Friday, February 29, 2008

Great post by Atanu Dey, Ridiculing Islamic bigotry

Ridiculing Religious insanity

As always, some psec is in attendance with the usual diversionary tropes. Great post

Comrade Ashok Mitra's pride

Comrade Ashok Mitra should be lauded for giving away the bitter truth of Castro's six decades of devastation wrought on Cuba.

Mitra eulogizes Marxist Cuban leader Fidel Castro for having "restored pride" among Cubans which, he tells, is their most "precious asset."

Marxists are usually vocal in criticizing others for raising emotive issues. Marxists further champion bread at the expense of trivial luxuries of freedom and empty emotions such as pride. We can probably dig up few dozen articles in which Comrade Mitra lashed on his capitalist enemies on similar charges.

Surprise, surprise. Now that the trophy Marxist leader has resigned, the only substantive achievement that comrade Mitra can showcase is what, pride? Poor cubans, six decades of hunger, poverty, depravity and all the much touted commie leader left them with was empty pride? No bijli, sadak, pani, just vacuous pride. It is another matter that these proud Cubans throw themselves to the mercy of Atlantic on tire boats, and rafts to somehow reach the shores of their capitalist enemy. But all comrade Mitra can see is tariffs.

I won't be surprised when the Marxist misrule comes to end in Waste Bengal, all they will have to show is "restored Bengali pride," as in renaming Calcutta to Kolkata, the Bangladeshi conquistadors etc. What a shame!

William F Buckley Jr.

Bill Buckley died couple of days ago. Tributes and articles flowed in by the dozens in most American media.

Bill Buckley was a towering figure of American conservative movement. The tributes that keep pouring in stand as a testimony to his larger-than-life persona. For all its ills, America deserves credit for having cracked few problems. The problem of communism, socialism is one such. Bill Buckley was yet another in the long line of lone Americans who helped bring down Communism. The menace we lived with was torn asunder by somebody else. This is not to belittle the contribution of scores of nationalist Indians who held the torch of our nation's cause in trying times. Their efforts were valiant but they were largely outmaneuvered in terms of resources. Mitrokhin archives are replete with the untold stories of the perfidy of the other side which basked in the glory of progressive, secular, mult-culti ethos. There was a decade when the progressive hegemony on Indian state was near total. We largely came out free due to the intellectual battles waged by the likes of Bill Buckley.

Socialism ruined a whole generation, in India more so than other places. As Lionel Trilling quipped, liberalism was the only idea in the intellectual world. Bill Buckley not only put a stop to this boast, but also turned tables on it so much so that conservative right became the ideas party in the US.

His National Review spawned an intellectual movement that first won back their own party from compromising power brokers. Literally scores of right wingers have found shelter in the institutions that Bill Buckley helped form. And he did so when it was fashionable to be liberal and a career liability to be on the right.

If there ever is accounting of the triumph of right in the war of ideas, of course in America, Bill Buckley and Irving Kristol will come out with top honors.

There is much to learn from them. They've shown it can be done. The secularist monopoly can be broken.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Meaningless taqiyah

Just today a notorious tabloid carried this news: Muslim clerics declare terror un-Islamic.

This is the sort of platitudinal taqiyah that's become a staple of jehadis' discourse. It's meaningless hooey because such declarations never explain, with example, which act they consider to be terrorism, and hence un-Islamic.

And what does calling the act "un-Islamic" entail? Will they excommunicate muslim terrorists indicted for acts of terrorism? Will the clerics refuse them Islamic death rights? Will they suggest similarly harsh punishment such as for apostasy to those muslims who commit "un-Islamic "terrorist acts? No answers are provided by them.

Case in point, Afzhal Guru. Do they consider his act un-Islamic? Should he be sent on death row? Will they sign a petition to put him on a fast-track to death row? Will the clerics at least approve of such a petition?

Barring answers to these and similar questions, this declaration is just another piece of al taqiyah. It's not worth the paper it is written on, or the TOIlet paper it's printed upon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Different strokes

CNN news anchor Jack Cafferty was sitting in on Situation Room w/ Wolf Blitzer couple days back. The news item they were talking about: US shooting down the satellite with Hydrazene fuel.

I think it was Wolf Blitzer who mentioned that China was asking for satellite data after the shoot down upon which Cafferty wished if he could get to respond on behalf of Pentagon. Blitzer questioned him what his response would be, upon which he pithily replied 'two words not utterable on a family channel.' There's little doubt what those words would be, but I had to applaud his sentiment no less[%$&* you, that's what].

China secretly shot down a satellite last year and would not even agree as much despite the Pentagon disclosing the test couple weeks later. Its official confirmation came much later, reluctantly so. And now it wants "satellite data."

I hope Chindu editor naxal Ram would advise China not to engage in arms race and cut its 100 billion dollar defence spending.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Recycled ideas

The hallmark of self-styled 'secular intellectuals,' in India, is their innate ability to import foreign issues, ideas and supplant them for our own.

Most of the catchy slogans, too, can be traced to their foreign origin. Ideas do travel, but the wholesale peddling of somebody else's ideas as your own, recycled ideas if you will, just betrays plain intellectual sloth.

The plagiarized plots of Bollywood movies--scenes included; the jaded phrases: rainbow coalition, aam aadmi(common man), garibi hatao (war on poverty); the overblown celebration of minor achievements and achievers(a certain sport star on Outlook), etc., these and other such occurrences are a constant, and an irritating, reminder of prevalent mediocrity. One smart aleck is said to have retorted, 'amiri badhao,' to vent his frustration with the Indira-era slogan.

In keeping with this rich tradition, 'eminent' columnist, the bespectacled Prem Shankar Jha, tells us in (T)outlook that Americans are electing a president who will determine our fate.

You think, Mr Jha?! Thanks for letting us know so soon.

I don't recollect when I last read it, but this nettlesome argument has been floating around for a few years now. But when you don't have anything original to say or observe, you invariably end up resurrecting such yesteryears' topic, and champion it as your own. Its termed rehashing in colloquial jargon, and is the signature tendency of mediocrity.

Bah humbug!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Comrade Ashok Mitra in Denial

One thing you have to hand-in to comrades, they are relentless when it comes to holding on to dogmatic positions. Public opporbrium, except RoP measures, generally don't bother them. Comrade Ashok Mitra used to be a fin. min. for comrade Basu, and regularly pens a column for Telegraph, Calcutta.

His column today dwells upon one-time fellow, and deceased in vogue, the Blitz editor, Russi Karanjia.

Hidden amidst Mitra's encomium is a curious nugget of Marxist deceit. He's afterall a distinguished member of the "China's chairman Our Chairman" crowd. Mitra slyly slips this in:
"The Indo-China imbroglio of 1962 presented Karanjia with his first crisis."
The term 'imbroglio' implies a complexity, an entanglement, involving two(or more) parties, for which both are responsible, more or less.

Now, India was hardly responsible for the Chinese invasion of '62. Euphemising it as an 'imbroglio' all but absolves China for the invasion by rubbing the guilt on India, through an innuendo of being obstreperous, and thus carrying the shared guilt.

Yet Mr Mitra precisely chooses a term that allows China plausible deniability. Mitra and his comrades have been playing this game for far too long, at our expense. It begs urgent attention in lieu of communist China's sabre-rattling on the issue of Tawang, and the whole Arunachal Pradesh. Those, based on Chinese claims that rely upon its imperial legacy.

If Chinese imperialism isn't okay, aren't our comrades guilty of living in denial?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Every Indian has the right to be anywhere in the country"

Bollywood's Mr Shahrukh Khan delivered this homily today(appeared in a tabloid I don't wish to link):

"....every Indian has the right to be any where in the country and make the nation proud."
Really, Mr Khan?! Even in Kashmir?

I would be more interested in his pep talk if he could spare his eloquence and admonish his Kashmiri fans with the same vigor, or speak with a matching ardor for renunciation of violence towards the displaced victims of terrorism in Kashmir.

There are few enclaves in countless Indian cities and towns, where, forget 'aam' Indian, but even an armed Indian police person would hesitate to go. The terrorist mastermind behind Godhra could be nabbed only when the state reserve sent few police companies inside his ghetto. But don't expect Mr Khan to say anything about it anytime soon.

Things like the image of a certain neighbor in Bollywood movies occupy him more than frivolous national issues where his voice could be utilized more purposefully.

Apparently, his movies are quite popular in Malaysia, but his voice was AWOL when the worker crisis over there was in news. Can't clap with one hand, or so the saying goes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chomsky quotes Bidwai

For some reason I ended up reading this striking excerpt from Chomsky's book, Hegemony or Survival, where he quotes comrade Bidwai --one comrade quoting another, but that's a different matter--on co-operation between Israel and India. This piece appears on page 160.
Indian political analyst Praful Bidwai writes that the "ruling Hindu nationalist fascination with Zionism is rooted in Islamophobia (and anti-Arabism) and hyper nationalism. Its ideology is Sharon's machismo and ferocious jingoism. It sees Hindus and Jews (and Christians) as forming a 'strategic alliance' against Islam and Confucianism."[emphasis mine]
Apart from the usual hyperbole that invariably follows anything Bidwai, the mention of 'Confucianism' confounds me. Seriously, the number of Indians who even heard about that sect must not be more than a handful. Pray what could prompt them into coalescing against Confucianism, of which they have neither heard nor see? I would have made sense had he mentioned the another belief at play here, the one he practices, the perils of which Indians know all too well.

Being a Marxist atheist that he is, shouldn't Mr Bidwai be happy that religions are slugging it out amongst themselves? Yet he is visibly perplexed about the so-called 'strategic alliance' against "Confucianism."

Comrade Bidwai could have spared the effort and spelled the obvious: C-H-I-N-A.

But not. I wonder why.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jholawalas or Mewawalas

I vaguely remember reading on some shopkeeper's wall-sticker, 'Seva mein Mewa.' Roughly translated it means: real satisfaction lies in service, or something along those lines. Mewa is a word that you might stumble upon while reading the labels on dry fruit boxes(okay, nobody reads them). So, selfless service is akin to cashews, almonds, figs etc.; not a good bargain really. :-)

Pithy aphorism really, but for some reason the phrase has stuck in my mind. It rhymes well and sort of echoes a simple-minded golden rule. The only reason I recall this now is Swapan Dasgupta's searing article lampooning the now ubiquitous jholawala "activists" in today's Pioneer. They have discovered real mewa through NREGS/NGO seva.

Dasgupta's commentary, arguably the best among his contemporaries, targets one of the fastest growing, most proliferating industry in contemporary India, right behind BPO/IT.

Articulate, and formerly jobless, humanities majors have suddenly discovered their very own gold rush in the form of well-funded, yet unregulated, unaccounted, non-taxable, non-transparent NGO business. Yeah, no need for offshore tax heaven when you can have one of your own right here.

Their high-decibel activism, and strategic posturing has brought them unprecedented clout with the Italian chaperoned central administration. The "harebrained" scheme, good on paper, and usually reserved with the singular fate of gathering dust in the attic suddenly find themselves in the glow of public treasury.

The result has been, what else, catastrophy for the 'aam aadmi.' A staggering Twelve thousand crore rupees have been wasted on a scheme(NREGS) with a miserable 3% success rate, and the govt. has nothing to show for its success. The lusting activists are asking for 30k crores more.

Its proponent, Dutch economist Jean Dreze, blithely suggested in Chindu that the failure rate could have been reduced had the corrective mechanisms been activated in time, after the CAG severely indicted the scheme for what it is, a colossal bureaucratic waste. This is the sort of excuse that one often hears from high-school kids who excel at bunking classes.

That also is a euphemism for further bureaucracy. Essentially NREGS is becoming a nouveau offshoot of the sick PSU mindset.

Eventually this scheme will be bundled out, with the sultry activists and politicians moving to greener pastures, being educated at a vast sum of several thousand crore rupees.

And all the public will be left with is to sing oompa-loompa.

Friday, February 8, 2008

(Banana) Republic of India

I was quite infuriated to read this: Army to raise 2 mountain units to counter Pak, China, and for a reason. It is quite possible that we really need these as a definitive measure towards shoring up our national security. Yet it is equally disingenuous to say that that alone will be effective enough against China, for the time being at least-- or, against their menacingly bulging military infrastructure for that matter. On the face of it, this seems a right step towards modernizing Indian Army, but it hides something precarious.

That being: We're not competent enough when paired against our friendly neighborhood, and always seem to be playing catchup in the strategic game. Our border with Chinese-occupied Tibet is poorly defended- why else would you see Chinese intruding with impunity on a remarkably regular basis. Remember what they did to the American spy-plane that ventured into their sovereign waters, or to the Soviets over Damansky islands conflict? No? Then read it, don't ask me. :-) They are raising up the ante by repeatedly provoking us; and we appear feckless by the day never being able to respond in kind. The (butt end of) joke is upon us.

It is not difficult to see why this is so--we're under-prepared, lacking in confidence and insecure. And, it also reveals why we fail to return the favor to our western neighbor, not even during Kargil war-- they are better equipped. You cannot blame our strategic rivals for what essentially is our fault-- they didn't ensure the appointment of woolly-headed Gujaral or a nappy head Gowda as PM, we did. Our surrender monkeys begin the discussion with an enervating talk of territorial giveaways as a measure of securing peace, and it's all downhill thereafter.

China has over 700 intermediate range missiles planted on the Tibetan plateau; we're still testing our Agni systems. China had ICBMs ready within a decade of exploding nukes; we still hanker about IRBMs. Even a decade since Pokhran-II, we continue nonchalantly with neither a credible, nor a minimum deterrence.

Here's an excerpt from a transcript of Mao's conversation with Khrushchev. It speaks loudly of Mao's estimation of his own country's worth; its status in the constellation of world powers; and the responsibility conferred upon its leaders i.e. Mao, by virtue of the same.
"Mao Tse-tung said: 'You are Communists and we are Communists. Communists usually share. Will you give us the atomic bomb or not?' Khrushchev: 'And what do you want the atomic bomb for? We have the atomic bomb and we will stand up for China just the same as we would for the Soviet Union.' 'Yes,' Mao said, 'it's true. But we are not just some tinpot village. China is a great country and we want to have it.' Khrushchev: 'You don't need it,' and so on. Mao then says: 'So you don't want to give it to us then?'"
You've to admire Mao's forbearance here. No amount of sugar-talk will distract that poker-faced communist leader. Contrast Mao's behavior with our own pompous hecklers who routinely pass off for leaders, intellectuals, statesmen and what not. To compound our ignominy, the present rulers even gifted us recently with a phantom-loving simpleton as the country's first female President-- though one wonders how exactly that clueless lady could ever represent today's confident Indian woman. And it was only recently that one could hear the tin-drum twitter of a nuke-free world being advocated as a legitimate foreign policy objective. Pipe-dreaming couldn't have been explained more economically.

So long as we content ourselves with such stop-gap measures as found in the alarming news snippet above, can we kiss goodbye to any aspiration we have had of being meted as a worthy contender.

If wishes were horses then even banana republics would fly. The news above then just sits as a sad reminder of how far off we are from having been arrived. Till then we can hold off the heady celebrations.