Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Will Modi's Pakistan Policy Focus on "Aatankwad" and "Vyapar"?

BJP leader Narendra Modi has made history as the first low-caste Hindu to be elected prime minister of India. Modi's spectacular rise from being a chai-walla to a major world leader is sure to inspire the world's largest population of poor who call India home.  Before discussing how Modi's rise will impact India-Pakistan ties, let's briefly examine the new man at the helm of affairs of the world's second most populous nation.

Who's Narendra Modi?

Narendra Modi will soon become the first low-caste Hindu prime minister of India. Modi was a young man when he joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the extremist Hindu nationalists organization in India, which has a long history of admiration for Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, and his "Final Solution".

In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

2002 Gujarat Riots: 

Apparently taking a cue from his Guruji Golwalkar, Modi presided over the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat state where he was first elected chief minister in 2001. During the riot, at least 2,000 Muslims were killed by Hindu mobs and several hundred girls and women were stripped naked, raped or gang-raped, had their wombs slashed and were thrown into fires, some while still alive.

In spite of the riots (or may be because of the riots), Modi continued to win elections and run Gujarat state as its chief minister since he was first elected 13 years ago. Gujarat saw significant investment and rapid economic growth during this period which is often attributed to Modi's pro-business policies.

Modi's Ties to Oligarchs: 

Modi has cultivated close ties with India's oligarchs who mostly come from his Gujarat state. Gautam Adani is one of these oligarchs to whom Modi has been particularly close. Adani has received cheap land for his land development projects and lucrative power purchase contracts for the electricity his power company generates. Adani has returned the favor by prividing both financial and logistics support for the Indian history's most expensive election campaign run by the BJP on Modi's behalf.

Modi and Sharif Comparison:

Far-fetched as it may seem, the fact is that Mr. Narendra Modi shares some commonalities with Mr. Nawaz Sharif. Examples:

1. Both men lead parties considered to be right-of-center.

2. Both leaders won fewer than a third of the popular votes in "landslides" to achieve absolute majorities in their respective national parliaments.

3. Both politicians are considered pro-business with close ties to oligarchs. There's Sharif-Mansha nexus in Pakistan similar to Modi-Adani nexus in India.

4. Both men support rapid expansion in trade which will benefit the oligarchs on both sides.

Modi's Balancing Act:

Narendra Modi's political support base consists of the extreme right-wing Hindu Nationalists.  His financial backers and investors are the big Gujarati oligarchs. The interests of these two groups diverge dramatically. While the Hindu Nationalists will demand hawkish policies toward Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indian Muslims, the oligarchs will push for expanded trade ties with Pakistan.  Adani is reportedly building a major power plant in Kutch region near Pakistan's border in the hope of exporting electricity to the country.

I expect Modi will try and balance the two interests groups by stepping up his anti-Pakistan rhetoric on "aatankwad" (terrorism) and at the same time pursue increased "vyapar" (trade) with Pakistan. This balancing act will severely test Modi's ability to quickly acquire political skills which he did not need as the chief minister of Gujarat. Failure to do so could scuttle all of his lofty promises of "development" he has made to the people India during his recent campaign to become prime minister of India.

Here's a video discussion on this and other subjects with Raza Rumi, Misabah Azam and Faraz Darvesh:

Implications of Modi's Rise in India; Pakistan's GeoTV Under Fire from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Here's celebrated Indian author Arundhati Roy talking about Narendra Modi:

Narinder Modi by Arundati Roy by hastalgill

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India is World's Biggest Oligarchy

Should Pakistan Ignore Washington Consensus?

Gujarat Riot Victims 

Hindu Nationalists Admire Hitler

India Has World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates

Pakistan Needs More Gujaratis? 

India's Israel Envy


Iqbal Singh said...

Many of the "charges" were politically motivated by the Congress Party that was in power. SIT the investigative team assigned by the Supreme Court; however, found no evidence to link Modi for the Feb 2002 riots.
Modi had been Chief Minister barely a few months and was focussed on the massive Bhuj earthquake aftermath (the entire reason he got elected to power due to the incompetency of his predecessor)
Lastly, the 2014 election broke all religious, caste and economic barriers. 285 seats majority would not have been possible without atleast 25% of Muslim vote! The UPA, it was assumed, would get ALL the Muslim votes but they may have gotten only 60%!

This is the other side of the story. Not as tantalizing but that is why he is the PM of 1.2 billion Indians

Riaz Haq said...

Iqbal Singh: " SIT the investigative team assigned by the Supreme Court; however, found no evidence to link Modi for the Feb 2002 riots."

Such narrowly focused investigations are not credible. The fact is that Modi has been part of what University of Washington researcher Prof Paul Brass calls "The production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India".

Here's an excerpt:

Events labelled “Hindu-Muslim riots” have been recurring features in India for three-quarters of a century or more. In northern and western India, especially, there are numerous cities and town in which riots have become endemic. In such places, riots have, in effect, become a grisly form of dramatic production in which there are three phases: preparation/​rehearsal, activation/​enactment, and explanation/​interpretation. In these sites of endemic riot production, preparation and rehearsal are continuous activities. Activation or enactment of a large-scale riot takes place under particular circumstances, most notably in a context of intense political mobilization or electoral competition in which riots are precipitated as a device to consolidate the support of ethnic, religious, or other culturally marked groups by emphasizing the need for solidarity in face of the rival communal group. The third phase follows after the violence in a broader struggle to control the explanation or interpretation of the causes of the violence. In this phase, many other elements in society become involved, including journalists, politicians, social scientists, and public opinion generally.
At first, multiple narratives vie for primacy in controlling the explanation of violence. On the one hand, the predominant social forces attempt to insert an explanatory narrative into the prevailing discourse of order, while others seek to establish a new consensual hegemony that upsets existing power relations, that is, those which accept the violence as spontaneous, religious, mass-based, unpredictable, and impossible to prevent or control fully. This third phase is also marked by a process of blame displacement in which social scientists themselves become implicated, a process that fails to isolate effectively those most responsible for the production of violence, and instead diffuses blame widely, blurring responsibility, and thereby contributing to the perpetuation of violent productions in future, as well as the order that sustains them.
In India, all this takes place within a discourse of Hindu-Muslim hostility that denies the deliberate and purposive character of the violence by attributing it to the spontaneous reactions of ordinary Hindus and Muslims, locked in a web of mutual antagonisms said to have a long history. In the meantime, in post-Independence India, what are labelled Hindu-Muslim riots have more often than not been turned into pogroms and massacres of Muslims, in which few Hindus are killed. In fact, in sites of endemic rioting, there exist what I have called “institutionalized riot systems,” in which the organizations of militant Hindu nationalism are deeply implicated. Further, in these sites, persons can be identified, who play specific roles in the preparation, enactment, and explanation of riots after the fact. Especially important are what I call the “fire tenders,” who keep Hindu-Muslim tensions alive through various inflammatory and inciting acts; “conversion specialists,” who lead and address mobs of potential rioters and give a signal to indicate if and when violence should commence; criminals and the poorest elements in society, recruited and rewarded for enacting the violence; and politicians and the vernacular media who, during the violence, and in its aftermath, draw attention away from the perpetrators of the violence by attributing it to the actions of an inflamed mass public. ...

Riaz Haq said...

Iqbal: " 285 seats majority would not have been possible without atleast 25% of Muslim vote! The UPA, it was assumed, would get ALL the Muslim votes but they may have gotten only 60%!"

BJP won with just 31% of the overall vote in the national elections. It;s hard to believe that this 31% includes 25% Muslim vote.

Here's some data from First Post:

Speaking to The Hindu, Prof Sanjay Kumar of the CSDS says that for the last six elections since 1996, about 33 percent of Muslims have voted for the Congress. This election saw that percentage rise to 44 percent, indicating the anticipated polarisation of the Muslim voters towards the Congress. "Moreover, in bipolar states like Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where the Muslim vote share for the Congress goes even higher into the 70s, it rose above 90 per cent in this election," the report says. A report in The Indian Express also points out that this is the very first time that a ruling party with a simple majority does not have a single Muslim MP in the Lok Sabha. Of its 482 candidates who contested the general elections, only seven were Muslim, and none of them won, including Shahnawaz Hussain, a long-time sitting MP who lost from Bhagalpur. Even in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP has made a startling debut with three MPs, the Muslim candidates did not win.

Riaz Haq said...

Not a single Muslim seat in the majority party in the Indian parliament this year. Speaking to The Hindu, Prof Sanjay Kumar of the CSDS says that for the last six elections since 1996, about 33 percent of Muslims have voted for the Congress. This election saw that percentage rise to 44 percent, indicating the anticipated polarisation of the Muslim voters towards the Congress. "Moreover, in bipolar states like Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where the Muslim vote share for the Congress goes even higher into the 70s, it rose above 90 per cent in this election," the report says. A report in The Indian Express also points out that this is the very first time that a ruling party with a simple majority does not have a single Muslim MP in the Lok Sabha. Of its 482 candidates who contested the general elections, only seven were Muslim, and none of them won, including Shahnawaz Hussain, a long-time sitting MP who lost from Bhagalpur. Even in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP has made a startling debut with three MPs, the Muslim candidates did not win.

Riaz Haq said...

The number of Muslim MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha will be the lowest in 50 years, The Hindu’s analysis of the 2014 election results has found. Just 22 Muslims have been elected, seven fewer than in the outgoing House.

Muslims now make up just over four per cent of parliamentarians despite their accounting for over 13 per cent of the population as of 2001. There were over 30 Muslim MPs for the past 15 years, over 25 for the 20 years before that and over 40 for the 10 years between 1980 and 1989.

With the Bharatiya Janata Party sweeping the election but nominating fewer than five Muslim candidates across the country, the likelihood of a Muslim from the party making it to Parliament fell substantially. None of the BJP’s five candidates won, but its ally, the Lok Jan Shakti Party, had one Muslim candidate who won in Khagaria (Bihar). Eight of the Muslims who won were UPA candidates — four from the Congress, one from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and two from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Civil society worried

The development has Muslim civil society worried. Reacting to the news of dwindling representation in the Lok Sabha, Zafarul Islam Khan, president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, an umbrella body of over two dozen representative bodies, said that with the BJP becoming so powerful in national politics now, Muslims would soon be made “irrelevant.”

The 16th Lok Sabha will be under-represented by women as usual, though it is likely to have the highest ever number of them. Of the 543 MPs, only 62, or a little more than 11 per cent, are women. This is a negligible improvement over 2009, when 61 women candidates were elected to the Lower House.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party scores when it comes to the highest number of women MPs — out of the 58, 28 are from the BJP. The party had fielded 35 women candidates.

The Trinamool Congress comes second with 11 of its 24 candidates emerging victorious. While none of the AAP’s four victorious candidates are women, the Congress will send three women MPs to Parliament.

Out of a total number of 8,163 candidates, 636 women contested elections across the country. In 2009, 556 (6.9 per cent) women candidates had contested out of a total of 8,070.

While many among the winners are expected faces such as the Congress’ Sonia Gandhi, the BJP’s Sushma Swaraj and the PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, the results also sprang surprises. Heena Gavit, 26, a first-timer from the BJP, defeated nine-time MP Manikrao Gavit from the Nandurbar constituency in Maharashtra, a place from where the Congress had never lost before. Other first-timers include Hema Malini of the BJP from Mathura.

Speaking to reporters, Ms. Gavit stated that it was a huge responsibility being a woman MP. “We are historically under-represented. It will be my duty to speak up on women’s issues and do justice to my victory,” she said.

Mohan said...

‘Not a single Muslim seat in the majority party in the Indian parliament this year….a first in India’s history.’
Riaz Saab,
Are you trying to say that the MPs who have been elected are not Indians? Or are you trying to say that Muslims are more Indian than the MPs who have been elected? It is high time that you and your ilk stop looking at everything through the prism of religion. Candidates who have been elected are Indian. Period

Anonymous said...

Modi's election is a sad day for India. - Amjad

Riaz Haq said...

Mohan: "Are you trying to say that the MPs who have been elected are not Indians?"

No, I am not saying that. What I am saying is that the proportion of Muslims in Indian parliament is just 4% while their population in India is over 13%. On the other hand, Muslims are over-represented by more than 2X in the prison population with 28% of the prisoners in India being Muslim.

Anonymous said...

Mohan said...

As usual you are again looking through the prism of religion. The people who are in jail are criminals, they are there because they have committed some crimes, not because of their religion. And none of them have committed blasphemy.

Riaz Haq said...

Mohan: “The people who are in jail are criminals, they are there because they have committed some crimes, not because of their religion”

It’s more of an indictment of India’s criminal (in)justice system which is known to be bigoted and corrupt. It’s not just discriminatory against Muslims but also against other minorities such as Christians who are also disproportionately represented in the prison population. Christians make up 2.8% of India’s population but 6% of the Indian prison population.

Riaz Haq said...

Live discussion on IBN TV with a Muslim young man who had been incarcerated and tortured by the Andhra Police for the crime committed by Swami Aseemanand and his gang. How this young man's life has been turned upside down after false accusations and tortures.

Jay said...

Muslims are over-represented tenfold in Scandinavian prisons relative to their share of the local population. Also much higher incarceration rates in the US and UK. Most likely same in all of Western Europe.

Maybe there is some truth to what the Malaysian prime minister said this week and Muslims will not be able to tolerate humanism, secularism and women's education?

Riaz Haq said...

Jay: "Muslims are over-represented tenfold in Scandinavian prisons relative to their share of the local population. Also much higher incarceration rates in the US and UK. Most likely same in all of Western Europe."

Let me ask you a few questions:

1. Do you think discrimination in Europe and America is race-based or religion-based?

2. Are Indian Muslims of a different race and national origin than Indian Hindus?

3. Why is the christian incarceration rate in India similar to Muslim incarceration rate...more than 2X the percentage of their population? Is it also because of their religion?

Please ponder your answers to the above questions before further exposing your obvious anti-Muslim bigotry.

Riaz Haq said...

Many Modi supporters have been telling Indians who disagree with him to go to Pakistan….even sent them tickets to travel to Karachi.

“We decided to send him (U. R. Ananthamurthy, an award-winning author of literature in the Kannada language) to Pakistan because he always talks about how our relationship with Muslims should be,” Chakravarty Sulibele, the founder of the (NaMo) brigade, said in an interview. “So we thought maybe he likes Pakistan’s secularism model better and better be sent there.”
Formed in June 2013 with a mission to support Mr. Modi’s national election bid, organizers say the NaMo Brigade now has 10,000 members across urban and rural Karnataka. After forming, members went door to door and visited schools and colleges to promote Mr Modi’s model of economic development as seen in Gujarat.
“We sing patriotic songs and invoke freedom fighters to instill nationalism in the people,” said Mr. Sulibele.
‘The mandate after the results were out was quite clear,” he said. “Mr. Ananthamurthy must respect the majority sentiment and accept it. If he does not accept the mandate and thinks Pakistan is a more secular country, then that is where he should be living.”
Mr. Ananthamurthy refused to back down. He said that Mr. Modi, as a low-caste leader, owed his ascent to the ideology of the founders of independent India who believed in inclusion for all, not in the ideology of Hindu nationalism.
Mr. Ananthamurthy also questioned Mr. Modi’s role during the riots in Gujarat, despite a subsequent investigation led by the Supreme Court that found there was not enough evidence to charge Mr. Modi.
“Modi is morally responsible for what happened,” Mr. Ananthamurthy said. “Such an able administrator and could not control the killings? Difficult to believe.”
“In my mind I cannot admire him,” he added.

Jay said...

Let me ask you a few questions:

1. Do you think discrimination in Europe and America is race-based or religion-based?

-- When it comes to imprisonment in Scandinavia and much of Western Europe, I believe that most of the Muslims in prison are there because they deserve to be there. A very large portion are there due to rape of local women. As you witnessed in Egypt when the American reporter was molested and raped, the Muslim world is totally repressed. Fare more than Hindus in India, in spite of all the rape cases there. Massive porn addictions in Muslim countries, inability to control urges when in the presence of European women, grooming in the UK and on and on. Say what you may, but there is no racism or religious discrimination here. The Muslim prisoners in Europe largely deserve to be in prison barring a few fake terrorism cases.

In the US, I agree with you to some extent. A fraction of black muslims are in prison because of racial discrimination.

2. Are Indian Muslims of a different race and national origin than Indian Hindus?

I am guessing same race. Not sure why you asked me that? And I assume at least half of Pakistanis are the same race too.

3. Why is the christian incarceration rate in India similar to Muslim incarceration rate...more than 2X the percentage of their population? Is it also because of their religion?

I did not know that fact and wonder if you used an official source. I would agree that many Muslims in India are in prison for fake terror charges. I can not believe that Christians would be put into prison for similar made up reasons. I have not met any Indian Hindu/Sikh/Buddhist etc... who would be scared of a Christian terrorist or want to put a Christian in prison for no reason. Hindus do not like Christian conversions, but I do not know of them putting Christians in prison for that.

Please ponder your answers to the above questions before further exposing your obvious anti-Muslim bigotry.

Jay said...

Okay I just saw your source and the article says that many Christians are falsely accused of being Naxalites...but the article is written by a Catholic!! India has a Naxalite terror problem and I am guessing that the majority of Indians are not trying to put Christians in prison for fake reasons. It is an eastern Indian issue, and hopefully they solve it soon.

Riaz Haq said...

Jay: " I believe that most of the Muslims in prison are there because they deserve to be there. A very large portion are there due to rape of local women."

I find this strange coming from someone from India which is now known as the rape capital of the addition to local women, there have been sexual assaults on several European women tourists and the perpetrators were Hindus.

Jay: "but the article is written by a Catholic!!"

It cites National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB)as the source.

Anonymous said...

"2. Are Indian Muslims of a different race and national origin than Indian Hindus? "

Did Jinnah say this
It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, litterateurs. They neither intermarry nor interdine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state. ”
In 1944,Jinnah said:

“ We maintain and hold that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation. We are a nation of hundred million and what is more, we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportions, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and tradition, and aptitude and ambitions. In short, we have our own outlook on life and of life.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Did Jinnah say this
It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders..."

Did QA MA Jinnah ever say that Hindus and Muslims in pre-1947 India were racially different from each other? Are Europeans living in England, France and Germany racially different from each other? Are Slavs in Serbia racially different from Slavs in Russia?

Jigar said...

I believe it is the Pakistani mindset to view everything through a religious prism. After all the country was created on that basis. These folks view many events in India and distort them along religious lines. Obviously, it serves them well and authenticates the birth of Pakistan which I find it amazing. Even after 65 odd years Pakistanis still debate the idea of Pakistan!
As an young Indian, I care less whether you are this religion or that and I am actually very glad that Pakistan is NOT part of us. Trust me, I am not alone in this view.
Mr Haq Sir, you maybe of the age of my parents who are stuck in a mode that has seen its days but, I assure you at least in India that kind of thinking is on its way out.
Now you may pick out something from my narrative and distort it yet again but that WILL not change the view us young Indians hold.
Modi is the PM because we voted for him!

Riaz Haq said...

Jigar: "I believe it is the Pakistani mindset to view everything through a religious prism. After all the country was created on that basis. These folks view many events in India and distort them along religious lines"

I can't believe this from a nation that just elected a staunch religious Hindu representing the fanatical RSS as its prime minister...a nation where housing discrimination, employment discrimination, criminal justice discrimination, education discrimination against Muslims based on religion is rampant and well documented by Sachar Commission and other reporting and news organizations.

Anonymous said...

"Did QA MA Jinnah ever say that Hindus and Muslims in pre-1947 India were racially different from each other? Are Europeans living in England, France and Germany racially different from each other? Are Slavs in Serbia racially different from Slavs in Russia?"

and why is that important? MAJ clearly articulated that H and M can not live together as they are as different as chalk and cheese. Given that, why would indian muslims be not viewed with suspicion.

Parsis were racially different than other indians, yet they are fully integrated. Why? Because of their conduct.

Why are muslim immigrants in UK and USA subjected to suspicion after 9/11 and not Hindus? Actions have reactions.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Parsis were racially different than other indians, yet they are fully integrated. Why?"

60,000 Parsis, 75% of them living in their exclusive neighborhoods in Mumbai, are fully integrated with 1.2 billion Indians? Really?

Anon: "Why are muslim immigrants in UK and USA subjected to suspicion after 9/11 and not Hindus? Actions have reactions"

Muslim immigrants have far more rights and much better treated in UK and USA than Indian Muslims born and raised in India.

As to the xenophobes, they do not know the difference between Hindus and Muslims and they have attacked, injured or killed more Hindu and Sikh immigrants than Muslim immigrants.

Anonymous said...

“What he [Modi] will be called upon to do is not to attack Muslims, it will be to sort out what is going on in the forests, to sweep out the resistance and hand over land to the mining and infrastructure corporations,” explains Ms Roy. “The contracts are all signed and the companies have been waiting for years. He has been chosen as the man who does not blink in the face of bloodshed, not just Muslim bloodshed but any bloodshed.” India’s largest mining and energy projects are in areas that are inhabited by its poorest tribal population who are resisting the forcible takeover of their livelihood resources. Maoist militants champion the cause of these adivasis and have established virtual rule in many pockets.

Riaz Haq said...

The Guardian on Nawaz Sharif's acceptance of invitation to attend Modi's inauguration:

The invite posed a dilemma for Sharif, who leads the conservative pro-business Pakistan Muslim League, as many in the country and elsewhere in the Muslim world see the 63-year-old Modi as a hardline Hindu nationalist who harbours sectarian prejudices.

Modi has been accused of allowing, or even encouraging, mob violence in the western Indian state in 2002. About 1,000 people, mainly Muslims, were killed in rioting that followed an arson attack on a train in which 59 Hindu pilgrims died. Modi, who had been appointed Gujarat's chief minister the year before, has denied any wrongdoing.

Modi has a brimming foreign policy in-tray. Relations with the US have deteriorated markedly in recent years and, though commercial links with China have grown, Delhi is deeply concerned by the expansion of Chinese influence in the region.

The 63-year-old will also have to manage relations with other neighbours, such as Bangladesh's ruling Awami League, which has traditionally been close to India's Congress party. Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh's prime minister, has said she cannot attend the ceremony due to a commitment to travel to Japan but is sending a representative.

Relations with Sri Lanka are also complex, and contentious within India. Major politicians in southern India, where there is a substantial population with ethnic and religious links to minority communities in Sri Lanka, reacted angrily after their president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, accepted Modi's invitation.

It is the relationship with Pakistan, however, that is being seen as the real test of Modi's foreign policy in the region.

Asim K said...

It is quite interesting that you cite the Sachar Commission. Much credit to India as a country that bodies like Sachar are out there highlighting the ills that face Indians.

Next, it also goes to show you that Congress, which has been the government for most years since independence did nothing to improve the livelihoods of minorities.

The Congress appeals to minorities by passing out handouts simply to solidify their vote bank. Ultimately, the economic condition of minorities stays the same.

Historically Congress dominant states like the UP and Bihar have the highest rates of poverty of minorities according to NSS. Yet BJP state like Gujarat have one of lowest poverty rate among Muslims compared to other bigger states!

Many Muslims know this and the Sachar Commission was just another nail in the coffin of the Congress Party.

That the BJP won comes as no surprise even though I will not declare to you who I voted for - and I proudly say this as an Indian Muslim.

Riaz Haq said...

Asim K: " Much credit to India as a country that bodies like Sachar are out there highlighting the ills that face Indians."

Credit for highlighting and then doing nothing to cure the ills? A recent update of Sachar showed little progress for Muslims since 2006.

Asim K: " Historically Congress dominant states like the UP and Bihar have the highest rates of poverty of minorities according to NSS. Yet BJP state like Gujarat have one of lowest poverty rate among Muslims compared to other bigger states!"

Historically? So you mean the governments do nothing just because it's history? What is the purpose of governance?

Talking about history, Muslims weren't worse off than Dalits but now they are.

Asim K: "I proudly say this as an Indian Muslim."

Have you tested your "Indian Muslim" pride by trying to rent or buy a home in a nice urban neighborhood in India? Read the following:

NEW DELHI — Like real estate agents the world over, Rahul Rewal asks his clients if they have children or pets, since both limit options. But there is another crucial but often unspoken question: Are they Muslim?

“I tailor the list of places that I show Muslims because many landlords, even in upper-class neighborhoods, will not rent to them,” Mr. Rewal said. “Most don’t even bother hiding their bigotry.”

Discrimination against Muslims in India is so rampant that many barely muster outrage when telling of the withdrawn apartment offers, rejected job applications and turned-down loans that are part of living in the country for them. As a group, Muslims have fallen badly behind Hindus in recent decades in education, employment and economic status, with persistent discrimination a key reason. Muslims are more likely to live in villages without schools or medical facilities and less likely to qualify for bank loans.

Now, after a landslide electoral triumph Friday by the Bharatiya Janata Party of Hindu nationalists, some Muslims here said they were worried that their place in India could become even more tenuous.
Mr. Modi’s victory came in large measure from India’s aspirational urban electorate, who yearn for a better future for themselves and their children. Christophe Jaffrelot, a professor at King’s College London, said that rapid urbanization and a growing middle class were softening barriers among Hindu castes, but that the same forces had increased divisions between Hindus and Muslims.

“In the village, you are bound to meet Muslim families because it’s such a small universe,” he said. “In the cities, you have these vast ghettos.”...

AR said...

can Modi be worse off than congress in any or all the areas you mentioned…Answer and hope today is NO…

Riaz Haq said...

AR: "can Modi be worse off than congress in any or all the areas you mentioned…Answer and hope today is NO…"

Don’t bet on it. Modi is inspired by his guruji who openly admired Hitler for his “Final Solution. He could start an unnecessary war that could lead to the destruction of his country.

Hope it never happens, but if Modi pulls a Hitler, his and his guruji’s hero, then it’ll be an unparalleled human catastrophe.
Here’s a scenario offered by a physicians group recently:

A nuclear war between South Asian rivals India and Pakistan would trigger a global famine that would immediately kill 2 billion people around the world and spell the “end of human civilization,” according to a study by an anti-nuclear group. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) also warned that even a limited nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan would destroy crop yields, damage the atmosphere and throw global food markets into chaos. China, the world’s most populous country, would face a catastrophic food shortage that would lead to enormous social convulsions.
“A billion people dead in the developing world is obviously a catastrophe unparalleled in human history,” said Ira Helfand, co-president of PSR and the study’s lead author. “But then if you add to that the possibility of another 1.3 billion people in China being at risk, we are entering something that is clearly the end of civilization.” Helfand explained that China’s destruction would be caused by longstanding tensions between its neighbors, India and Pakistan, two enemies that have already fought three wars since 1947. Moreover, given the apocalyptic power of contemporary nuclear weapons – which are far more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 – the impact of an India-Pakistan war would be felt across the globe…

Jay said...

Dear Mr. Haq, you asked me whether Hindus and Muslims in India have the same genetics and I answered. Now I am curious what you think about Northern Indians and Pakistanis. Do you think they generally have the same genetics after excluding parts of Western Pakistan (pathans etc...) who are clearly a bit different looking?

Also, are you a Punjabi or a Mohajir? Do you identify more closely with your religion than with your race and Hindu ancestry?

I really hope you answer these questions and do not avoid them as I am keen to know more about you.

Riaz Haq said...

Jay: "Now I am curious what you think about Northern Indians and Pakistanis."

A Harvard study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics has found that vast majority of Indians today have descended from a mixture of two genetically divergent populations--Ancestral North Indians (ANIs) who migrated from Central Asia, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Europe, and Ancestral South Indians (ASI), who are not closely related to groups outside the subcontinent.

Prasad said...

Speak abt the godhra train incident mr riaz..

Riaz Haq said...

Prasad:"Speak abt the godhra train incident mr riaz.."

An investigation by an Indian judge found that the fire started from a stove used karsevaks inside the train in Godhra.

It was one of those incidents that was used as a trigger to activate the ever-ready RSS Hindu riot machine that Paul Brass talks about in his research.

Raj said...

As long as Islam cannot show that it is benign, and history proves it otherwise, Islamophobia is a perfectly legitimate and laudable worldview.
There is however nothing racial about it. Hindutvavad is extremely favorable to ethnic and cultural diversity.

Riaz Haq said...

RajToo:”There is however nothing racial about it. Hindutvavad is extremely favorable to ethnic and cultural diversity.”

Data shows otherwise.
43.5% of Indians, the highest percentage in the world, say they do not want to have a neighbor of a different race, according to a Washington Post report based on World’s Values Survey.
About Pakistan, the report says that “although the country has a number of factors that coincide with racial intolerance – sectarian violence, its location in the least-tolerant region of the world, low economic and human development indices – only 6.5 percent of Pakistanis objected to a neighbor of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch”.

Tor_Khan تور خان said...

Should it matter to Pakistanis that Indians voted for Modi? Even if he does posture, that is a domestic issue, most likely Modi will want to pursue cordial and economically beneficial relationships with Pakistan. As for the matter of Hindu nationalism, surely it is a matter for Indians to reconcile their positions vis-a-vis Hinduvta and secular politics.

Reality is most Muslims in India would still choose India over Pakistan and those who would wish to come to Pakistan, are unlikely to find a country willing to take them. We should put aside any misguided notion of religious brotherhood. Indian Muslims who turn up hungry at your doorstep are of no strategic value. That is how the Panjabi elite in Pakistan operate.

Pakistan thus disproves the whole two-nation nonsense. (Race, religion and nationality are not the same for one thing). I'm inclined to agree with the earlier commentator who argued that Pakistanis were mostly the same stock as North Indians.

In the historic and cultural sense, Pakistan is Hindustan and the people are Hindus. Not in the personal sense, but in the cultural/demographic sense. That is the way that for centuries Central Asians, Afghans etc have viewed the Indus plains.

Riaz Haq said...

Tor Khan: "Should it matter to Pakistanis that Indians voted for Modi? Even if he does posture, that is a domestic issue, most likely Modi will want to pursue cordial and economically beneficial relationships with Pakistan. As for the matter of Hindu nationalism, surely it is a matter for Indians to reconcile their positions vis-a-vis Hinduvta and secular politics. "

Knowing what we know about the Hindutva thinking as articulated by Golwalkar, ascent to power of Modi, his follower, should be and is a matter of great concern to the region and the world...just as Hitler's ascent to power was in Europe. If Modi attempts to put in practice what his guruji taught him, the devastation could be far greater than what happened in WWII.

In case, you don't know the RSS ideology, please read what Guruji Golwalkar wrote in his book “We”:

“To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging of its Semitic Race, the Jews.”
“Race pride at its highest has been manifested there. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures having differences going to the root to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by… The foreign races in Hindusthan [ie the Muslims] must adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture[… and] may [only] stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing — not even citizen’s rights.”

Anonymous said...

As such, RSS was outlawed by the British (and was even periodically banned by the Indian government after independence). Indeed, Naturam Godse, the man who assassinated Gandhi in 1948, was himself a former RSS member who felt that the Mahatma made too many generous concessions to the Muslims.

In the decades prior to that momentous event, senior RSS members had direct links to both Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany. Part of the RSS’ fascination with these totalitarian regimes was their shared opposition to the British Empire -- however, it went far beyond that. The RSS (as well as multitudes of other Hindu nationalists) admired the way Mussolini and Hitler reorganized their respective nations so quickly from the wreckage of war to build a powerful economy and military under the banner of patriotism and nationalism.

With respect to Hitler and Nazism, the links to India and Hinduism were deeper and more profound.

Much of Nazi ideology and imagery came from the symbols and history of ancient India – indeed, the infamous Nazi swastika was based on a Hindu symbol of strength and good fortune. Moreover, the legendary history (some would say, myth) of the invasion of prehistoric India by the mysterious “Aryan” tribes would (centuries later) provide Hitler with his notion of a “super master race” that was destined to dominate the world.
Marzia Casolari, an Italian scholar who studied Indian politics, once wrote of RSS’ connections with European fascism: The existence of direct contacts between the representatives of the [Italian] Fascist regime, including Mussolini, and Hindu nationalists demonstrates that Hindu nationalism had much more than an abstract interest in the ideology and practice of fascism. The interest of Indian Hindu nationalists in fascism and Mussolini must not be considered as dictated by an occasional curiosity, confined to a few individuals; rather, it should be considered as the culminating result of the attention that Hindu nationalists… focused on Italian dictatorship and its leader. To them, fascism appeared to be an example of conservative revolution.

Perhaps there was no greater admirer of Hitler and Mussolini in India than Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, another leading member of RSS.

In a speech delivered in 1940 (after the Second World War had commenced), Savarkar said: There is no reason to suppose that Hitler must be a human monster because he passes off as a Nazi or Churchill is a demigod because he calls himself a Democrat. Nazism proved undeniably the savior of Germany under the set of circumstances Germany was placed in.

Savarkar criticized Nehru for his staunch opposition to fascism.

Who are we to dictate to Germany… or Italy to choose a particular form of policy of government simply?” Savarkar rhetorically asked.

“Surely Hitler knows better than Pandit Nehru does what suits Germany best. The very fact that Germany or Italy has so wonderfully recovered and grown so powerful as never before at the touch of Nazi or Fascist magical wand is enough to prove that those political ‘isms’ were the most congenial tonics their health demanded.”

Indeed, many Hindu nationalists also derided Gandhi for opposing Nazism and fascism. In 1939, a spokesman for the Hindu Mahasabha (Hindu Party) intimately connected Germany with Indian culture and people.

He added: “Germany’s crusade against the enemies of Aryan culture will bring all the Aryan nations of the world to their senses and awaken the Indian Hindus for the restoration of their lost glory.

While the RSS was not explicitly anti-Semitic (largely because India never had a large Jewish population), Savarkar even praised Hitler’s treatment of the Jews (at least before the death camps and ovens became known to the public at large).

In 1938, during the time of accelerating anti-Jewish legislation in Germany, Savarkar suggested a similar fate for India’s Muslims.

تور خان tor khan said...

There may be 'foreign' races in India, but overall India remains a better example of cultural pluralism than Pakistan which opted for a 'Muslim' identity.

Also the circumstances around Hitler's ascent to power and Modi's are not comparable as the situation in the early-mid 20th century in Germany is not the same as India today. Germany was wounded from the first world war and in economic hardship. That paved the way for the National Socialism movement, blaming the minorities and the rest you know. Germany was not surrounded by Jewish countries and could therefore exercise an aggressive foreign policy. India today, on the other hand is a stable democratic and plural society, with a booming middle class and an international outlook. India has good business relationships with the Arab world, Iran and Afghanistan - all of whom are Muslim and in India's neighbourhood. Even Modi knows that it is in his best interests to pursue cordial relations based on mutual interests with Pakistan. The imminent rise of a Hindu Reich occupying India and the surrounding areas is fear mongering and is probably less likely than Islamabad being controlled by extremists raised on Pakistani soil.

Riaz Haq said...

Tur Khan: "Germany was wounded from the first world war and in economic hardship. That paved the way for the National Socialism movement, blaming the minorities and the rest you know."

Hindu Nationalists suffer from what they see as thousand years of wounded pride under Muslim rule, not just a few years the Germans felt wounded between WWI and WWII.

Besides, it's economic hardship (world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates) that led to Modi's win.

The big difference is the nuclear weapons in South Asia which I hope will put some sense in Modi and his fellow Hindu bigots and apologists. Hope the resist the urge to "do a Lebanon" or "do a Gaza" in Pakistan.

QR said...

BJP on Monday accommodated its Muzaffarnagar candidate Sanjeev Baliyan, an accused in the recent riots in the region, in its council of ministers.

Coming in the face of criticism that the riots stoked communal polarization, Baliyan's inclusion signals defiance.

The party has consistently maintained that Baliyan has been framed by the UP government as part of its "vote bank politics".

Baliyan was part of a mahapanchayat in September 2013 which was held despite prohibitory orders and allegedly inflamed tensions. UP police charged him with violation of prohibitory orders and promoting enmity between two communities. The riots claimed more than 60 lives.

Baliyan is the only candidate apart from V K Singh from western UP who has been given a position in the Narendra Modi government. Former Army chief Singh, who won from Ghaziabad, had a victory margin second only to Modi. Baliyan himself won by a margin of four lakh votes.

A Jat, Baliyan is a PhD in veterinary anatomy from the Haryana Agricultural University at Hisar. He was an assistant professor there before joining the Haryana government as a veterinary surgeon. Baliyan quit the job about two years ago to become a partner in a real estate firm and also joined the BJP.

The party has claimed that Baliyan was never involved in the Muzaffarnagar riots and was framed by the state government. BJP swept the riot-affected region of western UP winning all 10 seats on the back of a Modi wave and Hindu-Muslim polarization that the riots spawned.

Baliyan was accompanied in his victory by two other riot accused — Bharatendra Singh, who won from Bijnor, and Hukum Singh, who won from Kairana.

Even during campaigning, BJP had given signals that it was not averse to courting the company of riot accused. At an Agra rally of Modi, BJP legislators Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana were garlanded and felicitated by the party's Uttar Pradesh leaders. Both men spent over a month in jail for instigating Hindu-Muslim violence. But the controversial legislators were honoured long before Modi arrived.

Gloating Internet Hindu said...

Why should India have a full blown war with Pakistan? There are other ways for tit-for-tat. That's what US does.

Pak is destroying itself admirably. We don't have to do anything. We should just keep funding Baluchistan separatist and leave the rest to them.
Already 60,000 dispatched to jahannum by bad terrorists (good for India).

Economy in shambles.
Forex in shambles.
Absolute dirty reputation everywhere.
Phir bhee mera pakistan mahaan.

Riaz Haq said...

President of industry association ASSOCHAM, Rana Kapoor has announced mounting of 15-member business delegation to Pakistan before September.

According to a press statement issued by ASSOCHAM, the chamber has already firmed up their meetings with Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad chambers and Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Kapoor added that the delegation will also be meeting the political leadership in Pakistan.

He welcomed the meetings of the India-Pakistan Prime Ministers and their commitment to further improve the relationship between the two neighbouring countries.

"The understanding between the two countries will pave way for not only the normalisation of relationship but will also help improve quality of life, better social infrastructure and economic relations between the two countries,” he added.

Gloating Internet Hindu said...

Modi govt already hard at work. Want to revoke Article 370 for J&K. Way to go Modi. Revoke it and let non kashmiris settle there and change the demographics in 5 yrs.

Iqbal Singh said...

I am an Indian of mixed religious backgrounds and I hope you don't allow or withdraw inflammatory rhetoric whether it be Indian or Pakistani responses.

It prevents meaningful dialogue besides being hurtful. The wounds are already very deep between the two countries and don't show any signs of healing. I hope the common person myself included stop from throwing salt in it. The politicians - that's not in our hands

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

The appointment by Narendra Modi of Sushma Swaraj, a hardline Hindu, as foreign minister is a strong signal to Pakistan to not expect any real forward movement in India-Pakistan relations.

Anonymous said...

Najma Heptullah, grand daughter of Maulana Azad

Riaz Haq said...

The Two Nation Theory has been vindicated over the last 60+ years.

1. It’s been proved right by the fact that Muslims in India are now worse off than even the lowest caste Hindus while Muslims in Pakistan have done far better…even better than the average Hindu in India in terms of higher standards of living and better economic and social mobility.

2. It was vindicated in 1971 when Muslim Bangladesh chose to be independent rather than join Hindu India.

3. Modi’s landslide has validated TNT yet again.

The Lahore Resolution in March 1940 called for “Independent States” of Muslim majority areas in the “North Western and Eastern Zones of India” in which the “Constituent Units shall be autonomous and sovereign”.
What happened in 1971 with the creation of Bangladesh essentially put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.

Riaz Haq said...

MUMBAI: On May 27, shortly after meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Pakistan’s Prime Minister- Nawaz Sharif attended a somewhat special tea party in New Delhi- one that hardly caught anyone’s eye in India. However, it more than led to a storm in a teacup in neighbouring Pakistan. The controversial tea party was hosted by Indian steel baron Sajjan Jindal at his residence in honour of the Pakistani premier. But on the menu was a lot more than just tea and biscuits.
The tea-party is being seen as part of a carefully orchestrated strategy by Indian steelmakers to pitch for support from the Pakistan government for a project in Afghanistan that could serve as a lifeline for steelmakers in India who are eager to secure supplies of iron ore. What is also not widely known in India is that Nawaz Sharif himself comes with something of a pedigree in the steel business. His father - Muhammad Sharif founded and established the Ittefaq Group of Industries- a multimillion dollar integrated steel producer with major operations in the Punjab Province. During the 1980s, the Ittefaq Group expanded from a single foundry to 30 businesses which produced steel, sugar, paper, and textiles.
The Economic Times reports that Imran Khan, the former cricketer and chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), on Sunday criticised Sharif for having time to spare for Jindal during his visit to India, while not finding time for leaders of the All party Hurriyat Conference, a grouping of separatist-minded Kashmiri leaders, who had sought an appointment with him.
The tea-party may have been part of a strategy by Indian steelmakers to pitch for support from the Pakistan government for a project in Afghanistan that could serve as a lifeline for steelmakers in India who are eager to secure supplies of iron ore, according to industry officials.
AFISCO or Afghan Iron and Steel Consortium, a group led by state owned SAIL along with JSW, JSPL and Monnet Ispat are keen to obtain from Pakistan, right of way, to transport iron ore by road from Hajigak iron ore deposits in the Bamian province in Afghanistan to Karachi, before it is shipped to ports in the western and southern parts of India.
Securing the right of way through Pakistan will hold the key to the commercial viability of the ore concessions in Afghanistan obtained by the Indian steelmakers. Seshagiri Rao, JSW's joint managing director confirmed that the Indian steelmakers are keen to obtain permission to transport ore from Afghanistan across Pakistan to ports in India.
"Our interests are in Afghanistan. We have an MoU with the government of Afghanistan for mining iron ore," Rao said. "It is still early days, but if the project is to be successful then obtaining approval for the right of way from Pakistan is critical. The alternate route for the Hajijak iron ore is to transport iron-ore to Russia, and then bring it back to India. This would make the project unviable," another source in the know added.
Rao agreed that the Russia route to bring iron-ore would be prohibitively expensive, and therefore "unworkable."
As per the agreement with the Afghan government, Afisco has to build a 2-million tonne steel plant in Afghanistan to be allowed the right to export iron ore from Hajijak mountains. The ferrous content of the ore is said to be in the high sixties, which is considered to be high quality.
The terms on the quantum of iron ore that can be exported is still being worked out with the Afghan government, Rao said.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "..BJP won with just 31% of the overall vote in the national elections.."

This is a misleading statistic.

BJP contested in only 428 out of 543 seats, leaving the rest to its allies. This is similar to PPP-MQM in Sindh, where they do vote-transfers and vote-catching.

When you convert BJP's 31% vote-share from 426 seats, you get 39.5% from all 543 seats (i.e. 31% X 543/426)-- which is the effective vote share across the nation.

Alternately, you could add the recorded vote-shares of their allies for (543-426=) 117 seats to their 31% from 426 seats, and you still get the SAME 39.5% number. See below:,_2014

Riaz Haq said...

Modi's first challenge: Weak Monsoon rains

India’s new Narendra Modi government will be tested as the country’s critical monsoon rains are delayed. Fears are that the hold-up could lead to a huge rainfall deficit.

Low rainfall will dampen demand in rural India where farming, the main occupation, generates 14% of India’s economic output. The rainfall in June, the start of one of the country’s two main monsoon seasons, is among the lowest in a decade. The deficit is currently being measured at 38%.

The tardy, weak rains have caused a near drought as fields have dried up under the scorching heat. The sowing of main crops such as paddy, corn and sugarcane could be delayed in a rain-dependent country where about half of all farms lack irrigation systems. Reservoir levels are only a fourth of last year’s levels.

A weak monsoon is already sending food prices shooting up and sparking inflation. The price of onions has climbed over 20% in the past weeks. The government has restricted export of the commodity while attempting to crack down on hoarders.

Rising prices will hit India’s poor, and the resulting inflation will impact interest rates. This will put additional cost burdens on the industry and have an overall effect on the new government’s plans for an economic revival.

The news of a weak monsoon has dampened the mood in the stock markets and the index slid for three consecutive days last week.

Riaz Haq said...

The Sharif’s business interests in India have resulted in extra-ordinary negative repercussions for Pakistan’s security. Businessmen close to them are also pursuing Indian businesses with gusto not caring about fair or foul. There are various business ventures being initiated by the business-friendly party currently in government and its friends, which break security norms and are most definitely not in Pakistan’s interest.

Mian Muhammad Mansha being one of them, declared Pakistan’s richest man by Forbes World 2013, his worth is $2.6 billion. Nishat Group, a subsidiary of Mian Muhammad Mansha,s business conglomerate is currently trying to bring in Indian investment for Pakistan’s controversial media industry .

As if Mir Shakilur Rehman,s Geo and Aman ki Asha stint et al weren’t enough for Pakistanis , Nishat group is making efforts to establish Indian holdings in Pakistani media. The game is being started with collaboration with M/S Krian Media Ltd owned by a certain Mr Yezdi Dhanjishan Daruwala. Nowadays engineers from M/S Krian Media intend to get multiple entry visas for discussions with Nishat Group.

Shahid Malik former High Commissioner of Pakistan to India is now Director of Mansha Group, it is rumoured these days that he is trying to get the current Pakistani High Commissioner in India to grant the required visas immediately sans interviews. Another rumour is doing the rounds that the Prime Minister’s son Hasan Nawaz has also backed this visa deal. The visa in question is the EPR , a multiple entry visa and totally inadvisable. We all know how difficult it is to get an Indian visa for Pakistanis, then only certain cities are within limits, why should Pakistan make any visas easy for Indians and that also without even an interview?

Any new business coming in from India should be in Pakistan’s interests and not a ploy to destroy our cultural foundations and identity. Sonia Gandhi once talked about Pakistan’s ‘cultural invasion ‘ which actually meant secularising us and decreasing Islam’s importance here so that Pakistan can ‘blend back’ into India. It was a ridiculous idea but the whole Geo modus operandi underlined this theory, the Aman ki Asha spin only benefited Indians and Pakistanis were thought to be stupid enough to be lured in with song and dance.

Anyway, why does the current party in power want to provide Indians so much space to influence young minds in Pakistan? If Indian movies and drama are anything to go by , their media can only promote loose morals and nudity plus a lot of Hinduism /Hindutva ideology. Pakistanis do not need Indian media houses forced on them by the Nawaz government and friends. India is our neighbour and business with it should not clash with our culture and societal norms. Where will our ideology, two nation theory, Jinnah and Pakistan’s existence as an Islamic republic stand if interpreted by Indian media backed up by India’s Research & Analysis Wing?

Sultan Lakhani is again one of Pakistan’s richest men, he has vast business interests in India, mainly he is the partner of most Indian Brands, from Titan to Tetley Tea. Tetley Tea and Titan watches are both Indian companies sold in Pakistan by Sultan Lakhani. Not a co-incidence that Lakhani owns Century Publications which owns the newspaper Express Tribune, there are various Express channels as well which must have helped to further Indian interests. Be it print media or news media , Indians want a foothold in Pakistan by hook or by crook.....

Riaz Haq said...

Read about your Internet Hindus of ‪#‎India‬ with sole purpose to attack, slander ‪#‎Islam‬ ‪#‎Pakistan‬

Riaz Haq said...

61% in #Pakistan view #India negatively. #SaudiArabia, #China viewed positively by 71%, 58%

India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads for over half-a-century now, resulting in four wars, countless skirmishes, tenuous negotiations, occasional displays of trust and everything in between.

Despite the endless cycle of aggression and finger-pointing, there has been a fascinating change in how the average Pakistani has come to view India. Compared to 30-odd years ago, few Pakistani’s expect India to use a nuclear weapon—and more want the vexed Kashmir issue revolved without conflict.

Riaz Haq said...

NY Times editorial: Religious Intolerance in India

Hope is in danger of crumbling that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would rein in the divisive agenda of his militant Hindu-nationalist supporters and allow India to concentrate on the important work of economic reform, and the blame lies squarely with Mr. Modi.

During the last days of its winter session ending on Tuesday, Parliament was unable to deal with important legislative business because of repeated adjournments and an uproar over attempts by Hindu groups to convert Christians and Muslims. The issue has come to a head following a “homecoming” campaign by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad — groups dedicated to transforming India’s secular democracy into a Hindu state — to “reconvert” Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.

In recent weeks, Hindu militants have engineered conversions of Muslims and Christians in Agra and in the states of Gujarat and Kerala. Police are investigating accusations that people have been induced to participate in mass conversion meetings by a combination of intimidation and bribery, including the promise of food ration cards. Attacks on Christians and their places of worship have intensified in recent weeks. One of New Delhi’s biggest churches burned down on Dec. 1 — arson is being blamed — and Christmas carolers were attacked on their way home in the city of Hyderabad on Dec. 12.

More than 80 percent of Indians are Hindus, but Muslims, Christians and Sikhs form important religious minorities with centuries of history in India. Religious pluralism and freedom are protected by India’s Constitution. The issue of religious conversion is contentious in India. Many Dalits, known formerly as untouchables, and other low-caste Hindus and Tribals admit they convert to Islam or Christianity primarily to escape crushing caste prejudice and oppression. The main architect of the Constitution, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, born a Dalit, famously converted to Buddhism to escape caste-oppression under Hinduism.

As opposition political leaders are demanding, Mr. Modi must break his silence and issue a stern warning to emboldened Hindu militants before their actions turn further progress on economic reform into a sideshow, with the politics and divisiveness occupying center stage.

Riaz Haq said...

Vibrant Gujarat, held every two years, has yielded billions of dollars in investment promises, though only a fraction of the deals announced have come to fruition......Eight months into Modi's rule, his failure to lift the economy from its longest growth slowdown in a generation has raised questions about how much substance there is behind his promise of "red carpet, not red tape".

Riaz Haq said...

The straightforward reason for Arvind Kejriwal's resounding victory is that the Congress vote -- which amounted to 24% in the 2013 assembly elections -- significantly switched to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The land ordinance, whose implications the AAP was quick to pick up on, also turned rural notables against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

But this victory is about so much more; it is about where the urban poor belong in mainstream politics, what this does to the authority of Narendra Modi and what this impact will have on national politics at large.

Kejriwal’s win is an important reminder that the politics of expressing a ‘preferential option for the poor’ can be a successful strategy in electoral democracy. The thing that strikes you as you listen to AAP supporters either on videos posted on Facebook or the auto driver who happens to support him is the intensity, the vehemence and the air of defiance that is imbued in their support for Kejriwal. There is also a festive exuberance of a hitherto silent urban insurgency, reared on cynicism about the empty spectacle of power, now finding utterance.

And why not. The AAP stood by its urban poor base literally through thick and thin, making a decisive impression during its stint in power by offering free water, halving power bills and enforcing a measure of discipline and restraint on Delhi Police which, in most accounts of the poor, had never happened before. Kejriwal and Co. endured withering criticism from their own supporters over resigning in haste and yet kept in touch with underprivileged communities, helping to rebuild slums, and offering a range of services including legal advocacy through its stream of volunteers. The AAP grew out of an eco-system of social movement activism – featuring civil society leaders and academics – that is marked a no-frills tenacity that other political parties struggle to match. The RSS does have that level of commitment but its effectiveness is hamstrung by its lack of inclusivity and its problematic relationship with capital and the entrepreneurial political class that populate its allied outfits like the BJP.

Kejriwal has no such ambiguity. He makes explicit the connection between someone’s power and affluence and other’s deprivation. The themes are clear: the public good is being corralled into private interests. Politicians, big business and power companies are all complicit in this process robbing the commonweal of resources that can benefit all. Poverty and the absence of power is a derivative of the rich man’s agency and Kejriwal wants to use the state to restore a level-playing field. Others have tried this narrative before but in the person of Kejriwal this has particular velocity owing perhaps to his technocratic expertise, his fluency in English and the vernacular and his distinctive, studious delivery that works well both in public meetings and on TV. While Prime Minister Modi can scarcely bring himself to be asked two back-to-back questions in a press conference, Kejriwal handles any TV anchor with an assurance that borders on rudeness, which works as an asset if you have a reputation for speaking for the poor. They see in his clarity their own rage articulated and radiated to the rich and powerful. He offers to the urban poor the delight of someone speak up unapologetically for the underclass without so much mentioning caste and religious divisions and, for the volunteers, there is the moral spur of participating in that endeavour....

Riaz Haq said...

India has long had urban-rural divide. The urban vote has gone to BJP while the rural vote has favored Congress. It's not secret. Last year's BJP victory was mainly the result of increase in urban voter turn-out of the educated middle class in India which gave BJP 30% of the total vote, enough to win a landslide in the Indian electoral system. BJP won 282 seats in the 545member Lok Sabha with just over 30% of the national vote.

Riaz Haq said...

Police in eastern India are searching for a group of six men who gang-raped an elderly nun in West Bengal.

The men ransacked the convent school in Ranaghat early on Saturday morning and stole money before entering the convent itself.

The 74-year-old nun is now recovering in hospital.

Christian groups have recently held protests in the Indian capital, Delhi, saying they are being targeted and demanding better protection.

The Archbishop of Calcutta, Thomas d'Souza, told the BBC that security cameras inside the Convent of Jesus and Mary School show the faces of the six men who carried out the assault.

They first ransacked the school principal's office and classrooms before entering the convent itself.

"There are only three Sisters in the community," he said.

"One sister was molested badly. The other two, and a guard, were tied to chairs."

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's #India again abstains in #Israel-related UN vote on #Palestine - Israel News - Jerusalem Post
- from Jpost

For the third time in three months, India on Monday opted to abstain, rather than vote against Israel in a UN vote dealing with Middle East issues.

The UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) approved the accreditation of the London-based Palestine Return Center, an organization Israel maintains is linked to Hamas, on the same day that the UN Security Council unanimously approved the Iran nuclear deal.

India abstained in a vote on the Palestine Return Center last month in a smaller UN body that accredits NGOs, but when that body approved the measure, Israel put forward a resolution in the 54-member ECOSOC against it.

That resolution was defeated by a vote of 13 for the Israeli resolution, 16 opposed, and 18 abstentions. The representatives of another seven countries were absent from the vote.

Despite repeated efforts throughout the day on Tuesday for a reaction from the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, none was available.

In addition to India’s abstention, other interesting aspects emerged when looking at Monday’s vote.

First of all, the EU countries did not vote as one bloc, with two EU countries – Portugal and Sweden – breaking away from the pack and abstaining, rather than voting for Israel. The following EU countries did vote for Israel: Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Great Britain.

Another two non-EU European countries abstained, rather than voting for Israel: Switzerland and San Marino.

One non-EU country in Europe, Albania, voted for Israel, making it the only Muslim country to do so.

Botswana was the only African country to vote for Israel, though five others abstained: Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Togo and Uganda. Only two non-Muslim African countries voted against: South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Three counties with good relations with Israel – China, Russia and Kazakhstan – all voted against.

None of the Latin American countries voted for Israel, while Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil voted against. Two South American countries with very strong ties to Israel, Colombia and Panama, abstained, as did Guatemala and Honduras.

Riaz Haq said...

With beef bans, #India moves to protect sacred cows #beefban #Modi #BJP #Hindu via @WSJ

Across India, the status of the cow—an animal deeply revered in Hinduism—is emerging as a divisive issue. Conservatives emboldened by the rise of Mr. Modi’s BJP, which has Hindu nationalist roots, are seeking stricter limits on beef eating.

The western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, this year expanded its ban on cow slaughtering to add bulls and bullocks to the list. The BJP-governed state of Haryana recently imposed stricter punishments to protect the cow.

In March, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for a nationwide prohibition on beef, saying: “How can we accept that cows should be slaughtered in this country? We will do our best to put a ban on this, and we will do whatever it takes to build consensus.”

Mr. Modi won broad electoral support with an inclusive message of economic revival in a nation of myriad religions, languages and cultural traditions. But the government has also worked to promote yoga, a practice with roots in Hinduism, as well as Sanskrit, an ancient tongue that is used as Hinduism’s liturgical language.

Some Muslims contend the beef bans and other steps are aimed at them. “The BJP is trying to make Muslims feel like they’re not Indians,” says Siddiqullah Chaudhary of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, a national Muslim-rights organization.

It isn’t just Muslims who object. “These religious things are spreading everywhere,” says Anubhav Chakraborty, who is Hindu yet opposes banning beef on the principle that it erodes India’s secular tradition. Earlier this year, Mr. Chakraborty planned a beef-eating event in the West Bengal capital of Kolkata—dubbed the “yummy protest” in local media—to challenge the bans.

He had to cancel at the last minute in a dispute with his venue, but he says he’ll try again. Similar beef-eating protests have been staged elsewhere. His mother and co-organizer, Ramala Chakraborty, argues that India is too poor not to do something useful with cows that are no longer giving milk or doing productive work. “We will have an empire of cows,” she says.


Penalties for slaughtering cows vary in states where it is illegal. Gujarat, for instance, sets a maximum seven-year jail term and 50,000-rupee ($780) fine, whereas in the capital city, Delhi, it’s a maximum five years’ jail and 10,000 rupees.

Cattle smuggling is common across India’s border into Bangladesh, and members of Mr. Gupta’s Cow Development Cell, which has set up “rapid-action groups” to stop cattle trucks despite having no legal authority, say they suspect the animals they liberated were headed there.

The BJP’s Mr. Kohli says the party doesn’t support behaving in a “vigilante manner.”

An hour’s drive south of Kolkata in the village of Champahati, Mr. Gupta met recently with a rapid-action group that a few months earlier had blocked the road, stopping trucks and freeing 92 head of cattle. “Members of our group surrounded the area,” says group member Anant Mondal.

A senior local police official said he was unaware of the incident.

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion: After #Pakistan, #India's #Modi Isolates Another Neighbour: #Nepal … via @ndtv

Modi's propaganda machine, never far behind Goebbels', swung into action when Modi visited Nepal in August 2014, proclaiming that Modi had visited neighbouring Nepal within weeks of becoming PM whereas Dr. Manmohan Singh had failed in ten years to go to Nepal even once.

Saner voices tried to explain that this was because Nepal was engaged in a delicate Constitution-building exercise and an Indian PM wandering the hills and plains of its tiny neighbour would be misunderstood and mischievously portrayed as India seeking to interfere in that country's tangled, seven-year-long Constitution-making process. But saner voices are always drowned out in the cacophony of crowing hype. And the fact that little Nepalese children (the cutest in the world) waved back at Modi as the 56-inch giant strolled barrel-chested down their roads was played up as a huge diplomatic success.

The truth took another three months to hit home. On his way to Kathmandu for the SAARC summit in November 2014, Modi sought to make a stop-over at Janakpur in the Madhesi plains to address a huge public gathering there as if he were on Indian, not Nepali, soil. The principal Constitutional gridlock was over the plains people seeking proportional representation in the proposed Nepal parliament and the hill people's demand for equitable not equal representation. Modi, by stopping-over and speaking at Janakpur, was trying to tilt the balance in favour of the Madhesis. A more blatant interference in Nepal's internal affairs could not be imagined. The Nepalese shrewdly saw through the game. And refused Modi permission to hold a public meeting in Janakpur. This was covered up in polite noises about security issues - but was an unambiguous signal from the self-respecting and sovereign Nepalese that while friendly advice might be welcomed, there could be no stepping on sensitive, sovereign corns.

Modi passed up Janakpur but remained determined to remain the final arbiter in Nepal's constitutional processes. Why this unwarranted interest in Nepal's internal affairs? Two reasons - one, ideological; two, electoral.


Instead of partisan (indeed, let's face it, racial) bickering with the Nepalese, Modi needs to recognize that there are not just two or three communities in Nepal with ethnic ties to India, such as the Madhesis, Tharus, Janjatis and Muslims: Nepal is trying to strike a just balance between 125 identified communities stretching from remote, sparsely habited mountain outposts to the teeming plains. It is doing so through a combination of 240 first-past-the-post directly elected seats and 335 proportionately elected seats; special provisions for ethnically cohesive provinces for the plains' people; 33 percent reservations for women; and other such progressive provisions that India ought to be applauding, not sulking over.

Alas, good grace is not one of Modi's virtues. The best the rest of us could do is to apologize to the Nepalese for the atrocious behaviour of our establishment and wish them all the best for a stable future. Otherwise, Nepal, like Pakistan and Sri Lanka, will keep meandering for a Constitution with which it can live.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s #BJP suffers big loss in #BiharElections, thwarting #Modi majority in Upper House -

...the BJP’s defeat will make it harder for Mr Modi to gain control of India’s Rajya Sabha, or upper house of parliament, because the house’s make-up depends on party weights in state assemblies. Mr Modi’s opponents have used the Rajya Sabha successfully to block legislation, including a long-awaited law to introduce a nationwide goods and services tax that would make the country into a single market and simplify commerce.
Rahul Gandhi of Congress, a junior partner in the winning Bihar alliance, said the election result was “a message against pitting Hindus against Muslims and making them fight to win elections”.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become arrogant,” Mr Gandhi said. “Modi should stop campaigning and start working. He should also stop foreign tours and instead go and meet farmers, labourers and youth to whom he promised jobs.”


The loss in Bihar will be a blow to the confidence of Mr Modi and fellow leaders of the Hindu nationalist BJP only 18 months after they triumphed in the 2014 general election. In the Bihar campaign, they sought in vain to galvanise Hindu voters by focusing as much on caste and religion as on development, but appear to have ended up alienating moderate Hindus as well as members of the Muslim minority.
As in the Delhi state election, where the BJP was crushed by the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi (Common People) party in February, the BJP won a substantial share of the vote but was unable to translate that into assembly seats in the face of a united opposition in the first-past-the-post constituency system.
Mr Kumar and Mr Yadav — who together defeated Mr Modi with the help of Congress by pooling their resources and sharing out constituencies before the election — make an unlikely couple and their government may prove unstable. Mr Kumar, once a BJP ally, has been credited with restoring order and investing in roads and education over the past decade, after a period of violence, criminality and extreme corruption known as the “jungle raj” when the state was run by Mr Yadav and his wife.

Riaz Haq said...

Mani Shankar Aiyar to #Pakistan channel: Remove #Modi to resume #India-#Pakistan peace dialogue via @sharethis

Former union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today stoked a fresh controversy by reportedly saying, during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be removed if talks between the two nations have to resume.
The Congress leader’s comments evoked sharp response from BJP and RJD, with the saffron outfit saying Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi should react to this and let the country know their stand on the issue.
The Congress, however, said BJP’s charges were “absolute nonsense” and that Aiyar communicated to the party that he had not said any such thing.

When the anchor of Duniya TV asked what is to be done to end the stalemate in the relations between the two nations, Aiyar responded, “The first and the foremost thing is to remove Modi. Only then can the talks move forward. We have to wait for four more years. They (panelists) are all optimist and that we can move forward when Modi sahab is there, but I don’t think so.”
He further said, “Bring us (the Congress) back to power and remove them. There is no other way (to better the relations). We will remove them, but till then you (Pakistan) have to wait.” Sought his reaction to the issue, Congress leader Tom Vaddakan said, “This is absolutely nonsense. I have a letter with me written by Mr Aiyer in which he categorically denies saying anything like that. So there is no question of distancing from it.”

Riaz Haq said...

Look Who’s Going To #Pakistan After Telling Opponents to "Go to Pakistan" #India #Modi #BJP #Swaraj via @sharethis

As “go to Pakistan” quickly went from curse to foreign policy initiative, we woke up to find India’s foreign minister in Islamabad, rather than all those “Modi-baiters” and “beef-eaters”. It is a good moment to recap what has comprised a policy on the western neighbour all these months that this BJP-led government has been in charge in New Delhi.
Wounded Tiger, journalist Peter Oborne’s history of cricket and nationhood in Pakistan, recalls how Pakistan came to play its first Test series as an ICC nation in 1952 in India. India must have had supreme confidence at the time to have allowed this just five years after a bloody Partition. It has also been a long time since A.B. Vajpayee, in Parliament, alluded to a visit to the washroom by an eminent MP, who is a peacenik and frequent traveller to the Indo-Pak border, as one to Pakistan. Pandemonium followed, as Pakistan as a term for the washroom was a familiar insult.

Much distance has been travelled since, comprising bus journeys, infiltration, track twos, wars and four-point peace plans. The 26/11 Mumbai attacks brought Pakistan back to the centrestage, but some deft handling in India prevented it from becoming a vicious part of domestic politics, in a way that happened periodically, to obliquely refer to Indian Muslims. But that detente effectively ended with the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign. In his articulate and sharp campaign, the current prime minister urged the former UPA 2 government to “doob maro, doob maro (go drown yourselves)” for even meeting Pakistani ministers and officials. In that context, the invitation to the Pakistan PM in May last year was a surprise, but since then, references to Pakistan had harked back to a much earlier time-frame. Until, of course, “go to Pakistan” was taken literally by none else than the affable foreign minister.
The desire to re-hyphenate with Pakistan has been witnessed over the past 20 months or so. Pakistan has become the most domestic of foreign policy issues and the most foreign of domestic policy ones. Senior ministers, MPs and other leaders, with clockwork regularity, urged Indians of a certain description to “go to Pakistan”. Totally unmindful of the enormous hurdles the Pakistan high commission has strewn in the way of the most willing travellers to Pakistan, cabinet ministers and ruling party MPs kept urging departures. Union Minister Giriraj Singh started the trend early, when he said at an April 2014 rally that Narendra Modi’s critics would “have to go to Pakistan”.
The calls to travel came regularly after that, and the BJP president even suggested this year that a fireworks party might break out in Pakistan if the BJP lost Bihar.

Riaz Haq said...

Modi's biography of Golwalkar suggests RSS leader was vital influence ( Aakar Patel's translation of Modi's essay)

In 2008, after his second assembly election win in 2007, Narendra Modi wrote a book in Gujarati titled ‘Jyotipunj’ (Beams of Light) in which he retold the life stories of 16 men who inspired him. All 16 were members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and many of them mentored the young Modi in his time as a pracharak, or activist, in Ahmedabad in the mid- and late 1970s.

The longest biography is of the RSS’s second sarsanghchalak, or paramount leader, MS Golwalkar, who expanded the organisation after he was given charge by its founder KB Hedgewar. Golwalkar died in 1973, when Modi was 23 and already in the RSS.

He does not refer to any personal contact with the RSS leader in this essay. Even so, the reverence with which Modi writes of Golwalkar in the essay, titled ‘Pujniya Shri Guruji,’ (Guru Worthy of Worship), suggests that Golwalkar is the second most important influence – Vivekanand is the first – on the life of the prime minister of India. The love of nation and of unity, the insistence on uniformity and suspicion of diversity, all of this Modi shares with Golwalkar.

Riaz Haq said...

Is that a #Pakistani shalwar kameez Narendra #Modi is wearing? … via @dailyo_

by Shivam Vij

I could not believe my eyes when I saw a recent change in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's fashion. Look at the images in this tweet, zoom in and see his kurta pyjama.

You will notice he is not wearing kurta pyjama. He's wearing shalwar kameez.

Fresh from a recent trip to Pakistan, I am 99 per cent sure it's the Pakistani/Afghan style shalwar kameez he is wearing. It's not just the rounded edges of the kameez that give it away. Also notice how the kurta/kameez doesn't look chafed or wrinkled at all.

The biggest discovery of my Pakistan trip in November was the wrinkle-free fabric of the ubiquitous shalwar kameez. It has a name: Wash 'N' Wear. Many shops call it "washnwear" as though it was always one word. "Ek piece washnwear dijiye ga, black colour," I found myself saying.

It is a synthetic fabric as comfortable as any "pure cotton". As the name suggests, it's wrinkle free. Unlike pure cotton kurtas we wear, there is no need to iron and starch to keep them straight.

I decided against buying readymade shalwar kameez for fear of confirming allegations that I'm a Pakistani at heart. Instead, I bought countless pieces of the fabric to get it stitched like Indian kurtas.

Little did I know that Prime Minister Modi would be ahead of me in this discovery. And now that he's wearing it in the Pakistani or Afghan style - loose pyjamas, kameez with rounded edges - I no longer fear doing it myself.

As we all know, Prime Minister Modi is a fashion trendsetter. His half-sleeved kurtas, his appropriation of the Nehru jacket as the Modi jacket, his carefully chosen headgear - he's a fashionista of a kind. Even if he is wearing shalwar kameez, it's a tribute to the dress.

The dress is called Pathani Suit in India, but shalwar kameez in Pakistan. In India it is as exotic as the Pathans of the North West Frontier Province, a place now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Thanks to Tagore's Kabuliwallah story many Indians have read in school, we have a distant, vague memory of the Pashtuns roaming around north India before Partition. Today the shalwar kameez is as exotic as the Pashtuns, though we see both in the form of Afghan medical tourists these days.

In Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, I found the shalwar kameez to be ubiquitous. When I close my eyes and think about my Pakistan trip, the image I see is that of men wearing shalwar kameez. Why do they call it shalwar kameez whereas we call it Pathani suit? And why don't we wear it?

To know the answer, I called up a 95-year-old Partition refugee in Gurgaon. Pran Neville is one of the most famous Indians in Lahore.

In 1992, Neville published Lahore: A Sentimental Journey, a book he wrote about what pre-Partition Lahore was like, entirely from memory.

Neville said that Hindu, Muslim and Sikh men alike used to wear shalwar kameez in pre-Partition west Punjab, but they also wore other dresses such as shirts and trousers. The Pashtuns, however, wore only and only the shalwar kameez. That's why the dress came to be identified with Pathans in north India.

Riaz Haq said...

August 16, 2018, 2:00 AM IST Rohit Saran in TOI Edit Page | Edit Page, India, World | TOI

It may have looked moth-eaten to its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, but Pakistan was anything but that at the time of Independence. An average Pakistani was richer, lived longer and lived more safely than an average Indian for almost two decades after 1947, which is roughly the time democracy was absent in Pakistan.


What can India offer to Prime Minister Khan that’s new, substantive and outside the immediate no-go areas of J&K and terror? We should first banish the thought that a weak Pakistan is good for us. A crippled Pakistan is only good for two things: 1. Shouting matches on TV where those criticising India are asked to migrate to Pakistan. 2. To give us a false sense of achievement in doing better than Pakistan when India’s potential-performance gap is much wider than Pakistan’s.

A less hostile public attitude toward our neighbour will allow government to take a few out-of-the box steps. For instance, Indian companies should be allowed and encouraged to hire from top Pakistan campuses, even if for one or two years. If only 30 Sensex companies hire 50 Pakistanis each, there will be 1,500 young and talented Pakistanis working and living in India benefiting, and benefiting from, the world’s 6th – and soon to be 5th – largest economy. Companies will get good talent at competitive salaries – Pakistani rupee is nearly half the value of Indian rupee. For those worrying about a job loss for Indians, 1,500 is only 0.0007% of Sensex companies’ workforce.

Imran Khan’s passport has more Indian visas than any prime minister of Pakistan. Unfortunately, India allows only the rich and powerful in Pakistan to benefit from India’s soft power. That’s counterproductive to our own interests. We should want average Pakistanis to see India as a source of good to them. They will then begin to resent whatever power comes between that ‘good’ and them – whether that power is in Rawalpindi or Islamabad or Beijing – or even Srinagar.

Aspiring cricketers in Pakistan will dream of playing in IPL if we unblocked their entry. A budding artist (actors, singers, comedians …) in that country will look forward to hitting the big stage in India, if we don’t hum and haw over granting him a visa. Pakistanis with a critical medical condition in the family should want to get treatment in India – without having to try their luck on Sushma Swaraj’s Twitter handle. Pakistan should be allowed to fill its quota of students at the South Asian University, something we committed to at the time of deciding to host this institution that could one day be the region’s most coveted.

Not one of these will be acts of charity or concession because India’s gains will be as much as Pakistan’s – if not more. This is exactly what we tell the US while arguing for easier immigration. In geopolitics there is no positive emotion as powerful as seeing your countrymen excel in another country. India has that power in its grasp today. Let’s use Imran’s prime ministership as an occasion to unleash that power.

Riaz Haq said...

How political will often favors a coal billionaire and his dirty fossil fuel
The tale of Gautam Adani’s giant power plant reveals how political will in India bends in favor of the dirty fuel
By Gerry Shih, Niha Masih and Anant Gupta

GODDA, India — For years, nothing could stop the massive coal-fired power plant from rising over paddies and palm groves here in eastern India.

Not objections from local farmers, environmental impact review boards, even state officials. Not pledges by India’s leaders to shift toward renewable energy.

Not the fact that the project, ultimately, will benefit few Indians. When the plant comes online, now scheduled for next week, all of the electricity it generates is due to be sold at a premium to neighboring Bangladesh, a heavily indebted country that has excess power capacity and doesn’t need more, documents show.

The project, however, will benefit its builder, Gautam Adani, an Indian billionaire who according to Global Energy Monitor is the largest private developer of coal power plants and coal mines in the world. When his companies’ stock peaked in September, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranked Adani as the second-richest person on the planet, behind Elon Musk.


One of the power projects would be built by Adani, who had provided a corporate jet for Modi to use during his political campaign and accompanied the newly elected prime minister on his first visits to Canada and France. After Modi’s trip to Bangladesh, that country’s power authority contracted with Adani to build a $1.7 billion, 1,600-megawatt coal power plant. It would be situated 60 miles from the border, in a village in Godda district.

At the time, the project was seen as a win-win.

For Modi, it was an opportunity to bolster his “Neighborhood First” foreign policy and promote Indian business. Modi asked Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, to “facilitate the entry of Indian companies in the power generation, transmission and distribution sector of Bangladesh,” according to an Indian Foreign Ministry readout of their meeting.

For her part, Hasina envisioned lifting her country into middle-income status by 2020. Electricity demand from Bangladesh’s humming garment factories and booming cities would triple by 2030, the government estimated.


Facing a looming power glut, Bangladesh in 2021 canceled 10 out of 18 planned coal power projects. Mohammad Hossain, a senior power official, told reporters that there was “concern globally” about coal and that renewables were cheaper.

But Adani’s project will proceed. B.D. Rahmatullah, a former director general of Bangladesh’s power regulator, who also reviewed the Adani contract, said Hasina cannot afford to anger India, even if the deal appears unfavorable.

“She knows what is bad and what is good,” he said. “But she knows, ‘If I satisfy Adani, Modi will be happy.’ Bangladesh now is not even a state of India. It is below that.”

A spokesman for Hasina and senior Bangladeshi energy officials did not respond to a detailed list of questions and repeated requests seeking comment.

Riaz Haq said...

‘Modi’s Rockefeller’: Gautam Adani and the concentration of power in India
Critics say his rise is symbolic of a system where too much power is in the hands of too few

By Stephanie Findlay in New Delhi and Hudson Lockett in Hong Kong NOVEMBER 12 2020

When the Indian government approved the privatisation of six airports in 2018, it relaxed the rules to widen the pool of competition, allowing companies without any experience in the sector to bid. There was one clear winner from the rule change: Gautam Adani, the billionaire industrialist with no history of running airports, scooped up all six.

His clean sweep was met with outrage. The Kerala state finance minister said Mr Adani winning the 50-year lease to operate the Trivandrum International Airport was an “act of brazen cronyism” that showed how the central government favoured politically connected tycoons. India’s aviation minister replied that the open bidding process was carried out in a “transparent manner”.

Overnight Mr Adani became one of the country’s biggest private airport operators. He is also its largest private ports operator and thermal coal power producer. He commands a growing share of India’s power transmission and gas distribution markets, and this year announced that his renewables arm Adani Green Energy would invest $6bn to build solar plants with a capacity of 8GW, one of the largest renewables projects in the world.

Along with Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Mr Adani is today one of the most visible tycoons in the country, whose prominence has accelerated in the years since Narendra Modi was elected prime minister in 2014. Like both Mr Modi and Mr Ambani, Mr Adani comes from the western state of Gujarat, where he was a key supporter of Mr Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata party as it rose to dominate national politics.

When Mr Modi took office, he flew from Gujarat to the capital New Delhi in Mr Adani’s private jet — an open display of friendship that symbolised their concurrent rise to power. Since Mr Modi came into office, Mr Adani’s net worth has increased by about 230 per cent to more than $26bn as he won government tenders and built infrastructure projects across the country. “Nation building” is Mr Adani’s motto and he likes to talk about helping India achieve energy security.

But as New Delhi accelerates its privatisation drive to offset the severe economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Adani’s mushrooming empire has become a focus of criticism for those who believe that capital is being concentrated in the hands of a few favoured corporate titans at the expense of India’s middle class.

Some argue the concentration of economic power in family-run conglomerates is a way to fast-track India’s economic development, like the chaebol did for postwar South Korea. But critics say the rapid consolidation of state assets is creating monopolies and stifling competition.

“Is India going to move towards the east Asian model or the Russian model? So far the tendency looks towards the latter [more] than the former,” says Rohit Chandra, assistant professor of public policy at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. “It’s not clear whether India’s concentration of capital will lead to the long-term benefit of Indian consumers.”

Whether India’s industrialisation leaves it more closely resembling the US at the turn of the 20th century when the likes of oil magnate John D Rockefeller wielded vast influence, or Russia in the 1990s, Mr Adani’s voracious appetite for dealmaking and political instincts have ensured he will play a central role.

“Gautam Adani is very powerful, very politically well connected and very astute at using that power,” says Tim Buckley, an energy analyst based in Australia who tracks India. “He is Modi’s Rockefeller.”