Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chinese Strategist Argues for India's Disintegration

Given the many ethnic, regional, religious and caste fault lines running through the length and breadth of India, there have long been questions raised about India's identity as a nation. Speaking about it last April, the US South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Brookings Institution said, " But there is no all-Indian Hindu identity—India is riven by caste and linguistic differences, and Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar are more relevant rallying points for more Indians than any Hindu caste or sect, let alone the Sanskritized Hindi that is officially promulgated".

Now, in a report written by strategist Zhan Lue of the China International Institute of Strategic Studies in July, the author argues that a fragmented India would be in China's best interest, and would also lead to prosperity in the region. The report proposes dividing the country into thirty independent states.

The Times of India quotes it as saying that Beijing "should work towards the the break-up of India into 20-30 independent states with the help of friendly countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan".

On the surface, Lue's proposed strategy appears to be a natural response to the burgeoning India-US ties that the US expects to use as a counterweight to the growing power and influence of China in Asia and the rest of the world.

The writer proposes that China, in its own interest and the progress of Asia, should join forces with different nationalities within India like the Assamese, Bengalis, Naxalites, Marathis, Punjabis, Tamils, and the occupied Kashmiris and support all of them in establishing independent nation-States of their own, out of India. In particular, the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam) in Assam, a territory neighboring China, can be helped by China so that Assam realizes its national independence.

According to the article, if India today relies on anything for unity, it is the Hindu religion. The emergence of a republic of India in 1947 was based on religion [the Hindus were a majority so they should rule.] The Chinese strategist wrote that India could only be described today as a 'Hindu religious state'.

Adding that Hinduism is a decadent religion as it allows caste exploitation and is unhelpful to the country's modernization, the report described the Indian government as one in a dilemma with regard to eradication of the caste system as it realizes that the process to do away with castes may shake the foundation of the consciousness of the Indian nation.

Does Lord Meghnad Desai's question "A country of many nations, will India break up" raised in his latest book "The Raisina Model" make any sense? Why would India break up? What are the challenges to India's unity? Is there an identity crisis in India? Is it the power imbalance among Indian states? Is it growing income disparity among peoples and states? Is it religious, ethnic, caste and/or regional fault lines running through the length and breadth of India? Is it beef ban?

Growing Income Gap of Indian States. Source: Bloomberg

How did Democrat Doug Jones' pull off a win in the US Senate race in deep red Alabama? Did the allegations of sexual harassment against Republican Roy Moore play a big role? Or was it the heavy turn out of black voters that overwhelmed the vast majority of white voters (65% of white women, 74% of white men) who voted for Roy Moore? Would the result have been different if more women voted for Moore? Does it save considerable embarrassment for the Senate Republicans to see an openly racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, pedophile Judge Rpy Moore lose in a state in the Deep South?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Disintegration of India

Dalit Death Shines Light on India's Caste Apartheid

US Hypocrisy in Dr. Afridi Case

Who Killed Sabeen Mahmud?

Trump's Dog Whistle Politics

Funding of Hate Groups, NGOs, Think Tanks: Is Money Free Speech?

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

The Chinese think tank report has been angrily dismissed by the Indian Foreign Ministry, according to the BBC.

Prior to this report, there was an article in Forbes magazine issue of March 4, 2002, by Steve Forbes titled "India, Meet Austria-Hungary" which expressed similar views by comparing India with the now defunct Austria-Hungary. Here is the text of that article:

Influential elements in India's government and military are still itching to go to war with Pakistan, even though Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has taken considerable political risks by moving against Pakistani-based-and-trained anti-India terrorist groups. Sure, Musharraf made a truculent speech condemning India's ``occupation'' of Kashmir, but that was rhetorical cover for cracking down on those groups. Washington should send New Delhi some history books for these hotheads; there is no human activity more prone to unintended consequences than warfare. As cooler heads in the Indian government well know, history is riddled with examples of parties that initiated hostilities in the belief that conflict would resolutely resolve outstanding issues.

Pericles of Athens thought he could deal with rival Sparta once and for all when he triggered the Peloponnesian War; instead his city-state was undermined and Greek civilization devastated.

Similarly, Hannibal brilliantly attacked Rome; he ended up not only losing the conflict but also setting off a train of events that ultimately led to the total destruction of Carthage. Prussia smashed France in 1870, annexing critical French territory for security reasons, but that sowed the seeds for the First World War. At the end of World War I the victorious Allies thought they had dealt decisively with German military power. Israel crushed its Arab foes in 1967, but long-term peace did not follow.

India is not a homogeneous state. Neither was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It attacked Serbia in the summer of 1914 in the hopes of destroying this irritating state after Serbia had committed a spectacular terrorist act against the Hapsburg monarchy. The empire ended up splintering, and the Hapsburgs lost their throne. And on it goes.

Getting back to the present, do Indian war hawks believe China will stand idly by as India tried to reduce Pakistan to vassal-state status? Do they think Arab states and Iran won't fund Muslim guerrilla movements in Pakistan, as well as in India itself? Where does New Delhi think its oil comes from (about 70%, mainly from the Middle East)? Does India think the U.S. will stand by impotently if it starts a war that unleashes nuclear weapons?

In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln summed up the unpredictable consequences of war, vis-ë-vis America's Civil War: "Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained....... Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding."

While cracking down on anti-India terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, Islamabad can take the wind out of Indian war sails by turning over the arrested terrorists who carried out murderous acts in Kashmir and New Delhi. It can turn them over not to India --which would be political suicide domestically--but to The Hague for investigation and trial by an international tribunal. India's moral case would then evaporate.

Here's India's friend Tarek Fatah calling for India's dissolution into multiple nations:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

BBC report

India, Meet Austria-Hungary by Steve Forbes

Challenges for India's Democracy

July Vacation in Beijing

Violence Against Indian Christians

Vito Corleone: Metaphor for Uncle Sam Today?

A Chinese View of Crisis in Pakistan


Anonymous said...

wishful thinking of moron of china. Going by the argument of yours that india could not do anything to pakistan becuase it has nuke, the same thing applies to that of china with regard to india.

Further i think, fool never learn from other mistake.

Whoever including US started this project of dis-integration has effectively hit back for example it is taliban, sadam etc...

Further on the backyard of china, it is the iron hand which is keeping the inner variants like muslim and buddhist liberals. When the iron hand falls for whatever reason it will see the fate of USSR.

Further their new found wealth will be sheets of tissue paper in future taking into account the rate of deficit and monetization that is being done by USA.

US did this to japan in 1980 and walked away with murder. It will do the same to china with china having piles of currency to be used as tissue paper.

Anonymous said...

Latest trends alert on usa which was earlier planning these concepts of break aways. The wealth and power has not stayed with them for more than a century

The “Second American Revolution” Has Begun
KINGSTON, NY, 12 August 2009 — The natives are restless. The third shot of the “Second American Revolution” has been fired. History is being made. But just as with the first two shots, the third shot is not being heard.

America is seething. Not since the Civil War has anything like this happened. But the protests are either being intentionally downplayed or ignorantly misinterpreted.

The first shot was fired on April 15, 2009. Over 700 anti-tax rallies and “Tea Parties” erupted nationwide. Rather than acknowledge their significance, the general media either ignored or ridiculed both protests and protestors, playing on “tea bagging” for its sexual innuendo.

Initially President Obama said he was unaware of the tea parties. The White House later warned they could “mutate” into something “unhealthy.”

Shot #2 was fired on the Fourth of July, when throngs of citizens across the nation gathered to again protest “taxation without representation.” And as before, the demonstrations were branded right-wing mischief and dismissed.

The third volley, fired in early August, was aimed point blank at Senators and House members pitching President Obama’s health care reform package to constituents. In fiery town hall meetings, enraged citizens shouted down their elected representatives. It took a strong police presence and/or burly bodyguards to preserve a safe physical space between the politicians and irate townspeople.

The White House and the media have labeled protestors “conservative fringe elements,” or as players in staged events organized by Republican operatives that have been egged on by Fox news and right-wing radio show hosts.

In regard to this latest wave of outbursts, health industry interests opposed to any reform are also being blamed for inciting the public. But organized or spontaneous is not the issue. While most protestors exhibit little grasp of the complex 1000 page health care reform document (that nary a legislator has read either), their emotion is clearly real and un-staged.

Rightly or wrongly, the legislation is regarded as yet another straw on the already overloaded camel’s back. A series of gigantic, unpopular government-imposed (but taxpayer-financed) bailouts, buyouts, rescue and stimulus packages have been stuffed down the gullet of Americans. With no public platform to voice their opposition, options for citizens have been limited to fruitless petitions, e-mails and phone calls to Congress … all fielded by anonymous staff underlings.

Now, with Congress in recess and elected representatives less than a stone’s throw away, the public is exploding. The devil is not in the details of the heath care reform, the devil is the government mandating health care. Regardless of how the plan is pitched or what is being promised, to the public the legislation is yet another instance of big government taking another piece out of their lives and making them pay for it; again telling them what they can or cannot do.

Though in its early stages, the “Second American Revolution” is underway. Yet, what we forecast will become the most profound political trend of the century – the trend that will change the world – is still invisible to the same experts, authorities and pundits who didn’t see the financial crisis coming until the bottom fell out of the economy.

Trend Forecast: Conditions will continue to deteriorate. The global economy is terminally ill. The recession is in a brief remission, not the early stages of recovery. Cheap money, easy credit and unrestrained borrowing brought on an economic crisis that cannot be cured by monetary and fiscal policies that promote more cheap money, easy credit and unrestrained borrowing.


Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, Washington will continue to intervene, tax and exert control. Protests will escalate and riots will follow.

Fourth Shot of the “Second American Revolution”: While there are many wild cards that could light the fuse, The Trends Research Institute forecasts that if the threat of government-forced Swine Flu vaccinations is realized, it will be the fourth shot. Tens of millions will fight for their right to remain free and unvaccinated.

Publisher’s Note: The power of the Internet and new technologies is inexorably fermenting the “Second American Revolution.” However widespread and emotionally charged, had the tax rallies, tea parties and healthcare reform protests occurred in years past, they might have been covered by the local media, but might not have made national headline news and thus would have died stillborn.

Now, with the ubiquitous camera-equipped cell phone, universal access to YouTube, and millions of twitters and tweets, the uprisings cannot be ignored, contained, managed, spun or edited down. The revolutionary fervor will prove contagious.

Can anything stop it?

Trend Forecast: Before the momentum of the “Second American Revolution” becomes unstoppable, it could be derailed through some false flag event designed to deceive the public, or a genuine event or crisis capable of rallying the entire nation behind the President. In a worst-case scenario, according to Trends Research Institute Director, Gerald Celente, “Given the pattern of governments to parlay egregious failures into mega-failures, the classic trend they follow, when all else fails, is to take their nation to war."

A false flag attempt, a genuine crisis, or a declaration of war, may slow the momentum of the “Second American Revolution,” but nothing will stop it

Anonymous said...

I Think China Should Broken into many parts . it just like USSR who Conquered the Countries Like Tibet,Mongolia and many Other.
we should and world should support the freedom movement in TAIWAN,Northern China,Xigan provicnce,TiBET . This communcit Are sucking the blood f this Inoccent people.

Anonymous said...

More india bashing features from riaz.

Such a familiar thing.

This blog is mainly concentrated towards india bashing, pakistan and the rest.

What a pity

Riaz Haq said...

US has put "Secular" Democracy India on on a list of states which failed to protect religious minorities.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom says India was added to the list because of a "disturbing increase" in religious violence.

According to BBC, it mentioned the anti-Christian and anti-Muslim riots in Orissa and Gujarat in 2008 and 2002 respectively.

Other countries on the list include Afghanistan, Somalia and Cuba.

Anonymous said...


If usa has put india in the failure list why is that it is all out to woo india. do favour of assisting it to join the nuclear club.

Today for USA, it requires india to curb china politically and economically. As simple as that. It can throw few billion dollar at pakistan and the ruling party to buy it out and get away with messing the same. But it requires india for its own growth and sustenance.

Jeech said...

India has already started proxywars in several countries in it's neighbors. It is involved in supporting insurgence in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China.

Good to do some tit for tat;)

Anonymous said...

Not surprisingly, we see no Jihadi outcries from Pakistan, neither from Mollahs nor from military leaders against "communist infidels" after the reason antiMuslim violence in Uighur. India has to be disintegrated as it hosts 150 million Muslims, 20 different languages and free political parties and is too civilized by Chinese standards..Given the jealousy of Pakistanis and Chinese towards India being a free nation with respect for diversity, I being an Indian Muslim from Kerala is more convinced about the nefarity of oppressive states like Pakistan or China. It reminds me of the old "grape is sour" story.

Zen, Munich, Germany

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Not surprisingly, we see no Jihadi outcries from Pakistan, neither from Mollahs nor from military leaders against "communist infidels" after the reason antiMuslim violence in Uighur."

This is absolutely untrue. This is mainly an ethnic battle that has been condemned by many Muslims, particularly Turks, because the Uighur are ethnically Turkic people. In Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters: "The events taking place in China amount to a form of genocide."

There are millions of Hui Chinese Muslims (same ethnicity as the majority Han Chinese) who live in peace in China and there has never been the kind of organized pogroms and mass murder of Chinese Muslims that has occurred repeatedly in India.

Just yesterday, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said India was added to the list of countries of particular concern because of a "disturbing increase" in religious violence.

It mentioned the anti-Christian and anti-Muslim riots in Orissa and Gujarat in 2008 and 2002 respectively.

Anonymous said...


No doubt you have sympathy towards the chinese. chinese has a great track record on human right respect and we could add your complements to the same.

What to believe about a country where the press does not have the right to say the truth. Probaby that is the state of affair of pakistan. So birds of same feather flock togather

As such pakistan did not have hassle in having fling with a country which consist of infidels and who had crusades so they will not have any issues in having another part fling wih chinese

Human right violation by american in the name of security is well complained by many muslim. Probably pakistan does not have the right to say that as it depends on america for survival economically and politically at this point of time.

Anonymous said...

"There are millions of Hui Chinese Muslims (same ethnicity as the majority Han Chinese) who live in peace in China and there has never been the kind of organized pogroms and mass murder of Chinese Muslims that has occurred repeatedly in India."

Have Pakistani state or you personally verified that they are living in peace and with religious freedom that they enjoy in USA or India with freedom to build mosques and freedom to follow their own interpretation of Islam without getting persecuted as in China/Saudi Arabia? When the oppressor makes clear that the Islamist Bakwas won't be tolerated in a Shariah ruled/communist country as it would have been tolerated in a democracy, love for civil liberties or religious freedom disappears..When living in the comfirt of democracy, they are subject to a different standard, while secretly wishing demise for that very system. It is this hypocrisy that made mainstream Westerners quite hostile to Muslims as a whole. Now in Europe and also increasingly in India, Muslims are being asked - then why don't you go and live in one of those Islamic paradises that you admire, if you think democratic regimes are persecuting Muslims?

If you are that bothered about Pogroms in India, why don't you set a good example in your own country by cultivating a thriving minority community like Sikhs or Hindus or why dont you declare a Jihad against states like Sudan where Muslims are slaughtered? Maybe you can wash your hands by saying that tolerance is not in your culture as Saudis do...

Pakistan is not in the American list because noone expects your country to tolerate other religions. India is expected to tolerate, so even occasional deviation is scrutinized. Where would you live as a Muslim? In communist China or a democracy?

Zen, Munich, Germany

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "No doubt you have sympathy towards the chinese. chinese has a great track record on human right respect and we could add your complements to the same."

If right to food were given the same weight as free expression among human rights by the flag bearers of human rights movements in the West, then India would be the WORST offender in the world. India's own Amartya Sen has said India has the worst record of tackling hunger in the world.

India has failed to use a period of high economic growth to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty, falling far short of China’s record in protecting its population from the ravages of chronic hunger, United Nations officials said recently. Last year, British Development Minister Alexander contrasted the rapid growth in China with India's economic success - highlighting government figures that showed the number of poor people had dropped in the one-party communist state by 70% since 1990 but had risen in the world's biggest democracy by 5%.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "If you are that bothered about Pogroms in India, why don't you set a good example in your own country by cultivating a thriving minority community like Sikhs or Hindus or why dont you declare a Jihad against states like Sudan where Muslims are slaughtered? Maybe you can wash your hands by saying that tolerance is not in your culture as Saudis do..."

I am not defending violations of religious rights by any body, all I am pointing out is that "Secular Democracy" India has the worst record in terms of protecting its religious minorities from organized violence by well known groups, some of whom are in power in states such as Gujarat.

To take one example, the names of the politicians, businessmen, officials and policemen who colluded in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 are widely known. Some of them were caught on video, in a sting carried out last year by the weekly magazine Tehelka, proudly recalling how they murdered and raped Muslims. But, as Amnesty International pointed out in a recent report, justice continues to evade most victims and survivors of the violence. Tens of thousands still languish in refugee camps, too afraid to return to their homes.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break, Riaz. Despite what the US says and the aberrations, India is light years ahead in treating the minorities fairly in its country. In Pakistan there are barely any minorities left and China does not allow to leak out their ill-treatment towards minorities.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Despite what the US says and the aberrations, India is light years ahead in treating the minorities fairly in its country."

I think India is light years ahead of all other violators in killing its religious minorities in state organized violence, as evidenced in Gujarat 2002 and Orissa 2008.

In addition, there are many examples of Guantanamos and Abu Graibs in India, as documented by India writer Yoginder Sikand, where large numbers of innocent Muslims are being held on trumped up charges and being tortured under the convenient cover of war on terror.

According to the report, produced by a committee led by a former Indian chief justice, Rajender Sachar, Muslims were now worse off than the Dalit caste, or those called untouchables. Some 52% of Muslim men were unemployed, compared with 47% of Dalit men. Among Muslim women, 91% were unemployed, compared with 77% of Dalit women. Almost half of Muslims over the age of 46 couldn’t read or write. While making up 11% of the population, Muslims accounted for 40% of India’s prison population. Meanwhile, they held less than 5% of government jobs.

Anonymous said...


I chuckled after reading the article from the think(?)-tank in China. You did not disappoint me to immediately publish it on your blog judging your skewed interest in the sub-continent.

I'm sure you know China, like India, has ethnic fault lines running through the length and the breadth of the country. There are also class issues to add to the complexity. The internal issues are bursting at the seam in China and the long suppressed issues suddenly tend to become huge international fiascos such as the Tibetians and the Uighurs. Why should it be so difficult for India to exploit them? But, this is left for the strategic(?) thinker in China to ponder after he calms his nerves over a cup of Chinese tea.

Now, regarding your comments on the US religious watchlist. Unlike UN body, US religious body stands no stature on judging other societies. That's why they were denied visas to visit the country. Having said that, India should speed up addressing the concerns of the people affected by the riots. Since we're on the topic what's your take on the anti-Christian Gojra riots in democratic Pakistan or the anti-Pashtun riots seen in Karachi recently? May be a new democratic Pakistan may show the way to its neighbors how to skillfully address ethnic violence or riots, don't you think?

Anonymous said...


Can any developing country, including China, has the balls to publish a report - no matter how damning - to mirror the state of internal affairs? No! I know what Sachar committee has published. It was primarily done to make amends in domestic policy. And, like the dalits, the state of poor Muslims will improve in India. Meanwhile, you have more fodder to gloat.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Can any developing country, including China, has the balls to publish a report - no matter how damning - to mirror the state of internal affairs? No!"

What India and its minorities, poor and oppressed need are not more reports. What they need is action to alleviate discrimination, hunger and poverty, the kind of action that has been sorely lacking.

What action do we see instead? There is a pattern of the heartless behavior by Indian politicians and bureaucrats who not only ignore the needs of the poor, the sick and the hungry, but they also get in the way of helpful foreigners trying to address the serious problems of hundreds of millions of India's poor.

India's recent criticism of Bill Gates for AIDS help in India where the deadly disease is becoming an epidemic. This week, the Indian government banned UNICEF from importing energy food for the extremely malnourished children used to nurse them back to health.

“It was not part of their agreed country program,” Shreeranjan, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry for Women and Child Development, told The Times. “It came post-haste and as a surprise to the ministry. There are protocols that have to be followed. They should not have gone behind our back because once you do, it becomes a precedent and could lead to undesirable things.”

Since August last year, Unicef has spent 115 million rupees (about £1.4 million) importing a French formula called Plumpy’nut to treat children with severe acute malnutrition in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Despite the economic boom in India, malnutrition affects 47 per cent of children aged 5 and under nationwide, and more than 50 per cent in these two states, according to UN figures

Anonymous said...


American solutions come with American costs in eradicating diseases. The Gates foundation wanted to hand over its AIDS alleviation program with little or no localization in terms of salaries of personnel, costs of treatment and provision of drugs. Gee, if Bill Gates looked in to why his program could not be continued he would've known better. This also explains why development aid packages from rich countries for the poor regularly fail to meet the objectives.

Besides, why should not be the protocol followed for poverty alleviation? I'm not exonarating the act of local politicians who may've blocked the foreign help. Eliminating corruption and improving governance in parts of India is a hot topic which definately requires immediate attention.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is how Gates sees the AIDS effort in India:

July 22, 2009
Gates Responds to Criticism of Its India Grants

In response to a recent Forbes magazine article that criticized the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work to fight HIV/AIDS in India, the foundation says the story had “significant errors and mischaracterizes key aspects of the initiative.”

In a letter to the editor, Tachi Yamada, the fund’s president of global health, defended the India program, known as Avahan. He writes that the article inaccurately stated that the program is winding down — Gates has extended its commitment to 2014 — and that Forbes misstated the program’s goals.

In addition, Mr. Yamada disagreed with the article’s claim that Avahan has made no significant headway to curb HIV/AIDS. “

While it is too early to fully assess Avahan’s long-term impact,” he writes, “early signs are encouraging — data from some projects suggest these efforts are increasing condom use and reducing STD infections.”

Some nonprofit experts, like New Philanthropy Capital, in London, have questioned the Forbes article, while others, like the anonymous author of the Gates Keepers blog, support the critical look at Gates.

What do you think of the criticism of Avahan?

Anonymous said...


After reading your comment, I sense lot of competition among philanthropists and NGO's to implement their solutions and take their share of credit.

Riaz Haq said...

This competition among philanthropists and NGOs to solve problems is much better than the competition among corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to take credit.

Anonymous said...

"To take one example, the names of the politicians, businessmen, officials and policemen who colluded in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 are widely known"

Again your comments are hypocritical. India supports second largest Muslim population in the world. Apart from giving subsidies for Madrassa, Hajj and Urdu learning, government has spend billions of rupees on Muslim welfare since independence - something which your country may not claim..For you, violence in Uighur was an aberration despite China being oppressive to Muslims whereas India's isolated violences are the defining features of India..If you had been honest, you should have declared a Jihad against China. India's trackrecord would improve once India become an ultra oppressive regime like China or Saudi where these critical reports are not published - but that is not what majority of Indians want.

As for statistics of Muslim welfare - I as a Kerala Muslim would say that it was not Hindus or Christians who made fatwas that women should not go to college or take jobs, English is the language of Satan and should be boycotted, taking vaccinations against Polio or using condoms is Haraams etc. After a few decades, these Fatwas show up in human development numbers..Now with Sachar report, government has unilaterally taken the responsibility of Muslim backwardness though there is not a single word which criticizes Muslims for their anti-establishment and revisionist attitude which played a big role in backwardness.(or even damning would have been to ask them to look into their Muslim neighbours like Pak/Bangladesh or Yemen or Sudan where they cannot claim discrimination).

PS: I am not saying that chauvinists like Modi do not exist. They are indeed a shame on India's secular democracy and I loathe the intellectual quality of those people who choose these fascists. But no honest analyst seriously believe that this incident discredits Indian democracy as a whole.

Zen, Munich, Germany

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "But no honest analyst seriously believe that this incident discredits Indian democracy as a whole."

The people who did this have been repeatedly re-elected to office in Gujarat and co-horts rule many states in India, in spite of their criminal record of organized violence against Christians and Muslims. Dismissing their nation-wide movement and legitimacy as isolated incident is closing your eyes to the reality that it does discredit India's democracy and its secular character.

What happened in Gojra is shameful but its scale and perpetrators are not comparable in popular appeal and strength to the RSS/VHP goons who exist for the sole purpose of killing religious minorities in India.

Salim said...

The rewriting of history and selective moral pontifications of Hindutva proponents

Many liberal Pakistanis have tried to understand and refute the new trend, or rather nonsense, started by chauvinistic Hindutva goons. The orange brigade types are determined to rewrite history and justify their idiotic behavior and that of their BJP/RSS/VHP/BD/JS/SP/SS cohorts.

So, now, we are led to believe that the world, especially India, was perfect before early 8th century AD when Mohammad Bin Qasim appeared on the scene. Then things went into idle mode until the late tenth century and Mahmud Ghaznavi rediscovered India. We can keep listing the villains - Ghori, Babar, and skip over Akbar because he satisfied at least one native Indian, and come to the bête noir, Maharaja Aurangzeb.

So many right-wing Hindutva types, like the modern day dhoti-clad Toynbee Jis, pretend that there was no Aryan invasion of India circa 5000 BC. No mention is made about these carnivorous, pale-skinned, hairy warriors who, while not writing sacred scriptures on the banks of the Indus, were enslaving dark-skinned natives. These founding fathers of Hinduism were destroying civilizations, cities, infrastructure, slaughtering advanced and educated people, and abducting swarthy females at night to create multiple layers and shades of pigmentation and, therefore, caste - which itself means color.

No mention of scriptures that glorified the enslavement, cruel treatment, and ritual slaughter of dark-skinned "Indian" natives. No mention of the priestly class that exploited and sucked the life out of lower castes. No mention of temple prostitutes, incest, mass destruction, and gods taking sides while killing one group of humans to help another. There is no apology offered for human sacrifices, child marriages, forced immolation of widows, and royals getting rich off the hard work and sweat of the slave labor consisting primarily of "untouchables."

Dear Brahmins and other “high-born” Indians, don't tell me that the ancestors of the high-caste Hindus were traveling in outer staterooms on the triangular cruise ship, Bharat, that broke off Africa and slammed into the Himalayas. Did it ever occur to you that Central Asia may have had the misfortune of being the original abode of these bloodthirsty tyrants who founded the pyramid scheme known as Hinduism?

Anonymous said...


You are the true real big brother of riaz,i must say.

You are going back to the history which in my perception is figment of many imagination which is written as per the dictat of the winner.

Please read the islamic history, it is with blood from the date of start till now.

They talk of universal brotherhood and they get married among the first cousin [ father side] as they donot trust others to give the girls of the family.

I think it is a waste of time neither explaining to riaz or to you on india being a secular country. There are abberration and it always does exist.

Today the local of pakistain in the name of taliban take jaziya from non-hindus and it as the blessing of the local governments. Hindus are yet to graduate to that level, but what happens is that people learn the bad things faster than the good things.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "You are going back to the history which in my perception is figment of many imagination which is written as per the dictat of the winner."

There is broad consensus among recognized scholars (South Asian and Foreign) of India's history that Aryan and Hinuism are not indigenous to India. The Aryans were foreign invaders who imposed their religion and caste system on the local population in the Indus valley.

We saw this debate in California in 2005 when some Hindutva groups tried to whitewash Indian history of the caste system, systematic discrimination against women, subjugation of the natives etc. in California textbooks. If you are serious about learning more about this debate, please read the following:

Riaz Haq said...

Example of attempted revision of India's history:

Oxford University Press

Page 76, second paragraph reads

The language and traditions of the Indo-Aryan speakers replaced the old ways of the Harappans…”

Hindutva (HEF) Demand: Replace with “People from elsewhere in India replaced…”

This edit does not modify, but actually rewrites history, completely contradicting the intent of the original passage. In this case, the HEF edit rejects the role of Indo-Aryans in ancient India, contrary to prevailing scholarly views on this topic.

Anonymous said...


Creditibility of english institution is greatly reflect by the following :

1. credit rating of lehmen brother was highest till the day before insolvency

2. weapons of mass destruction is still being searched after the hanging of sadam.

Anonymous said...

Further i have pasted the prediction of gereld on the happening in usa

USA gdp is 13 trillion and the project bailout deficit is 24 trillion. Fiscal discipline is for smaller countries like india.

You understand why the whole world is investing in india moving away from usa. Offcourse pakistan is standing for some more aid in billion from usa citing reason for they fighting talibans who were their kith and kins for sometime before.

Anonymous said...

Riaz, there is no point in talking about Hindu invasions as Islamic history is full of that. You can find these in every culture throughout history. What matters most is what happens now. There is no point in a Pakistani talking about rights of minorities in other countries. There is no systematic brutality against foreigners as in many OIC countries. But democracies like India thrive to live up to some ideals. Some chauvinists within the system makes that target difficult to achieve. But still Modi is not the PM of India. Not only that, his party is seen as a pariah by most national parties and within his own party, he is seen as a pariah by many. Compare this with parties in Pakistan who shamelessly support terror abroad..

Zen, Munich, Germany

anoop said...

If you had criticized your own country as much as you criticize India then your country would not have been in such a mess as it is in today. Pakistan is 96% muslim. But, have you stopped ppl getting killed in the name of Religion? NO. What about the Christians who got killed because they burnt the Koran?
You are generalizing every single news about Inida.
If anyone is to believe you Pakistan's muslims are better off than India's. But, they are in greater danger of getting killed by fanatic Muslims in Pakistan than by fanatic Indians. You must agree with this.

Riaz Haq said...

Speaking about India's identity last April, the US South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Brookings Institution said, " But there is no all-Indian Hindu identity—India is riven by caste and linguistic differences, and Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar are more relevant rallying points for more Indians than any Hindu caste or sect, let alone the Sanskritized Hindi that is officially promulgated".

It seems a war of words has broken out between Sachin Tendulkar and Bal Thackeray:

"Mumbai belongs to India. That is how I look at it. I am a Maharashtrian and I am extremely proud of that. But, I am an Indian first," Sachin had said.

It's this comment by Maharashtra's own mulga Sachin Tendulkar that angered Bal Thackeray.

In an editorial published in Saamna, Thackeray targeted Tendulkar saying: "You said you are proud of being Marathi but are an Indian first. This has hurt the Marathi people. From the cricket pitch you have entered the political pitch. You also said that all Indians have an equal right on Mumbai. What was the need for this? You have become "run-out" on the Marathi pitch. People praise you when you hit fours and sixes. But if you speak against the rights of Marathi people, they will not tolerate it." Read: Shiv Sena to Sachin: Play cricket, not politics

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about the deadly Maoists attack claiming 75 India soldiers' lives in Cahhattisgarh:

Maoist rebels have killed at least 75 Indian soldiers in a series of attacks on security convoys in the central state of Chhattisgarh, officials say.

A large patrol of federal paramilitary troops was ambushed at dawn by hundreds of heavily armed insurgents in a remote part of Dantewada district.

Rescue teams were later ambushed in attacks using landmines and gunfire.

Correspondents say it is the worst attack on security forces by the rebels since their insurgency began.

India's Home Affairs Minister P Chidambaram said the attack showed the brutality and savagery that the rebel army was capable of.

But he suggested lessons had to be learnt quickly by the security forces.

"Something has gone very wrong. They seem to have walked into a trap set by the Naxalites [Maoists]. Casualties are quite high and I am deeply shocked," he said.

Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai said that the rebels had booby-trapped the area of the ambush.

"Preliminary reports indicate that the Maoists planted pressure bombs in surrounding areas at places where the security forces might take cover," he said.

"As a result of this, the bulk of the casualties have arisen from the pressure bomb blasts."

The Maoists have stepped up attacks in recent weeks in response to a big government offensive along what is known as the "red corridor", a broad swathe of territory in rural eastern and central India where the Maoist rebellion has been gathering strength.

Nearly 50,000 federal paramilitary troops and tens of thousands of policemen are taking part in the operation in several states.

The rebels have tapped into rural and tribal anger among those who have seen no benefits from India's economic development and this attack is another chilling reminder of the growing threat they pose, says the BBC's Chris Morris in Delhi.

SINGH said...


Riaz Haq said...

Contrary to conventional wisdom, George Friedman, Chairman of Stratfor, and author of "The Next 100 Years", sees the United States, Turkey, Poland and Japan as the great powers of the 21st century.

Friedman raises serious doubts about India and China staying united as modern nation-states, much less emerge as great powers of the 21st century. He says India and China are regionally fragmented and it's very difficult to govern the vast nations from from Delhi or Beijing. He does not foresee Brazil or Russia emerge as great powers of the 21st century either, essentially dismissing all four members of the the much-hyped BRIC countries.

Talking about the emergence of South Korea and Israel as modern industrialized states, Friedman singles out the value of the transfer by the US of F-16s as a catalyst for recipient countries' development of skills and technical know-how. He makes no mention of Pakistan's development of the F16 maintenance and training infrastructure at Kamra PAC for its F16s in this context.

Friedman says the Islamic World will recover from the current chaos imposed by the United States in its conflict with al Qaeda. He also argues that Turkey, not Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, or Egypt, will emerge as a great world power, and the leader of the Muslim world.

Here's how Friedman describes the four great powers of the twenty-first century:

Japan, Turkey, and Poland will each be facing a United States even more confident than it was after the second fall of the Soviet Union. That will be an explosive situation. As we will see during the course of this book, the relationships among these four countries will greatly affect the twenty-first century, leading, ultimately, to the next global war. This war will be fought differently from any in history—with weapons that are today in the realm of science fiction. But as I will try to outline, this mid-twenty-first century conflict will grow out of the dynamic forces born in the early part of the new century.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about Manipur blockade by Naga insurgents:

India is flying in emergency supplies to the remote north-eastern state of Manipur after key roads were blocked by separatists from a neighbouring state.

Road links were cut off by supporters of Thuingaleng Muivah, a rebel leader from Nagaland who has been denied entry to Manipur by the state government.

Mr Muivah's home village is in Manipur, which says allowing him to visit would inflame ethnic tensions.

The road blockade has led to a severe shortage of fuel and medicines.

For the past five weeks, two highways which serve as the lifelines of this remote mountainous state on Burma's border have been blocked by supporters of Mr Muivah, the leader of India's longest running separatist insurgency.

Mr Muivah has been barred from visiting his home village, Somdal, which lies inside Manipur in an area dominated by members of his Naga tribe.

It is a bitter standoff between the Nagas and the Manipuris who share a history of animosity.

The blockade has had a massive impact on Manipur. Petrol stations have shut down, with no fuel available.

"The situation is dire. There is no petrol or cooking gas available anywhere. Whatever is available is on the black market at ridiculous rates," retired air force officer Rajkumar Ronendrajit told the BBC.

Hospitals are also running short of life-saving drugs and oxygen.

"We normally carry out 20 surgeries a day. We are down to about eight because our stocks of oxygen are fast running out," managing director of Shija hospital Dr KH Palin said.

Officials say cargo aircraft carrying rice and medicine have now begun arriving to try and ease the situation.

But with the blockade continuing, things continue to remain tense.

Kartik said...

Just wondering, Riaz; what's the relevance of the last couple of articles you copied and pasted onto this thread to the topic of discussion?

That aside, your line of reasoning along these comments seems to be

"Pakistan witnessed the Gojra riots, the state-sponsored Bangladesh massacre that led to 3 million dead and 10 million people displaced, the anti-Pashtun riots in Karachi, but never mind. These are all isolated incidents and do not reflect on Pakistan as a whole.

However, any incident of ethnic or communal disharmony in India's history may be construed as representative of the entire Union of India and each single one of its inhabitants.

Muslims have been unable to benefit from the education and employment opportunities that are the same for them as anybody else; whilst other religious minorities are constantly outperforming the majority Hindus on the same parameters. Much of the backwardness of the Islamic community may be blamed on the fatwas against gender equality and social emancipation issued by the regressive Dar-ul-Uloom and yet it's all the fault of the Indian state and Hindus in general.

No non-Muslim may legally be president of Pakistan compared to three Muslim heads of state in India thus far; however I will not mention it as it directly contradicts my anti-Indian agenda.

My nation ranks 10th on the failed state index that points to a far higher chance of disintegration and political anarchy than China, which ranks at 62; or India which ranks even better than China at 79; but I shall refrain from admitting so as it is against my troll agenda."

Go figure.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Economist magazine story about Indian interference in Bangladeshi politics on the side of the Awami League:

NOT much noticed by outsiders, long-troubled ties between two neighbours sharing a long border have taken a substantial lurch for the better. Ever since 2008, when the Awami League, helped by bags of Indian cash and advice, triumphed in general elections in Bangladesh, relations with India have blossomed. To Indian delight, Bangladesh has cracked down on extremists with ties to Pakistan or India’s home-grown terrorist group, the Indian Mujahideen, as well as on vociferous Islamist (and anti-Indian) politicians in the country. India feels that bit safer.

Now the dynasts who rule each country are cementing political ties. On July 25th Sonia Gandhi (pictured, above) swept into Dhaka, the capital, for the first time. Sharing a sofa with Sheikh Hasina (left), the prime minister (and old family friend), the head of India’s ruling Congress Party heaped praise on her host, notably for helping the poor. A beaming Sheikh Hasina reciprocated with a golden gong, a post humous award for Mrs Gandhi’s mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi. In 1971 she sent India’s army to help Bangladeshis, led by Sheikh Hasina’s father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, throw off brutal Pakistani rule.

As a result, officials this week chirped that relations are now “very excellent”. They should get better yet. India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, will visit early in September to sign deals on sensitive matters like sharing rivers, sending electricity over the border, settling disputed patches of territory on the 4,095km (2,500-mile) frontier and stopping India’s trigger-happy border guards from murdering migrants and cow-smugglers. Mr Singh may also deal with the topic of trade which, smuggling aside, heavily favours India, to Bangladeshi ire.

Most important, however, is a deal on setting up a handful of transit routes across Bangladesh, to reach India’s remote, isolated north-eastern states. These are the “seven sisters” wedged up against the border with China.

On the face of it, the $10 billion project will develop poor areas cut off from India’s booming economy. The Asian Development Bank and others see Bangladeshi gains too, from better roads, ports, railways and much-needed trade. In Dhaka, the capital, the central-bank governor says broader integration with India could lift economic growth by a couple of percentage points, from nearly 7% already.

India has handed over half of a $1 billion soft loan for the project, and the money is being spent on new river-dredgers and rolling stock. Bangladesh’s rulers are mustard-keen. The country missed out on an earlier infrastructure bonanza involving a plan to pipe gas from Myanmar to India. China got the pipeline instead.

Yet the new transit project may be about more than just development. Some in Dhaka, including military types, suspect it is intended to create an Indian security corridor. It could open a way for army supplies to cross low-lying Bangladesh rather than going via dreadful mountain roads vulnerable to guerrilla attack. As a result, India could more easily put down insurgents in Nagaland and Manipur. The military types fear it might provoke reprisals by such groups in Bangladesh.

More striking, India’s army might try supplying its expanding divisions parked high on the border with China, in Arunachal Pradesh. China disputes India’s right to Arunachal territory, calling it South Tibet. Some Bangladeshis fret that if India tries to overcome its own logistical problems by, in effect, using Bangladesh as a huge military marshalling yard, reprisals from China would follow.

Riaz Haq said...

Economist and former US Ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith called India a "functional anarchy" some 30 years ago, reports the BBC:

Now Ramachandra Guha, renowned historian and author of India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy, says instability is India's destiny.

In a perceptive article in the latest issue of Prospect, Mr Guha explained why.
Mr Guha argues that democracy and nationhood in India face six complex challenges. They are:

Large sections of the population in the restive north-eastern states and in Indian-administered Kashmir want to break away from India
The festering Maoist insurgency threatens to further undermine territorial integrity in vast swathes of central and eastern India
Religious fundamentalism is "receding but by no means vanquished." A "sullen peace rather than an even-tempered tranquillity" prevails in the country
Public institutions are getting corroded. Political parties are increasingly resembling family firms; the police and bureaucracy are heavily politicised; corruption is rife and patronage triumphs over competence
Massive environmental degradation is promoting scarcity of resources and leading to discord and inequality. The poor suffer most from land grabs, deforestation and soil and water pollution
Growing economic inequities. One example: India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is worth more than $20bn, and his new home is a 27-storey high, 400,000 sq ft building in Mumbai, where 60% of the population live in grimy slums

"These cleavages reflect the revolutions underway: the national, democratic, urban, industrial and social," writes Mr Guha....

Ravish James said...

All the best to those who are wishing for disintegration of India. I dont believe in god, but the so called Muslim community does believe in god. If your god really exist and has power to destroy the evil then he will surely destroy the ones who have committed crime against humanity in the name of religion. And the future generations will witness it. India might be divided by many things, but the true spirit of India rests in the heart of many Indians. Yes there are many Indians who want to destroy India, but we the true Indians will never let it happen. I bet you, India that exist today will remain, grow and prosper as a Nation. We will make sure that it happen. I, an young Indian challenge the forces - inside my country or outside my country to try their evil plans. We will remain, grow and prosper as a Nation. It's a challenge.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a news item published in The Hindu about a Chinese Think Tank report on Sino-Pak ties:

A new report by an official Chinese think-tank has hailed the relations with Pakistan as a “model of state-to-state relations” and strongly rejected suggestions that the ‘all-weather’ relationship was growing cold amid concerns about terrorism and a lack of aid.

New factors

The report, titled ‘A Model of State-to-State Relations’, was authored by Du Youkang, head of the Centre for Pakistan Studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University and a scholar who advises the government on its Pakistan policy.

Published last month, the report highlights new factors — from China’s growing ties with India to Pakistan’s economic and security troubles — as increasingly shaping the relationship, but comes to the conclusion that the “China-Pakistan relationship will remain a model for countries with different social systems to communicate and interact with each other in the future”, according to a summary published by the Communist Party-run The Global Times.

Increasing doubts

The newspaper said the publication looked to address the “increasing doubts” about the traditionally close relationship. As an example, the relatively small amounts of aid to Pakistan — dwarfed by aid from Washington — has been cited as contradicting the rhetoric about ‘all-weather’ ties. .

Terrorism in China’s far-western Xinjiang region, with Chinese officials blaming Pakistan-based groups, has also been seen by some analysts as an irritant.

However, describing Pakistan as “China’s closest friend in South Asia”, the report said bilateral ties were “established on the foundation of deep-rooted public opinion” and would not be significantly altered.

“Although there are some factors that may influence bilateral relations, for instance, the development of political relations lagging behind economic exchanges and Indian factors, there are no major differences or irreconcilable conflicts between the two,” it concludes.

Ranjan Kaushal said...

For one HINDUISM is not a religion. A systemic way of life, evolved over centuries and not dictated by any book or any set of laws. This system changes and adapts with the times. It is the OLDEST civilized system in the world which accepts any other dogmas entering this region. This system is SO perfect, if you take out the Gods which are invented and discarded every day, that any external dogmas that enter this land gets nativised over a period of time. Thus Islam, Christianity, the two major religions, are a Hinduised versions vis a vis those prevalant in other lands. By this, clearly the Muslims of the subcontinent are Muslim Hindus & Christians Christian Hindus.

As for 'dismemberment' of INDIA, JUST FORGET IT. The Chinese are scared stiff. This is not Nehru rule anymore.

Riaz Haq said...

Kaushal: "A systemic way of life, evolved over centuries "

Islamists claim the same for's a way of life. Hinduism, like other religions, carries a lot of Medieval baggage.

Listen to Sujit Saraf of Silicon Valley's Naatak Theater Company talk about it on KQED Radio

Riaz Haq said...

#India #Punjab holds emergency meeting to defuse #Sikh violence after desceration of scriptures

administrators of Sikh gurdwaras, or temples, have tightened security in the chambers where the holy texts are kept.

An opposition politician resigned from the state assembly and three leaders resigned from the state’s ruling party, saying not enough was being done to investigate the 11 October desecration.

Hackles were raised after police fired into a crowd of protesters, killing two men.

Amar Singh Chahal, a top police official, said officers opened fire after protesters had pelted the police with stones and set two police vehicles ablaze in Faridkot district. An investigation has been launched, he said.

The opposition Congress party called for the state government to be placed under direct federal control. “We have demanded that the Punjab state government be dismissed and president’s rule be imposed. They are no longer capable of ruling,” said Sunil Jakhar, leader of the Congress party in Punjab.

Punjab is one of India’s top agricultural states, and the highway blockades have stranded hundreds of lorries carrying fruit, vegetables and other produce.

Religious tensions have been brewing in several northern Indian states over the enforcement of a ban on the slaughter of cows by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party of the prime minister, Narendra Modi. Hardliners have been demanding a ban on all beef sales. Most beef sold across India is buffalo meat.

A 50-year-old Muslim was beaten to death last month over claims his family had eaten beef. Last week, a village mob beat to death a Muslim accused of smuggling cows to be slaughtered for beef, and on Sunday, a 20-year-old Muslim lorry driver died after he was set on fire over rumours he had been transporting cows for slaughter.

Riaz Haq said...

Not all the #Hindus are Hindus! #India #Dalit #Adivasi #Jain #Caste #BJP #Modi

...The Rig-Veda says that the self-destruction of Purush, the primal man, brought human society into existence. The whole society was divided into four Varnas; the Brahmins, the Kashatrias, the Vaishias and Shudras. The Brahmins came out of Purusha’s head, the Kashatrias from his arms, the Vaishias from his thighs and Shudras from his feet. Different organs of Purush determined the metaphysically sanctioned social status of different Varnas in an inflexible hierarchy. Thus the Brahmins were declared the religious/intellectual leaders, the Kashtrias the warriors/rulers, the Vaishias the farmers/artisans/craftsmen, and Shudras the labourers/menial workers. This stratification initially was an outcome of racial and ethnic discrimination that ensued from the fair-skinned Aryans’ victory over the dark-skinned Harappa people, the ancient inhabitants of the Indus valley. Varna (Varn) means colour. The social division was colour-based imposed by the victorious fair-skinned to their advantage. The victors became the masters and the vanquished the slaves. In the Punjabi language we still use ‘Van’ with letter R dropped for colour. ‘Vano Van’ means of different colours. ‘Van Savann’ means colour diversity, and ‘kanak Vanna’ means the one whose skin colour is like that of wheat.

Historical evidence suggests that not all the locals were branded as Shudras. Class factor also played a role in determining the status of local persons as to which Varna they would belong. The wealthy and powerful Dravidians could join the club of upper Varnas on certain conditions by offering high value presents and a share of their wealth. At the other end of spectrum Aryans who happened to live at socio-economic fringes were pushed into Shudras’ enclosure. It surprises you when you come across the dark-skinned Brahmins and Kashtrias (some of the Rajputs for example), and the fair-skinned sweepers among the descendants of Shudras. The myth of racial purity proves hollow if examined empirically and critically.

Then there were large groups which remained outside the Aryan fold. They were the wretched of the earth, lower than Shudras in status and were generally known as untouchables. Since the Brahmins had pathologically been obsessed with the idea of ritual cleanliness, they declared all those who did supposedly polluting jobs, untouchables. The untouchables of today are descendants of Shudras and pre-Aryan indigenous communities who after being subjugated were forced to adopt the so-called polluting professions. This was in fact a politico-religious ploy to retain the power of the dominant Varnas. Varna system was based on the distinctions of colour. But later on the Aryan elite, religious and secular, evolved caste system which stemmed from Varna division of society. Caste system (Jati Dharma) within the loose framework of Varnas gradually re-aligned different social groups along the lines of their supposed descent and professions. And most menial professions were assigned to the untouchables who were not allowed to touch the higher castes. They in fact were required to stand at a distance while talking to their upper caste overlords. Dalits and Adivasi, the perennial flotsam of Indian society, form the bulk of the untouchables in the present-day India. Though culturally Indians, they are not Hindus if viewed from the perspective of upper castes. Their ways of eating, dressing and worshiping are different from those of upper castes which set them apart as people with a distinct identity, older than Brahminic hocus-pocus flaunted as a marker of Indian identity.

Riaz Haq said...

India's obsession: India defining itself as "Not Pakistan"

Why #Indian identity would collapse without the existence of #Pakistan. #India #BJP #Modi #Hindutva … via @scroll_in

... the very definition of a failed state is an artificial category. Pakistan has failed as a state on many fronts – to curb terrorism, to provide shelter and food to its most vulnerable and to protect the rights of minorities, but then in other categories it was as much a functioning state as any other. Despite the horrible law and order situation, the private sector still survived, schools, hospitals and universities functioned, and people continued to live their lives in an ordinary manner. One could make a similar argument for India if one were to focus on certain aspects of the failures of the state. The Gujarat riots of 2002, farmer suicides, and the law and order situation in the North East and Kashmir are features that could identify India as a failed state. But that does not fit the broader framework of Shining India, of a secular and democratic India, as opposed to a battle-ridden, military-run Pakistan. Terror attacks and bomb attacks in India are perceived as an anomaly in the framework of shining India whereas similar attacks in Pakistan are perceived as fitting a larger narrative of Pakistan failing.

Something similar happened to me when I visited Delhi a year later for a conference. Shashi Tharoor was to make the first speech for this peace conference. It was an immaculate speech which lay the entire blame of India-Pakistan conflict on Pakistan. There was one line that stayed with me. He said, “Pakistan is a thorn on India’s back,” essentially implying that India wants to move on and progress whereas Pakistan is an irritant. I noticed a similar sentiment at the Bangalore Literature Festival that I recently visited. One of the most popular sessions at the festival was by the eminent historian Ramachandra Guha. The historian talked about how there has been a rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India similar to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan. One of the members of the audience asked the question that given that India is surrounded by the “fundamentalist” Pakistan and Bangladesh, isn’t it inevitable that India would become fundamentalist.

Surprisingly, Ramachandra Guha's session also tapped this concept of depicting Pakistan as the “barbarian” other to depict India as “civilised”. I am not asserting that Ramachandra Guha said these words and, perhaps, neither was this his intention, but it felt as if he was unconsciously operating under the same framework in which India tends to look at Pakistan and defines itself as a secular liberal democracy. He was talking about the freedom of speech in India and explaining how that space was diminishing. Then, casually, he mentioned that India, despite the worsening situation, is still much better than Pakistan in terms of freedom of speech.

My intention is not to defend Pakistan or assert that Pakistan has freedom of speech. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world, where dissenting opinions are often shot down or shut up in other ways. However, there are still various nuances which I feel a lot of intellectuals in India tend to overlook. There is an entire tradition of challenging the state and the establishment in Pakistan that is usually ignored when such statements are made. One needs to visit the work of people like Najam Sethi, Khalid Ahmed, Hamid Mir and Ayesha Siddiqa to understand that there is a space in Pakistan, and has always been, to challenge the establishment. There is no doubt that the situation, like in India, is changing rapidly. But the point that I am trying to make is that Pakistan is not the “barbaric” other that it is usually understood as, compared to India the “tolerant” one. The truth is both countries have more in common than they would like to admit, yet they continue to view the other as its exact opposite.

Riaz Haq said...

Tarek Fatah, who's received a lot of adulation by the Indian Hindu diaspora and been an honored guest Hindu Nationalists in India, called for dissolution of India in an interview a few years ago:

Tarek Fateh calls for dissolution of India into multiple nations

"India, the whole sub-continent, you see it was never been one country....even during the British, India has not been one country under Ashoka, not even under Aurangzeb

The future that I see, if I had my dreams come true, something like Europe, the entities that exist are Bengal. Punjab with no borders, common currency,

there's more in common between someone in Lahore and Delhi than between someone between Delhi and Madras.

Break-up of India, that's my analysis of what will happen in the future, if it's ever dissolved voluntarily, would be best thing to happen to India, like Europe has.

Riaz Haq said...

Jacob Shapiro "#India is one state but it is a hodgepodge of many different incredibly poor countries" #Modi #BJP …


India is not one country. It is a hodgepodge of many different countries. India is often touted as the world’s largest democracy. But India is actually an unwieldy collection of semi-autonomous states and union territories. India’s constitution designates Hindi and English as the country’s official languages, but India has no true national language. States within India can specify their own official languages, and there are 22 such languages spread throughout the entire country. India has no fewer than five active separatist movements, some peaceful and some violent. That is without counting the ongoing Maoist insurgency in eastern India being carried out by the Naxalites

India is an incredibly poor country. According to the World Bank, over a quarter of a million people in India earn less than $1.90 a day. Over 700 million Indians live on less than $3.10 a day. Even decades of preternatural GDP growth are not going to bring regular Indians the disposable income they would need to afford a new iPhone. Companies like Apple are seeing large percentage growth in revenues for products sold in India, but those increases are from relatively small customer bases that do not look poised to expand greatly in the near future.

The second is that despite Modi’s attempts, India’s regulatory environment is complex and convoluted. Apple has been active in India for almost 10 years and is only just breaking through some of the regulatory barriers. The Times of India reported on April 22 that the Indian government is planning to waive a rule that requires 30 percent of goods sold by foreign companies in India be sourced within India. Apple has been trying to get around this rule for years because it keeps Apple from opening its own stores in India, instead forcing the company to rely on local distributors.

Readers familiar with our writing know that when we look at the world, we see Eurasia in a state of systemic crisis. India is the exception – but that does not mean India is stable. India is in a state of perpetual crisis. It is no more or less chaotic than it always has been. Strategically, India is in a rather nice position. It is stronger than its only regional competitor, Pakistan. Russia and China are both absorbed with internal challenges, which potentially gives India room to maneuver in the Indo-Pacific. Because of a global economic destabilization and a dearth of other options, foreign capital is flowing into the country. Wealthy companies are braving India’s regulatory systems to enter its markets in the hope of cracking a secret code to profitability in the country. Meanwhile, the U.S. wants India to be its friend, and India can enjoy the attention and the perks that come with U.S. solicitations while maintaining a level of relative neutrality with China and other claimants in the South China Sea.

But that still leaves one insurmountable problem. India’s greatest challenger is India. In our forecast for 2040, India does not play a very big role, because it’s not a challenge we expect New Delhi to overcome in the next 25 years.

Riaz Haq said...

Changing of Map of #India : A year by year map history of #India from the 4th century BC to date via @YouTube

Bottom Line: What we call India today was never one united country before the British Raj. The closest it came to it briefly was under Chandragupta Maurya and then Mughals.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s growing federal fault lines as huge income disparities grow bigger among #Indian states

In the year 1960, the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of Maharashtra, then India’s richest state, was twice that of Bihar, the poorest. By the year 2014, the gulf between the richest state (now Kerala) and Bihar, still the poorest, had doubled. In a recent briefing paper, Vivek Dehejia and Praveen Chakravarty, two senior fellows at the think tank IDFC Institute—the former also a Mint columnist—have thrown into sharp relief India’s inter-state income disparity.

The per capita incomes of the 12 largest states of India, the paper shows, have been diverging instead of converging, as would be predicted by the neoclassical models of economic growth. India’s experience is at odds with those of states/provinces in the US and China, and the member states of the European Union. The incomes of constituent units in the US, China and EU have either converged or at least have not diverged.

In India too, the level of divergence, the authors find, remained static between 1960 and 1990 and only began to increase after the economic liberalization of 1991. The two, however, do not blame the liberalization and justifiably so, as more evidence would be required to make a tenable claim.

India’s inter-state disparity is not just confined to income levels. The states diverge on several other economic, social and demographic indicators. But one particular indicator needs to be mentioned. That is total fertility rate (TFR)—or the average number of children a woman bears during her entire reproductive period. Interestingly, the three poorest states in the Dehejia-Chakravarty analysis are also the three with the highest TFR in India, and in the same order.

Riaz Haq said...

#Water riots break out in #Bangalore, #India's "#SiliconValley". Work at US high tech firms impacted via @Reuters

Oracle employees were at work on Monday when protesters entered their nine-storey building in India's technology hub, Bengaluru, and asked them to leave in support of demonstrations that had erupted across the city over a water dispute.

By early afternoon, one of the U.S. software giant's biggest overseas offices had been evacuated, two employees there told Reuters, as had the Bengaluru premises of dozens of multinationals and Indian firms that stayed shut on Tuesday to ensure staff safety.

A spokeswoman for Oracle in India said no one was available to comment on the incident.

Two days of violence, in which protesters torched buses and clashed with riot police after a court ordered Karnataka state to share water from a river with another region, have exposed the growing pains of the dynamic technology hub's chaotic boom.

"They come and live here, which means our resources are being used by them. Tomorrow, if there is no water in the city, will they have an office here?" said 30-year-old local activist Keerthi Shankaraghatta, who led a group that staged peaceful calls to shut down several offices during the protests.

Videos posted on his Facebook page show employees from companies including Accenture and ICICI Bank being escorted out of their offices.

ICICI declined to comment. Accenture did not respond to a request for comment.

Bengaluru businesses have faced four days of disruption this month after the water protests and an unrelated strike, hitting operations in a city that accounts for a significant chunk of India's $97 billion in information technology exports.

The head of Indian drugmaker Biocon jokingly referred to Bengaluru as "Bandhaluru", using the Hindi word "Bandh" for closed.

Employees of two large Indian companies told Reuters their buses were stopped and rocked by protesters, who asked them to join the demonstrations.

Cars and trucks registered in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu were smashed and set on fire. A 22-year-old IT worker, who declined to be identified, said she saw a police van in flames.

"For the first time, I felt unsafe in a city I love so much," said Prejin Joe, who runs a tech startup in Bengaluru and is originally from another southern state, Kerala.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Maoists insurgents world's 4th deadliest #terror outfit after #Taliban, #ISIS, #BokoHaram via @timesofindia

The world witnessed 11,774 terror attacks in 2015, in which 28,328 people were killed and 35,320 injured. India was the fourth worst-affected country after Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with 43% of 791 attacks in the country carried out by Naxalites+ . A total of 289 Indians died in terror strikes.
Data collected by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism contracted with the US state department revealed that Taliban, Islamic State and Boko Haram were the three deadliest terror groups globally. They were followed by CPI(Maoist), a banned outfit.
The CPI(Maoist) was responsible for 343 terror attacks in 2015, killing 176 people. Taliban were involved in 1,093 strikes in which 4,512 people lost their lives, IS launched 931 attacks which claimed the lives of 6,050 people and Boko Haram was involved in 491 attacks killing 5,450 people. Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which rounded off the top five in the list, was involved in 238 strikes, killing 287.

Over half the terror attacks in India took place in four states - Chhattisgarh (21%), Manipur (12%), J&K (11%) and Jharkhand+ (10%). Chhattisgarh, which has been hit hard by Left-wing extremism, reported a doubling of terror attacks in 2015 - from 76 in 2014 to 167.
The report said there was great diversity in the perpetrators/terrorist groups involved in attacks in the country, with 45 outfits active across the country. The Naxals alone accounted for 43% of terrorist attacks in India last year. The report said the number of people kidnapped/taken hostage by terrorists and insurgent groups in India almost tripled in 2015, increasing to 862 from 305 in 2014. Of this, Naxals alone kidnapped/took hostage 707 persons last year compared with 163 in 2014. In 2014, there were no attacks in which 50 or more people were kidnapped or taken hostage while in 2015, there were seven such attacks, all of them attributed to Maoists.

Riaz Haq said...

When India's founding father Mohandas Gandhi started "Quit India" movement to seek India's independence from Britain, the colonial rulers of British India responded by imposing "The Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance of 1942" on August 15, 1942.

After independence in 1947, the Indian government has made extensive use of the same colonial-era British law to crush legitimate demands for freedom by the peoples of Assam, Manipur, Kashmir and other regions. The Act has now been in force in Kashmir for 26 years.

While Indian government claims Kashmir as an integral part of India, it undermines its own claim by denying fundamental rights to Kashmiris, the rights that are granted by the Indian constitution to all Indian citizens.

Riaz Haq said...

S Khilnani Book: #India was "fragmented into kingdoms, savaged by #caste divisions, mired in poverty" … via @newyorker

Last year, a professor at the Indian Science Congress, in Mumbai, claimed that India possessed airplanes seven thousand years ago. He isn’t alone in such beliefs. When a certain swathe of India’s population considers the country’s ancient past, it doesn’t see a country fragmented into kingdoms, savaged by caste divisions, and mired in poverty; rather, what’s envisioned is a vast, unified Hindu empire stretching from Kashmir to the Indian tip at Kanyakumari. This imagined entity brims with characters from Indian epics and spits out grand inventions that would put scientists in the twenty-first century to shame—not only airplanes but cars, plastic surgery, and stem-cell research. What these Indians see, in other words, is an India that was once greater than any other nation on earth, and which has since fallen into a cruddy, postcolonial despair. Muslim and British invaders, they insist, have sapped the subcontinent’s energies over the past millennium.

This is a major strand of the nativist philosophy espoused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the flotilla of parties and social organizations that escorted him to power, in 2014. It is, in the rippling and echoing way of world events, in step with archaic right-wing movements everywhere—Make India Great Again would be a suitable slogan—and it is untroubled by facts. In the past year, right-wing mobs have lynched and beaten Muslims and Dalits (the former untouchables, who have often refused to be co-opted by upper-class-dominated Hindu nationalism) in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand for allegedly eating beef, a crime that these nationalists cannot condone after a millennium of their religion’s supposed persecution. (Hinduism has always been the majority religion on the subcontinent.) Dormant laws in Indian states banning cow-slaughter and beef consumption are now being enforced. In January, a Dalit Ph.D. student at Hyderabad University hanged himself from the ceiling fan in his room after right-wing groups bore down on him for his activism. Elsewhere, emboldened nationalist groups have intimidated fiction writers, scholars, and publishers into silence for wounding religious sentiments. Student protests are branded “anti-national” and slapped with sedition charges.

In India, right now, the past is violently alive, and it is being bandied about like a blunt instrument, striking down those who try to speak sense to the present or who try to point out that this past is itself a fiction.

One of the intellectuals involved in calling the right’s bluff is the Indian scholar Sunil Khilnani, who has just published an incisive work of popular history, “Incarnations: India in Fifty Lives.” Where the opposition is clamorous, the book is calm; where the opposition flexes its Vedic muscles, the book is undercutting, irreverent, and impish. It attempts to show, through prodigious but lightly worn scholarship, how complex and heterodox the Indian past was, and how it has been, and continues to be, constructed.

Khilnani begins with the Buddha, who lived around 500 B.C.E., and is thus, Khilnani writes, the “first individual personality we can recognize in the subcontinent’s history,” as well as an apostle of neutrality and nonviolence. The Buddha’s religion has receded in India, except as a balm to the Dalits, who escaped into it, and as a self-help tool for a sliver of the upper classes, who have embraced it the way that some people in the West do. Buddha prefigures many of the themes in the book. A sheltered man, he is moved by his first encounter with suffering, and leaves behind his wealthy family to wander India in the thrall of slowly budding new ideas. He is serene and centered amid violence. He is open-minded and against sects in a Brahmin-dominated society. He calls for a total reinvention of Hinduism—one that becomes its own religion.....

Riaz Haq said...

Tamil Nadu: A place of savage resistance
India Today presents a special report from the five states - Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Punjab, Bihar and Kerala - where the language issue has aroused the most controversy.

Nambi Marthandam
April 24, 2015 | UPDATED 12:27 IST
A +A -
India Today presents a special report from the five states - Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Punjab, Bihar and Kerala - where the language issue has aroused the most controversy.

The year was 1937. India was in the throes of a new experiment. As a sequel to the Government of India Act of 1935 (which ushered in dyarchy) provincial elections were held throughout the British India territory in the sub-continent. In the presidency of Madras the Congress party romped home with a sledge hammer majority inflicting a crushing defeat on the Justice Party, forerunner of the Dravida Kazhagam (DK).

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari assumed office as the first Congress Prime Minister (that was the nomenclature then) of Madras presidency on July 14, 1937. And 28 days later he made public his intention to introduce for the first time Hindi as a compulsory language in all the secondary schools in the presidency.
This set off a flurry of activity. A few Tamil academics who had been expressing fears of "Hindi replacing Tamil" seized upon the opportunity and set up a "society for protection of Tamil language". This society held a public meeting in the interior town of Tirunelveli on September 5, 1937 and condemned the introduction of Hindi as a compulsory subject in schools.
Within a few weeks the society merged with another association called the "Tamilian Association" founded by some political elements. The transition was complete. The movement had now passed from the hands of the academics to politicians.
At this point a bearded 59-year-old atheist and iconoclast who was to later shape the course of political events in southern India, assumed the leadership of the anti-Hindi campaign. He was Erode Venkatappa Ramasami Naicker (E.V.R.), now affectionately known as "Periyar" - Tamil for venerable or great sage.

In what appears to be the first organized attempt to resist the spread of Hindi, the Tamilian Association launched the Madras Provincial Anti-Hindi League in the summer of 1938, with branches in various districts. Following the compulsory introduction of Hindi in 125 secondary schools in Madras presidency in June 1938, the league called upon its members to picket schools and the first anti-Hindi procession marched off in the sweltering summer heat of June 1,1938, towards Rajagopalachari's residence.
A spate of demonstrations followed and volunteers began picketing schools that taught Hindi. In a bid to diffuse the movement, the Congress ministry announced that though Hindi would be taught compulsorily in schools there was to be no examination in the subject and the total time devoted for teaching Hindi would be only 2/ hours each week.
This apparently failed to remove the misgivings of the Tamil enthusiasts. A meeting convened at Trichirapally on August 1,1938, resolved to continue the agitation till the suspension of Hindi instruction. Among those who attended the meeting was Muslim League leader Khallifullah whose party had joined the agitation against Hindi.

Riaz Haq said...

Following repeated assurances from the Centre that there was "no danger of Hindi being imposed on anyone", the agitation was called off by the students on February 22.
And inevitably, in the general elections that followed two years later in 1967, the DMK riding the crest of the anti-Hindi wave captured power in Tamil Nadu and ruled for nine long years - the longest tenure of a non-Congress ministry in any state. One of the first acts of the new DMK government after assuming power was to abolish the three-language formula.
By a resolution, the Tamil Nadu assembly ordered that only Tamil and English be taught in schools and colleges. The DMK also awarded cash "pensions" to those who had been in the forefront of the anti-Hindi agitation. (The pensions were stopped recently following a Supreme Court order).
Much on the same lines, the AIADMK, headed by M.G. Ramachandran, which has now mounted the saddle, has made it clear that it would adhere to the two-language formula and would not permit teaching of Hindi in government-aided schools and colleges.
On the question of language, the AIADMK and its political foe the DMK have a similar policy - opposition to Hindi at every level. It is doubtful if any party with a contrary policy will be able to survive in Tamil Nadu.

Riaz Haq said...

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

This is a quick blog to correct a historical fallacy. A false impression persists – thanks to people like Amar Jaleel and the like who in the right royal Urdu press fashion have a hard time sticking to the facts- that Jinnah- who according to Jaleel was drugged or cornered into making the speech in question- somehow told Bengalis to outlaw Bengali language when he declared Urdu to be the state language of Pakistan. This is historically inaccurate. This blog is not to discuss whether Jinnah’s declaration was politically suave or naïve but to set the record straight about what it was that Jinnah said which laid foundations for the Urdu-Bengali discord in Pakistan and led to Pakistan ultimately declaring both Urdu and Bengali the “national languages” of Pakistan. Ironically Jinnah did not even use the term “national language”, drawing the very valid distinction between a state language or lingua franca and a national language.

The two speeches that are at the center of controversy were made on 21st and 24th of March, 1948 at a public meeting and then at Dacca University convention. In both speeches Jinnah took a consistent stand:

The people of Bengal were free to choose Bengali as the official language of the Bengal province. This he said very clearly and unambiguously on both occasions and the premier of Bengal – Khawaja Nazimuddin also reaffirmed this.
Urdu alone would be the state language and the lingua franca of the Pakistan state.
Bengali – like other provincial languages- could be the official language of the East Bengal province but not the Pakistan state and the Pakistan center (Jinnah’s words).
(See Pages 150 and 158 of “Jinnah Speeches And Statements 1947-1948” Millennium edition Oxford University Press- he said “Realizing, however, that the statement that your Prime Minister made on the language controversy, left no room for agitation, in so far as it conceded the right of the people of this province to choose Bengali as their official language if they so wished, they changed their tactics. They started demanding that Bengali should be the state language of the Pakistan centre, and since they could not overlook the obvious claims of Urdu as the official language of a Muslim state, they proceeded to demand that both Bengali and Urdu should be the state languages of Pakistan. Make no mistake about it. There can only be one state language if the component parts of this state are to march forward in unison, and in my opinion, that can only be Urdu”)

It may be remembered that in this – wrong or right- Jinnah’s policy was identical to India’s policy of constitutionally elevating Hindi and English. Jinnah did not go even that far and described in the proper constitutional manner Urdu as the state language not a national one. Urdu was to be – in the real sense of the word- a lingua franca for the diverse people of Pakistan.

The problem with Amar Jaleel – who recently appeared on Vussatullah’s show on Dawn News Urdu Service- is that in his zeal for an otherwise good cause, he liberally twists the facts. For example in the show in question he declared amongst other things – as obiter dicta – that Gandhi had fasted in his last days to have wheat exported to Pakistan. Frankly I don’t know where he got this from. In reality however Pakistan connection in Gandhi’s fast was purported to be vis a vis Indian government’s refusal to give Pakistan its share of the treasury. However what was hilarious was his claim that Jinnah was cornered by people to make this statement.

Riaz Haq said...

Meghnad Desai: A country of many nations, will #India break up? #Hindu #Hindi #Beef #Dalit #Muslim #Naga #Tamil Quartz

Excerpts of Baron Meghnad Deai's book "The Raisina Model"

India has avoided equal treatment of unequal units. Representation in the Rajya Sabha is proportional to population size. If anything, it is the smaller states that may complain about being marginalised, though so far none has. The larger states thus dominate both Houses of Parliament. It would be difficult for small states to object, much less initiate reform. In future, small states could unite to present their case for better treatment. Except for Punjab and Nagaland, there has been no attempt to challenge the status quo.

The issue, however, is that India has still not fashioned a narrative about its nationhood which can satisfy all. The two rival narratives—secular and Hindu nation—are both centred in the Hindi belt extending to Gujarat and Maharashtra at the most. This area comprises 51% of the total population and around 45% of the Muslims in India. It is obviously a large part of India and is contiguous. Of course, ideas of secularism and Hindu nationhood capture the imagination in other parts of India too, but even so, there is a lot of India outside this.

In the agitation to establish Hindi as the sole national language in 1965, India came close to a rupture between the north and the south. It was the Chinese debacle which united the country. But the idea of the south seceding was openly discussed. The north-east is a region which has long felt alienated from what it calls the “mainland.” It has never been woven into the national narrative, just as the south has been ignored. Privileging the Hindu-Muslim divide has left the numerous other minorities and linguistic nations outside the idea of the Indian nation. The current agitation about beef eating and gau raksha is in the Hindi belt just an excuse for attacking Muslims blatantly. As most slaughterhouses in UP are Muslim-owned, owners and employees of these places are prime targets.

But that apart, the idea that beef eating is anathema to Hindus across India is just wrong. Hindus, with the exception of Brahmins, have been known to eat meat, even beef. South Indian Hindus, for example, eat beef. The lower castes and Dalits openly do. Then we come to the tribal people. They have no reason to be deprived of their food sources because some upper caste Hindus in Awadh feel strongly about beef eating.

Across India, Hindus and non-Hindus eat beef. No one has the right to impose a uniform eating culture on others. Just because the BJP has won a large vote in UP, it does not license vigilante attacks on beef eaters. There will be other elections and Indian voters are known for expressing their displeasure through the ballot. The democratic process has bound the different regions and nations together because everyone has a hand in the election of governments.

The idea that India has just two “nations,” Hindu and Muslim, is far too simple.

There are many nations. Across the Dandakaranya are tribes whose names are unknown even to most Indians.

The recent incident at a Delhi club where a woman wearing a north-eastern dress was denied entry as someone in the management decided she was “improperly dressed” tells all. This relative isolation of the peripheral, low-density areas of India is a worry. It has not taken an agitational form as yet. But the integration of the tribal people in India as bona fide citizens has yet to be achieved. The categories of Hindu or Muslim may not apply to them. They may have their own religion, some form of animism or worship of the land. They could be Christians. There are, after all, a number of Christian sects in India as Christianity has been practised in India since the first century ce, before Islam was even preached. The many tribal languages have yet to gain recognition.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian officials banned from #Sikh #Gurdwaras in #US, #UK and #Canada. #India News | Al Jazeera

Sikh religious organisations in Canada, the US, and the UK have banned Indian officials from making formal visits to temples in response to the arrest of a Sikh activist in India and what they call interference in their affairs.

Campaigners accuse India of torturing British Sikh
The ban started in Canada and spread to temples in the US and the UK, with more than 100 places of worship now involved.

Davinder Singh of the Sikh Federation UK, one of the organisations supporting the campaign, said that the ban would apply to official visits but not personal trips to temples.

The November arrest of British Sikh activist Jagtar Singh Johal by Indian authorities and "interference in Sikh affairs" by Indian officials had led to the move, he told Al Jazeera.

Johal was detained in the northern state of Punjab and accused of involvement in the killings of prominent Hindu figures.

His family has rejected the allegations against him, explaining that he was in India to get married.

Sikh activists say his arrest was politically motivated.

"People are really upset," said Davinder Singh. "If someone goes to India to get married, the last thing they expect is to be picked up and abducted, not to be charged, to be subject to third-degree torture.

"I think it's cases like this that got a reaction from the Sikh community."

1984 massacre
While Johal's arrest triggered the latest dispute between the Indian government and some members of the Sikh diaspora, tensions between the two sides date back decades.

In the summer of 1984, Indian troops battling Sikh fighters stormed Sikhism's holiest Gurdwara, the Golden Temple, leaving hundreds dead.

Later that year, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards, who held her responsible for the bloodshed.

In the aftermath of Gandhi's death, thousands of Sikhs were killed as sectarian mobs targeted Sikhs in Punjab, and the Indian capital New Delhi.

Sikhs have described the killings as a genocide.

Riaz Haq said...

‘#Hindi imposition isn’t nationalism, #India isn’t #China’: India’s #Language Divide

How can we make politicians and people from the Hindi-belt understand that many states in India are subjected to Hindi imposition, and that it is wrong?

At the ongoing India Today Conclave South 2018 in Hyderabad, former Human Resource Development Minister MM Pallam Raju, Congress Spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa, actor Prakash Belawadi and Kerala-based writer NS Madhavan, tried their hand at explaining why the south is peeved with the Centre’s push for Hindi.

Titled 'The Language Divide: Whose Hindi is it?’, the panel discussion was moderated by senior India Today journalist Rahul Kanwal.

Why must promoting Hindi be equated with nationalism?

Promoting Hindi as ‘rashtra bhasha’ or as the main Indian language is often justified in the garb of nationalism. But Prakash Belawadi called that out and said that those two did not necessarily go hand in hand.

“The idea of Hindi imposition and to conflate it with nationalism is entirely bogus. It’s not correct,” he said.

NS Madhavan also pointed out how attempts to impose Hindi were being made subtly. "After demonetisation, when the new currencies were printed, Hindi numerals were used. This is against the official language policy of Government of India. A person from Tamil Nadu went to the High Court on this issue. We can understand speaking Hindi or even the letters but placing Hindi numerals on national currency is imposition," said the writer.

Prakash also questioned why a country should have just one dominant language. "The idea is an archaic one,” he said, “It is not about being anti-Hindi, it is about equity. It is about common sense. In Karnataka, if bank forms don’t have Kannada, and people who have studied till class 10 go to a bank, they feel illiterate. Their primary education has been in Kannada medium. Why do you impose a situation, where you make people feel inadequate in their own place?”

Critiquing justifications to promote Hindi

Moderator Rahul brought up the example of China, and how it is used by people to further justify the promotion of Hindi. “Even though many dialects are spoken in China, they push for one language, and that becomes a global showcase. People in the world then learn Mandarin in hopes that they can do better business with China,” he said.

MM Pallam Raju replied that it is not a fair comparison as "China works in an autocratic manner". "I think India’s greatest strength has been its soft power – it has arisen from its heritage, culture. Those are the strengths we should encourage. Every language has its subtle nuances which relate to its unique identity and I think that’s what makes India great,” he said.

Raju however refused to draw a political correlation to the imposition of Hindi and said that any attempts to thrust Hindi upon Indians will be met by resistance.

Why Hindi, why not another language?

Rahul asked Madhavan why there wasn’t a strong anti-Hindi sentiment in Kerala as there had been witnessed in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Madhavan explained that people in Kerala had had to learn Hindi in the past decade or so because there were over 30 lakh Hindi-speakers in the state, who were mostly employed in manual labour. “So to communicate with them, we need to learn Hindi. But this doesn’t mean that the feeling of Hindi being imposed on other parts of the country is not there,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

We don’t have to fear that Pakistan will split up India – we’ll do it ourselves
March 8, 2018, 3:43 PM IST Jug Suraiya in Juggle-Bandhi

One of the main obstacles to finding a lasting solution to the ‘Kashmir problem’, as it’s long been tagged, is that India fears that the Pakistani demand for an ‘azad Kashmir’ is only Islamabad’s first move in its ultimate aim at balkanising India, splitting it into small states the way it was before Independence.

This suspicion of Pakistani ‘salami tactics’ of slicing up India is what makes New Delhi even more wary than it would otherwise have been of granting any further concessions regarding greater autonomy for Kashmir.

Indeed, ever since India and Pakistan were created, Islamabad has always wanted to split up India. This resolve has been strengthened after 1971, and the transformation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh, which would not have happened without India’s help.
But despite this we shouldn’t really fear Pakistan’s designs of splitting us up. For the simple reason that we’re increasingly likely to do this ourselves, without external intervention.

Even as the saffron right wing espouses a Hindu-Hindi supra-nationalism, an equal an opposite force of sub-nationalism, or regionalism, has gained greater force and stridency.

Following the exposure of the PNB scam, yet another parliamentary log jam was created, with the opposition assailing the NDA government about the Rs 12,000 crore fraud, and the treasury benches retaliating by flank attacking the Congress by bringing up the charges of bribery levelled against the son of the former finance minister, P Chidambaram.

Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP has threatened to walk out of its alliance with the NDA as its demands for a special status for Andhra have not been met, as promised.

Another increasingly restive ally of the BJP, the Shiv Sena, added to the din in Parliament by demanding classical status for the Marathi language.

The revived talk about forming a non-Congress, anti-BJP ‘Third Front’ to fight the 2019 general elections will further strengthen the growing assertion of regionalism.

With the prime minister more busy on whirlwind campaigning tours of the country, it’s anyone’s guess as to who, and how, India is being run.

Pakistan should be pleased. It seems to have been relieved of the chore of balkanising us, a task which we appear to have taken up for ourselves. Jai Hind. Or, Jai many Hinds?

Riaz Haq said...

Has Modi Pushed Indian Democracy Past Its Breaking Point?
With the media and judiciary already under attack, the Prime Minister’s main opponent was just banned from Parliament.

New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner: Modi is probably the most popular leader in the world. His party has amassed incredible power to a degree not seen in India in many decades. Yet, at the state level, especially in the south, you see regional parties keeping the B.J.P. out of power. How has this been possible?

Christophe Jaffrelot: He’s not as popular as he claims. The B.J.P. never got more than thirty-seven per cent of the vote nationally. They control half a dozen big states, and most of them are in the Hindi Heartland. [These are states in the northern and central parts of the country.] If you look at the periphery, if you look at the states which are outside the Hindi Heartland—they do not control Tamil Nadu and they will never control Tamil Nadu. They do not control Kerala and they will never control Kerala. Look at West Bengal and Punjab, and even Maharashtra, which is not a finished story. There is a kind of exaggeration of the control they exert. And they exert control not because of the popularity of the B.J.P.; they exert control largely because Modi gets the B.J.P. elected every five years, which means that, after him, the B.J.P. may be in trouble. They have so much power because of their totalitarian modus vivendi, not because of their popularity.

NY: I’m looking at Morning Consult’s global approval-rating tracker for world leaders. Modi is currently at seventy-six-per-cent approval. That is fifteen percentage points higher than any other world leader.

CJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But if you go by the voting patterns of Indians, which is for me the real measure of popularity, Indians in more than half of the country’s states do not vote for the B.J.P. and for Modi when he is the candidate.

In that case, how do you understand this dynamic, where Modi himself is personally popular but he can’t yet lead the B.J.P. to take control of a majority of states?

There are very strong regional identities that are not represented by the B.J.P. The B.J.P. is seen as a North Indian, Hindi-speaking party. It’s also seen as an upper-caste party. So those who are not Hindus—in Kashmir, of course, and Sikh people in Punjab—do not vote for the B.J.P. And those who are not Hindi speakers in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Kerala cannot share this ideology of the B.J.P.’s.