattered. 
The Gan­d­h­ians did not give in without a struggle: the second
round of civil disobedience came in 1930-32. But they were hampered by exactly
the force that Gandhi had mobilised in 1920, the sense of a Muslim identity.
Once more the Cong­ress was forced to bite the bullet and ‘work’ the
constitution that the British imposed. The result was a stand-off, for the
Congress proved far more successful at winning provincial votes than the
British expected, and formed most of the new provincial governments in 1937.
But it was far from clear that they would be able to force the British into new
concessions.

On the eve of the Second World
War, even Nehru was doubtful whether Ind­ian independence could come in the
foreseeable future. In the event, he had not long to wait. For all the horrors
of the First World War, it had been a great strategic victory for the British.
Their empire had been made safe. But then World War II inflicted three decisive
defeats on British world power, one in Europe, one in Asia and one on the eco­nomic
front. From these, there was to be no real recovery.
As their world- system
fell apart, they lost control of India. There was never to be the peaceful
transition of which the pre-1914 Con­gress had dreamed. The subcontin­ent still
lives with the consequences.

regards

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“…abundance of everything but …no izzat”

At the end of the day everything boils down to izzat. And izzat is tied up with how your women behave. If the castes inter-mingle the position of the elites become untenable.

During British rule it was clear that the Englishman was the top caste in India. One of the most important ways to preserve their reputation was to never never allow white women to come into contact with the darkies. However World War I created a crisis that was not easily resolved. And ultimately the lost British prestige was the starting point for the movement for independence.

“If you want any French women, there
are plenty here and they are very good looking,” wrote a rather excited young
soldier to a friend in the Punjab. He was not alone. From the first deployment
of the Indian Expeditionary Force to France in 1914, the Indians proved
extremely popular with European ladies and the feeling was often mutual. Their
presence in large numbers (some 90,000 Indians were deployed to the theatre),
their distinctive appearance and good manners made them a magnet for local
women. 
When these same sepoys were invalided to Britain, as many were for
treatment and convalescence, their reception was much the same. In seaside towns
along the south coast, where most of the hospitals for Indians were located,
convalescent sepoys and their Indian carers were objects of fascination for the
English ladies. “Brighton is covered with girls who make a lot of the natives,”
wrote a British hospital orderly to his wife in the spring of 1915, adding
that, “They are to be seen arm in arm with ward servants and are very fond of
coloured people.”

The reaction of the Indians varied.
“The women have no modesty,” wrote Surjan Singh, a patient in Brighton’s
Kitchener Hospital, “but walk with the men who please them most.”
Another
patient declared in a letter to his brother, “There are lots of women to be
had. They write letters to us to come to their house and have food with them,
and that we can get a woman. I am very much confused in mind.” But most had
fewer reservations: “I am very happy in this place,” wrote one Sikh patient,
with obvious enthusiasm.

It goes without saying that the
military authorities were not best pleased with this situation. Foremost in
their minds was the thought that sexual and even romantic relationships between
British women and Indians would dim­inish the izzat—dignity—of the Raj.
Sepoys’
letters referring to the ready availability of white women were usually
censored and, for the same reasons, female English or European nurses were
almost never employed in Indian hospitals in either Britain or France. British
commanders and senior politicians knew well that liaisons between Indian
soldiers and white women could wreck the carefully constructed mythology of
racial distinctiveness.

But British women, in India at
least, were generally beyond the reach of Indian men, for they tended to be of
the “better sort”—the wives of officers and administrators, or perhaps pious
missionaries.
Encountering a white woman who did not fit the constructed image
of the self-disciplined, morally upright memsahib was obviously as much a
revelation to Indians as much as it was a worry for the British elite. 
Most of the women attracted to Indian soldiers in France and Britain were from
the working or lower middle classes. They showed little in the way of prejudice
towards Indians and their familiarity was clearly unsettling to those further
up the social scale.
Commanders feared that this familiarity would undermine
the sedulously constructed barriers and hierarchies that separated troops drawn
from the colonies from white British troops. Moreover, it shook the very
foundations of Empire. Would Indians—indeed those on whom the British
ultimately depended to police their Empire—ever see the British in the same
light again? The mask of racial distinctiveness was slipping forever and
drastic action needed to be taken.

The military authorities in Britain
and France were now determined to do all that they could to prevent
un-trammelled liaisons between Indian soldi­ers and European women.
In the
spring of 1915, the commandant of the Kitch­ener Hospital in Brighton, Colonel
Bruce Seton, ordered all Indian hospital staff to remain within the compound.
The same was true of patients, with the exception of a few convalescent
officers and warrant officers, who were sometimes issued with restricted passes
to visit the town. But as Seton readily acknowledged, the confinement of some
600 Indian patients and staff within the hospital area was “no easy matter”.
The brick walls had to be supplemented with barbed-wire palings and a police
guard was placed around the perimeter. Similar precautions were taken elsewhere
in England and, as far as possible, in France.

These restrictions were deeply resented
by soldiers who had grown accustomed to a measure of freedom. “They do not let
us out to the bazaars,” protested one patient to a comrade in the 40th Pathans.
“They do not let the French or English girls talk to us, nor do they let us
talk to them. The English have become very bad. They have become dogs. 
Our Indian soldiers are very much oppressed, but they can do nothing. There is
abundance of everything but there is no izzat
.”

In one notable case, this anger
found an outlet in violence. An Indian Sub-Assistant Surgeon, who had been
working in a hospital along the coast in Bournemouth, burst into Seton’s office
and attempted to shoot him with his revolver.
He missed and was subjected to
seven years’ rigorous imprisonment. 

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Varanasi- Waterloo of the East

Varanasi is actually the Jerusalem/Mecca of the East- the holiest of holy locales for the Hindus.

Right now however it is the Waterloo analogy that fits. The Napolean of our times calls out the republican guards to be committed  to battle as a last (lost) hope solution- if this does not work, nothing else will.

And in the (upper-caste dominated) battle-fields of Varanasi it will be a face-off between a divine Brahmin (Congress) and a lowly Shudra (BJP). The Shudra is favored to win and has a shot at becoming the next PM. This is how a slow revolution (67 years) looks like.

It would be psychologically traumatic for the Grand Old Party (not to mention hurtful for the top leadership under a brand new leader) to score below 114 (the previous low point 15 years ago in 1999).  

Hence we have Mission 115.

As per our (wild) predictions this is the Congress (and allies) top-line:
Telengana (10), Karnataka (20), Kerala (10), Maharashtra (10), North-East (10). It is doable to get (40) from rest of the nation to get to (100). But beyond this will be difficult and will require lots of luck.

A lot will depend critically on the muslim block vote, going by the experience of Delhi, the old generation will probably stay loyal, however it will be grim news if the young muslims abandon the party in favor of the AAP in urban areas (and BSP is rural ones).


The
Congress has rolled out its heavy artillery to salvage as many seats in
what threatens to be its toughest election in recent times and dodge
what is considered to be a serious risk of party posting its lowest ever
score.


Sources said that the decision to persuade its
reluctant leaders to take the field was a deliberate one, influenced by
party’s desire not to slump below its 1999 tally of 114 — its worst-ever
LS election tally.

The party has nominated its senior leaders,
former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad,and
senior party functionary Ambika Soni.

Amarinder Singh , put on
combat fatigues by dubbing Arun Jaitley, his BJP rival in Amritsar as
“outsider”. However, the former Punjab CM was not very keen to enter the
fray, and tried to bat aside suggestions that he contest by saying that
he could do so only at the cost of the prospects of his spouse,
minister of state for foreign affairs , Parineet Kaur, in her Patiala
constituency.

Union health minister Azad was also not
enthusiastic about putting on war paint ,but changed his stance because
of the promise of the J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah to transfer
votes of National Conference in Udhampur . Party’s assessment that the
candidates of both BJP and PDP in Udhampur were ‘weak” also helped Azad
summon the nerve.

The party brought in Soni as a replacement
for Ravneet Singh Bittu who was adjudged to be “extremely vulnerable”
because of high level of incumbency against him.

Anxious to
duck the threat of crashing to its lowest score, party had to cajole a
number of party leaders in Rajasthan to enter the ring, although the
persuasion was of no avail in the case of finance minister P Chidambaram
who vacated his Sivganga seat in Tamil Nadu for his son.

“The political and psychological consequences of folding up below 114 can be debilitating”, acknowledged a party source.

Meanwhile deliberations in the party over who should be its candidate
against BJP’s PM candidate in Varanasi continues.
Party sources said
that the choice could be between party general secretary Digvijaya Singh
and known Brahmin face, Pramod Tiwarii, Rita Bahughuna Joshi or a local
choice.
 
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