Monday, February 22, 2016

Tarek Fatah vs Riaz Haq on India, Pakistan and Muslims

Tarek Fatah, Canadian Muslim writer and broadcaster, and Riaz Haq, a Pakistani-American blogger, debate the following:

In a 2013 interview with Times of India, Tarek Fatah said, “Pakistan will soon disintegrate”. Is this a prediction or a wish? Why is he such a strong and vocal supporter of Baloch insurgents? If Pakistan does disintegrate, what will be its fall-out for the region and the world?

When Tarek Fatah was asked in an NDTV interview about Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban, why did he criticize Muslims, Obama and western liberals rather than address the question directly?

Why is Tarek Fatah seen in the company of well-known anti-Islam bigots like Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney on Fox News and as a guest of honor of RSS student wing ABVP at JNU in India?

 Why does Tarek Fatah pander to the Indian Hindu Nationalists and western Islamophobes? Why does he not condemn Islamophobia?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh moderated the debate.

Tarek Fatah vs Riaz Haq on India, Pakistan and Muslims from WBT Productions on Vimeo.

Tarek Fatah vs Riaz Haq on India, Pakistan and... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Proxy War Against Pakistan

Hinduization of India

Hindu Nationalists Admire Hitler, Nazis

Western Islamophobia Industry

Trump's Muslim Ban

Talk4Pak Think Tank


Unknown said...

Time has passed Mr.Fatah by.....he is irrelevant

Anonymous said...

@Syed: Pls enlighten us as when was Tarek relevant.

Javed R. said...

During the period of the British Raj, there were four Princely States in Balochistan: Makran, Kharan, Las Bela and Kalat. In 1876, Sir Robert Sandeman negotiated the Treaty of Kalat, which brought the Khan's territories, including Kharan, Makran, and Las Bela, under British suzerainty. After the Second Afghan War was ended by the Treaty of Gandamak in May 1879, the Afghan Emir ceded the districts of Quetta, Pishin, Harnai, Sibi and Thal Chotiali to the British. On 1 April 1883, the British took control of the Bolan Pass, south-east of Quetta, from the Khan of Kalat. In 1887, some areas of Balochistan were declared British territory In 1893, Sir Mortimer Durand negotiated an agreement with the Amir of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman Khan, to fix the Durand Line running from Chitral to Balochistan as the boundary between the Emirate of Afghanistan and British-controlled areas.

In August 1947 the Chief Commissioner's Province of Balochistan immediately became part of Pakistan, followed by the princely states of Makran, Kharan, Las Bela, and the Khanate of Kalat, who decided to accede to Pakistan in March 1948. The Khan of Kalat agreed to join Pakistan under the condition that defence, currency, foreign relations, and finance would be controlled by the federal government, but that the province would remain otherwise autonomous. The four princely states together formed the Balochistan States Union in October 1952. The enclave of Gwadar was excluded from this as it was still part of the Sultanate of Oman.

Anonymous said...

looking at Tarek Fateh's communication abilities the only way he could speak is in the company of the same views, he has no knowledge and ability to present arguments and counter arguments. He never or rarely appears in the shows with other Muslims, so the only way he can better his journalist carrier is to appear on the anti muslim shows where everyone is saying the same thing as him and he cant defend Islam or Muslim because he simply does not have the abilities. you do what you must to make a living and some people have morales and some dont.

Hiptullah said...

It's very obvious that this guy's home ground is Twitter where he is surrounded by Indian sycophants prepared to shout down any opposing view. You should take a look at the arguments he gets into on that platform. He's a sub-par debater frequently resorting to attacking opponents.

Anonymous said...

Riaz Sb.,

I usually don't take Indian Muslim intellectuals very seriously. In order to show their loyalty to their country men they usually go overboard. I always think of Malcolm X's term house negro, every time I listen to them.

Also, I can't remember how many time I have encountered them and usually their next sentence is that their forefathers didn't need to migrate because ....


Anonymous said...

In millennial parlance, Mr. Fatah got "owned" by Riaz Sahib. Fatah is a repugnant and insidious creature with only some minor value as the object of humor. After that, he has quickly diminishing marginal returns.

The difference between Riaz and Fatah was evident.
Riaz response to questions were relevant to the actual question and fact based.
Fatah was as usual all over the place... Hejaz, Lodhi, Aurganzeb, Ghori, Palestine - and only laughing at a debate he lost decisively.

Riaz Haq said...

Zamir sahib: "I usually don't take Indian Muslim intellectuals very seriously."

Tarek Fatah is not Indian. He is the son of Karachi-based Punjabi parents and he was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Riaz Sb.,

Thanks for correcting me, wasn't aware of it. So another person who is after 15 minutes of fame at any cost?


Unknown said...

@Anonymous No he was never relevant.....that's what is funny about the situation.....and a self hating Punjabi Muslim on top of everything......may Ganesh give him good luck in his next junum which would be a snake lol

Riaz Haq said...

22-year-old Adam Shafi's family reported him to the FBI fearing that he might have been recruited by extremists. He was stopped at the SFO prior to boarding a flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Here's an excerpt of NBC Bay Area report:

The (FBI) complaint states that Shafi's family had been worried about him since at least last summer, during a trip to Egypt.

His father reported Shafi's disappearance in August 2014 to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. The family had gone there for a family trip and Shafi had taken off without telling anyone where he was going. He sent a text message to one of his relatives saying he had gone to "protect Muslims," the father told authorities.

His father explained that he was afraid his son had been recruited and that it was important to find him quickly to prevent him from "doing harm to himself or others," according to the 18-page complaint written by FBI agent Christopher Monika.

Shafi's father worried that his son may have traveled to Syria, Iraq, Gaza or elsewhere to "defend Muslims," the complaint states. Shafi's father was disturbed because his son was "always grieving about what is happening to Muslims," documents states. His father also worried that his son may have been following extreme imams online, and that some of his "high school friends were of the same mindset."

But at some point that week, Shafi's father notified the embassy that his son had returned to them in Egypt and they were soon headed back to the United States, according to the complaint.

After they returned in September 2014, FBI agents interviewed Shafi back at home, where he told authorities that he and his friend flew to Istanbul to "see the condition of the refugees from Syria firsthand" and help them, the complaint states. He didn't tell his family, he told the agents, because he knew they wouldn't want him to go.

He had been traveling and communicating with an individual known in court documents only as A.N., who had listed cryptic messages about "possible entry points" to a river that separates Syria and Turkey in an email. Other friends identified only with initials were also mentioned in the court documents.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's another example of Somali Muslim parents reporting kids to law enforcement:

Three teen girls from Arapahoe County told their parents they were on their way to school Friday morning, but within hours they were flying overseas potentially seeking to join Islamic State militants, officials said Tuesday.

The girls, two of them sisters of Somali descent and another of Sudanese descent, were stopped at an airport in Frankfurt, Germany. One of their families reported that $2,000 was missing after the girls fled with their passports, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office said.

"The families indicated they didn't know where they were at and they did not know where they were going," said sheriff's Bureau Chief Glenn Thompson.

Suzie Payne, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Denver, said agents "assisted with bringing the individuals back to Denver. The juveniles are safe and reunited with their families."

Payne declined to comment further, including providing the names or ages of the girls.

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that the girls were headed to Turkey en route to Syria and that investigators are reviewing evidence, including the girls' computers.

Another U.S. official called the case "concerning" to the community and to the country, according to the AP report.

Riaz Haq said...

Zamir sb: "So another person who is after 15 minutes of fame at any cost? "

Tarek Fatah is a media phenomenon with a huge following of Hindu Nationalists and western Islamophobes.

He writes for Toronto Sun. He's followed by 131,000 on Twitter and 104,000 on Facebook.

Tarek is a frequent guest on conservative channels like Fox News and also on mainstream Indian channels.

Riaz Haq said...

Pankaj Mishra: #India's Savage, Invisible War, Unreason on #Kashmir, original sin of #Indian nationalism via @BV

Kashmiri Muslims remain as disaffected as ever -- and with good reason. A few hours before the assault on JNU last week, Indian security forces shot dead two Kashmiri students in the valley. The Indian media, and even those protesting against the scoundrels of patriotism, barely noticed just another day of impunity in Kashmir.

Neither such routine killings (by Indian govt), nor the endless crackdowns and curfews have changed or will change Kashmir’s ground realities. But last week’s multi-pronged assaults on JNU students revealed how profoundly and extensively a sustained lynch-mob hysteria over Kashmir had damaged Indian institutions -- security agencies and the legal system, as well as the media and the larger public sphere -- long before Modi’s ascent to power. In this sense, a long, savage but largely invisible war on India’s margins is finally coming home.


Last week, a tragic farce overwhelmed India just as Narendra Modi was promoting his ambitious “Make in India” program to spur domestic manufacturing. It began with Zee News, a jingoistic and vastly influential television channel, whose owner had openly campaigned for Modi’s election in 2014. Zee broadcast an amateur video that showed students at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India’s version of the London School of Economics, shouting slogans in favor of Kashmir’s independence and against the 2013 execution of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri accused of attacking the Indian parliament in 2001.

Some other ultra-patriotic channels picked up Zee’s accusatory refrain against JNU students: that they were “anti-national.” Modi’s home minister declared his resolve not to “spare” the culprits. His education minister tweeted her angry refusal to tolerate any “insult to Mother India.” Delhi police raided the university campus. They arrested, among others, the president of the student union and a former teacher, charging them with sedition no less.

The home minister quoted a tweet supporting JNU students by Hafiz Saeed, a notorious Pakistani militant, to accuse them of links with evildoers. Exercised about the insults to Mother India, a mob of politicians and pro-Modi lawyers at a Delhi court beat up -- on two successive days, as a crowd of policemen stood by -- journalists as well as JNU students, including the one accused of treason.

Soon after these extraordinary events it emerged that not only did Saeed’s supposed endorsement come from a parody Twitter account, but the original video of sloganeering students had also been doctored.

An avalanche of scorn has landed on the Modi government and its seedy partisans in the Indian media. Adverse international headlines have made “Fake in India” and “Hate in India” seem more plausible ventures than Make in India for now.

A government driven hither and thither by Twitter burlesque is guilty of abysmal ineptitude. But frenzied deception and self-deception over Kashmir are not unique to Hindu nationalists. Rather, unreason on Kashmir is the original sin of Indian nationalism, secular as well as hardline Hindu.

Tens of thousands have died during more than two decades of a vicious Pakistan-backed insurgency and counter-insurgency in Indian-ruled Kashmir; an unknown number have been tortured or “disappeared.” The violence drove away an entire community of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley where most of the state’s population lives.

During this time, the political and popular mood has progressively hardened in India. The extravagant middle-class fantasy of a “Global Indian Takeover” made local Kashmiri disaffection seem a trifling irritant -- to be tackled through a U.S.-led emasculation of Pakistan.

Amjad N. said...


Commend you for standing ground. Agree with your position.

Toqeer R. said...

Sir i saw your debate with Tarek Fateh. You are wonderful to exposed his cheap mentality about our beloved Pakistan. Respect & best wishes from Sweden

Tarek Fateh told so many funny lies in last program where he claimed Baluchistan was independent country which is totally wrong... in fact During the period of the British Raj, there were four Princely States in Balochistan: Makran,Kharan, Las Bela and Kalat. In 1876, Sir Robert Sandeman negotiated the Treaty of Kalat, which brought the Khan's territories, including Kharan, Makran, and Las Bela, under British suzerainty.

In August 1947 the Chief Commissioner's Province of Balochistan immediately declared that Balochistan became part of Pakistan, followed by the princely states of Makran, Kharan, Las Bela, and theKhanate of Kalat, who decided to accede to Pakistan in March 1948. The Khan of Kalat agreed to join Pakistan under the condition that defence, currency, foreign relations, and finance would be controlled by the federal government, but that the province would remain otherwise autonomous. The four princely states together formed the Balochistan States Union in October 1952.

Yas M. said...

I watched your debate with Tarek fatah and I loved the the way you handled that rabble rouser by staying within parameters of logic and reasoning.

Although I feel on Balochistan issue you could've been more assertive by pointing out that Kalat itself was not whole of Balochistan. The Nawabs of Kharan & Lasbela both rejected the authority of Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to accede to Pakistan. Moreover according 4th Aug 1947 agreement Kalat itself accepted suzerainty of Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

3 top #ABVP (#RSS Student Wing) leaders resign citing #JNU and Rohith Vemula incidents. #BJP #Modi … via @scroll_in

On Wednesday evening, three office bearers of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad in Jawaharlal Nehru University announced their resignation from their designated positions in the aftermath of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar's arrest and the controversy after Hyderabad University scholar Rohith Vemula's suicide.
Their resignation marks the first instance of differences in the right wing student organisation being made public in recent times. "We can’t be mouthpiece of such a government," the Facebook post said, "which has unleashed oppression on student community".

Apart from questioning Delhi's BJP Member of Legislative Assembly OP Sharma, the note also demanded that action should be taken against "any person responsible for the slogans" who, the note said, "should be punished as per the law".

The note also went on to "condemn [the] media trial which has culminated in Anti-JNU sentiments throughout the country".

Following is the full, unedited text of Pradeep Narwal's Facebook page making the decision public.

Dear friends,

We, Pradeep, Joint Secretary, ABVP JNU UNIT, Rahul Yadav, President SSS ABVP UNIT and Ankit Hans, Secretary SSS ABVP UNIT resigning from ABVP and disassociating ourselves from any further activity of ABVP as per our difference of opinion due to the following reasons:

1. Current JNU incident.

2. Long standing difference of opinion with party on MANUSMIRITI and Rohith Vermula incident.

Anti-national slogans on Feb. 9 in university campus were very unfortunate and heart breaking. Whosoever responsible for that act must be punished as per the law but the way NDA government tackling the whole issue, the oppression on Professors, repeated lawyer attacks on Media and Kanhaiya kumar in court premises is unjustifiable and we think there is a difference between interrogation and crushing ideology and branding entire left as Anti-national.

People are circulating #‎SHUTDOWNJNU but I think they must circulate #‎SHUTDOWNZEENEWS which has demeaned this world class institution, this biased ZEE news media generalize and related the act done by few people to the whole student community of JNU. JNU is considered as one of the progressive and democratic institution where we can see intermingling of people from lower to upper income strata of the society, notion of equality.

We can’t be mouthpiece of such a govt. which has unleashed oppression on student community, legislature like OP Sharma, govt. which has legitimized the action of right wing fascist forces either in Patiala house court or in front of JNU north gate. Every day we see people assemble at front gate with Indian Flag to beat JNU student, well this is hooliganism not nationalism, you can’t do anything in the name of nation, there is a difference between nationalism and hooliganism.

Anti-India slogans can’t be tolerated in campus or any part of country, JNUSU& some left organization are saying that nothing has happened in the campus but here we want to stress that veiled persons in the event organized by former DSU persons shouted slogans BHARAT TERE TUKADDE HONGE of which there is concrete evidence in videos, so we demand any person responsible for the slogans should be punished as per the law, and in this whole process we also condemn media trial which has culminated in Anti-JNU sentiments throughout the country. Today we all must stand together to save JNU which has given us identity, we need to come across party lines to save reputation of this institution, to save future of JNUites as more than 80% of students don’t belong to any political party so let’s unite to save this JNU culture.

RA said...

I really think a person like Mr. Fatah should not be given air time to propagate his lies about Pakistan and Balochistan. Let him find his own platform on Indian TV and RSS based forums, where they love him for his rabidly anti-Pakistan rhetoric. Even a cursory review of the history of Balochistan shows that it was a princely state always under the authority of some other power, whether Afghanistan, the Mughals, or the British. Contrary to his repeated false statements, Balochistan was not an independent country at the time of partition. It was a princely state under the Khan of Kalat, part of British India. If there was no partition, it would have been part of India and suffered the same fate as Hyderabad, and all the other princely states, whether of Pakistan or India. All princely states had their own Prime Ministers, just like they had their princely rulers, so if Jinnah mentioned the Prime Minister of Balochistan in his letter to the Khan of Kalat, it does not automatically mean that Balochistan was an independent state. Mr. Fatah is an expert liar and and expert on disinformation and twisting the truth. Notice that he never addressed the question of his affiliation with RSS or their fascist views, but instead personalized the issue by accusing Mr. Riaz Haque for personal hatred directed to his person. What a crook! Please don't waste our time or your time on people like him. His views are destructive, not constructive, and our beloved Prophet (saws) always taught to take an optimistic and constructive approach to solving problems. We recognize that Pakistan has a lot of problems, but that doesn't mean it should not exist. Our religion also frowns upon saying "this or that should not have occurred", but to look forward to solving problems. People like him and an ex-Ambassador are really traitors and do not deserve time on forums like this where people who are sincere to Pakistan are having an honest discussion about our issues. Waste of valuable time!

Nitin B said...

Riaz Haq is indiaphobic so what's the difference and who cares anyway. Some people dig their own graves!

Tarek Fatah said...

Riaz Haq, if what you say is right and India is as evil as you say, then why seek friendship with Hindustan?

Riaz Haq said...

TF: "Riaz Haq, if what you say is right and India is as evil as you say, then why seek friendship with Hindustan?"

I avoid using the term "evil" to describe an entire nation or country. Both India and Pakistan have good people and bad people among them. India and Pakistan are neighbors whether they like it or not not. They can not choose to move elsewhere as nations geographically. Both have nuclear weapons. So a direct armed conflict is not an option. Proxy wars are an option which they have been using. But doing so causes both sides to suffer profuse bleeding for an extended period of time and it debilitates both while causing great human suffering. The best option open for them is to work out a way of living together as good neighbors.

Yas M said...

Mr Fatah you are an expert of putting words in others mouth when you start losing ground on your arguments. Mr Riaz Haq never used the word "evil".

Rks said...

Riazsaab was like a fish out of water. He was no match for Tariq Fateh.

Nitin B said...

When you can't handle the truth, when highly placed people from your own country are critical about misguided policies, call them names or label them - traitors for example.

Oldest trick in the book!

Riaz Haq said...

NBRX: "When you can't handle the truth, when highly placed people from your own country are critical about misguided policies, call them names or label them - traitors for example."

No one is better at this game than the Hindu Nationalists...charging university students with treason, beating them up outside courthouses and telling political opponents to "go to Pakistan".

What does it mean to live in this land (India) -- if you are Dalit? Or Muslim? Or Kashmiri? Or just unhappy with your government?"

"A fever of political dissent has swept India's universities. The unrest, government ministers claim, is the work of forces determined to destroy the country from within. In a speech on Feb. 21, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at a presumed campaign by unnamed nongovernmental organizations to destabilize his government at the behest of their presumed foreign funders.

Since assuming power in May 2014, Modi's government has branded dissenters -- filmmakers, actors, writers, students, scholars, activists and environmentalists -- as "anti-nationals." In the name of national interest, students have been jailed, businesses vandalized, film screenings halted and the consumption of beef criminalized to the extent that mobs of enraged Hindu activists have lynched Muslims on the suspicion of eating beef or transporting cows to slaughter.

Government-funded educational institutions have received special attention: in one memorable instance, a prestigious film institute found its new chairman was an actor whose only qualification appeared to be a career-defining role as Prince Yudhisthira in a television series based on the Hindu epic "Mahabharata."

The current wave of unrest began in January, when Rohith Vemula, a young PhD scholar at Hyderabad Central University, a public university in southern India, died by suicide after a senior BJP minister denounced him as being "anti-national."

Vemula was the son of a single mother who worked as a tailor for about $2 a day to raise him and his two siblings. Vemula and his family are Dalit, the lowest group in India's caste hierarchy and one of the most discriminated against.

His suicide in Hyderabad and the events that have followed point to a question both fraught and fundamental: What does it mean to live in this land -- if you are Dalit? Or Muslim? Or Kashmiri? Or just unhappy with your government?"

Riaz Haq said...

We Must Heed This Warning Of Harvard Academic About #RSS & Creeping Fascism in #India #BJP #Modi … via @HuffPostIndia

In January 2000, a Harvard academic wrote a piece in The Frontline titled The RSS Gameplan, describing a "creeping fascism" perpetrated by what he called a "disillusioned and dispirited" Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Journalist Prem Panicker, noted today how prescient the article was, and how some of its passages resonate in today's political environment.

The article details the blueprint of how the RSS was planning to implement its long-standing dream of a Hindu Rashtra and why it won't work.

"Today the creeping fascism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is coming upon us not as gradually as imperialism did, nor as suddenly as did the Emergency. Its spread is being calibrated adroitly by seven faceless men of the RSS, the RSS 'high command," the economist wrote.

Here are some excerpts from the article.

"But the RSS leaders are now in their late seventies, some not at all in good health, and so in a mood of frustration. Their glide to a total capture of Delhi’s gaddi (throne) has been interrupted and put on ‘hold’. Symbolically, the bhagwa dhwaj (saffron double triangle flag) does not yet flutter from the Red Fort; but the hated tricolour which no RSS office can hoist even on August 15, still does. The climb to total power is up a slippery slope. Having come so close, the RSS could lose it all in a sudden throw of the electoral dice. That is the frustration; so close yet so far."
"But then there is a downside to that trade-off: the RSS cadre is disillusioned and disspirited with the compromises and the stunting. India is nowhere the Hindu Rashtra that the high command had been promising, and on which they had been weaned and brain -washed. The cadres’ patience is now wearing thin. They want to strike out on their own even at the cost of losing power."
"The second component of the RSS game plan is to shake public confidence in every institution that can circumscribe or act as a speed-breaker for the RSS juggernaut."
"Christians are an easy target because there are no Christian terrorists to retaliate. As the period of the Emergency clearly demonstrated, the RSS is astute enough to know when to hunt with the hounds and when to run with the hares. They are smarter than the German fascists in this respect."
"India would be, it seems, converted into a state which is a cross between the Taliban and the Vatican."
But there is hope.

"I live on the hope that in India, no well-laid plan ever works. India, after all, is a functioning anarchy. That has been the undoing of every attempt to straitjacket its society. That is why we are still the longest continuing unbroken civilisation of over 10,000 years. The RSS is, luckily, our counter-culture."
We highly recommend reading the piece in full.

When the article was published, the author, an academic-turned-politician, ran a political outfit which later merged with the BJP. On Monday, he moved the the Supreme Court on the Ram Janmabhoomi case and is hopeful that the construction of Ram Mandir would begin in Ayodhya by year-end.

Yes, it was Subramanian Swamy.

Anonymous said...

You keep talking about RSS, yet since 1947 the number of persons killed by RSS pales into insignificance compared to what your muslim brothers are doing since 1947. That alone makes RSS bogey a total waste of time.

I know anti Modi are still waiting for a large scale Gujarat 2002 riots to happen and so far we have disappointed you. In the meantime situation in Pak never disappoints us.

Anyhow did you listen to Hussain Haqani's debate with Mosharraf Zaidi. He was awesome.

BTW what do you say about Americans now? They are about to elect a bigot as the republican nominee.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "You keep talking about RSS, yet since 1947 the number of persons killed by RSS pales into insignificance compared to what your muslim brothers are doing since 1947. That alone makes RSS bogey a total waste of time."

Read the HuffPost and FrontPage articles...RSS started plotting in year 2000 what it's doing now under Modi. India is about 20 years behind...Zia in Pakistan did in 1980s what the RSS is now doing in India. The difference will be the scale and scope of violence in India given its 7X population and greater diversity compared to Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

No option for #India but to engage with #Pakistan before upcoming #SAARC summit in #Islamabad …

Having committed to attending the SAARC summit in Islamabad which is only months away, the Prime Minister must know that talks with Pakistan will have to resume well before that.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden Christmas Day detour from Kabul to Lahore at the instance of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared to be the public manifestation of a serious new approach to dealing with Pakistan. It was a breathtaking development which was greeted with howls of derision from the Congress. When Congress MP Anand Sharma pronounced the Prime Minister’s approach to Pakistan as “frivolous, unpredictable, and full of abrupt U-turns”, he seemed remarkably out of step because Mr. Modi had at last engendered hopes for an honest engagement; the misstep of the precondition that the Pakistanis should not be in dalliance with the Hurriyat while talking to New Delhi seemed less of an obstacle. Yet, more than a month after the Pathankot attack, it would appear that there is something to be said for that criticism after all. Consider this: the government was alive to the ever-present risks inherent in engaging Pakistan — terrorist attacks, increased firing across the Line of Control, attacks on our interests in Afghanistan, an uptick in the use of both political and armed proxies in Kashmir, as we have just seen in Pampore.

Fifteen years after the attack on the World Trade Center, there is little the world does not know about Pakistan’s Deep State and its proclivities in using terrorism as a tool of statecraft. On this Islamabad holds no surprises any more, only a strong sense of déjà vu. As surely as winter recedes, the prospect of more jihadis stirring from their hibernation awaits us. Just because the Pakistani Army chief Raheel Sharif has made it clear that he wants to retire when his term ends, and without seeking an extension, does not mean that the Army has turned over a new leaf. We do not need to wait for Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to confirm that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) trains terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) before it becomes the gospel truth. When he was running Pakistan, Gen. Musharraf referred to such terrorists as “freedom fighters” and kept telling Indian High Commissioners in Islamabad that the work done by these “freedom fighters” was vital as it helped India focus on the need for dialogue on Kashmir.

Nothing that 26/11 plotter David Headley says through video conferencing is likely to embarrass Pakistan or Washington for that matter. Even as Islamabad brazens it out, if New Delhi keeps waiting for its neighbour to act effectively against JeM leader Maulana Masood Azhar, whom Mr.Modi’s political predecessors delivered gift-wrapped and beribboned to the Pakistan through a high-level gift-bearer, it could be a long, long wait. The “protective custody” that Pakistan’s Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz claims is most likely a linguistic fudge. The question remains: what should New Delhi do in the meanwhile?

WK said...

India-Pakistan peace is impossible for as long as Pakistan remains an Islamic Republic!

Riaz Haq said...

WK: "India-Pakistan peace is impossible for as long as Pakistan remains an Islamic Republic!"

There is no bigger obstacle to India-Pakistan peace than Modi's Hindu Nationalists base which, as spelled out by Golwakar in his book "We", wants complete extermination of Muslims in South Asia. Golwalkar was a great admirer of Hitler and his "final solution".

Riaz Haq said...

#India sees rise in communal violence, mainly against #Muslims, under #Modi, UP leads states. #BJP via @timesofindia

ommunal violence witnessed a rise in 2015, with 751 incidents recorded across the country as against 644 in 2014. According to data put out by the government in reply to a Lok Sabha question on Wednesday, there was also a rise in casualties resulting from communal unrest last year, with dead and injured up at 97 and 2,264 from 95 and 1,921 respectively in 2014.
Incidentally, though the indices of communal violence were 17% higher in 2015 as compared to 2014, they were lower than the 823 incidents, 133 deaths and 2,269 injured reported in 2013, largely on account of the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Among the top states in terms of communal incidents were Uttar Pradesh (155), Karnataka (105), Maharashtra (105), Madhya Pradesh (92), Bihar (71), Rajasthan (65), and Gujarat (55). While UP and Karnataka are ruled by the Samajwadi Party and Congress respectively, three of the above-mentioned states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat — are ruled by the BJP. A year-on-year comparison, however, shows that while incidents in Madhya Pradesh witnessed a sharp increase from 56 in 2014 to 92 last year, they declined in both Rajasthan and Gujarat.
UP has not only retained its position as the state with the highest number of communal violence, but also showed higher incidents (155 as compared to 133 in 2014) and injured (up from 374 to 419). In fact, the number of injured last year was higher than even 2013, when Muzaffarnagar riots contributed to the state's 360 non-fatal casualties.
UP remains the worst-hit state in the first month of the current year as well, having reported 12 incidents, 1 death and 64 injured. Madhya Pradesh is a close second with 11 incidents, two deaths and 43 injured. The national figures for communal violence in January 2016 read 59 incidents, 6 deaths and 233 injured.

Meanwhile, Bihar, which went to polls last year, saw 71 incidents and 20 deaths, up from 61 incidents and 5 deaths respectively in 2014. West Bengal, where polls are due in a couple of months, also saw a 100% rise in communal incidents (from 16 to 32) over the relevant period.
The states that recorded low or almost nil communal violence were Andhra Pradesh (4 incidents), Assam (3), Chhattisgarh (2), Tamil Nadu (3), Kerala (3), Odisha (0) and Punjab (0). Though Haryana accounted for only 3 incidents, the number of injured was significantly high at 107 last year, nearly nine times the figure in 2014. This could be largely due to the communal disturbances at Atali, Faridabad, in May-June 2015, over construction of a mosque.
Maharashtra too recorded a significant increase in casualties, with 322 persons getting injured due to communal clashes in 2015 against 198 the year before. A similar pattern was seen in Karnataka, where incidents grew from 73 to 105 and injured from 177 to 337.

Shamshad S. said...

Riaz Bhai - Aap ney tou Tariq Fateh sahab ko bohat buri tarh sey dant diya. Dil tou apna bhee yahee karta hai.
Your arguments were strong. You hardly needed to look/sound angry. But in dealing with our own bigots its tough to control our should have asked him that if you had so much love for Baloch, why don't you go there and be the Edhi for them or do something more concrete..

SM said...

What does the UN resolutions on Kashmir of 1948 say?
1) Pakistan vacate it's forces from J&K(including Gilgit-Baltistan).
2) India takes control of all J&K and establishes law & order.India maintains a force to deter any further attacks from Pakistan.
3) A Plebiscite be conducted only after conditions 1 & 2 have been met. The plebiscite be conducted regionally (Separately for Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit & Baltistan).
Pakistan signed and agreed to the resolution but then refused to withdraw its forces from POK.
Pakistan has refused to abide by all agreements it has ever made,
Pakistan is a lawless terrorist state

Riaz Haq said...


And what is the basis of India's claim on Kashmir? The fact is that Kashmir has never been part of India. And the world does not recognize it as part of India today.

The world does not recognize Kashmir as India's internal matter; it shows as a disputed territory between India and Pakistan on all world maps published outside India. The continued Indian occupation of Kashmir is neither legal nor moral. It's illegal because it violates security council resolutions 47(1948) of 21 April, 1948, 51(1948) of 3 June, 1948, 80 (1950) of 14 March, 1950 and 91(1951) of 30 March, 1951, that are binding on all UN member nations. It's immoral because it breaks repeated pledges to the people of Kashmir in late 40s and early 50s by Indian prime minister and various Indian officials.

Riaz Haq said...

#Canada's Cape Breton Island Offers #Americans Refuge 'If Donald #Trump Wins'. #Islamophobia #Xenophobia #Homophobia

It all started as a joke. Canadian radio host Rob Calabrese, who lives and works on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, threw a website together:, which stands for “Cape Breton If Donald Trump Wins.”

On it he said: “Hi Americans! Donald Trump may become the president of your country. If that happens, and you decide to get the hell out of there, might I suggest moving to Cape Breton Island?”

So many people responded that he changed the website to include links about immigration, housing and schools. Calabrese talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about his site and the response.

Interview Highlights: Rob Calabrese

When you started getting responses to your offer, how did you feel?

“Well, I was overjoyed at first, because I was able to handle the inquiries on my own, but then they began coming in at such a rate that it was just impossible for one person to keep up.”

What were they saying to you?

“They were great, and I wish everyone in Cape Breton could read them because it would make you feel really awesome about being from here. It was, ‘how does the immigration process work? What kind of job opportunities are there? What’s the housing market like? What is the education system like? Can I bring my horse? What’s it like to be LGBT [there]?’ The full range of questions.”

How many responses have there been?

“I don’t know, we got to about 2,500 responses. So what we did was take the most common questions, make a very robust FAQ page, and turn the contact sheet off. Then Mary Tulle, who is the CEO of our tourism association, Destination Cape Breton, called because she was getting so much traffic because I had linked to her site. She basically said ‘what can we do to help?’ So she put together a team of people who started responding and forwarding the emails to the proper places.”

This was originally a partisan joke website, and recently you’ve changed it.

“Yes, I have changed it. We follow along this campaign, my wife and I, extremely closely and find it fascinating. We can’t get enough of it. We watch every debate, we watch all of the caucuses and the primaries, we listen to podcasts about American election intrigue; it’s just – we’re insatiable. We know the issues. I thought the opportunity lay where the things that Donald Trump, especially Donald Trump, was saying was the opposite of the way things are here. For example, a ban on Muslims. Now, we are screaming for people and we don’t care about religion, so you could see the opposite thing kind of happening there.”

Cape Breton is having a difficult time convincing people to come live there.

“Yes, we have a very serious population problem, an unsustainable population problem where we lose about 1,000 people a year.”

On the new website, you welcome all Americans, Republican and Democrat, to take refuge at Cape Breton.

“That’s right. The reason the whole thing came about was, I’m sure you’ve heard it in the United States, but we’ve heard it in Canada, usually Democrats are the ones that say ‘look, if so-and-so wins the election, that’s it, I’m outta here, I’m moving to Canada.” This time because, it’s my understanding that Mr. Trump doesn’t have a lot of fans in the Democratic Party, doesn’t have a lot of fans in the Republican Party as well. We know that the things he says in his campaign make people really nervous.”

Some of the Americans you are hearing from are pleased that anyone wants them.

“Yes, we have our stereotypical thoughts of Americans, just the same as you guys have your stereotypical thoughts about Canadians. If anything, everyone’s looking for the same thing; a safe place for their family, a place where they can be free and enjoy the friendship of their neighbors.”

Riaz Haq said...

Controversial student activists of #Hindu #RSS #ABVP turn #India's universities into ideological battlegrounds. #BJP

They have disrupted movie screenings, scuffled with fellow students and briefly held a liberal journalist hostage.

And in recent weeks, the political activism of the student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has become even more controversial in India.

Activists with the ABVP – which springs from the same Hindu nationalist organization as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party – complained about a campus event at the University of New Delhi where students condemned the hanging of a convicted terrorist.

Top government officials launched an investigation. Students who organized the Feb. 9 event were charged with sedition and the president of the student union was jailed.

That followed an episode at a university in the southern city of Hyderabad, where ABVP members complained to federal education officials about a student protest against the execution of a man convicted for his role in serial bombings in 1993. One student targeted in the complaint committed suicide.

The agitations have turned India’s university campuses into a battleground between liberal, secular voices and supporters of Modi’s conservative government – of which ABVP has become among the most prominent. The group’s leaders say they are fighting an ideological battle against professors and others they accuse of downplaying the traditions of India’s Hindu majority to appease minorities.

“There is a myth called secularism, which believes in denying Indian culture and tradition,” said Sunil Ambekar, national organizing secretary for the ABVP. “And these so-called intellectuals propagated this myth for all these years…. Instead of teaching patriotism, they encourage anti-national activities.”

Secularism is enshrined in India’s constitution, and professors who have clashed with ABVP say that India’s right-wing establishment sees an opportunity to promote a pro-Hindu agenda at universities. Professors worry that the group’s rising influence is shrinking the space for free debate.

“The government is using ABVP as its foot soldiers because to bring about ideological change in society, it is better to start with students,” said Milind Awad, assistant professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, where the February incident occurred.

ABVP maintains it is independent of the BJP, although many party leaders, including government ministers Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, were members.

The group claims to be India’s largest student organization, with 9,800 chapters nationwide. Its membership doubled from 1.1 million in 2003 to 2.2 million a decade later. In 2014, the year Modi took office, the group said it added more than 900,000 members.

The group traces its roots to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a hard-line Hindu nationalist organization that was temporarily banned after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in 1948 for spreading hatred against the independence leader. The organization, which also spawned the BJP, formed the student group to attract young followers.

Yadunath Deshpande, secretary of the ABVP in Mumbai, organized symposiums across universities last year with the aim of getting students to think “pro-nation.” One topic focused on “Indianizing” the subjects that students are taught.

“There are many aspects of our rich history ignored in India’s education curriculum,” Deshpande said.

Deshpande vigorously denied that the BJP had any say in its functioning.

“Students are gravitating towards ABVP because we take up student issues,” he said. “We will not hesitate in standing up to this government either if the situation arises.”

Tensions between the right and left wings have long roiled Indian university campuses. The difference now, many observers say, is that ABVP’s links to the governing party are prompting top officials to become involved in the disputes.

Riaz Haq said...

Former #CIA director Gen Michael Hayden: #US #Military may refuse to follow #Trump's orders if he becomes president

Former CIA director Michael Hayden believes there is a legitimate possibility that the U.S. military would refuse to follow orders given by Donald Trump if the Republican front-runner becomes president and decides to make good on certain campaign pledges.

Hayden, who also headed the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005, made the provocative statement on Friday during an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Trump, fresh off a string of primary victories, has yet to secure his party’s nomination, but Hayden said the candidate’s rhetoric already raises troubling questions.

“I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign,” Hayden said during the interview with Maher.

Riaz Haq said...

Sarfaraz Merchant breaks silence on evidence of #MQM-#India links. #Pakistan #Karachi #London …

Sarfaraz Merchant, one of the suspects in London money-laundering case also involving top leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), on Tuesday broke silence about party’s alleged links with India.

Speaking during an exclusive interview with Geo News, Merchant said the Scotland Yard in London had seized several lists of weapons during raids at the MQM chief’s residence as part of the money-laundering investigation.

Sarfaraz Merchant, a close friend of senior MQM leader Muhammad Anwar, said that the Scotland Yard told him the political party has been receiving Indian funding.

“I shared the official document about Indian funding to MQM with a senior political figure, who was previously associated with MQM and is presently holding a key position in Sindh government,” he said refusing to name anyone. He said this information was later leaked.

“I was shocked to find that an Indian company in Dubai was transferring money into MQM’s accounts,” he said while replying to a question.

“I have not been in talking terms with MQM leaders since then and have kept a distance from them.”

Merchant said that Muhammad Anwar used to travel to India on regular basis and once also asked him to come along but he refused.

Sarfaraz Merchant said the Scotland Yard has credible evidence of Indian funding to the MQM.

“Scotland Yard showed me a list of weapons, which carried the name and address of Altaf Hussain,” he said.

Merchant conceded that he lent 35,000 UK pounds to MQM during the general elections in 2013. He further said he gave a total amount of 250,000 to MQM on different occasion.

He said he would adopt a legal course to take his money back and would also talk to authorities concerned in Pakistan in this regard.

Riaz Haq said...

Cultural event at #India's Jadavpur University defends #Kashmir’s right to #Azadi #FreeKashmir via @htTweets …

Jadavpur University (JU) students defended Kashmiri people’s ‘right to seek Azadi’ during a cultural event held on the campus on Tuesday, setting the stage for another confrontation with members of right-wing parties who have recently equated such views as anti-national.
Singer-turned-politician and former Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman performed at the event that was attended by more than 500 students and faculty members.
Recently a section of JU students put up alleged anti-national posters and chanted slogans in support of Afzal Guru and Yakub Menon, both of whom were hanged for their involvement in separate terror attacks.
The event was organised to protest the arrest of Jawahar Lal Nehru students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. Filmmaker Aniket Chattopadhyay and human rights activist Sujato Bhadra were among those who participated.
“India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had promised to hold plebiscite in Kashmir. That has not been fulfilled yet. The people are still being bombarded and killed. What else would they do other than seek ‘Azadi’ from the miserable lives they have been forced to live?”, said Sushil Mandi, a spokesperson of Leftwing student outfit Radical, which organised the programme.
He also defended certain JNU students who raised slogans demanding ‘azadi for Kashmir’ and eulogising Afzal Guru, the Parliament attack convict who was hanged.
“A lot of people in Kashmir consider Afzal Guru a martyr. Even the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) considers him a martyr. What’s wrong if JNU students, or any other person in this country, felt Afzal was a martyr?” Mandi asked.
Kabir Suman, a JU alumnus, performed a number of songs, including those that he composed protesting the killing of Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines, encounter deaths of Ishrat Jahan and Fulmoni Tudu and the suicide of Rohith Vemula. One of his songs, “Afzal Guru shono, Srinagar-a hobe dekha,” roughly translates to “See you in Srinagar, Afzal.” Suman also said that he is sympathetic to the Maoists’ cause.

Zen (Germany) said...

Riaz, reading your blog after a long time..


Could be..But Zia established a military regime which effectively disenfranchised liberal Pakistani middle class. Since then it has been only going South. In India, so far nothing like that has happened. People still has a choice -- but they are ideologically getting brainwashed in a way similar to what happened in Pakistan during Islamizisation. Whether it would result in civil war or pull country as a whole is something to be waited and watched.

Riaz Haq said...

Patriotism: The last refuge of the #BJP #Hindu Nationalist scoundrels in #Modi's #India via @TheEconomist

THE annual budget which India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, presented on February 29th would normally have been the big political event of the week. That is not how proceedings in Parliament in the ensuing days made it appear. Both chambers were disrupted by angry exchanges over issues close to the hearts of the more extreme Hindu-nationalist wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Yet again, an ugly strain of BJP politics is distracting attention from what was supposed to be the party’s central agenda in power: ensuring rapid economic growth.

The damage to India’s image is painful. Faith in the police and other institutions has been undermined. Vigilante violence has seemed to win official backing. Street protests have proliferated; on March 2nd the police in Delhi used water cannon against protesters outside Parliament. This is not the outward-looking, investor-friendly image India hopes to project. And it threatens its liberal traditions of free speech. It is not just India-hating traitors who think that the trial of Afzal Guru was unfair and that his execution was used for political ends by the previous administration, led by the Congress party. The BJP’s definition of “sedition” precludes almost any debate on the future of Kashmir—a source of tension within India and with Pakistan since independence.

All of this looks like bad news for India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. Yet, beyond tweeting in support of a fiery speech by Ms Irani, his embattled human-resources minister, he has had little to say on the Rohith Vemula suicide and JNU furore. This follows a pattern: he rarely speaks out in ways that might alienate the BJP’s hardliners. He needs them, as his most loyal foot soldiers in looming state elections, including one in West Bengal in May; and Mr Modi is probably already thinking about the next general election, due by 2019. With that in mind, and following failure in an election in the big state of Bihar last November, he and his advisers may calculate that whipping up a chorus of angry Indian nationalism serves them better than talking about touchy issues such as caste—and better than promoting narrow “Hindu” causes such as protecting cows from beef-eating Muslims and Christians.

It also suits Mr Modi’s style, cultivated in his years as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, to portray himself as an outsider. He complains of plots by the press, NGOs, foreign meddlers and political pundits to destabilise his government. Despite leading India’s first single-party majority government in many years, he still governs as if he is waging an opposition campaign, with big rallies, catchy slogans and a sense of victimhood.

Hopes that Mr Modi would implement radical economic policies were clearly misplaced. He campaigned in 2014 less as a reformer than as a man who got things done. But ruling India has proved much harder than running Gujarat, and he is constrained by the lack of a majority in Parliament’s upper house. So the optimism of his election campaign, when he sought to represent the aspirational new urban middle classes, has been dented.

Mother tricolour
For all that India is the world’s fastest-growing big economy, to many Indians that is not how it feels. It is not creating enough jobs for its swelling workforce. The fresh spending in this week’s budget was aimed not at the middle classes but at the poor in the countryside, the voters whom Congress has long wooed. Last October Arun Shourie, a writer and minister in a former BJP administration, mocked Mr Modi’s government as “Congress plus a cow”. This week’s budget and political battles suggest things have moved on. It has become Congress plus a flag.

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

Are the two NSAs, Doval and Janjua, scripting the new #India-#Pakistan lexicon of peace? #Modi #Sharif via @htTweets …

They’re talking but not through the media — which they’ve used only to let their actions speak. It’s a relatively new experiment in Indo-Pak relations bedevilled historically by vituperative slugs. Gentle nudges seem to be working for now. The etymology of the new lexicon could be in the growing chemistry — and suggestions of trust — between the two national security advisers.
Their off-camera engagements have yielded results — including a terror alert last week to New Delhi from Islamabad. The optimism stems as much from other signals: Pakistan lodging an FIR on the Pathankot attack; its foreign minister saying a phone number the attackers used was traced to Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Bahavalpur base; the information that JeM chief Masood Azhar is in custody.
Against this backdrop has come a bigger straw in the wind— the hanging on February 29 of Mumtaz Qadri, a police commando who pumped bullets into West Punjab governor Salman Taseer for seeking reforms in the country’s blasphemy laws. Politically, the execution is a big deal for the Sharif brothers — Nawaz and Shahbaz — given its religious-political implications in their home province.
Qadri was deified after the 2011 killing by a rabid assortment of Mullahs and advocates. They feted and garlanded him for taking out the very person he was assigned to safeguard.


Imtiaz Gul of the Islamabad-based Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) underscored the need for an outcome-oriented dialogue to “disincentivise (sic) the theory of victimisation” in Kashmir the militants exploited for popular traction. He didn’t go into details. What’s well known is that Pakistan’s security forces aren’t untouched by the exponential rise of the religious middle-class in the Islamic Republic.
Even the army cannot but pay heed to internal feedback on its anti-terror campaign, said a Lahore-based commentator. The officers promoted to higher ranks now come from the deeply religious middle-class. From Islamabad’s standpoint, that makes advances on the political front with New Delhi ‘imperative’ to balance out action against anti-India jihadists.
So what’s doable in the immediate future? Cognizant though of our army’s position against withdrawing from strategic heights it occupies in Siachen, Pakistani experts consider the glacial confrontation ‘resolvable’ — what with a blueprint inherited from 1989 and revisited in Track-2 military to military engagements. “The psychological factor of an understanding on Siachen will be huge,” said former Pakistan high commissioner to India Aziz Ahmed Khan. But for that to happen the two sides have to develop an equally huge reservoir of trust!

Riaz Haq said...

JNU Professor Nivdita Menon says India illegally occupies Kashmir, Maniur and Nagaland:

On February 22, 2016, professor Nivedita Menon (Jawaharlal Nehru University) speaking at a student event organized by Democratic Student Federation at JNU said: “Everyone knows India is illegally occupying Kashmir. Everybody accepts it.”

“The map of India in foreign publications like TIME magazine and Newsweek show a different map of Kashmir. The copies of these magazines always create a lot of controversy and are censored and destroyed. When the whole world is talking about India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir, then we should think the pro-independence slogans in the valley are justified,” Dr. Menon added. Listen her speech below.

“India is an imperialist country. Here 30-40 percent of the country is under control of the army in the name of special forces laws, which are used to crush the people. Atrocities are being committed from Kashmir to the northeast and in Chhattisgarh,” Menon noted, adding that “Manipur and Kashmir have been illegally occupied by the Indian state.”

The ruling party BJP’s student wing has demanded an apology from Dr. Menon for her so-called ‘anti-national’ statement. However, Dr. Menon has refused to apologize claiming that her statement was based on facts, and were not anti-India.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus has been scene of killing, arrests and protests since last month. Its student union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on February 16, 2016, and charged with sedition in relation to a student rally organised in JNU Campus on 9 February against the hanging of Mohammed Afzal Guru convicted over the 2001 Indian Parliament attack.

On December 15, 2006, in an article, entitled India’s Shame, Indian author Arundhati Roy claimed that Afzal Guru was most probably framed to demonize Muslim struggle against Hindu occupation of Kashmir Valley.

Dr. Menon is a feminist activist, editor, writer and author. She is quoted saying that Hinduism is a deeply violent religion, that’s its very foundation is violence towards women and castes declared low – the Dalit. Listen to her below and read her articles (here).

On Women’s Day, JNU students burnt copies of the Manusmriti to protest against derogatory verses in the Hindu religious text.

India’s award-winning author Arundhati Roy has been saying that Kashmir Valley is not part of India for years.

“Kashmir’s accession to India was accepted by us at the request of the Maharaja’s government and the most numerously representative popular organization in the state which is predominantly Muslim. Even then it was accepted on condition that as soon as law and order had been restored, the people of Kashmir would decide the question of accession. It is open to them to accede to either Dominion (India or Pakistan) then,” wrote Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in a telegram to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, October 31, 1947.

New Delhi never kept its promise and had been terrorizing Kashmiris like Tel Aviv does to Palestinian.

India is basically an Artificial state. Since its independence from British Raj on August 15, 1947 – there are close to one hundred local resistance groups fighting against Hindu upper-class dominated Indian government. Most of these religious and ethnic minority resistance groups beget their violence from the rising Hindu religious terrorism based on racism. These groups operate in Assam (31), Nagaland (21), Meghalaya (5), and Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (34). Two of India’s prime ministers, Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi were assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards and a Tamil Hindu woman.

Riaz Haq said...

#India is second most ignorant nation of the world after #Mexico: Survey via @dna

India has the "dubious honour" of being the second most ignorant nation in the world after Mexico, according to a survey which posed questions on issues like inequality, non-religious population, female employment and internet access.

The survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, a London-based market research firm, polled 25,000 people from 33 countries and found that while people "over-estimate what we worry about", a lot of major issues are underestimated.

Mexico and India receive the dubious honour of being the most inaccurate in their perceptions on these issues, while South Koreans are the most accurate, followed by the Irish," the survey said.

The rankings of the nations were based on the "Index of Ignorance" which was determined by questions about wealth that the top 1 % own, obesity, non-religious population, immigration, living with parents, female employment, rural living and internet access.

Most Indians "underestimate" how much of their country's wealth is concentrated in the hands of the top 1%, the survey said, adding that the top 1% actually own an "incredible" 70 % of all wealth.

The survey also found that most Indians "hugely overestimate" the proportions of non-religious people in the country to be 33% when the true figure is under 1 %.

While Israel significantly underestimates the proportion of female employment (by 29 % points), people in countries like India, Mexico, South Africa and Chile all think of more women in work than really are, it said.

India fell in the list of nations which overestimate representation by women in politics.

Countries like Columbia, Russia, India and Brazil all think there is better female representation than there really is, the survey said.

However, the Indian population seriously underestimates the rural population of the country and thinks more people have internet access than in reality.

In India the average guess among online respondents for internet access is 60 per cent - an overestimation of the true picture of 41 percentage points, the survey added.

Riaz Haq said...

2 #Indian #Muslims herding buffaloes thrashed, hanged in #Jharkhand #India by #Hindu radicals #BJP via The Times of India
In an incident reminiscent of the Dadri lynching, two Muslim men herding eight buffaloes on their way to a Friday market were beaten up and hanged to death from a tree by suspected cattle-protection vigilantes in Balumath forests in Latehar district, 100km from the state capital, early on Friday.
The deceased, Muhammad Majloom, 35, and Azad Khan alias Ibrahim, 15, were cattle traders and related to each other. Their bodies were strung up with their hands tried behind their backs and their mouths stuffed with cloth.
"The manner of their hanging showed that the assailants were led by extreme hatred," said Latehar SP Anoop Birthary.
Local MLA from the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) Prakash Ram claimed that Hindu radicals were behind the killings. Reports said villagers who protested the deaths claimed the victims were targeted as they were cattle traders.
Birthary, however, did not identify the assailants. "We are gathering leads to verify whether personal or business enmity led to the murder or it was due to some other motive. The buffaloes were freed. It is yet to be known if the buffaloes were taken away by the assailants or they strayed into the forest," Birthary said.
The hanging sparked protests by people in Jhabbar village that turned violent when police tried to take down the bodies. The situation poses a serious political and law and order challenge for the BJP government in Jharkhand. In the case of Dadri case when a Muslim man was killed over rumours of beef eating, BJP had said law and order was under the SP government.
But in the Jharkhand incident, the buck stops with the state and central leadership. SDO Kamleshwar Narayan and six cops were injured when villagers threw stones at officials who arrived in the morning to manage the situation and ensure that it did not take a communal turn. Injuries to senior officials forced police to fire in the air and lathi charge the villagers.
Sources said protesting villagers have periodically claimed that assailants have targeted them in the past because they are engaged in cattle trade. "Four months ago, a group of men tried to kill a cattle trader in Gomia village of Balumath. The man managed to escape," Latehar MLA Prakash Ram said.

Raj said...

At 27:20 he starts comparing the names of weapons of India to India's old rulers & Gods. I guess there is no such weapon/missile in India which is named to old rulers. Agni, Prithvi, Shaurya, Dhanush, Akash etc. are all named on elements of nature & personal high moral traits & not on some ancient Kings let alone dictators & looters like Ghauri, Ghaznavi.

Riaz Haq said...

Raj: "At 27:20 he starts comparing the names of weapons of India to India's old rulers & Gods. I guess there is no such weapon/missile in India which is named to old rulers. Agni, Prithvi, Shaurya, Dhanush, Akash etc. are all named on elements of nature & personal high moral traits & not on some ancient Kings let alone dictators & looters like Ghauri, Ghaznavi."

Agni is Hindu goddess of fire, Prithvi is Prithvi Raj Chahuan who ruled Ajmer & Delhi, Akash the god of sky and Trishul, the trident used as a weapon by Lord Shiva.

Riaz Haq said...

#China leases #Australia Darwin port, making it part of 2 doz China leases overseas, #Pakistan's #Gwadar among them

DARWIN, Australia — The port in this remote northern Australian outpost is little more than a graying old wharf jutting into crocodile-infested waters. On a recent day, there was stifling heat but not a ship in sight. “Our pissy little port,” as John Robinson, a flamboyant local tycoon, calls it.

The financially hurting government of the Northern Territory was happy to lease it to a Chinese company in October for the bargain price of $361 million, raising money for local infrastructure projects.

“We are the last frontier; you take what you can get,” said Mr. Robinson, who is known as Foxy. “The Northern Territory doesn’t have the money for development. Australia doesn’t have it. We need the major players like China.”

But the decision has catapulted the port of Darwin into a geopolitical tussle pulling in the United States, China and Australia.

This month, the United States said it was concerned that China’s “port access could facilitate intelligence collection on U.S. and Australian military forces stationed nearby.”

It may not look like much, but the scruffy port is a strategic gateway to the South China Sea, where China is challenging the United States, and it serves as a host base for the United States Marines, who train here six months a year.

Critics contend that the Chinese bought a front-row seat to spy on American and Australian naval operations.

“There is a deep Chinese interest, driving interest, in understanding how Western military forces operate, right down to the fine details associated with how a ship operates, how it is loaded and unloaded, the types of signals a ship will emit through a variety of sensors and systems,” Peter Jennings, a former Australian defense official who is now the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told a parliamentary inquiry.

China has invested in more than two dozen foreign ports around the world, including a port in Djibouti adjacent to an American military base. But the 99-year Darwin lease was the first time the Chinese had bought into a port of a close American ally hosting American troops.

The Australian government did not consult with Washington, and the parliamentary inquiry showed that the corruption-plagued and unpopular government of the Northern Territory, of which Darwin is the capital, had rushed to lease the port to raise money for new projects before an election.

Riaz Haq said...

A pact to end Europe’s Thousand Years’ War

Rejoice, rejoice. The occasions to celebrate are scarce these days. So let’s not be parsimonious with the good news: at their summit on Tuesday France and Britain embarked on a sweeping co-operation on defence in all fields, from joint expeditionary forces to unmanned air systems, from cybersecurity to aircraft carriers. Why such a miracle? Even if budgetary constraints have played a role, they do not explain the signing of a formal treaty and a detailed declaration that goes so far as to express a shared will to co-operate even on the sensitive area of nuclear deterrence.
It may seem surprising given their prickly history over the centuries, but it should not be. France and Britain account for half of Europe’s defence budget and two-thirds of its research and technology spending in this area. It is about time they co-operated.

Nor is it a complete revolution. Twelve years ago Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair made the St Malo declaration, which resulted from a painful realisation: the end of the cold war meant less American military involvement in European affairs and more responsibilities for the Europeans. Sadly, as we experienced in the Balkans, Europeans could not handle a conflict even in our own backyard and had to call on the Americans through Nato. So the two countries decided to take the lead. The arrival of George W. Bush, the Iraq war and the deterioration of relations between France and the UK that followed slowed the momentum but did not alter a reality which is even harder and more urgent today: the two ex-colonial powers, although priding themselves as nuclear powers and Security Council permanent members, can no longer pretend to have real influence in the world unless they join forces.
But there is a difference. Then, the whole issue of European defence became quickly and bitterly poisoned by the ideological and futile debate about the relationship and hierarchy between Nato and the European Union. As usual, the French were suspected of trying to weaken Nato, the British of killing any ambitious European design. How much the world has changed: France is back in the military structure of Nato and Britain is ready to talk not only about pooling and sharing its military means with France but also about “harmonising timelines and requirements” and “consulting before taking any decision” on programmes, which is quite revolutionary.
So now what? For the UK and France, all will depend on implementation. The distinct military needs and culture on each side, the industrial and employment problems posed by co-operation in defence procurement and the technical complexities in each area of collaboration are formidable obstacles. Political authority from the French president and the UK prime minister will be essential to prevent spoilers on each side from making difficult problems impossible to resolve. Leadership will also be required for a similar vision in foreign policy. If the two countries can collaborate on nuclear deterrence, one can only hope they can share objectives and join forces in the international arena.

Riaz Haq said...

Stanford scholar Audrey Truschke on #Muslim rule in #India: #Mughal rulers were not hostile to #Hindus via @Stanford

Truschke, one of the few living scholars with competence in both Sanskrit and Persian, is the first scholar to study texts from both languages in exploring the courtly life of the Mughals. The Mughals ruled a great swath of the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th to the mid-18th centuries, building great monuments like the Taj Mahal.

Over several months in Pakistan and 10 months in India, Truschke traveled to more than two dozen archives in search of manuscripts. She was able to analyze the Mughal elite's diverse interactions with Sanskrit intellectuals in a way not previously done.

She has accessed, for example, six histories that follow Jain monks at the Mughal court as they accompanied Mughal kings on expeditions, engaged in philosophical and religious debates, and lived under the empire's rule. These works collectively run to several thousand pages, and none have been translated into English.

Truschke found that high-level contact between learned Muslims and Hindus was marked by collaborative encounters across linguistic and religious lines.

She said her research overturns the assumption that the Mughals were hostile to traditional Indian literature or knowledge systems. In fact, her findings reveal how Mughals supported and engaged with Indian thinkers and ideas.

Early modern-era Muslims were in fact "deeply interested in traditional Indian learning, which is largely housed in Sanskrit," says Truschke, who is teaching religion courses at Stanford through 2016 in association with her fellowship.

Hybrid political identity
Truschke's book focuses on histories and poetry detailing interactions among Mughal elites and intellectuals of the Brahmin (Hindu) and Jain religious groups, particularly during the height of Mughal power from 1560 through 1650.

As Truschke discovered, the Mughal courts in fact sought to engage with Indian culture. They created Persian translations of Sanskrit works, especially those they perceived as histories, such as the two great Sanskrit epics.

For their part, upper-caste Hindus known as Brahmins and members of the Jain tradition – one of India's most ancient religions – became influential members of the Mughal court, composed Sanskrit works for Mughal readers and wrote about their imperial experiences.

"The Mughals held onto power in part through force, just like any other empire," Truschke acknowledges, "but you have to be careful about attributing that aggression to religious motivations." The empire her research uncovers was not intent on turning India into an Islamic state.

"The Mughal elite poured immense energy into drawing Sanskrit thinkers to their courts, adopting and adapting Sanskrit-based practices, translating dozens of Sanskrit texts into Persian and composing Persian accounts of Indian philosophy."

Such study of Hindu histories, philosophies and religious stories helped the Persian-speaking imperialists forge a new hybrid political identity, she asserts.

Truschke is working on her next book, a study of Sanskrit histories of Islamic dynasties in India more broadly.

Indian history, especially during Islamic rule, she says, is very much alive and debated today. Moreover, a deliberate misreading of this past "undergirds the actions of the modern Indian nation-state," she asserts.

And at a time of conflict between the Indian state and its Muslim population, Truschke says, "It's invaluable to have a more informed understanding of that history and the deep mutual interest of early modern Hindus and Muslims in one another's traditions."

- See more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#UK ex-diplomat in #Karachi #Pakistan says #MQM leader #AltafHusain acknowledged working for #India's #RAW …

Britain’s former deputy head of Mission in Karachi Shaharyar Khan Niazi has claimed that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s leader Altaf Hussain voluntarily told the British government that he worked for the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Shaharyar Khan Niazi worked for the British High Commission in Karachi for over a decade but importantly he remained at the heart of the policymaking as far Britain’s dealing with the MQM was concerned during the most crucial period – from 2010 until 2013 – after he was promoted to the position of Deputy Head of Mission.

In his first ever exclusive interview for ‘Geo News’ with this correspondent after quitting his post in the middle of 2013, Shahryar Khan Niazi revealed that Altaf Hussain confessed to his involvement with RAW during a high-profile diplomatic meeting in late 2011/early 2012. Niazi claimed that the British government and Scotland Yard had evidence that a written agreement existed between the MQM and the Indian premier spy agency RAW.

The former UK diplomat is privy to crucial information and was witness – as well as a part of it being in his important position - to the sensitive and important communications went on between the UK authorities and the MQM. According to Shahryar Khan Niazi, there is evidence linking Altaf Hussain with the Indian government.

“The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is well aware of the fact that Altaf Hussain has links with RAW.”

When asked what the evidence was that the UK had on Altaf Hussain's links to RAW, the former deputy head of mission told Geo News: “There is a lot of evidence but let me share with you the most important one. Firstly, a member of Her Majesty’s diplomatic service officially called on Altaf Hussain around 2011/12 and during that meeting Altaf Hussain voluntarily confessed and accepted that he worked for RAW. Secondly, there is evidence that Altaf Hussain’s team facilitated contacts between the RAW and Baloch insurgents. Hussain’s team helped bring the two together. Thirdly, there are financial trail of links with the RAW; and fourthly, confessional statements about these links exist and one of these has been leaked already, there are on-the-record interviews and confessions. What has come out in the public domain so far is only a tip of the iceberg.”

The former deputy head of mission made the most damning revelation that Altaf Hussain and his team had a documented agreement with RAW and the police had evidence of that. “Altaf Hussain and his team have a Service Delivery Agreement with RAW. Basically, an agreement as to what Altaf Hussain and his team will deliver for the RAW. There are communication exchanges, including emails. This evidence was found by Scotland Yard during the murder investigation of Dr Imran Farooq and the money-laundering investigation.”

The former top diplomat made startling revelation that the then interior minister of Pakistan under Pakistan People’s Party government Rehamn Malik was briefed by the British government that Altaf Hussain had links with RAW”.

Shaharyar Khan Niazi told Geo News: “Rehman Malik was briefed officially by the British government about Altaf's links to RAW a couple of times".

Shahryar Khan Niazi also said that "there was credible information to suggest that the Interior Minister (Rehman Malik) met Altaf Hussain and told him that he had spoken to the British Home Secretary (Theresa May) and that on his (Malik’s) intervention all the police investigations in relation to the MQM leader would be terminated and all charges would be dropped against Altaf Hussain.

The former deputy head of mission said that the British government confronted Rehamn Malik on this issue, based on information. “The interior minister was confronted by the UK government and asked not to make false statements or claims.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India occupied #Nagaland drowning in taxes and corruption @AJEnglish

Rose Dukru, 32, and her family belong to a new generation of businessmen in India's northeastern state of Nagaland.

But a few years ago, they decided to go back to their farming roots and began to cultivate vegetables in the village of Zhavame, unaware of the difficulties they would soon face.

"Our cabbages are famous throughout the state. In a year, the village contributes to a market value of about 17 million [rupees, or $254,000] through its produce," she said.

Yet her family, like other farmers in the region, only see a small percentage of the revenue. When they send their vegetables to be sold in Dimapur, the state's commercial centre, its municipal council levies transportation taxes on the vehicles bringing the produce to market - as do several armed groups along the 140km-long route from Zhavame to Dimapur.

When the cabbages finally reach the wholesale market, traders set the price of the produce, irrespective of the farmers' production cost.

"The traders have formed a syndicate and they pay something known as 'protection tax' to armed groups that gives them the power to dictate over the poor farmers. There's price monopoly here when there should be a free market. If we're lucky, we make a small profit. Otherwise, most days end with deficits," Dukru explained.

Last July her father, Sanyi Dukru, 54, was assaulted by traders and found unconscious by the police at midnight. As the chairman of a local farmers' committee, Sanyi Dukru spent his days in Dimapur inquiring about the market prices of vegetables and updating farmers back home. That day was no different.

"There was an argument, and the traders attacked him with the furniture lying around. A few suspects who were taken into custody have been bailed. I don't know whether to expect any justice from the system," said Dukru dejectedly.

Multiple taxation layers

Nagaland, a state in northeastern India, has long been a restive region, with many demanding sovereignty or full independence from the central government.

The Naga National Council (NNC) declared the area to be independent a day before India's independence in 1947, and later claimed that a plebiscite it held found that 99.9 percent of people favoured sovereignty.

The Indian government rejected the plebiscite, and after several failed attempts by the government to resolve the issue, the NNC took up arms in 1955. The Indian army retaliated with counterinsurgency operations, and in 1958, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was passed, which controversially gave Indian security forces immunity in conflict-ridden areas.

When the state of Nagaland was formed in 1963, it was given a special status and exempted from taxes, but disturbance in the area continued. Although separatist groups signed ceasefire agreements with the Indian government, there remain four major, and at least five small, separatist groups in Nagaland today.

Each runs a parallel government of sorts in the state, fights against the others, and levies taxes on state residents.

In 2013, a people's movement called Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) was formed to protest against the taxation by armed groups and corruption in the state government.

Joel Nillo Naga, a social activist and the co-chairman of ACAUT, said that in the past, Nagaland residents voluntarily helped provide NNC fighters with rations and other supplies. "But now, we're asked to pay several taxes to several groups. People are being exploited on the pretext of nationalism," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Balochistan separatist Naela Qadir in #Canada: #India is our friend,no problem being called #RAW agents" #Pakistan

Baloch separatist Naela Qadir Baloch, now living in exile in Canada, is touring India for the past several days to talk about Balochstan

"Every other day the construction activities of this corridor (CPEC) come under attack from our boys. The roads which are being built are destroyed and recently a radar station was destroyed due to which the visit of Chinese Prime Minister to Gwadar was cancelled casuing much embarrassment to Pakistan government. China is looting the resources of our province including the gold reserves and turning a blind eye to the genocide of the Baloch"

Riaz Haq said...

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

Tarek Fateh calls for dissolution of India into multiple nations

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

US-based Separatist Baloch journalist Malik Siraj Akbar lambastes "nasty" Tarek Fatah #Balochistan #Pakistan #India …

The Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization (UNPO) organized an excellent conference on Balochistan on Tuesday in Washington D.C. I describe it as a successful conference because the organizers managed to bring some notable speakers, including Senator Paul Strauss of the District of Columbia and representatives from globally respectable organizations such as the Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The conference discussed various aspects of the conflict in Balochistan but, unfortunately, it turned ugly at the end when panelist Tarek Fatah used extremely filthy language against a Pakistani reporter whom he accused of being “an ISI agent” even before the poor reporter from the ARY News could ask his question. When a Baloch father present at the conference felt uncomfortable with the use of vulgar language in front of two of his daughters and insisted that this was not the Baloch way of conducting dialogue even with one’s worst enemies, an unapologetic Fatah lambasted him too.

While the UNPO had provided the Baloch a unique opportunity to voice their grievances, it is entirely upon the Baloch people to take advantage of these opportunities to put their case forward. Washington is undeniably the most important world capital for the Baloch if they want to get international support for their movement. Emotional and abusive supporters of the Baloch cause, such as Mr. Fatah, certainly look entertaining on an Arnab Goswami talk-show but they will have a damaging effect on the Baloch movement.

Riaz Haq said...

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

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


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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

#JNU's Umar Khalid compares slain leader of #India-Occupied #Kashmir Burhan #Wani to Che Guvara via @CatchNews

JNU student Umar Khalid who had been arrested for sedition earlier this year compared slain Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani to Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, kicking off a massive troll attack on social media.

Khalid said in a Facebook post on Saturday: "I don't care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting. These were the words of Che Guevara, but could have just been #Burhan Wani's too."

He added: "Burhan wasn't scared of death, he was scared of a life lived in subjugation. He detested it. He lived a free man, died a free man. Doomed is the occupation! Indian state, how will you defeat a people who have defeated their own fears?"

Riaz Haq said...

The legend of #India Occupied #Kashmir's Slain Hero #Burhan #Wani …

Five-year-olds in Bijbehara, a town in South Kashmir, like to play a game. One person pretends to be Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the most wanted commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen. Three or four others pretend to be soldiers of the Indian army. The game revolves around how Wani escapes from the clutches of the army.

Kashmiris who are now in their late-20s remember playing the same game in the 1990s, when thousands joined the militancy. Branches or pieces of wood did duty as rifles and the two sides engaged each other in fierce battle. Now these games seem to have returned to the Valley. Except the militant has a name.

Burhan Wani is a legend in these parts. He’s a local boy, after all, born in Tral, in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Six years ago, when he was 15, Wani left home to take up arms against the Indian state. Since then, the government has announced a Rs 10 lakh bounty on his head and taken out most of his close associates. But Wani survives, defying all expectations and leaving a trail of stories behind him.

Some say he visits his home dressed as a girl. Posts on social media claim Hindu girls from Kanpur want to marry him and write his name in their blood. If your name is Burhan, it’s best to stay off the streets at night – security forces might hear people calling out for you and mistake you for the Hizbul commander. Friends meeting up over chai trade stories about him.

One involves the time Wani went to the town of Anantnag. He called up Tahir Sheikh, a commander of the Territorial Army, to say he was in town and bathing in the Jhelum, using Lifebuoy soap. By the time Sheikh reached the river, there was no one to be seen. But there on the river bank lay a bar of Lifebuoy soap.

“What do I say?” said Burhan Wani’s father, Muzaffar Ahmed Wani, when asked about the legends surrounding the young Hizbul commander. “He is my son. I can only call him my son. Other people can call him a hero or something else.”

Celebrities and folk heroes

And so they do. “Burhan has become a narrative,” said a journalist in Bijbehara, who asked to remain unidentified. It is a narrative of heroism constructed around the new militancy that is said to have taken root in four districts of South Kashmir: Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian. Local boys, mostly educated, mostly from affluent families, are taking on the might of the Indian state and security forces.

Wani and his cohort signed up with the Hizbul Mujahideen, an indigenous, pro-Pakistan militant outfit. A number of others are joining the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba. Ask young men in Anantnag why they admire the new militants and they ask you why Bhagat Singh is considered a hero. Even police officers ruefully refer to the Robin Hood aura surrounding the new crop of militants. "We wish he comes out alive," said one senior police officer.

These are not the nameless multitudes who crossed over in the 1990s and came back as masked men. There was always a certain glamour attached to becoming a militant. But now, individual figures are thrown into sharp relief. Local memories and personal ties are hopped up on technology. This is the age of celebrity militants who are also folk heroes.

To begin with, their numbers are much lower than in the 1990s. Accordingto the ministry of external affairs, 14,356 “terrorists” and 2,358 “foreign militants” were killed in Jammu and Kashmir between 1990 and December 2001. According to data compiled by the criminal investigation department, 143 militants were active in the Valley this year. Of these 89 were local militants, 60 of them from South Kashmir.

Anonymous said...

Indian history is a mountain of complexity. Not only does it relate to a HUGE number of kingdoms and rulers but all kinds of interpretations, which only a professional historian can unravel. I am no professional historian, but each time I attempt to take India forward India blocks the way by asserting PRIMITIVE hatred amongst the two religions of Islam and Hinduism.

India likes to remain a medieval nation, and no amount of prodding it to become a modern nation shows signs of being actualised. The BJP, which is in power today, is ENTIRELY there because of its ability to strengthen the Hindu-Muslim divide. People in India feed off the Hindu-Muslim divide.

India seems to be a lost cause.

I don't know whether there is anything of value in my trying to enter this deep and dirty water of the history of India's communal past.

EVEN IF there was the greatest bigotry in the past, that doesn't mean modern India should have anything to do with it. There was the most vicious hatred and internecine killings amongst Christians in Europe, in the past. That doesn't mean modern USA or Europe are obliged to do anything about these ancient killings, apart from have historians study it for the record.

However, there distorted histories cause deep confusions. It is possible that by picking up this topic, I'll merely add to the confusion. I hope not to add to the confusion but to increase clarity. At least the history should be known properly, in all its complexity.

Mahmud Gazni on way to Somanth encountered the Muslim ruler of Multan (Abdul Fat Dawod), with whom he had to have a battle to cross Multan. In the battle the Jama Masjid of Multan was badly damaged. Further on way he struck compromise with Anandpal, the ruler of Thaneshwar who escorted his army towards Somanth with due hospitality. Gazni’s army had a good number of Hindu soldiers and five out of his 12 generals were Hindus (Tilak, Rai Hind, Sondhi, Hazran etc). Before proceeding to damage the temple he took custody of the gold and jewels, which were part of the temple treasury. After the battle he issued coins in his name with inscriptions in Sanskrit and appointed a Hindu Raja as his representative in Somnath.

Riaz Haq said...

How the #American #CIA Infiltrated the World's #Literature Using Famous Writers as Tools … via @VICE

"The CIA's influence in publishing was on the covert ops side, and it was done as propaganda. It was a control of how intellectuals thought about the US."

The new book, Finks, reveals how great writers such as Baldwin, Márquez, and Hemingway became soldiers in America's cultural Cold War.

When the CIA's connections to the Paris Review and two dozen other magazines were revealed in 1966, the backlash was swift but uneven. Some publications crumbled, taking their editors down with them, while other publishers and writers emerged relatively unscathed, chalking it up to youthful indiscretion or else defending the CIA as a "nonviolent and honorable" force for good. But in an illuminating new book Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers, writer Joel Whitney debunks the myth of a once-moral intelligence agency, revealing an extensive list of writers involved in transforming America's image in countries we destabilized with coups, assassinations, and other all-American interventions.

The CIA developed several guises to throw money at young, burgeoning writers, creating a cultural propaganda strategy with literary outposts around the world, from Lebanon to Uganda, India to Latin America. The same agency that occasionally undermined democracies for the sake of fighting Communism also launched the Congress for Cultural Freedoms (CCF). The CCF built editorial strategies for each of these literary outposts, allowing them to control the conversation in countries where readers might otherwise resist the American perspective. The Paris Review, whose co-founder Peter Matthiessen was a CIA agent, would sell its commissioned interviews to the magazine's counterparts in Germany, Japan, and elsewhere. Mundo Nuevo was created to offer a moderate-left perspective to earn trust among Latin American readers, effectively muting more radical perspectives during the Cuban Revolution. Sometimes the agency would provide editors with funding and content; other times it would work directly with writers to shape the discourse. Through these acts, the CCF weaponized the era's most progressive intellectuals as the American answer to the Soviet spin machine.

While the CIA's involvement in anti-Communist propaganda has been long known, the extent of its influence—particularly in the early careers of the left's most beloved writers—is shocking. Whitney, the co-founder and editor at large of the literary magazine Guernica, spent four years digging through archives, yielding an exhaustive list—James Baldwin, Gabriel García Márquez, Richard Wright, and Ernest Hemingway all served varying levels of utility to Uncle Sam. (Not that the CIA's interest were only in letters: Expressionists Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko were also championed by arms of the agency.)

But don't let that ruin Love in the Time of Cholera. Whitney explains with methodical clarity how each writer became a tool for the CIA. This nuance not only salvages many of the classics from being junked as solely propaganda, but it serves as a cautionary tale for those trying to navigate today's "post-truth" media landscape. In an era where Facebook algorithms dictate the national discourse, even the most well-meaning journalist is prone to stories that distract on behalf of the US government.

"It was often a way to change the subject from the civil rights fight at home," Whitney said of the CIA's content strategy during the Cold War. We can easily draw parallels to today, where the nation's most dire issues are rarely our viral subjects. With Donald Trump's presidency just weeks away, Finks arrives at a crucial time, exposing the political machinery that can affect which stories are shared and which are silenced.

Riaz Haq said...

Analysis: #India, #Pakistan in race to destroy young minds with false #history #textbooks

Consider the latest attempt at subversion from India. According to reports on Thursday, ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled (BJP) Rajasthan state have proposed that the outcome should be rewritten in the mediaeval battle of Haldighati that was fought between the forces of Mughal emperor Akbar and Rajput chieftain Rana Pratap.

It ended in a stalemate with the latter retreating deeper into Mewar, but Hindutva historians are determined to show him as the clear victor.

It is less widely admitted that his Rajput General Mansingh led Akbar’s 1576 campaign.

If Hindutva historians have their way they would project even Alexander of Macedonia as an anti-India Muslim marauder.

Cinematic versions of Alexander’s war with King Porus have already attempted this in a way, showing the foreigner speaking in Urdu, implying a Muslim language, while the vanquished Indian ruler spoke chaste Hindi, erroneously projected as a Hindu language.

It would be equally embarrassing for Hindutva historians to admit that Maratha king Shivaji communicated with his arch-foe Emperor Aurangzeb in Persian while conducting his Maratha empire’s administration in Modhi, a less discussed precursor of Marathi.

It is routine among Hindutva historians to claim mediaeval monuments as Hindu structures grabbed by Muslims. According to P.N. Oak, an early myth-maker in this genre, Taj Mahal was a Hindu palace as was the Asafi Imambarha of Lucknow.

According to Oak, Christianity is Chrisn-nity, an ascription to Lord Krishna. “Christianity is in fact a popular variation of the Hindu, Sanscrit [sic] term Chrisn-neety, i.e. the way of life preached, advocated or exemplified by the Hindu incarnation Lord Chrisn, spelled variously as Crsn, Krsn, Krishn, Chrisn, Crisna or Krisna also,” Mr Oak wrote.

To keep the spirit from flagging, even Wagner’s theory of continental drift was harnessed to claim that light-skinned Indians originally came from the border of Bihar and Orissa.

Later, the border drifted away to form the North Pole, thus implying that Caucasian and Central Asian genes travelled from India to their current abode, not the other way round.

As in India, rigging the chronology of history has been honed into a craft in Pakistan too, and it is difficult to say who between the two is better in conjuring myths that exhort young minds to violence.

A recent study in Pakistan found that the country’s public school textbooks negatively portrayed religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis, as “untrustworthy, religiously inferior, and ideologically scheming”.

The report, “Teaching Intolerance in Pakistan: Religious Bias in Public School Textbooks”, analysed 78 textbooks from all four provinces covering grades five through 10.

Riaz Haq said...

Tarek Fatah was quick to exploit the tragic terror attack by Khalid Massod by the following tweet:

"Jihadi #KhalidMassod ws born in UK in 1963, but remained loyal to Pakistan, Islam and ISIS. Food for thought, isn't it?"

Fact: Khalid Masood was born Adrian Elms and converted as an adult. HE had a prior criminal record. He was not of Pakistani origin.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian State At War With Its "Own People" Since 1947. #Kashmir #Nagaland #Manipur #Mizoram #Talangana via @YouTube

Indian writer Arundhati Roy says that the Indian upper caste Hindu state has been perpetually at war with people in Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Talangana since 1947.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of Audrey Truschke's Aurangzeb

Across the border in Pakistan, too, many endorse the vision of an evil Aurangzeb. As Shahid Nadeem, a Pakistani playwright, recently put it: " Seeds of partition were sown when Aurangzeb triumphed over [his brother] Dara Shikoh". Such far-fetched suggestions would be farcical, if so many did not endorse them.

British colonial thinkers had long impugned thew Mughals on a range of charges, including that they were effeminate, oppressive, and Muslims. As early as 1772, Alexander Dow remarked in a discussion of Mughal governance that "the faith of Mahommed is peculiarly calculated for despotism; and it is one of the greatest causes which must fix for ever the duration of that species of government in the East". For the British the solution to such an entrenched problem was clear: British rule over India. While the Indian independence leaders rejected this final step of the colonial logic, many swallowed the earlier parts wholesale. Such ideas filtered to society at large via textbooks and mass media, and several generations have continued to eat up and regurgitate the colonial take that Aurangzeb was a tyrant driven by religious fanaticism.

Over the centuries, many commentators have spread the myth of of the bigoted, evil Aurangzeb on the basis of shockingly thin evidence. Many false ideas still mar popular memory of Aurangzeb , including that he massacred millions of Hindus and destroyed thousands of temples. Neither of these commonly believed "facts" is supported by historical evidence although some scholars have attempted, usually in bad faith, to provide an alleged basis for such tales.


Such views have roots in colonial-era scholarship, where positing timeless Hindu-Muslim animosity embodied the British strategy of divide and conquer. Today, multiple websites claim to list Aurangzeb's "atrocities" against Hindus (typically playing fast and loose with the facts) and fuel communal fires. There are numerous gaping holes in the proposition that Aurangzeb razed temples because he hated Hindus, however. Most glaringly, Aurangzeb counted thousands of Hindu temples within his domain and yet destroyed, at most, few dozen.....A historically legitimate view of Aurangzeb must explain why he protected Hindu temples more often than he demolished them.


The bulk of Mughal histories are written in Persian, the official administrative language of the Mughal empire but a foreign tongue in India today. Out of necessity and ease, many historians disregard the original Persian text and rely instead on English translations. This approach narrows the the library of materials drastically, and many translations of the Mughal texts are of questionable quality, brimming with mistranslations and abridgments. Some of these changes conveniently served the agendas of the translators, especially colonial-era translations that tend to show Indo--Muslim kings at their worst so that the British would seem virtuous by comparison (foremost here is Elliot and Dowson's History of India as Told by Its Own Historians). Such materials are great for learning about British colonialism, but they present an inaccurate picture of Mughal India.

Riaz Haq said...

Tarek Fatah, the unrelenting #FakeNews peddler who targets #Indian #Muslims and #Pakistan regularly

POOJA CHAUDHURI 28 January, 2020 9:00 am IST

Tarak Fatah tweeted a video of Burqa-clad women dancing at a wedding, asking if it was from Shaheen Bagh. Fatah had tweeted the same video three years ago, twice.

prominent name on social media, Tarek Fatah is an active Twitter user with over 6 lakh followers. But on numerous occasions, the Pakistani-Canadian writer has been found circulating misinformation along communal lines, particularly targeting Indian Muslims. A matter of even more concern is Fatah’s failure to take down misleading tweets despite being made aware of the misinformation. In fact, in the latest spree, he took an extra effort to ensure that his followers remain misled.

Fatah tweeted a video of Burqa-clad persons dancing to a Bollywood number. He questioned – “Could someone confirm if this video is from the #CAA_NRCProtests at #ShaheenBagh or nor?” There are enough hints in the video which suggest that it does not represent protests at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The group is dancing around a woman dressed as a bride. Quite ironically, Fatah had tweeted the same video three years ago…twice. When he was slammed for the same, Fatah quietly took down his tweet from August 2017. However, he missed doing the same for the video tweeted earlier in May 2017.

1. Tweeted morphed image to claim Madrasa teacher portraying Islam superior to Hinduism
Last year in June, Tarek Fatah tweeted a photograph claiming that it depicts a madrasa teacher coaching his students that Islam is superior to Hinduism. He later took down the tweet, however, not before it drew numerous retweets.

The image tweeted by Fatah was morphed. In the original photograph, published by several media organisations including ANI, the blackboard has words written in Sanskrit. The teacher was giving the students a lesson on the language. Incidentally, this piece of misinformation had been debunked by Alt News just days before Fatah’s tweet.

2. False claim that a girl was assaulted for not wearing Hijab
Similar to the earlier misinformation, Fatah had claimed that a girl was hit on the head by a man who disapproved of her cycling without wearing a Hijab (archive).

Alt News found multiple Turkish reports which stated that the man had indeed assaulted the 9-year-old. However, none of the reports mentioned a lack of Hijab as the motive of the crime. The incident had gained much prominence in Turkey after the perpetrator was released from jail and referred to a mental health facility. Despite Fatah’s tweet being debunked two years ago, he is yet to take it down.

3. Tweeted video of Islamic flags being raised during Ramzan as Pakistani flags
In his latest bout, Fatah tweeted a video where bike-borne men can be seen waving green coloured flags. The Pakistani-Canadian writer claimed that the flags were of Pakistan and were raised during Ramzan in Tamil Nadu (archive).

However, the flags were not of Pakistani but were Islamic flags often used by the Muslim community in the sub-continent. Alt News’s detailed fact-check can be read here.

4. Tweeted old video to claim Muslims celebrated Congress’s victory by waving Pak flags
The “Pak flags” theory has been propagated by Fatah several times. Last year, after Congress won the assembly polls in Rajasthan, he claimed that the victory was celebrated by Muslims in the state by raising Pakistani flags. Fatah later deleted the tweet but an archived version can be accessed here.

The flags in the video were actually representative of the ‘Indian Union Muslim League’ and not Pakistan. Alt News’s fact-check can be read here.