Thursday, November 19, 2009


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      • If the BJP wants to emerge successfully from the intense, painful but inescapable churning that is now beginning to gather speed, it will need to do much more than appoint a new party president. There are many issues that it will have to fully address well before the next general elections in 2014. Some of these, in my view, are:
        • The RSS must limit its intervention to life-saving surgery and amputation only. It should not thereafter succumb to the temptation of running the party full-time.
        • Leaders of proven integrity alone should form, to begin with, at least the core of the party's leadership.
        • Lumpen elements of the Sangh Parivar must not, under any circumstance, be patronised or encouraged in any manner.
        • Criminals must not be given party tickets, no matter what the immediate cost. Definition of 'criminal' must not be dishonestly legalistic; it must be based on the perception of voters - it is their trust that needs to be won, not just in one constituency but across the country.
        • Dynastic practices should be firmly banished. Not more than one member of a family should be allowed to contest elections at any level.
        • The party must find, as Sagarika Ghose puts it pithily, "a modern leader rooted in the traditional idiom".

Checkmate India

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    • Since ancient times, the Himalayas have universally been regarded as the northern frontiers of India. But having annexed Tibet, China has laid claim to areas far to the south of this Himalayan watershed, as underscored by its claim to Arunachal Pradesh — a State nearly three times the size of Taiwan. That Tibet remains at the core of the India-China divide is being underlined by Beijing itself as its claim to additional Indian territories is based on alleged Tibetan ecclesial or tutelary links to them, not any professed Han connection. Such attempts at incremental annexation actually draw encouragement from India’s self-injurious acceptance of Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China.

A possible alternative

    • Ashok Malik
    • Many Indians fear the collapse of Pakistan and the imminent takeover of the state by a rampaging army ofAllah. They worry the Pakistani elite — English speaking, whisky drinking, Western and liberal in its personal lives — will simply run away, leaving behind a rump civil society: Illiterate and undereducated millions who will become cannon fodder for the Islamists.

      Reality may not be so black and white. It is more likely the Islamisation of Pakistan’s polity and society — the tussle between an upper crust that is half embarrassed, half in denial and, at the back of its mind, very, very afraid, and the mullah-jihadi duumvirate — will be a gradual one.
    • The author may not have intended it that way, but Sadanand Dhume’s book My Friend, the Fanatic (Tranquebar), just released in India, not only interrogates Indonesia’s conversion, inch by inch, from a country of pluralist Muslims to one where Islamism is clearly on the ascendant, but also offers us a prism through which to understand Pakistan.

      As Dhume, a Washington-based writer and cartographer of the many social Islams that inevitably seem to gravitate towards the one political Islam, puts it in a conversation, Indonesia represents the eastern edge of a historical contest between “the Sanskritic and Arabist civilisations”. The contest was lost centuries ago at its western end — Afghanistan — and has ceded ground, by miles rather than inches, in Pakistan.
    • The Islamist straitjacket can be pushed back but never broken. To think that could be Pakistan’s best case scenario.

Islamists set terms in war on jihad

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    • Swapan Dasgupta
    • This distinction is crucial. It is a colossal mistake to locate the so-called Islamist rage in specific grievances such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine (the expedient default grievance). Last week, Ayatollah Abdolhossein Moezi, the representative of the Iranian ‘Supreme Leader’ in Britain, fuelled a controversy by suggesting that Muslims shouldn’t be a part of the armed forces of countries that are in conflict with fellow Muslims. “We say that Muslims are not allowed to go and kill Muslims,” he pronounced grandly.

      The argument is disingenuous. If Muslims were theologically forbidden from killing other Muslims, as the Ayatollah claimed, a trigger-happy Iranian police wouldn’t have killed so many fellow Shias protesting against something as innocuous as a rigged presidential election. Nor would suicide bombing have become a cottage industry in Pakistan, considering that nearly 90 per cent of those killed are invariably Muslims. There has to some theological underpinning to acts of murder that inflict so much collateral damage on Muslims.
    • There is a global radicalisation of Muslims which has its roots in the convergence of religion and political power. To try and overcome it with competitive theology — countering one religious quotation with another — and multiculturalism are unlikely to work. On the contrary, the battle will be on terms desired by the Islamists. It is time we seriously explore whether religious radicalisation can be offset by a dogmatic refusal to concede any space to religion in political life. It’s not easy but various alternative approaches haven’t succeeded.

Dalit Christians in India oppose inclusion on SC list, Demand compensation, Orissa News

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    • The Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) has blamed Church Authorities of conspirng to include them in the Scheduled Caste list. Which it said is not acceptable to dalit Christians.
    • In an open letter to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Indian Parliamentarians and Indian Church authorities, (, the pclm President R L Francis said Dalits converted to Christianity to preserve their dignity. Thereby losing out on reservation benefits available to them under the constitution. Demanding compensation for the 25 million Dalit Christians, Mr. Francis said Dalits have suffered heavy economic losses by foregoing reservation and converting to Christianity to get respect and dignity in the Christian society.


      “The US Church authorities have paid million of dollars in compensation for sexual perversion of few of its priests.”He said, asking why Indian Church authorities could not pay for a more serious “collective sin” (Betrayal of faith) factor. In a press release, Mr. Francis said, “It’s a mockery of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.”

Union of Catholic Asian News » Movement helps 'unbaptized' celebrate their faith

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    • By Nicholas Lakra
    • VARANASI, India
    • Nirmala Devi was born into a Hindu family but for the past seven years she has been a "Khrist Bakta" (Christ devotee).
    • Devi was among 15,000 people from various religions and castes who attended the annual convention of the "Khrist Bhakta" Movement at Varanasi, a Hindu temple town in the northern Uttar Pradesh state.
    • Father Anil Dev (left) preaching at the
      ‘Khrist Bhakta’ (Christ devotee) convention
    • The Varanasi-based Indian Missionary Society, a Catholic Religious congregation, started the movement 13 years ago. The movement aims to help people, who may face ostracism from society and family if they were to be baptized, live out their Christian beliefs as fully as possible.

Mark of distinction

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    • Rajiv Vijayakar
    • Along with a legendary father in India’s first Grammy winner Pandit Vishwamohan Bhatt and a prodigy-in-waiting son Satvik, Salil Bhatt too is a force to reckon with. Inventing the unique Satvik Veena is just one of his many achievements of this passionate musician
    • What made you invent this unique Satvik Veena that looks like a blend of the guitar and the Veena?
      As I told you, music needs to evolve. My father invented the Mohan Veena to correct certain shortfalls in the traditional instruments. There are 19 strings in Satvik Veena, which is named after my son, whose name incidentally refers to Lord Shiva. The instrument was created after a lot of trial-and-error to improve upon the staccato notes that most instruments give. (Strums some strings). See how the sound is very lingering, thus resembling human vocal cords. I had the instrument designed eight years ago and got it right only on the tenth piece!

Why is Narendra Modi afraid of leading the BJP? -  MSN India

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    • Sources close to him say that his refusal was because of three main reasons. Firstly, he wishes to be present in Gujarat for the 'Swarnim Gujarat' celebrations in May 2010. Secondly, he feels that the rift between the BJP's leadership is too large for him to mend and that it will be beyond his control if he takes over and it intensifies.
    • Thirdly, and most decisively, are the restrictions such an appointment would make on his independence. Modi is famed for marching to his own beat, whether or not it is in tune with what the BJP wants. If elected, then his autonomy vanishes as he will need the consensus of all sections to operate efficiently, something that will be difficult, considering the notorious infighting prevalent throughout the BJP.

      Instead, Modi believes that being Leader of the Opposition would be a better prospect for him as he would have greater freedom to operate, and that it would allow him to implement greater control over the party's direction.

    • While Modi maybe biding his time, what is certain that factions of the BJP leadership is convinced that eventually he will be the public face of the BJP nationally and that he may even lead the nation as Prime Minister some day.
    • Source: Gavin Davids, India Syndicate

Collapse of the Greenback? Will the Dollar get an “Arab Oil Shock”?

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    • F William Engdahl
    • According to a leaked report from Arab Gulf oil producers, there have been a series of secret meetings in recent months between the major Arab oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, and reportedly also Russia, together with the leading oil consumer countries including two of the three largest oil import countries - China and Japan.


      Their project is to quietly create the basis to end a 65-year long “iron rule” of selling oil only in US dollars. As I document in my book, Century of War, following the 400% oil price shock of 1973, which was deliberately blamed by US media on “greedy Arab Sheikhs,” the US Treasury made a secret trip to Riyadh to tell the Saudis in blunt terms that if they wanted US military defense against potential Israeli attack, that OPEC must privately agree never to sell oil in currencies other than the US dollar. That “petrodollar” system allowed the US to run staggering trade deficits and remain the world reserve currency, the heart of its ability to dominate and control world financial markets until the crisis of the sub-prime real estate securitization in August 2007.

    • With that decline of the US dollar goes the lessening of the political power of the United States as sole economic and financial superpower. We face very turbulent waters ahead and gold not surprisingly is gaining in this uncertainty.

Jammu & Kashmir: ‘Special Status’ must end

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    • Hari Om
    • The Prime Minister should stop thinking in terms of a “non-territorial solution” to the so-called Kashmir problem. This is not a solution to the Kashmir problem, which is patently sectarian in nature, character and implications. It is a formulation that has the potential to undo all that we hold dear. “Non-territorial solution” simply means an ideological compromise, a negation of what we call liberal values, democracy and all-inclusive ideology. Even a naïve would agree that the implementation of a “non-territorial solution” would simply help the religious bigots in Kashmir and their mentor Pakistan to achieve what they could not during all these 62 years of independence despite four full-fledged wars.
    • MEA must tell the world that the only issue which still remains to be resolved between India and Pakistan is the political future of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Last, but not the least, it must not allow any Kashmiri separatist to visit any foreign country. This is all the more necessary because Kashmiri separatists visit foreign countries only to tarnish India’s image, paint the Indian nation black, and preach secessionism. Such a course has become even more imperative in view of the recent statement of All-Party Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq that he would apply for a new passport and write in the application form that “he is a State subject” and not an Indian national. 


      Similarly, the Union Home Ministry must stop toying with the idea of a “unique solution” to the so-called Kashmir problem. To be precise, it should stop talking in terms of “unique history” and “unique geography of Jammu & Kashmir” and “quiet talks” and “quiet diplomacy”.

    • Thus, Jammu & Kashmir remained under President’s Rule for more than 6 years and 8 months! Did Parliament amend the Indian Constitution even once during this period as far as the State of Jammu & Kashmir was concerned? No. It did not amend the constitution even once because Article 356 (under which the Union Government has the power to dismiss any State Government and impose President’s rule on the ground of breakdown of the constitutional machinery) was (and is) not applicable to Jammu & Kashmir.
    • The author is Chair Professor, Gulab Singh Chair, Jammu University, Jammu


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    • Now the question that arises is why did Obama issue such artful statements? Why, all of a sudden, has China seemingly become so important that Obama has had to force a feel-good atmosphere by making such statements? There are two visible reasons that might have instigated Obama to issue such baseless statements. First, as I’ve written in one of my columns earlier, Obama’s popularity index is sliding down by the day. And amongst a host of other reasons – which includes health, employment and economic revival issues – one reason that has become a huge contention is American expenditure on Iraq and Afghanistan.
    • Obama’s tilt towards China is nothing else but an effort towards laying down a red carpet to them to contribute towards stabilizing Afghanistan. Now, the second reason – US also knows that if there is one nation which has the might to contain North Korea and Iran (who are ravaging a nuclear campaign against US), it is none other than China!