Monday, March 16, 2015

Dr. Christine Fair Compares India's BJP With America's KKK

C. Christine Fair is an assistant professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS), within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She has only recently wised up to the opportunity to sell lots of books in India, the world's third largest and currently the fastest growing market for books written in the English language.

Before writing and promoting "Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War", a virulently anti-Pakistan book, Dr. Fair said this in 2009:

"Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity! Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan".

Fair spoke at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco on "Pakistan, the Taliban and Regional Security" March 4, 2015. Here are some interesting excerpts from her generally anti-Pakistan narrative at the event:

1. India's Hindu Nationalists (RSS, BJP) are like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the violent post-civil war white supremacist organization made up mainly of former southern confederate supporters, in the United States. The difference is that while KKK has very little popular support in America, the RSS's political wing BJP recently won general elections by a landslide, making Narendra Modi ("KKK wizard") the prime minister of India.

2. India's human rights record in Kashmir is appalling.

3. It's "flat out wrong" to say that "Indian Muslims do not participate in terrorism".

4. Pakistan can use Indian Mujahideen (IM) which includes India's deeply alienated Muslims to conduct covert actions in India with plausible deniability.

 5. China has been talking with the Taliban since 1990s. Chinese can play a huge role to stabilize Afghanistan with investments and control Pakistan's behavior. (Later, she says US should encourage India to go big in Afghanistan).

6. India has been able to establish significant presence in Afghanistan under US security umbrella. India's intentions in Afghanistan are not benign. But she also says that US should encourage India to "go big" in Afghanistan to check Pakistan.

7. India has built the Iranian port of Chabahar to compete with Gwadar port in Pakistan.  She says Chahbahar offers a better land route for trade with from Arabian Sea to Central Asia.

8. No one wants to pay Afghanistan's bills when US leaves. China can fill the gap. US and China can be partners for peace in Afghanistan.

9. Fair says she is a "personal fan" of India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Fair says "Pakistanis are afraid of him". Fair supports Modi's position of "India not engaging with Pakistan".

10. Current Indian government under Modi can aggressively "over-interpret" as exemplified by recent Indian claim of a "Pakistani terror boat" blown up by the Indian Coastguard.

11. Fair says she wants the US to work to "reduce Pakistan Army's influence"in governance but, in the next breath, she says "civilians are no better than the military".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Hindu Nationalists Love Nazis and Israel

India's Israel Envy: Has Modi Stepped Up Covert War Against Pakistan?

Book Sales in India: Profit Motive Drives Authors Bashing Pakistan

Debunking TV Paul

Challenging Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative

Looking Back at 1940 Lahore Resolution

Pakistan's Economic History

History of Literacy in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity

Value Added Agriculture in Pakistan

Are India and Pakistan Failed States?

Musharraf Accelerated Growth of Pakistan's Financial and Human Capital

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Pakistan on Goldman Sachs' BRIC+N11 Growth Map


Anonymous said...

NEW DELHI: Mr Jaswant Singh's fight with BJP got nastier on Wednesday, when he compared BJP to the Ku Klux Klan — violent hate groups in the United States that pledge to further interests of white Americans, and who hate Afro-Americans, Jews, minorities, Catholics and labour unions. Mr Singh said BJP has become a variant of the Klan.

Mr Singh, who was a 'suspect' in the eyes of RSS, said BJP should cut its umbilical cord with the Sangh. "It is for BJP to reflect on it. To gain their full personality as a political organisation, they have to stand on their own feet. Now they should be mature enough to cut the umbilical cord," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Christine Fair's finding on IM and SIMI:

• SIMI emerged as a student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami-i-Hind (JIH) in
1977. It remains unclear when IM broke from SIMI or if IM has simply
appropriated the militant elements of SIMI.
• Though IM recruits tend to be lower- and middle-class Muslims that are
disaffected by Hindu nationalism, as well as those offended by Western
values and polytheism, IM also claims leaders and cadres from professional
backgrounds, especially from the IT sector.
• SIMI/IM has endorsed the goals of Osama bin Laden and seeks redress for
violence against Indian Muslims, as well as recourse for the deprivation of
socio-economic opportunities for India’s Muslim community.
• SIMI/IM has long-standing ties to global Islamist organizations, including
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HUJI), and mafia
as well as Pakistani intelligence agencies and other criminal and militant
organizations beyond India

Jigar said...

"Times have changed, unlike Manmohan Singh, who kept on taking it and taking it and taking it, Modi is already shown his assertiveness with blowing up a boat."
- Christine Fair

She is also a fan of Ajit Doval or Ajit Devil as he is referred to in Pakistan. Any sign of a terrorist plan against India and Pakistan will rapidly witness another East Pakistan scenario!

Riaz Haq said...

Jigar: "She is also a fan of Ajit Doval or Ajit Devil as he is referred to in Pakistan. Any sign of a terrorist plan against India and Pakistan will rapidly witness another East Pakistan scenario!"

I think you are really unaware of the new reality in South Asia. It's summed as follows by US scholar Stephen Cohen:

"The alphabet agencies—ISI, RAW, and so forth—are often the chosen instrument of state policy when there is a conventional (and now a nuclear) balance of power, and the diplomatic route seems barren."

Fair's hero Ajit "Devil" agrees with the above too if you carefully listen to what he says in the following video:

The covert war is a game both India and Pakistan play well.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex CIA Agent and chief Bin Laden hunter Michael Scheuer on ISI:

1. ISI is like all other intelligence services--like the Australian service or the American service.

2. ISI works for the interest of their country, not to help other countries.

3. The idea that ISI is a rogue organization is very popular--and even the Pakistanis promote it---but having worked with ISI for the better part of 20 years, I know the ISI is very disciplined and very able intelligence agency.

4. Pakistanis can not leave the area when we do. They have to try and stabilize Afghanistan with a favorable Islamic government so they can move their 100,000 troops from their western border to the eastern border with India which---whether they see as a bigger threat.

5. We (US) have created the mess and the Pakistanis have to sort it out. Our (US) problems in Afghanistan are of our own making.

6. Al Qaeda has grown from just one platform (Afghanistan in 2001) to six platforms now.

Anonymous said...

I dont quite fathom why is she so venomously against Pak, not even ajit and modi are that venomous. It has a little to do with money with india and books and all, but may be it is the case of a 'woman scorned'.
Her marriage has ended recently, about which she used to claim it was strong. She made that claim, interestingly, when haqqani at a seminar made a sly remark about 'dark handsome punjabi ' officers. Is it too obvious?..What do you think Riaq?...

Riaz Haq said...

#India Congress leader compares #Modi to #Hitler, calls Masarat Alam 'sahab' #Kashmir India Today … via @IndiaToday

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh sparked a new controversy on Friday after he compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to German dictator Adolf Hitler and addressed the Kashmiri separatist Masarat Alam as 'sahab '.

"Under what section of the law has the Jammu and Kashmir government arrested Masarat Alam sahab? The government must tell us," Singh said. "What they've said and done amounts to waging a war against the nation. They should be charged under the National Security Act," he said.

Alam was arrested on Friday morning in Srinagar ahead of a Hurriyat Conference march to Tral area in Pulwama district following the killing of a youth by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Congress leader attacked Modi for criticising the opposition Congress during his foreign tour to Canada. "It is the most unbecoming of a Prime Minister to talk about the internal politics of a country. It shows his divisive mindset," he told Headlines Today in an exclusive interview. Modi, in a speech in Canada, had said he is cleaning the mess that Congress left behind.

"He must learn that since 1947 till now, no Indian Prime Minister has talked about the internal politics outside the country. Did President Barack Obama talk about his differences with the Republicans when he came to India?" Digvijaya said.

When he was reminded of Obama praising Modi in a profile the American President wrote for the Time magazine, the Congres leader said, "Even (former British Prime Minister) Winston Churchill had to take back his words when he praised Adolf Hitler ."

On party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's controversial two-month absence from New Delhi, Digvijaya countered, "Please go to Gandhinagar in Gujarat and ask what voters there are saying about their absentee MP, Mr Lal Krishna Advani."

Read more at:

Qasim said...

Good GOD this lady is painful to listen to, in the vid.

Riaz Haq said...

US based Terrorism Watch & Warning provides intelligence, research, analysis, watch and warning on international terrorism and domestic terrorism related issues; and is operated by OODA Group LLC that helps clients identify, manage, and respond to global risks and uncertainties while exploring emerging opportunities and developing robust and adaptive strategies for the future.

The RSS is a shadowy, discriminatory group that seeks to establish a Hindu Rashtra, a Hindu Nation. The group is considered the radical ideological parent group of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party – the Indian Peoples Party (BJP). The RSS is a Hindu nationalist movement, a right wing group, that was founded in 1925. Their philosophy, called Hindutva, was termed fascist by Communists, and their main demand of the central government was that it stop appeasing Muslims. Hindutva has been translated to mean variously: Hindu pride, patriotism, fundamentalism, revivalism, chauvinishm, or fascism. The group self-justifies by “asserting the natural rights

Riaz Haq said...

This troubling (caste) divide has its roots both in the development of the modern Indian state and in the nature of Hinduism and Hindu society. Before political independence and self-determination were on anyone’s agenda, Indian thinkers and public figures were already considering what social democratization would look like in a nation so fundamentally shaped by social hierarchy. And the 19th and 20th centuries saw numerous attempts to bring Indian tradition, especially Hinduism, in line with a vision of a modern liberal—and sometimes explicitly egalitarian—society.

Bhimrao Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian constitution and the nation’s first law minister, anticipated the problems that inequality would pose to the development of independent India as a modern democratic state.

Ambedkar’s experience as a Dalit, or “untouchable,” as well as his remarkably rigorous and international education, led him to advocate for social reform, broader access to education and the abolition of the caste system. And when much of that activism proved unsuccessful, he rejected Hinduism altogether.

For those who dreamed of social democratization, the Hindu tradition, so deeply hierarchical, seemed ill suited to modern egalitarian and democratic society. Could Hindu social practices be adapted to a modern democratic world? Or, as Ambedkar finally concluded, was that an impossible task?

The caste system denounced

Like earlier movements that sought to break with orthodox Hinduism (most notably Buddhism and Jainism), reform efforts in the 19th century emphasized direct, unmediated interaction between individuals and the gods—undermining the power of the Brahmins (the highest, priestly caste).

Two major reform movements, the Brahmo Samaj and the Arya Samaj, went further, offering critiques of religious, caste and gender hierarchy and promoting a vision of a more egalitarian and communal faith.

The Brahmo Samaj, founded in 1828, embraced a version of Millian liberalism while seeking to reform Hinduism for modern times. It established a canon of Hindu scripture and denounced many Hindu practices, including the caste system.

The Arya Samaj was heavily influenced by the work of the Brahmo Samaj; in 1875, it translated the Vedas, Hinduism’s ancient Sanskrit holy texts, into vernacular languages and pushed for literacy as a way of building an inclusive religious community. The Arya Samaj favored merit-based castes and social welfare as the vehicles of its egalitarian, pluralistic vision and emphasized the importance of individual religious morality and an attendant social mobility.

The Brahmo and Arya Samaj laid a foundation later built upon by Hindu leaders Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi.

Vivekananda, a much-beloved nineteenth-century Hindu monk and philosopher, saw the potential for divinity in every individual and preached the importance of mass education and material improvement to the development of a vibrant, modern Hindu society. Gandhi sought to shift the focus of Hinduism away from the ideal of spiritual renunciation towards a practical commitment to improving society.

Ultimately, the prominence of upper-caste leaders in social reform efforts tempered the movements’ critiques of Hinduism. The more radical movements were led by lower-caste leaders. Most notable among these was the “non-Brahmin” movement in western India during the 1870s and 1880s.

Jotirao Govindrao Phule and his Satyashodhak Samaj (“truth-seeking society”) were the most radical incarnation of this movement, with an emphasis on the lower castes as a moral and historical community that transcended conventional religion. Phule’s rejection of the upper castes and their traditionalist Hinduism placed him in opposition to the Brahmin-led Indian National Congress, which was founded in 1885 as a pro-independence political organization and later came to dominate the political scene.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt of Aqil Shah on TV Paul's book "Warrior State" and Christine Fair's "Fighting to the End":

" in The Warrior State are contestable on several grounds.
One, both South Korea and Taiwan enjoyed varying degrees of external
security guarantees from the United States, so they had a better chance of
prioritizing economics over warfare. Two, and unlike ethnically divided
Pakistan, both South Korea and Taiwan were also homogenous societies,
which ultimately facilitated their transitions to democracy by insulating
them from the potential challenge of peacefully accommodating ethnic
diversity. Finally, neither Turkey nor Indonesia was even half as insecure
as Pakistan, and their main security threats were internal. Hence, as Paul
himself concedes, neither had the need to overspend on defense or develop
the tools, such as the use of nonstate actors, needed to fight a much stronger
external enemy (p. 165).
Second, he attributes Pakistan’s thwarted development to its geographic
location, which has put a “geostrategic curse” on the country (pp. 3, 15,
21–22, 33). According to the book, this strategic curse works much like the well-known curse of natural resources. In return for serving (and at
times undermining) U.S. security interests, Pakistan’s elites have enjoyed
access to strategic rents, which has discouraged them from expanding the
state’s extractive capacity to achieve the economic strength required for
maintaining the security competition with India (pp. 18–23).
This “rentier” thesis has much going for it but leaves one question
unanswered: why did Pakistan not reform itself when the strategic rents
dried up—for example, in 1965–80 and 1990–2001? Paul alludes to the
path-dependent nature of ideas (p. 23), so it is reasonable to infer that even
in the absence of U.S. military aid, Pakistani elites continued to harbor their
hyper-realpolitik strategic assumptions. However, it is not clear where these
assumptions come from, or how they stick. On closer analysis, it appears
more plausible that once Pakistan’s founding fathers adopted a warrior state
strategy in response to structural insecurity at the outset of independence,
these Hobbesian beliefs developed a life of their own, especially because the
powerful military institution internalized them. "

"Fair seems to discount the role of political learning on elite
attitudes and behavior. As the case of Brazil and other Latin American
countries demonstrates, the experience of authoritarian government can
unite political elite against military praetorianism and electoral competition
can create incentives for them to erode the military’s undue political and
strategic influence. Pakistan’s most recent transition from authoritarian rule
in 2007–8 has revealed that major political parties like the Pakistan Peoples
Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have learned
their lessons from exile, incarceration, and repression under authoritarian
rule and appear strongly committed to the democratic process. In May 2013,
Pakistan broke its seemingly permanent curse of zero democratic turnover
of power from one full-term elected government to another when the PPP
government completed its five-year tenure and Nawaz Sharif’s opposition
PML-N won the parliamentary elections to form a new government. As Fair
herself admits, this successful transition was made possible in good part by
Sharif’s ability to resist the temptation of knocking on the garrison’s door
to unseat the PPP government (p. 265). "

Riaz Haq said...

Indian analyst Krishna Kant explains how India's Hindu Nationalist BJP party has unwittingly helped Pakistan by going nuclear:

1. India’s hands and feet are, however, tied behind its back, thanks to nuclear tests by the previous NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The blasts burnished the macho image of the Bharatiya Janta Party but also allowed Pakistan to go nuclear, forever limiting India’s geostrategic options in the region.

2. History suggests that the threat of a nuclear attack is enough to deter powers from entering into a direct conflict with aggressors. This explains why United States is trying to contain North Korea rather than confront it for it cannot afford a nuclear missile attack on South Korea, Japan or worse on its own Western seaboard.

3. We face a similar situation on our western borders. The threat of a nuclear attack has forced us to raise our tolerance level towards Pakistan military transgressions, both on the border and inside the country. Just count the number and severity of cross-border terrorist attack that India has suffered since the 1999 nuclear tests.

4. After going nuclear, Pakistan’s defence spending decelerated and its share in GDP is expected to be decline to around 2.5% in the current fiscal year, slightly ahead of India’s 2%. This is releasing resources for Pakistan to invest in productive sectors such as infrastructure and social services, something they couldn’t do when they were competing with India to maintain parity in conventional weapons.

5. In this environment, a hard talk by (India's NSA) Mr (Ajit) Doval (India should stop punching “below its weight” and “punch proportionately” instead) followed by a high-decibel drama by the government on the National Security Advisor’s talk between the two countries seems nothing more than a show for the gallery. The audience may be applauding right now, but claps may turn to boos as the public realises the inconsistencies in the script and the pain it inflicts on the hero.

Riaz Haq said...

‪#‎India‬'s ‪#‎Hindu‬ Fundamentalists.600 attacks on minorities (‪#‎Christians‬, ‪#‎Muslims‬) since ‪#‎Modi‬ took office @AJEnglish
Since Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist and leader of the right-wing BJP party, became prime minister of India in May 2014, groups of radical Hindu nationalists have been terrorising religious minorities across the country.
According to a leading Christian rights group, at least 600 such attacks took place between Modi's election and August of this year. One hundred and forty-nine of these assaults were against Christians; the rest were targeted at the country's Muslim community.
The attacks, say critics, are being orchestrated by radical groups affiliated to Hindu nationalist and political pressure group: the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS.
Prime Minister Modi is a lifelong member of the RSS and the backing of its members was crucial in helping his BJP party win the 2014 election. Since then, emboldened by the result, Modi’s most extreme nationalist supporters have routinely taken to the streets, using violence and intimidation to press their claim for a purely Hindu India.
Muslims have been forced to convert to Hinduism, homes burnt down and people even murdered for allegedly consuming beef; cows having special status in the Hindu faith.
Meanwhile, Hindu nationalists have been rewriting school textbooks in some states and holding training camps for teenage boys and girls in an apparent attempt to inculcate children into their cause.
We asked Indian filmmaker and journalist Mandakini Gahlot, herself a Hindu, to go in search of those who want a purely Hindu nation and find out what their resurgence means for the future of the world’s most populous secular democracy.

Riaz Haq said...

“I AM a rambo b**ch”: Meet drone defender Christine Fair who wants #India to militarily SQUASH #Pakistan … via @Salon

In a debate on the Al Jazeera program UpFront in October, Fair butted heads with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, a prominent critic of the U.S. drone program. Fair, notorious for her heated rhetoric, accused Greenwald of being a “liar” and insulted Al Jazeera several times, claiming the network does not appreciate “nuance” in the way she does. Greenwald in turn criticized Fair for hardly letting him get a word in; whenever he got a rare chance to speak, she would constantly interrupt him, leading host Mehdi Hasan to ask her to stop.

The lack of etiquette aside, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid remarked that Fair’s arguments in the debate were “surprisingly weak.”

After the debate, Fair took to Twitter to mud-sling. She expressed pride at not letting Greenwald speak, boasting she “shut that lying clown down.” “I AM a rambo b**ch,” she proclaimed.

Fair also called Greenwald a “pathological liar, a narcissist, [and] a fool.” She said she would like to put Greenwald and award-winning British journalist Mehdi Hasan in a Pakistani Taliban stronghold, presumably to be tortured, “then ask ’em about drones.”

Elsewhere on social media, Fair has made similarly provocative comments. In a Facebook post, Fair called Pakistan “an enemy” and said “We invaded the wrong dog-damned country,” implying the U.S. should have invaded Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

In another Facebook post, Fair insisted that “India needs to woman up and SQUASH Pakistan militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.” Both India and Pakistan are nuclear states.

Fair proudly identifies as a staunch liberal and advocates for a belligerent foreign policy. She rails against neo-conservatives, but chastises the Left for criticizing U.S. militarism. In 2012, she told a journalist on Twitter “Dude! I am still very much pro drones. Sorry. They are the least worst option. My bed of coals is set to 11.”

Despite the sporadic jejune Twitter tirade, Fair has established herself as one of the drone program’s most vociferous proponents. Fair is a specialist in South Asian politics, culture, and languages, with a PhD from the University of Chicago. She has published extensively, in a wide variety of both scholarly and journalistic publications. If you see an article in a large publication defending the U.S. drone program in Pakistan, there is a good chance she wrote or co-authored it.

Reviewing the “mountains of evidence”

After her debate with Greenwald, Fair wrote an article for the Brookings Institution’s Lawfare blog. While making jabs at Greenwald, Hasan, and Al Jazeera; characterizing her participation in the debate as an “ignominious distinction”; and implying that The Intercept, the publication co-founded by Greenwald with other award-winning journalists, is a criminal venture, not a whistleblowing news outlet, Fair forcefully defended the drone program.

Secret government documents leaked to The Intercept by a whistleblower show that 90 percent of people killed in U.S. drone strikes in a five-month period in provinces on Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan were not the intended targets. Fair accused The Intercept of “abusing” and selectively interpreting the government’s data. In a followup piece in the Huffington Post, she maintained that the findings of the Drone Papers do not apply to the drone program in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Fact check: #India wasn't the first place #Sanskrit was recorded – it was #Syria. #Modi #BJP … via @scroll_in

As the Narendra Modi government celebrates Sanskrit, a look at the oldest known speakers of the language: the Mitanni people of Syria.

After yoga, Narendra Modi has turned his soft power focus to Sanskrit. The Indian government is enthusiastically participating in the 16th World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok. Not only is it sending 250 Sanskrit scholars and partly funding the event, the conference will see the participation of two senior cabinet ministers: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who inaugurated the conference on Sunday, and Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, who will attend its closing ceremony on July 2. Inexplicably, Swaraj also announced the creation of the post of Joint Secretary for Sanskrit in the Ministry of External Affairs. How an ancient language, which no one speaks, writes or reads, will help promote India’s affairs abroad remains to be seen.

On the domestic front, though, the uses of Sanskrit are clear: it is a signal of the cultural nationalism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Sanskrit is the liturgical language of Hinduism, so sacred that lower castes (more than 75% of modern Hindus) weren’t even allowed to listen to it being recited. Celebrating Sanskrit does little to add to India’s linguistic skills – far from teaching an ancient language, India is still to get all its people educated in their modern mother tongues. But it does help the BJP push its own brand of hyper-nationalism.

Unfortunately, reality is often a lot more complex than simplistic nationalist myths. While Sanskrit is a marker of Hindu nationalism for the BJP, it might be surprised, even shocked, to know that the first people to leave behind evidence of having spoken Sanskrit aren't Hindus or Indians – they were Syrians.

The Syrian speakers of Sanskrit

The earliest form of Sanskrit is that used in the Rig Veda (called Old Indic or Rigvedic Sanskrit). Amazingly, Rigvedic Sanskrit was first recorded in inscriptions found not on the plains of India but in in what is now northern Syria.

Between 1500 and 1350 BC, a dynasty called the Mitanni ruled over the upper Euphrates-Tigris basin, land that corresponds to what are now the countries of Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. The Mitannis spoke a language called Hurrian, unrelated to Sanskrit. However, each and every Mitanni king had a Sanskrit name and so did many of the local elites. Names include Purusa (meaning “man”), Tusratta (“having an attacking chariot”), Suvardata (“given by the heavens”), Indrota (“helped by Indra”) and Subandhu, a name that exists till today in India.

Imagine that: the irritating, snot-nosed Subandhu from school shares his name with an ancient Middle Eastern prince. Goosebumps. (Sorry, Subandhu).

The Mitanni had a culture, which, like the Vedic people, highly revered chariot warfare. A Mitanni horse-training manual, the oldest such document in the world, uses a number of Sanskrit words: aika (one), tera (three), satta (seven) and asua (ashva, meaning “horse”). Moreover, the Mitanni military aristocracy was composed of chariot warriors called “maryanna”, from the Sanskrit word "marya", meaning “young man”.

The Mitanni worshipped the same gods as those in the Rig Veda (but also had their own local ones). They signed a treaty with a rival king in 1380 BC which names Indra, Varuna, Mitra and the Nasatyas (Ashvins) as divine witnesses for the Mitannis. While modern-day Hindus have mostly stopped the worship of these deities, these Mitanni gods were also the most important gods in the Rig Veda.

Riaz Haq said...

A nationalism unique to #India. #Modi government demands oath of allegiance only from #Muslim #Urdu writers. …

The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language under Smriti Irani is asking Urdu writers to sign forms which have the following declaration: “I ___ son/daughter of ___ confirm that my book/magazine titled ___ which has been approved for bulk purchase by NCPUL’s monetary assistance scheme does not contain anything against the policies of the government of India or the interest of the nation, does not cause disharmony of any sort between different classes of the country, and is not monetarily supported by any government or non-government institution.”

A Muslim legislator has been suspended in Maharashtra for saying he prefers “Jai Hind” (victory to India) to “Bharat Mata ki jai” (victory to mother India). What the difference between these two declarations is, I am not really sure, but it is enough to merit punishment. On March 19 came a report that Urdu writers have been asked to guarantee they are not writing anti-India material.

In today’s India, on the other hand, our ‘nationalism’ is not against another nation. It is against other Indians. This is why it is different. Our great Indian nationalists are rousing passions against their own people, not against another nation. Our fraud nationalists go after their own citizens for their religion, or for their views. Their concern and passion is the enemy within. That is not love of nation. It is hatred and bitterness. Persecution of Indian Muslims and Indian dalits is not nationalism. This word we use so easily as an accusation, ‘anti-national’, is not really current in European languages. Only primitive peoples, like Indians, use it. It means opposition to the things a nation stands for. But who is to decide what positive nationalism is? Other than saying Bharat Mata ki jai, I do not really know what Indian nationalism is.

Jawaharlal Nehru University has been organising open lectures on nationalism. This is available on videos that is accessible to the lay person. This is a noble effort but I am afraid that it will be wasted on Indians. It does not matter how terribly you behave, as long as you loudly say Bharat Mata ki jai, you are a nationalist in India.

Yet, another story in the papers is about two Muslims, one of them a child of 15, tortured and lynched from a tree, just like African-Amercians in the United States. They were herding buffaloes so it is not clear what their crime was. But it is absolutely certain where the hatred was stirred up.Is this making the government pause? Not at all. The BJP national executive is meeting over this weekend and it is calling for yet more “nationalism”. Haven’t we had enough of that already?

Do the people in the BJP know what effect this has on India’s reputation as a civilised society? Pick up any foreign paper or magazine and most of the news about India is negative. Why? Because, as many of us have concluded, avoidable incidents of similar nature are coming with such regularity that it is not easy to escape the suspicion that these things are deliberate.

For those hate-filled, fraud nationalists here, achche din have arrived.

Riaz Haq said...

Christine Fair says: "Pakistan is an army with a state rather than as a state with an army". She needs to be more original, not rip off what was said centuries ago about the Prussian Army.

Fair is a known Pakistan hater who wants India to invade Pakistan. She praises Ajit Doval for his hawkish stance against Pakistan.

She has little credibility. She supports US militarism around the world and proudly proclaims: “I AM a rambo b**ch"

Elsewhere on social media, Fair has made similarly provocative comments. In a Facebook post, Fair called Pakistan “an enemy” and said “We invaded the wrong dog-damned country,” implying the U.S. should have invaded Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

In another Facebook post, Fair insisted that “India needs to woman up and SQUASH Pakistan militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.” Both India and Pakistan are nuclear states.

Fair proudly identifies as a staunch liberal and advocates for a belligerent foreign policy. She rails against neo-conservatives, but chastises the Left for criticizing U.S. militarism. In 2012, she told a journalist on Twitter “Dude! I am still very much pro drones. Sorry. They are the least worst option. My bed of coals is set to 11.”

Riaz Haq said...

By comparing Akbar to Hitler, BJP shows there’s no place for even a 'good' Muslim in India’s history
by Shoaib Daniyal

While Akbar and Aurangzeb are attacked for their faults – an easy enough thing to do given how different modern values are from medieval times – Pratap is let off. Temple destruction is a hot topic of debate but untouchability and caste is silently forgotten. Tsunamis of uninformed outrage crash onto the internet over the Mughal treatment of Hindus but there is pin-drop silence on the Rajput treatment of Dalits. If one is objective about using 21st century values to judge 16th century potentates, no one will come out smelling of roses.


Akbar made alliances with Hindu Rajputs, who were the backbone of his army – even at Haldighati, Akbar entrusted his forces to a Rajput, Man Singh (who has his own Delhi road). He had a Khatri, Todar Mal, for his finance minister, whose revenue system more than anything, ensured that the Mughals ruled for three centuries. Theological debates were organised by the emperor at a time when religious-driven prejudice was so strong that most Indians wouldn’t even so much as touch each other for fear of losing their jati and "upper" castes thought most of their countrymen subhuman. Jalaluddin, it seems, even left formal Islam, founding a religion called the Deen-e-Ilahi, angering the Muslim clergy – a grudge held till today by conservative Muslims.

The clamour to rename Aurangzeb Road was pinned on the man being a tyrant. However, in spite of these spades of liberalness, why is Akbar in the cross-hairs today?

The answer is simple: the powerful demand to strike out Akbar Road shows rather clearly that the move to rename Aurangzeb Road had very little to do with the character of Aurangzeb itself. While modern scholarship has shown that the colonial binary between Akbar and Aurangzeb was a false one, making cardboard cut-outs of complex historical figures and administrative systems, at the end of the day, in the public sphere, Akbar or Aurangzeb really doesn’t matter: any Muslim ruler simply has no place in the popular historical imagination as an Indian anymore.