Coastal Leader for a prosperous India

By Brown Pundits Archive 1 Comment
So far Indian leaders have been almost always from up north (as far north as Kashmir), far away from the coast and with little understanding of coastal people and their lives (and livelihoods). Even PV Narasimha Rao was a Brahmin from Karimnagar, Telengana, which does not have a coastal (read: trader) ethos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Heart-bleed cyclone devastates Mums (and babies)

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Avoid the Internet if you can. Keep changing your passwords on a daily basis. Be prepared for the worst.
parenting website Mumsnet is the latest organization to have been
hacked due to the “Heartbleed” bug, founder Justine Roberts revealed on

“Last week we became aware of the Heartbleed bug and
immediately applied a fix to close the OpenSSL security hole,” she said
in a statement.

“However, it became apparent that users’ data submitted via our login page had been accessed prior to our applying this fix.”

All 1.5 million registered users were asked to change their passwords,
and Roberts did not know how many users had had data stolen. “The worst case scenario is that the data of every Mumsnet user account was accessed,” she said.

“It is possible that this information could then have been used to log
in as you and give access to your posting history, your personal
messages and your personal profile, although we should say that we have
seen no evidence of anyone’s account being used for anything other than
to flag up the security breach.”

The website offers users a forum in which parents can ask for, and pass on, advice about bringing up children.

Officials in Ottawa on Monday announced personal data for as many as
900 Canadian taxpayers had been stolen after being made vulnerable by
the bug.

The recently-discovered flaw in online-data scrambling
software OpenSSL allows hackers to eavesdrop on online communications,
steal data, impersonate websites and unlock encrypted data.

Computer security specialists, website masters and others became aware
last week of problems posed by the “Heartbleed” bug after several
reports of hacking. 




NDTV projects clear majority for NDA!!!

The Mod-memtum is gaining speed if opinion polls are anything to go by, and now we have a prediction for majority, as the alliances have been firmed up. We remain unconvinced (200-230 is our estimate).

We do have one wish- whatever govt formation takes place, Mamata Banerjee must not be part of it (Trinamool is predicted  to be the second largest party). She needs to learn how to govern responsibly (without taking recourse to blackmail) first.

the first time in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, a poll on Monday
predicted a clear majority for any pre-poll alliance with NDTV
projecting that NDA would get 275 seats in the 543-member House. This is
16 seats more than the poll had predicted last month.


BJP on
its own would win 226 seats — the highest tally ever for the party and
the best by any party since 1991, the poll done by Hansa Research
estimated. UPA would win just 111 seats, with Congress sinking to its
lowest-ever tally of 92 seats, it said.


NDA’s projected win is
based on impressive gains over 2009 in UP (an increase of 41 seats),
Maharashtra (17), Rajasthan (17), Bihar (12), Andhra Pradesh (12) and
Madhya Pradesh (10). In these six states, it stands to gain 109 seats.
In most other states too, NDA is projected to gain, though by more
modest numbers.


The only major states in which the NDA could do worse than five years
ago are Karnataka (a loss of seven seats), Chhattisgarh (two) and West
Bengal (one), according to the latest NDTV poll.


In contrast,
the UPA is predicted to lose seats vis-a-vis 2009 in almost every major
state, with Andhra Pradesh being the worst case, where the Congress
tally could drop from 33 five years ago to just six this time.


Barring Karnataka and Chhattisgarh, the only states where the UPA stands
to gain are Assam (a gain of two seats) and Bihar, where a gain of six
is really only because RJD is now part of the alliance, unlike in 2009.


The largest parties after BJP and Congress would be Trinamool with 30
seats, AIADMK with 22, SP with 14 and BJD with 13. DMK, with its allies,
is likely to win 14 seats and the Left 22. AAP is projected to win just
one seat in Delhi and none elsewhere, at least in the states for which
details were available, which included all those with seven seats or



$70 Bil (from coolies) for Motherland

Kaushik Basu (Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank) is mighty pleased that India tops the global remittances list. It is remarkable that this $70 Bil grant exceeds India’s software exports figure ($65 Bil).

It is indeed the single best possible anti-dote to poverty that our socialist rulers can envisage. Why not create better opportunities for these folks at home who are essentially slaves abroad? That is a bridge too far for our visionaries.

“Billions from Coolies” is a life-line for other SAsian countries as well (Pak #7, Bangla #8 on the list). 

What appears to be a bit sinister is that Bangladesh’s receipts declined year on year. It is possible that the lovely GCC nations are punishing Bangla via excessive deportations etc. in response to Awami League’s war against the Jamaatis. Since the strangulation of BNP/Jamaat is probably supported (instigated) by India, the least India can do is to try and make up for this loss of “revenue.”

Having received $70 billion in 2013, India has topped the list of countries receiving remittances from overseas workers, the World Bank said today.

The World Bank’s latest issue of the Migration and Development Brief,
said international migrants from developing countries are expected to
send $436 billion in remittances to their home countries this year

In 2014, remittance flows to developing countries will see an
increase of 7.8 per cent over the 2013 volume of $404 billion, rising to
$516 billion in 2016.

Global remittances,
including those to high-income countries, are estimated at $581 billion
this year, from $542 billion in 2013, rising to $681 billion in 2016.

“Remittances have become a major component of the balance of payments
of nations. India led the chart of remittance flows, receiving $70
billion last year (2013), followed by China with $60 billion and the Philippines with $25 billion,” said Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank.

India had received $69 billion in remittances in 2012. Basu said there
was no doubt that these flows act as an antidote to poverty and promote
prosperity. In
India, remittances during 2013 were $70 billion, more than the $65
billion earned from the country’s flagship software services exports,
the World Bank said.

The depreciation of the Indian rupee during 2013 appears to have
attracted inflows through a surge in the deposits of non-resident
Indians rather than remittances, the World Bank said.

The bank
said growth in remittances to the South Asia region has slowed, rising
by a modest 2.3 per cent to USD 111 billion in 2013, compared with an
average annual increase of more than 13 per cent during the previous
three years.

The slowdown was driven by a marginal increase in
India of 1.7 percent in 2013, and a decline in Bangladesh of 2.4
percent, the bank said.”In Bangladesh, the fall in remittances stems
from a combination of factors, including fewer migrants finding jobs in
the GCC countries, more migrants returning from GCC countries due to
departures and deportations, and the appreciation of the Bangladeshi
taka against the US dollar,” the bank said.

Still, some rebound
is projected in the coming years, with remittances across the region
forecast to grow to USD 136 billion in 2016, the World Bank said.

addition to the top three, India, China and the Philippines, other main
receivers of remittances were Mexico (USD 22 billion), Nigeria (USD 21
billion), Egypt (USD 17 billion), Pakistan (USD 15 billion), Bangladesh
(USD 14 billion), Vietnam (USD 11 billion) and Ukraine (USD 10 billion).


terms of remittances as a share of GDP, the top recipients were
Tajikistan (52 percent), Kyrgyz Republic (31 percent), Nepal and Moldova
(both 25 percent), Samoa and Lesotho (both 23 percent), Armenia and
Haiti (both 21 percent), Liberia (20 percent) and Kosovo (17 percent).




Sikhs (15th Ludhiana infantry) save Sahibs

In all the talk we hear about how advantageous it was for India to have been a British colony (no one doubts that) we never hear how Britain benefited enormously from having an Indian colony- as it marched to victory in the World Wars on the back of Indian soldiers. There will be no reparations but even a few words of gratitude (and a few paragraphs in British history books) is still better than nothing.


Indian soldier, immortalized by his act of selfless heroism and valor
while fighting for the British armed forces in World War I has come in
for heavy praise from UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

has also floated the proposal that British children must be taught “in
the years to come about the role that the 1.2 million soldiers from the
Indian subcontinent played in World War I”.

The soldier Cameron
was referring to was Manta Singh, who served with the 15th Ludhiana
Sikhs, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army who was seriously injured
during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915 – one that saw a
large number of casualties for the Indian Army – over 4000 in just three

During the battle, Manta Singh witnessed an English
comrade Captain Henderson who had suffered. Singh himself was hit by
machine gunfire in his left leg but that didn’t stop him from rescuing
his fellow officer Captain Henderson. Manta pushed him to safety in a
wheelbarrow he found in no-man’s land.

Singh and his wounded
comrades were later shipped to Brighton’s Royal Pavilion which was
turned into a hospital for Indian soldiers. Here, his wounds
became infected with gangrene. He was told his legs would have to be
amputated to save his life, a thought which filled him with despair. He died from blood poisoning a few weeks later.

Remembering the soldier, Cameron said “This year, as we commemorate the
100th anniversary of WW1, it is also perhaps worth saying something
specific about how British Sikhs have served in our armed forces with so
much devotion, bravery and courage over so many years”.

Cameron added “Stories like that of Manta Singh, who fought at The
Battle of Neuve Chapelle, that massive battle on the Western Front in
1915, and when his English colleague was wounded alongside him, he
picked him up, carried him, took him to the dressing station while being
wounded himself, and then sadly, tragically died afterwards. Stories of
heroism, stories of valor – the Sikhs have always had this
extraordinary courage and bravery, and it’s been demonstrated so often
in the British Armed Forces”.

Interestingly Manta Singh and the
injured man he rescued, Captain Henderson, had become firm friends as
well as brothers in arms.

When Manta Singh died, Henderson
ensured that Singh’s son Assa, was taken care of. He encouraged him to
join the Sikh Regiment too. Throughout the Second World War, Assa Singh
and Henderson’s son, Robert served together, in France, Italy and North

To this day, the Singh and Henderson families remain close friends.

Assa and Robert have passed away but their sons Jaimal and Ian are in regular contact.

Singh was born in 1870 near Jalandhar and as soon as he left school he joined the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs.

At the start of WW1, the regiment was sent to reinforce the British
Expeditionary Force fighting in France. By late autumn of 1914, one in
every three soldiers under British command in France was from India.
After long months of trench warfare, in March 1915, Manta Singh’s
regiment prepared to engage in the first major British offensive on the
Western Front, the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle. Half of the Commonwealth fighting force, 20,000 men were Indian Army soldiers.

General John French, commander-in-chief of the BEF in France at this
time, planned to take the village of Neuve-Chapelle, which formed a
German salient (bulge) in the British line.

On March 10, four
divisions, comprising 40,000 men, gathered on a sector of the front
which was only three kilometres wide. The infantry attack was preceded
by heavy but concentrated shelling from 342 guns. In 35 minutes, the
bombardment consumed more shells than the British Army used in the whole
of the Boer War 15 years earlier.

While the British and the
Indian Corps advanced rapidly through the lightly-defended village, the
Garhwal Rifles suffered heavy losses as they attacked a part of the
German line left untouched by the bombardment.

After an initial
success, in a matter of hours, the British became paralyzed by poor
communications and a lack of munitions, and their advance ground to a

It was in this chaotic field of battle that the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs fought.

Records say “Fighting ceased on March 13 with British gains limited to
an area two kilometres deep and three kilometres wide for a loss of
7,000 British and 4,200 Indian soldiers, either killed or wounded. The
Germans suffered similar losses and 1,700 of their soldiers had been
taken prisoner”.




Desert ports (Singapore dreams)

Duqm, Chabahar, Gwadar….all are desert ports of tremendous significance (maybe).

Duqm, Oman may be the American firing post in response to the Chinese held Gwadar.
The advantage for the Americans is that Oman is stable while Baluchistan is not (even if a People’s Liberation Army base comes up in Gwadar).  

India under Modi-raj will probably be friendly with Oman as well as Iran. The proposed access point to Afghanistan and Central Asia will be via the Chabahar port, right next to Gwadar).  

There is also a plan for a deep-sea pipeline between Iran and India. USA may not object to Indo-Iran links since there is a strong lobby which wants normalization between Tehran and Washington.

On Friday, India opened formal talks on a deep-sea gas pipeline with both Iran and Oman. Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khrushid met Omani
Foreign Minister Yousif bin Alawai bin Abdullah and Iranian Foreign
Minister Javad Zarif. The project, which is being discussed for the
first time at this high of a level, is expected to cost around $5
billion. The deep sea pipeline would be an alternative for India to the
proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline
which ran into several
complications after Pakistan failed to meet its obligations in a timely


Afghan foreign ministry officials announced that a memorandum of
understanding for the road transit of goods will be signed among Iran,
India and Afghanistan in May (2014).
“The draft of this MoU has been finalized and it will be signed by
Afghanistan, Iran and India within a month,” Afghan Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Shakib Mostaghni said in his weekly press conference on

Iran’s Chabahar Port, located 72 kilometers (44 miles) West of
Pakistan’s Gwadar port, holds immense strategic and economic
significance for India.

The Indian diplomat said the capital investment initially envisaged
for the construction of a container terminal in Chabahar stands at
$147mln. India’s interest in the Iranian port is not only to get a direct
access to Central Asia but also to facilitate import of minerals from
Afghanistan, Khurshid said in the Afghan city of Kandahar.

High-ranking U.S. defense officials, military and civilian, have been
visiting Oman and particularly Duqm of late.
A few years ago, Duqm was
just a blank spot on the map, facing the sea on a vast and empty
coastline with its back to the desert. Now, $2 billion has been invested
to build miles and miles of quays, dry docks, roads, an airfield and
By the time Duqm evolves into a full-fledged city-state, $60
billion will have been spent, officials told me during a visit I made
there — a visit sponsored by the government of Oman.

Duqm is a completely artificial development that aims to be not a
media, cultural or entertainment center like Doha or Dubai, but a
sterile and artificially engineered logistical supply chain city of the
21st century,
whose basis of existence will be purely geographical and
geopolitical. Duqm has little history behind it; it will be all about
trade and business. If you look at the map, Duqm lies safely outside the
increasingly vulnerable and conflict-prone Persian Gulf, but close
enough to take advantage of the Gulf’s energy logistics trail.
It is
also midway across the Arabian Sea, between the growing middle classes
of India and East Africa.

To spur development, Duqm will have a new legal framework and will
feature 100 percent foreign ownership of local businesses.
companies that invest here will enjoy tax-free status and the ability to
operate without currency restrictions, I was told.

Duqm’s biggest advantage for the Americans is that Oman has been for
decades among the most stable, well governed and least oppressive states
in the Greater Middle East — whereas the problem the Chinese have in
Gwadar is that Pakistan is among the least stable and worst governed
states in the Greater Middle East.
Strategic geography for a port
requires not just an advantageous location vis-a-vis the sea, but
vis-a-vis land, too. And it is road, rail and pipeline connections from
Omani ports outside the Persian Gulf — Salalah and Sohar, as well as
Duqm — to ports inside the Gulf, from Dubai to Kuwait, that potentially
make this place so attractive.

If Duqm succeeds — still a big “if” — it will become a great place
name of the 21st century, just as Aden was in the 19th and Singapore was
in the 20th.
Given continued demographic growth and the theoretical
prospect for economic dynamism in India and East Africa — even as
Europe hovers around zero population growth with stagnant,
over-regulated economies — the Indian Ocean, as I have been writing for
years, could become the geopolitical nerve center of postmodern times.
Duqm constitutes a multibillion-dollar bet that I am right.


Modi-Mao: may a thousand shakhas bloom

Forget the elections, this is the true Modi effect: 2000 shakhas in 3 months!!!

As we have noted before, polarization is not good for the country and never good for the Aam Aadmi.
The zealots who presumably suffer from Islam-envy seem all too ready to commit us to a Taliban asylum.
….. For
the last three months, Ravi Tewari, a 22-year-old engineering student,
has been waking up at 5am, putting on his white shirt and khaki shorts
and rushing to a nearby park for the morning shakha of Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).


His family is surprised. No one in the Tewari
clan has ever been with RSS. So, the family can’t quite figure what is
driving Ravi to adopt this punishing morning drill.


“I believe
in Hindutva,” says Ravi. “The country needs reforms. Who other than
Narendra Modi can make it happen? The youth needs something to look
forward to. They also need to take up more responsibilities to change
things and the shakha is the best place to learn how to do it.”

Ravi speaks with a sense of purpose that only a new convert can have.
He had never dabbled in politics before he joined ABVP, BJP’s student
wing, a few months ago. And there are thousands like him, he says,
neo-converts who have breathed new life into RSS after Modi was named
the BJP’s PM candidate on September 13 last year.

Suddenly, the
organization which was becoming moribund and seen to be out of tune
with the times, is growing. In less than three months, more than 2,000
shakhas have sprouted across the country. By the end of 2013, there were
44,982 shakhas in India, of which 8,417 were in UP alone.

numbers had peaked in 2004, when there were around 51,000 functioning
shakhas. They shrunk during the UPA tenure, hitting a low of 39,283
shakhas in 2010. But as scams broke out, and UPA 2 went from one low to
another, there was again a renewed, interest in shakhas, with a sudden
burst in post-Modi months.



Losing my (muslim) religion (voting for BJP)

A very significant question and an (surprisingly to us) enlightened response from Darul Uloom Deoband.

As per Sunita Aaron there is a problem due to manipulative maulanas causing mass confusion amongst the faithful by not speaking in one voice (surely an impossible task).

Reading the report between the lines and it is clear that the main cause for alarm is the wide-as-Ganga division between Shias and Sunnis. In places like Varanasi, the BJP (and specifically Modi) is expected to significantly benefit from Shia votes against Sunni acts of (petty) discrimination.
The Hindustan Times Correspondent in Lucknow Sunita Aaron says in an
analysis published on Sunday that the maulanas have had their share of
spreading confusion among the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere,
and this will inevitably help the BJP in the elections. Have the
religious clerics bargained a quid pro quo?

In 2008, says Aaron,
one of the world’s biggest and influential Islamic seminaries, Darul
Uloom Deoband, which doesn’t entertain politicians, issued a fatwa that
said India is a democratic and secular country, whose electoral politics
can’t be assessed on the basis of Islamic scriptures.

method would bring nothing except disturbance and confusion. However,
one should vote for parties and leaders best suited for both Muslims and
the country,” the fatwa said, in reply to questions ranging from
whether one should vote for a criminal politician to whether a Muslim
loses his faith if he votes for BJP.

Clerics at Lucknow’s Darul
Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, another internationally renowned centre of Islamic
studies which receives politicians of all hues without rallying behind
them, has also resisted voicing partisan opinions about elections.

to the seemingly neutral position of these seminaries, Shahi Imam of
Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari recently urged Muslims to vote
for the Congress, saying it will “strengthen secularism”. He also
expressed support for Mamata Banerjee and Congress’ ally Lalu Prasad.

brother Yahya Bukhari, on the other hand, described Congress as a
“hidden enemy” under whose rule Muslims had to suffer several riots.
Influential Shia cleric Kalbe Jawad declared a vote for the Congress
meant “betraying Islam”.

Many Muslims feel that by endorsing
parties, often invoking religion, mullahs are not only dividing the
community but helping the politicians they intend to fight.

Rizwan Husain, an academic based in Aligarh, after casting his vote
posted on his Facebook account: “As theologians, mullahs should not
become political educators. We urge them not to confuse Muslim masses
with their political fatwas. Auctioning, bartering and selling Muslim
vote for personal gain is not an act of piety.”

The academic’s
remarks that such fatwas end up confusing voters appear apt, as reports
coming out of communally polarised west UP confirm the divergent
statements by Muslim clerics ahead of the polls divided Muslim voters
sharply, rather than uniting them as a bloc that votes tactically.

and I have just returned after casting our votes. It feels as if it is a
referendum vote on ‘Modi sarkar’. The Muslim vote, however, seems
divided because of varying endorsements of candidates by Shia and Sunni
clerics,” said another Facebook post.

Dr Mustafa Kamal Sherwani,
head of the department of law at Shia College in Lucknow, too blames
maulanas for the division of Muslim votes in the first phase of Lok
Sabha election in UP.

He said many of his Hindu friends had told
him BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s rise had been helped
by “unwarranted reactions of maulanas”.

Although Muslims have a
strong presence only in 46 of 545 seats in Parliament, they can
influence the outcome of elections in more seats.




By Brown Pundits Archive 2 Comments
Mouth-watering Persian recipes from Sabrina Ghayour.
Following the book reviews for Persiana, we conclude that it is one of the best (primarily because we are fan of no-frills cooking).

Here is our recommendation: try and follow any one of her simple recipes, put out the candles for dinner and bring out the smiles in your significant other. Remember: everyday is Valentine’s day!!!

The walls of Sabrina Ghayour’s Earl’s Court flat are lined with family
photographs and Persian poetry. Ghayour and her mother have lived here
for 36 years and it’s where she began hosting supper clubs two years
ago. “I was worried my diners would think the poems were terrorist
scriptures,” she says. “I fretted too much about what people would think
of me back then.”

When we meet, Ghayour, 38, is preparing a family feast to celebrate
the Persian New Year, an occasion that coincides with her publisher
sending over the first copy of her debut cookbook Persiana.
Filled with 100 recipes she’s refined over the years, it also draws on a
childhood spent in the kitchen: “I was precocious,” she says. “My mum
and grandmother couldn’t cook for toffee – so at 11 years old, I became
the cook.” 

There’s a photo in Persiana of Ghayour, aged six,
stirring a pot with a wooden spoon as long as her arm: “That was the
first time I ever cooked – boil-in-the-bag cod mornay.”

Born in
Tehran, Ghayour moved to London in 1979 at the beginning of the Iranian
revolution. “We were lucky,” she says. “My mother had been studying in
the UK and had this flat.” Her parents separated around the same time,
her father moving to Los Angeles with his new wife, while Ghayour, her
mother and grandmother settled in west London. “My mum had me when she
was 20, so we’ve always been more like sisters, and I was very close to
my grandmother – we shared a room.”

After school she spent 15 years working in events and marketing for restaurateurs, including Ken Hom,
as well as corporate catering in the City of London. Made redundant in
2011, around the time of Thomas Keller’s £250-a-head pop-up version of
The French Laundry in Harrods, Ghayour half-joked on Twitter about doing
her own, The French Launderette,
for £2.50. Within hours – still via Twitter – she had more than 30
bookings. “I was offered the use of a restaurant on a Sunday, when it
was closed, and ingredients – meat, fish, wine. Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social team offered to do my front of house.”

the end Ghayour served 80 people, raising £4,000 for Action Against
Hunger. Since then she’s been hosting up to three supper clubs a week,
as well as taking private cheffing jobs and teaching Persian cookery:
“It’s exhausting, but I am constantly aware of how lucky I am. I was
never a chef, just the dorky events girl that loved food.”




Problem solved: 500 rapists, 499 innocent

No mercy for rapists, constitutional protections be damned. Only the French can take such drastic action and get away with it.

You can say no to DNA testing but that would make you an automatic suspect and the police will remand you to custody where you have no choice but to submit to DNA testing!!!!

So here is the question. Even if we believe the authorities that the DNA of the innocent kids will be eventually destroyed, what happens if in real-time there is some match for some other crime. I am sure the chance to check and verify will prove to be irresistible.
than 500 male students and staff were to give DNA samples in an
unprecedented operation launched on Monday to uncover who raped a
16-year-old girl in the toilets of a French school.

operation, a first for a French school, has raised concerns over rights
violations after prosecutors said anyone refusing to submit a sample
would be considered a potential suspect.

The collection of
samples began as students arrived for morning classes at the
Fenelon-Notre Dame high school, a private Catholic school in the
southwestern Atlantic port city of La Rochelle. It was expected
to take until Wednesday for the samples to be collected from 475
students, 31 teachers and 21 other staff on site at the time of the

The girl was raped in a toilet at the school on September
30. The lights in the toilet had been turned off and the girl has not
been able to identify her attacker.

Authorities said samples that do not match the DNA found on the victim will be destroyed.

“We must have the consent of both the parents and the minor,” said
Isabelle Pagenelle, the prosecutor of La Rochelle, “but those who say no
will become potential suspects who could be taken into custody.”

Prosecutors said they had decided to go ahead with the mass DNA tests after several months of investigation proved fruitless.

But some have condemned the move as a clear violation of civil rights.

“Refusing to give a DNA sample when not in custody is a right,”
prominent defence lawyer Joseph Cohen-Sabban told newspaper Le Figaro. “It’s ludicrous! They want to decide on taking someone into custody
based on that person exercising their rights,” he said. “Then, once in
custody, it’s against the law to refuse to give a DNA sample… This is a
truly unacceptable abuse of process.”