Sunday, September 30, 2012


Why Zardari hates
this 'love story'

By Shobhaa De, Times of India blog,
30 September 2012

Oho! Love happens. And it has happened. That the love birds happen to be Bilawal Bhutto and Hina Khar, makes this particular ishq-vishq saga most riveting, especially to those of us across the border who have recently been exposed to Khar's irresistible charms. So irresistible, in fact, that our dapper foreign minister, S M Krishna, who went totally latoo over the lovely lady, behaved like a smitten schoolboy, drooling in her alluring presence and forgetting all about the Indian agenda.

It's possible he is nursing a broken heart even as young Bilawal (23) and Hina (34) deal with the storm that has been unleashed in Pakistan after a Bangladeshi tabloid ran a juicy expose on the scandal. Bilawal is a bachcha Majnu to Hina's seasoned Laila. Reports suggest that President Asif Zardari is far from amused by his son's dangerous liaison with his external affairs minister. Not only is Bilawal the chairman of the ruling Pakistani People's Party, but he is also the nominated heir to his mother's and father's respective legacies. If the love-struck chap does indeed push off to Switzerland to begin a fresh chapter in his life with the begum he adores, the repercussions of such a decision could prove very costly to the government.

The buzz in Islamabad is that old boy Asif plans to rein in his handsome son, and perhaps sack the seductive Khar. Spoilsport! Really Asif miya, we expect you to be far more understanding, given your own personal history. Look at it this way - Bilawal is seriously cute. And loaded. Hina Khar is seriously gorgeous, and married to a loaded guy. Feroz Gulzar, Hina's smart husband, has rubbished the scoop and called it 'social media gossip'. Yes, there is an 11-year age difference between Bilawal and the luscious mother of two. So what? Some of the most enduring love stories in the world have been similarly scripted. Think about it - Hina is keen to take the relationship forward, as her love notes to Bilawal establish. Now that their secret is out, there's no stopping this pyar ki jodi.

'Dil Toh Pagal Hai' is how we put it in Bollywood lingo. Hina has apparently told Asif to keep his nose out of her 'personal matters'. This is remarkably gutsy of her, considering it was Zardari who found the two in a 'compromising position'. Known for his fiery temper and happy relationship with guns, it's a miracle that the president didn't reach for his favourite weapon when he walked in on the lovers at his official residence. Instead, he tamely asked for Hinaji's mobile phone records! No point in such a silly exercise, considering the lady has not bothered to deny anything!

The real fun starts now. Will Zardari have the guts to fire his minister-sahiba? What charges can he frame against her? Will he send Bilawal into exile? Where will that leave the PPP? More importantly, since Bilawal is the one with access to his mother's considerable (but undisclosed) wealth, how can Daddyji kiss the impressive funds goodbye? Unfortunately, the most dispensable member of the cast is Feroz Gulzar. But blowing him away serves no purpose - it will be one more body in an overcrowded morgue.

There is, however, one solution: India could immediately step in and offer a safe haven to the lovebirds. Why go to Switzerland when there is India? We can create an attractive destination for their nikaah. Maybe throw in a luxury houseboat on Dal Lake for the honeymoon. Sarpanches in Omar Abdullah's state may not be safe. But he'll take good care of his mehmaans from across the border. After all, when it comes to matters of the heart, Omar knows a thing or two about unbridled passion.

Apart from asylum in India, we could make life a lot more fun for this couple. As neighbours, we owe them this much. Cross-border romanticism is so much more civilized than cross-border terrorism. Hina can happily shop for pearls and more Birkins in our luxury malls. We can get her to host a talk show and perhaps, design a signature fashion collection. Bilawal could consider Bollywood. This is a fabulous, heaven- sent opportunity to strengthen bilateral relationships between the two nations. Hina Khar has already charmed half the country, and reduced S M Krishna to putty. If India can manage to bag two for the price of one, it will rank as a major political coup.

Come on over, you two. Your honeymoon suite is waiting!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


COURTESY :  Non-random-thoughts


The Modi model!

A surprise article published  in TOI on success of Modi model in Gujarat!  Written by an Economist teaching in a University in the West, there is perhaps less scope for allegations of Hindutva' motives behind this article.  But these days there is no guarantee that one would be spared of a Hindutva motive because not long ago I read a bunch of Indo Eurasian scholars under the guidance of Witzel blasting at a finding on cellular science as a Hindutva propaganda! Their focus of attack was a long known and repeatedly revealed finding of a research that said that the earliest life of the entire earth is found in the Vindhyas!  That was seen as a Hindutva talk by these 'scholars'! Even hard evidenced scientific findings, if they support anything of ancient India – an India that was prior to Moghal and Christian influence – would be termed as Hindutva propaganda by these people. 

In political India, the same picture can be seen. If anyone has a passion for 'my land' and 'my country' and see people as 'one people' of 'my land', that is 'Communal'.  But if one wants to be 'secular', one must pick out Muslims and Christians from the 'one people' concept of population.  From media anchors to Mulayam-likes the mantra is to keep 'communal forces' at bay in order to be 'secular'. This brand of secularism has no connection to good economics or growth as the statistics of the Modi model shows. The growth is both vertical and horizontal when you have 'one people' concept.  If the nation wants good economics and growth, let them follow the Gujarat model. The author wants this model for his native state of Rajasthan. When it will spread to India as a whole remains with the people who know this difference and are mature enough to see thorough the games of 'secular' politicians. Have the people reached the threshold of such maturity?
-          Jayasree


The Gujarat miracle:
There is no denying the major economic advances the state has made under Narendra Modi
The writer is professor of economics at Columbia University.

I recently wrote about why the accomplishments of chief ministerNitish Kumar - that at last bring hope to Bihar - could not be underestimated. Today, i turn to Gujarat, which has been generally more prosperous in the post-Independence era and has performed impressively under chief minister Narendra Modi. Critics who insist on viewing everything related to Modi through the 2002 lens and, thus, fail to separate their economics from politics have fallen short of 20/20 vision.

Begin with growth. The relevant comparison here is with larger, richer states. Based on per-capita Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) in 2009-10, Gujarat ranks third, behind Maharashtra and Haryana but ahead of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka in that order.

Modi came to office in October 2001. In the following eight years spanning 2002-03 to 2009-10 (2002-10), NSDP grew at 10.5% annual rate in Gujarat and at 10.1% in the nearest competitor, Maharashtra. The rate during the preceding eight years, 1994-02, was 5.9%, behind only Haryana's 6.3%. Modi inherited a vibrant economy and has taken it to new heights. Gujarat had ranked sixth in terms of per-capita NSDP in 2002-03. Outperforming Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Punjab, it moved up to the third spot in 2005-06 and has remained there.

While the performance in agriculture has received the greatest attention, perhaps the most exceptional feature of Gujarat's success has been the performance of manufacturing. Compared with the national average of 15%, manufacturing in Gujarat accounted for 27.4% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2009-10.

Critics might say that this proportion has risen only one percentage point since 2002-03. But given the uphill battle manufacturing faces in India, even maintaining the share at this high level is a challenge. In all comparator states, this share has been below 20%. Moreover, with the exception of Punjab, none has been able to raise it by more than a percentage point during 2002-10.

With a high and rapidly rising per-capita income, it should come as no surprise that Gujarat has a significantly lower poverty ratio than India as a whole and it is fast declining. Based on the Tendulkar poverty lines and methodology, overall poverty in Gujarat fell by only six percentage points during 11 years between 1993-94 and 2004-05. But during just five years between 2004-05 and 2009-10, it fell an impressive nine percentage points. In 2009-10, the poverty ratio in Gujarat at 23% was almost seven percentage points below the national average.

The decline in poverty has been observed across all major social groups. My ongoing rese-arch with Megha Mukim finds the poverty ratio for the scheduled castes tumbling from 40.1% in 2004-05 to 21.8% in 2009-10. The decline has been less sharp for the more numerous scheduled tribes (ST) - from 54.7% in 2004-05 to 47.6% in 2009-10. Given the continued high absolute level of ST poverty, the state must think of imaginative ways to bring the fruits of growth to the tribal belts.

Critics frequently deride the exceptional growth in Gujarat by pointing to its lack of achievement in the social sectors. But they often do so by focussing on selective indicators. A consideration of a broad set of indicators hardly offers an indictment of the state even in social sectors.

The critics' case is particularly weak in education. Gujarat added 10 percentage points to the literacy rate during 2001-11, more than any other comparator state. At 79.3%, the literacy rate now stands one percentage point behind Tamil Nadu and three percentage points behind Maharashtra. Indeed, once we take into account the low literacy level of Gujarat at Independence, its progress looks moreimpressive than that of even Kerala.

To eliminate the bias that may result from differences in initial levels of literacy in evaluating the improvements in literacy, compare the three-decade progress in Gujarat during 1981-2011 to that in Maharashtra during 1971-2001 and Kerala during 1951-81. The initial literacy rates in these states during these periods were almost equal: 45% in Gujarat in 1981, 46% in Maharashtra in 1971 and 47% in Kerala in 1951. But three decades later, larger improvements by Gujarat had taken it ahead of both Maharashtra and Kerala.

On a longer-term basis, Gujarat's gains in the vital health statistics are nothing to scoff at either. If the levels of these statistics compare unfavourably, it is because it began the race with a disadvantage. In life expectancy, it began a year below the national ave-rage during 1970-75 and remained exactly there in 2006-09. Infant mortality rate per thousand live births in Gujarat exceeded the national average by 15 in 1971 but fell below it by two in 2009. Under-five mortality and maternal mortality rates in 2006-09 were, likewise, well below the national average.

Data do show Gujarat performing worse than the national average in child nutrition between 1998-99 and 2005-06, the latest period for which consistent data are available. The government can do much social good by targeted action in this area. The good news is that with high growth, the state has the necessary revenues to successfully address the problem.

While one can selectively poke holes in nearly every success story, taken as a whole, it is difficult to remain unimpressed by what Gujarat has achieved. I would be only too happy if its economic success spread next door to my home state, Rajasthan.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Retailing disaster 
The danger of FDI in multi-brand retail cannot be exaggerated, writes Gautam Sen.
London, 19 September 2012: Nothing foreign retailers do in India can help the dysfunctional UPA's electoral prospects in 2014. The electoral timeline, of eighteen months at most, cannot fit the most optimistic projection of any dramatic impact FDI in retail could have on the wider Indian economy. Manmohan Singh and his floundering ministerial colleagues are, therefore, either bedazzled by the notion that FDI in retail will eventually have significant positive economic consequences, or they capitulated to US demands for market access. A third reason could be that India's carpetbagger politicos, having read the writing on the wall, are engaged in more malfeasance to arrange handsome pensions for comfortable enforced retirements in 2014. This treasonous UPA coup on behalf of Wal-Mart and Tesco has also been facilitated by brandishing the CBI (an organisation any new government ought to instantly disband) at the irredeemable political twins of Uttar Pradesh politics although it seems nothing sufficiently compromising was found in Mamata's closet to wield against her. But this sordid triumph may be short-lived in the quagmire of India's ground-level politics. The repudiation by Indians of this disgraceful chicanery will be the final ignominy for a government without a vestige of self-respect or decency, leave aside concern for the nation and its people.

The idea that Manmohan Singh and his boss have decided FDI in retail is an answer to the abysmal economic predicament into which they themselves recklessly have thrust India is not credible. These supposed sentiments do not fit the incompetent looter's profile, which is the reputation the entire UPA will depart with, en masse, in 2014. A regime lacking imagination or political will has latched on to retail and FDI, blithely ignoring the multiplicity of complex supply-side problems that constrain the Indian agricultural sector in particular. Thus, one might conclude the UPA has succumbed to American pressure to allow majority-owned FDI in retail. When push comes to shove, the US authorities engage in every kind of skulduggery to get their way, as the Koondakoolam nuclear power plant debacle is demonstrating daily. And a weak, thoroughly discredited UPA regime is susceptible to other kinds of foreign blackmail. Information on the criminal activities of its most senior personnel, including concealment of loot abroad, can be leaked to the media.

The implication insinuated by India's purchased media that Wal-Mart and Tesco wish to invest massively in India to helpfully transform it is laughable. A financially bankrupt Indian media has been silenced by the simultaneous policy promulgation allowing a 51 per cent FDI stake in it, making it froth at the mouth with greed. Indian retail constitutes 22 per cent of GDP, is the second largest employer after agriculture, and is growing rapidly despite all the statist misgovernance that could conceivably be inflicted on it. Its current estimated worth is $450 billion and expected to reach US$ 850 billion by 2020, a quarter of it in the organized segment, which is poised for extremely profitable take off. These projections do not presumably factor in the impact on the share of the organised sector in total retail should majority-owned FDI enter it. The share of the organized sector is likely to end up becoming significantly larger as a result of the very fact of foreign entry into Indian retail, reinforcing the resolve of foreign investors to muscle in.

Foreign retailers wish to enter India because vast profits beckon. Organised Indian retail is expected to grow at 7 per cent over the next decade, not something they would have ever attempted to risk initiating at high cost. But they clearly wish to take advantage now because huge profits can be scooped up from it. Indian retail has already been identified as one of the most attractive investment prospects by international rating agencies. As a result, foreign retailers are also eyeing its mouth-watering promise, at a time when their own national markets have reached saturation point, with virtually no additional growth feasible except through increased market share. It might be inferred that existing joint ventures, like Bharti Retail-Wal-Mart and Tesco-Tata, are merely a prelude to potential policy changes that will allow 100 per cent foreign ownership, of which the 51 per cent provision is a harbinger. The foreign retailer will be the major source of additional capital and the increase in their ownership stake irresistible. The banks funding foreign retail investment in India are also flush with funds, having resumed their unprecedented historic plunder of global wealth, pre-empting 30 per cent of all US profits as rent though contributing less than 10 per cent valued added to GDP.

The operation of retail majors in advanced economies demonstrates their huge market power, which enables them to extract unusually large rents through oligopolistic pricing and manipulation of government policy in their own favour. They undoubtedly enjoy the advantages of economies of scale by virtue of operational size, but also bully suppliers relentlessly over prices of products they purchase. Indeed they routinely dictate purchase prices to even powerful producers of well-known brands. The same producers of branded goods do not sell at a similar price to less powerful, local retailers who thus suffer an unfair competitive disadvantage. And lower prices for supplies do not necessarily benefit consumers and evidence suggests that own brand products of retail giants, competing against branded goods, do not mean lower prices for consumers and instead enhance profitability. There is also the issue of increasing returns to scale that seems to create monopolies or quasi monopolies in the retail sector that wield irresistible market power, allowing them to collect significant rents from the hapless consumer.

The expansion of multi-product retail in India, with or without foreign participation, will surely administer a potent shock to the supply side of Indian agriculture. It could turn out to be equivalent to an enhanced second green revolution for productivity. The range, variety, quality and quantity of food products provided will encounter a massive challenge to adjust their entire supply chain. But Indian retail does not need to be foreign-dominated and joint ventures are a shortcut that will lead to the repatriation of significant profits indefinitely. Indian companies should take the time to build their own retail chains. They might consider hiring staff internationally and forming relationships with less prominent foreign partners, even if this means more effort and takes longer to acquire the expertise they need. Their expertise can grow with the Indian market, which would be of modest size initially. As a corollary, forming relationships with the very largest global players may be unnecessary at the outset. There is great temptation for most Indian retailers to engage in joint ventures for fear that competitors would gain a first mover advantage by collaborating with major foreign partners before them. Only government policy can ensure that such economic relationships inimical to the national interest are deterred. However, if foreign retailers cannot now be halted from entering India, though that is not yet the dilemma, legislation should compel the creation of separate corporate legal entities, quoted on the Indian stock market, for their Indian-owned operations.

The political economy of the market power of FDI in retail is an issue that Manmohan Singh and his cronies deviously disdain to foreground. Once foreign retailers and the banks financing them enter India, they will be impossible to dislodge. They will simply buy policy-making since it is clear that pretty much anything can be purchased in India today from its infinitely corruptible politicians, the greatest danger to the welfare and survival of the nation. Their economic policy advisers, intellectually and morally bankrupt medieval schoolmen, are performing their designated task of providing obscure rationales for the politically-inspired looting that now constitutes contemporary economic life across the world. Not so long ago, their professional luminaries were, much like the witch-burning medieval clergy, arrogantly announcing the end of depressions, downturns, even the business cycle, and flaunting the most corrupt of accolades, the Nobel Prize, awarded for doing so.

The existing retail network of India embodies an entire way of life and social culture, with its fragmented structure and the dependence of a myriad of families on it. It harbours and articulates distinctive local histories and personal relationships between buyers and sellers. These traits are not immutable and may not survive historic market forces, but one needs to question how policy and implicit public subsidies put them at a disadvantage in relation to new dominant players. The latter enjoy easier access to cheaper credit and public infrastructure fashioned to suit their specific needs. In the end, the desirability of a level playing field in which wider public infrastructure services are available to smaller players as well cannot be dismissed out of hand. If the big and small Indian retailer is to co-exist (though the former may assume an ascendant position), is it too much to ask that they are not ruthless corporate predators from the West, quick to unloose savage national political and military clout to get their way? Is this not what Western oil majors are doing at this very moment in the Middle East? They are destroying established State systems, with spurious propaganda about human rights, to which they have never subscribed, and replacing them with sub-state satrapies with which they negotiate lopsided oil contracts with alacrity.

Dr Gautam Sen taught international political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science for more than two decades. 



Salman Rushdie’s non-Hindu attitudes: The two Indian interviews – Vijaya Rajiva

Salman RushdieSalman Rushdie gave two interviews on Sept. 17, 2012 one each to NDTV and CNN-IBN. The anchors were Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghosh respectively, and the topic of conversation was his recently released autobiography called  Joseph Anton  (a pseudonym he adopted earlier on). The interviews were vintage Rushdie,  fine turns of phrases , an alert intelligence and the gift of the gab, essential of course in a writer. The topics were wide-ranging and he showed himself to be a mellowed, wiser but more tough individual who engaged in a self-portrait that was understandably self adulatory, but was also fair to his antagonists. Where he was adamant was in his belief that an artist’s freedom of expression is sacrosanct. He is to be commended for this.
However, the present writer wishes to interrogate him about his non-Hindu attitudes.
The Satanic Verses After going over a wide range of topics  he comes finally to Hindutva, a topic that clearly the two anchors were eager to engage him in. Both did not consciously engage in what is called leading the witness, though both tried to get him to commit himself to a stated position. The NDTV interview was simply billed as ‘The Fatwah Years’, while the CNN-IBN was a bit more partisan and billed it as ‘ Hindu intolerance as bad as Muslims’. This bland attempt to brand both communities as identical in their political alignments is quite naive if not openly partisan.
Rushdie himself in the NDTV interview merely skimmed quickly over the recent intolerance in India vis-a-vis free expression, the most recent one being the questioning of the political cartoonist (a serious mistake on the part of the GOI) and other less clear incidents such as the accusation that there was a campaign to suppress the painter M.F. Husain. In the CNN-IBN case he was much more open while the bemused Sagarika Ghosh listened with no interruptions at all of his comments.
Babur & HumayunHe commented on two themes which indicated his non-Hindu attitudes: Babri Masjid and M.F. Husain. Both are typical of the rarefied atmosphere in which educated, prosperous Muslims of his generation grew up in India. While socially interacting with a rarefied group of secular, even deracinated Hindus, they lived in a hot-house world where their memories of the Islamic presence in India was limited a to a cultural and benign interaction with the Hindu intelligentsia, who themselves had forgotten their history. The Islamic presence of 500 years got identified as INDIAN HISTORY, all memories of these barbarian invasions forgotten, the plunder and destruction of Hindu temples and Hindu sacred art etc, set aside. The brutal and continued presence of Islamic rule was glossed over (the phrase ‘whitewashed’ is more appropriate). Much revisionist history of the period was written by Leftist historians. A generation of Indians grew up on this.
Babri Masjid 1992What we have is a sanitised memory only. Hence, Rushdie blandly talks about the demolition of the Babri by spreading the usual canard that there is always something beneath a contemporary monument. For example, a Hindu temple may have been built over a Buddhist monument. He cites no example, simply mentions it as a counter to the Hindu argument that Babur had destroyed the Hindu temple to build a mosque. This controversy, of course, still rages ( and is still with the courts) and we have the ever eager Left historians espousing the cause of the Babrists, despite clear evidence from the surveys done by the Archeological Survey of India, that remnants of a Hindu structure existed under the Babri.
M. F. HusainThe M.F. Husain example. This man was clearly guilty of offending Hindu sentiment by portraying naked goddesses in questionable poses, and his weak defences of his paintings is well-known. Many individuals have written about this (including the present writer). The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has given by far the best counter arguments against Hussein’s malice aforethought. No need to rehash the arguments. However, Salman Rushdie once again made a silly and inaccurate comment: where have you seen a Sarasvati clothed? Indian sculpture does  show the goddesses with adornments and jewellery but not in a dress, says Rushdie, referring to ancient temple art. He is out of sync with the times. Hindu goddesses since the 19th century have always been shown in paintings and art as fully clothed. The famed Raja Ravi Varma paintings have made these famous and every Hindu home has calendars showing various goddesses fully clothed and of course, bejewelled also. They are also accompanied by their vahanas.This statement alone of Rushdie’s reveals his alienation from the Hindu reality in the country where he was born and raised. He should have known better.
Sita & HanumanIn so defending MF Husain’s perversity Salman Rushdie clearly showed his partisanship, not his avowed defence of artistic freedoms. He also remarked : this criticism of Hussein was because he was a Muslim doing the offensive paintings. Not at all, Mr. Rushdie. It is because contemporary Hindus are not interested in anyone painting their sacred religious figures in such a tawdry fashion, in order to gain cheap publicity. It is said that some anonymous art collector had offered a large sum of money! Both greed and the desire to hit out at Hindus was what motivated Hussein, not artistic freedom of expression.
Rushdie’s defence of him shows him as being ignorant of Hindu sentiment at the very least and lofty disdain at worst. Let us hope that there is nothing more to it than that !
» Dr. Vijaya Rajiva  is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university.

Monday, September 17, 2012


After the Diamond Jubilee: Time to Hand Over the Diamond

Author: Ishaan Tharoor
Publication: Time
Date: June 6, 2012

Dear Queen Elizabeth II: Congratulations on your Diamond Jubilee. But now it's time for you to hand over the diamond.

Dear Queen Elizabeth II:

Congratulations on your Diamond Jubilee. Yes, supposed “slave labor” may have gone into the making of your royal triumph — and we all hope Prince Philip gets back to his usual self — but after four days of boat-watching, hoola-hooping and epic, coffer-draining pyrotechnics, you must feel quite feted. So, if you don’t mind, permit me to make one post-Diamond Jubilee request: hand over the diamond.

Which diamond, you ask? You know which one. This, the Koh-i-Noor: a famed, glittering stone one era of medieval Indians deemed the “king” of all diamonds and another later hailed the “Mountain of Light,” a Persian phrase that stuck. The first Mughal emperor, Babur, wrote in his memoirs that the diamond “was worth the value of one day’s food for all the people of the world.” Now, it’s in your late mother’s crown, locked away in the Tower of London. As eight-year-old post-colonial waifs, my twin brother and I glared at the guards flanking the crown’s case and asked for it back. They refused to oblige. But you should take heed.

The Koh-i-Noor may have been in your family’s possession for a century and a half, but it is a notoriously slippery gem. Mined at some point in the 12th or 13th century A.D. in southern India, it quickly became a gleaming prize — a totem of power — for a succession of dynasties. Some say it was a curse. You might say that the Koh-i-Noor is the original blood diamond. Hindu potentates saw it fall out of their grasp into the clutches of a series of Muslim sultans; its movement mapped some five hundred years of tumultuous Indian political history.

The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan — the one who built the Taj Mahal — had the diamond encrusted into his grand Peacock Throne. For his pains, he got locked up in a tower by his son, and successor, Aurangzeb. The Peacock Throne itself was carried away by Persian invaders in the 18th century, but the diamond wandered back, making its way from discord and regicide in Afghanistan into the hands of the then ruler of Punjab. But — with the British on the scene — he didn’t keep it long. The Koh-i-Noor was handed over to Queen Victoria in 1850 in a ceremonial act of surrender. Two years later, it was cut to a smaller 109 carats to eventually adorn the royal crown. And now it sits in its stony silence in London.

I’m not the only one to ask for it back. The Indian government and media have demanded the return of this prize of your Crown Jewels for quite some time; your Prime Minister David Cameron was once forced to awkwardly defend its existence in Britain on national television in India. I don’t mean to empty out the British Museum in a fit of nationalist zeal — heaven forbid you lose your marbles. But with your empire withered, your monarchy impotent and your nation listing in a European sea roiled by social and financial crises, maybe it’s time to check your hubris and pass on that king of diamonds. I don’t particularly care where it ends up in India — it probably should be affixed to the pommel of Sachin Tendulkar's bat — as long as it no longer remains in your possession. Think of how modern and 21st century a gesture it would be: debt-ridden Britain voluntarily returns this gem to the country now buying up its luxury cars and fighter aircraft. Surely you, of all people, can appreciate the value of good symbolic spectacle.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


How much do you think we should offer her to come & run Canada for awhile
Should we stand and fight or move to Australia ?We need a leader like this lady!
W O W! She Did It Again!!


Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Australia says NO -- Second Time she has done this!

She sure isn't backing down on her hard line stance and one has to appreciate her belief in the rights of her native countrymen.

A breath of fresh air to see someone lead. Australian Prime Minister does it again!!

The whole world needs a leader like this!

Prime Minister Julia Gillard - Australia

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. 

Separately, Gillard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying she supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT... Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.' 

'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.' 

'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!' 

'Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.' 

'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.' 

'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.'

'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.' 

NOTE: IF we circulate this amongst ourselves in Canada & USA , WE will find the courage to start speaking and voicing the same truths.

If you agree please SEND THIS ON and ON, to as many people as you know...

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Who targets Amrita Ashram?
By S Gurumurthy
New Indian Express
12th September 2012

Indeed a disgusting story — a concerted, converging attempt to tarnish Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram in Kerala by demonstrable lies and falsehoods. “Amma” as Mata Amritanandamayi is affectionately known is not just a Hindu spiritual lighthouse. She is a power house of service to people that has grown to unbelievable heights. Before unfolding the despicable story, here is a helicopter view of this mighty spiritualised social service, all accomplished, believe it, in just a decade or thereabouts — and that is precisely what seems to have made Amma and the Ashram the target.

The Ashram has built and handed over more than 25,000 houses till 2002 to the poor and needy, with plans to build, and building, another 100,000 — a scale that governments will not dare. It has undertaken massive disaster relief in Bihar Kosi floods (2008), earthquake in Kashmir (2005), Katrina hurricane in New Orleans in the US (2005), Mumbai floods (2005), Tsunami in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia (2004), Kumbakonam school fire (2004) and Gujarat earthquake (2001). It has donated $1 million for relief and rehabilitation after Tsunami in Japan last year, apart from offering services in quake-hit Haiti. The Ashram has also set up an orphanage in Kenya.

The Ashram has built a huge university — the Amrita University — that has tie-up with 25 leading American universities, including the Yale, Harvard and Princeton universities. It is one of the seven from Asia in the 16-member consortium of European Union Educational Initiative funded by the European Commission. The Ashram runs three engineering institutes as ‘technological gurukulas’; its Coimbatore technical institute campus has installed India’s supercomputer, Param. It runs the Amrita School of Business ranked 17th among the top private B-Schools in India aligning management education with Sanatana Dharma; a school of education to train teachers; a school of media studies and communication.

Its medical institute at Kochi in Kerala — a 1,400-bed huge super speciality medical facility manned by 200 doctors qualified from the best medical institutes all over the world — is ranked as the eighth best professional medical colleges in India. It also runs an Ayurvedic college; a dental college; a college of nursing; a pharmaceutical college; four colleges of arts and sciences; a medical research institute; a nanosciences centre, with acute researches in molecular biology, bioinformatics, human genetics, immunology, hemopoesis, stem cells, cancer, cell signalling, neurosciences; and a research lab engaged in core areas of computing and communication with the MHRD, DST, DIT, DBT and DRDO as research partners and more than 50 industry partners and ranked as one of the largest supercomputer clusters in the world. The list is still not complete. All this have happened and continue to happen because of one true spiritual soul whose magnetism has lured thousands of young men and women as monks, celebates and volunteers, to serve the needy. See how this great institution is targeted by lies and falsehoods by hands and minds that just wield a pen or a mike.

Now it all started on August 1, 2012, around noon. When Amma was giving dharshan to her devotees, suddenly, a bearded man in dhoti, with no shirt, ran through the dharshan hall, pushing all out of his way. YellingBismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim”, he shockingly removed his dhoti, scaled up the stage in his underwear only and was just three feet from Amma, when the devotees surrounded to protect her. The police team stationed at the Ashram since an attempt on Amma in 2005, immediately apprehended the man and took him into custody. Even as the police led him to its van, he continued to shout “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim”. He was a stranger, never seen in the Ashram ever.

The police video shows him walking and climbing on to the police van on his own. Since he was bare-bodied, there was not a scratch on his front or back, both visible on the video. Anyone can see the dramatic episode, captured in security cameras. The police registered the Ashram’s complaint as FIR. He was therefore in police custody from around noon on August 1, 2012. Later it became known that he was one Satnam Singh from Bihar.

A shocking news appeared that, on August 4, Satnam died of severe injuries in police custody. His cousin, Vimal Kishore, a reporter in Aaj Tak channel in Delhi, addressed a press meet on August 5. The transcript of his interview showed Vimal Kishore as saying that he had visited Satnam in Karungappally police station sub-jail cell on August 2.

Kishore said: “And at that time, as I had seen him in underwear only, there were no marks on his body. Not a single mark! And today [August 5], which I had seen, there are around 30, 35 marks on his body. He was beaten by a rod, I think-hot rod. Maybe it’s a matter of investigation, but the body speaks itself.”

Kishore added: “And that day was a rakhi day. I had brought rakhi from Delhi from his sister. I just asked the policeman, ‘Shall I tie the rakhi to him?’ They said, ‘No, you can’t. It is banned over here.’ And when Satnam heard this, he insisted, ‘Please, please, please, please tie the knot. Please tie the rakhi! All my Satan will go out from my body.’” According to reports, Satnam, extremely aggressive and violent, had attacked other inmates in the jail. The reports seem true because Kishore himself had told the media that Satnam, aggressive, “even challenged me: ‘You can come into the cell, and I will show you my power.’” It does not need a seer to say what the truth is. The nine irrefutable facts are: one, Satnam was a stranger to the Ashram; two, he suddenly, menacingly ran towards Amma, shouting “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim”; three, no one harmed him in the Ashram; four, police took charge of him immediately on the noon of August 1, with not a scratch on his body; five, he was, thereafter, in police custody, with the Ashram out of the picture; six, his own cousin had seen him on August 2, safe with, in his words, “no single mark on his body”; seven, he died of extensive injuries in government custody on August 4; eight, it is the police who are answerable as to why and how he died; nine, the Ashram is explicitly innocent. Now see how, suppressing all vital facts and fabricating lies, a converging campaign to vilify Amma and the Ashram is on.

The commentators are different, but all of them wrote the same lies. They all converged to lie that the Ashramites had subjected Satnam to inhuman treatment and virtually said that they killed him. Their bluff has been called by the videos of the security and Kishore’s press meet. They concertedly made the vicious charge that Satnam was killed because he was uttering Islamic prayer. Besides being a lie, isn’t it a clear attempt to instigate communal feelings against the Ashram? One commentator asked why the Ashram did not help Satnam in police custody. Not funny? How could the Ashram help a man in police custody? Another wrote that Amma’s “mad devotees” with “excessive devotion” were inhuman to Satnam. Inhuman? Satnam’s cousin says there was not a single (injury) mark on his body on August 2. Could any other religious group be that human and peaceful as the Ashramites? He also added that the “brahmin” lad from Bihar, “the land of Buddha”, a “seeker of truth” and “bramhajnana”, was on a “spiritual trip” to Kerala, the land of Sankara and Narayana Guru. But where does he get all this exotic information? What about the reports he had attacked the other inmates in the jail, which was implicitly corroborated by his cousin Kishore’s version that Satnam was aggressive and violent. He further wrote that Satnam “approached” Amma with the Islamic prayer that just meant ‘in the name of the most compassionate and merciful God’, for which he was done away with by the inhuman Ashramites and the government was reluctant to order inquiry. Satnam “approached” Amma? Or was charging at her? Did the writer care to look at the video, where he runs half naked to her? Obviously he has not cared to know the facts. Is he not also convergently inciting the Muslims against the Ashram? And finally the cat is out of the bag: he wants a government inquiry to tarnish the Ashram’s image here; more abroad. The third writer wrote that Satnam’s journey to death began from the Ashram, saying that he met his fate because of the Islamic prayer that the Ashram could not digest. The same model, like the other two: suppress the truth and advance the lies, and promote communal hatred against Ashram? The fourth commentator wrote that Satnam was handed to the police after “fatal” blows implying that Ashramites had caused his death. This writer also joins and supports the others’ lies. Yet another article in a newspaper suspected to have extremist connections, goes one step further and says that Satnam’s was not an isolated case, and the Ashram has a history of murders! The intent is clear: to harm the Ashram, which is doing yeoman service to the needy and is building the nation’s spiritual brand abroad. They all converge to tell these patent lies: Satnam came to Amma; Satnam was beaten and injured by them; he was inhumanly treated because he uttered Islamic verse, which the Ashramites could not digest. They converge to incite the Muslims against the Ashram; press for government inquiry into the Ashram. Why?

It raises far-reaching questions indeed. How and why do all commentators tell the same lies? Make the same charges suppressing the truth? Write separately with convergent effect? Who or what makes them converge? Is the Ashram becoming the test for whether Hindu spiritualism could exist with honour in minority-politics dominated Kerala? Last year, it was Sai Baba; now Amma? QED: Obviously some hidden hand is operating against the Ashram.

(S Gurumurthy is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues.)