2ndlook

India and the Rise of Germany

Posted in European History, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on February 27, 2012


As German nation took form in the crucible of European wars and feuds, for a national narrative, Germans turned to India.

Germany – nation and nationalism

The German challenge to the Anglo-French hegemony in the WWI and WWII has obscured German history – especially related to its formation.

For modern Germany, a key event in history was Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz (Dec. 1805). This ended Vatican’s role in Europe’s administration. The Holy Roman Empire, abolished in August 1806, after Austerlitz,  added up to thousand varied kingdoms, principalities, duchies, counties, ruled by assorted kings, princes, dukes and counts, appointed by the Vatican. These included some three hundred independent German state-lets.

To buffer France from Austria and Russia, the French Republic under Napoleon initiated, what European history calls secularization, between 1794-1804. In the secularization process, the French Republic, under Napoleon, took away Church lands in the Rhine region. The administration of these acquired lands was handed over to neighbouring larger rulers. Smaller rulers who lost were compensated by a process called mediatization – or by war.

'Luigi van Beethoven had initially planned on dedicating the Eroica Symphony to Napoleon - till he crowned himself Emperor.

'Luigi van Beethoven had initially planned on dedicating the Eroica Symphony to Napoleon - till he crowned himself Emperor.

In this process of secularization and mediatization (1795-1814), a Confederation of the Rhine emerged in 1803, under Napoleon’s protection. Prussia remained independent. For this consolidation and ‘secularization’ of Germany, Napoleon was respected figure in Germany.

After Napoleon’s defeat (1815), the reorganization of European States by the Congress Of Vienna, led to a larger Prussia along with 38 other states, known as the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund; 1815–1866). Instead of being a French protectorate, this larger German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) was put into the Austrian Empire’s sphere of influence.

The Prussian initiative

While European powers were deciding the future of Germany, what was the climate in German lands?

The German volk themselves saw benefit in German independence and unification of the Kleindeutschland (little or “lesser”, Germany) with Prussian king or the the Grossdeutschland (Greater Germany). Popular support for this idea came in the Wartburg rally (1817), the Hambach Festival (1832) and the German revolutions of 1848. The Frankfurt Parliament attempted to create a German Constitution (March 28, 1849), which did not work out. German unification was attempted by Prussia under the Erfurt Union (1850), but stymied by the Russia and Austria.

Over a period of 100 years (1806-1906), Prussia turned from a principality to nation and morphed into Germany, creating the ‘Borussian Myth’ – Prussia, Borussia in Latin, as the saviour of the Germanic people. The role of Prussian armies under Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, in Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo (June 18, 1815), ensured that Prussian importance would only grow.

One Prussian played a key role in this.

The Prussian initiative – Bismarck unites

In 1862, Otto Von Bismarck enunciated the ‘iron and blood’ Realpolitik doctrine. Realpolitik said that Germans and Prussia must be ready and willing to wage war and spill blood, if necessary.

From: European Politics in Transition - Mark Kesselman, Joel Krieger, Christopher S. Allen, Stephen Hellman - Google Books 2012-02-24 14-59-13

From: European Politics in Transition - Mark Kesselman, Joel Krieger, Christopher S. Allen, Stephen Hellman - Google Books 2012-02-24 14-59-13

To create Germany, Prussia had challenged and defeated major imperial powers of Europe.

First was Napoleon himself. The Prussian role, in the alliance of European powers at Waterloo, was crucial to Napoleon’s defeat.

After defeating Denmark (1864), the Prussians took on the largest European Empire – the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They too, were bested by Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War (1866). The French Empire, again after Waterloo, in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). This time the French Emperor was himself captured by the Prussian armies.

A unified and independent Germany under a Kaiser was ratified by the Treaty of Versailles of 1871 (26 February).

The German narrative

What the Germans lacked was a narrative of their nation.

At the beginning of the 19th century, popular literary figures in German literature, like August von Kotzebue (1761-1819) were completely unconvinced about the German nation. With more than 200 plays to his credit, translated in at least 13 languages, popular in France, England apart from Germany, Kotzebue was a European phenomenon. For his disbelief in the idea of the German nation, at the Wartburg rally (1817), Kotzebue’s books were burnt by eager student German nationalists. Kotzebue’s cynicism provoked a German enthusiast, Karl Ludwig Sand to finally murder Kotzebue.

Even on the intellectual side, respected academics like Hegel thought that the German nation as Gedankenstaat, a state which exists in thought and imagination alone, not in actuality.’ In yet another essay, Hegel sneered, “The vain idea known as the German Reich has disappeared.”

And this was not a German problem alone.

Ole Mother Hubbard

At the dawn of 19th century, European empires, found themselves with barren cultural cupboards.

World powers in their own right, with millions of slaves from Africa, after ‘successful’ genocides in Americas, swollen by hubris and military power across Asia, these European powers controlled capital flows of the world. Gold from the Americas, Australia, India and China gave economic depth to these imperial powers.

For these European empires, archaeology became a ‘playing’ ground.

The ‘Great’ Game

The new-born German nation also, needing ‘culture’, pushed other governments for excavation rights.

For the new-born Germany, the charge into archaeology, was a “national competition and a less belligerent realm for expression of resentment at Germany’s late leap into colonial activity.” Existing archaeological sites in Egypt and Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), apart from Italy, Greece, Turkey were already staked out by the Franco-British Empires. So, the German Emperor personally lobbied with other governments to obtain excavation rights in other countries.

For instance, in 1904, English archaeologist John Garstang (1876-1956) lost out to Hugo Winckler, of Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, (German Oriental Institute) supposedly at the intervention of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm-II for excavation rights at modern Boghazkoy.

These rivalries had a telling effect.

Britons and Frenchmen almost monopolized Egyptian excavation in the 1880s and the 1890′s, but then Germans, Americans, and Italians came in. The turning point came in 1905-1907 with a rush of American expeditions and the founding of the German Archaeological Institute … In Istanbul and its Fertile Crescent provinces, German activity in the army and railroad building spilled over into archaeology. The director of Istanbul’s antiquities service and museum in the 1870s had been a German. German excavations at Pergammon in 1878 and later at Babylon and later at the Hittite capital of Boghazkoi fanned Frenchmen’s uneasiness …

World War I aborted this promising beginning. German property in Egypt was sequestered. After the war, the dispute over Borchardt’s quiet export of the bust of Nefertiti to Berlin flared up. The Eyptians refused to allow German excavation or reopening of the German Archaeological Institute till 1929, when Herman Junker replaced the embittered Borchardt … he clung to his post until 1939 despite British accusations that he worked for the Nazis. (From Whose pharaohs?: archaeology, museums, and Egyptian national identity from … By Donald Malcolm Reid, pages 196-198; ellipsis, underlined text in parenthesis supplied. The rarely told complete story of Nefertiti’s bust.).

Germany alone, it is estimated, spent some four million marks, between 1899-1913 on excavations in the Middle East /West Asia.

After the founding of the Reich in 1871, archaeology became a national enterprise. The IfAK was taken over by the state, and eventually formed the basis of today’s Deutsches-Archaeologisches Institut. Rivalry with France and Britain extended to the scholarly realm, and resulted in governmental support for large-scale excavations by Ernst Robert Curtius at Olympia (1875-81), Carl Humann at Pergamon (1878-86), and eventually Robert Koldewy at Babylon (1898-1914) and Walter Andrae at Assur (1903-1914) in Ottoman Mesopotamia.[5] Wilhelm II was a particularly enthusiastic promoter of archaeology (pp. 192-199) …

Archaeology abroad grew ever more dependent on the diplomatic and financial support of the Reich for massive long-term projects … German prehistorians of the early-twentieth century also maintained that their countrymen represented the purest modern descendants of the ancient Aryans. Thus they contributed to the witches’ brew that would make up Nazi racist ideology.

Truth is stranger than fiction

Competition from Germany was especially very galling for the Anglo-French archaeologists and historians. Hollywood’s portrayals of the ‘German archaeologist’, even today are proof of this. Hollywood could not keep its hand off such a juicy set of characters and incidents.

To this odd and motley crowd of British, French, German and Italian archaeologists, add a character like Sheikh Hamoudi, and you have all the characters needed for a Hollywood potboiler – the Indiana Jones series.

Vendyl Jones, James Henry Breasted, Robert Braidwood, Hiram Bingham III and Roy Chapman Andrews became a mashed up Indiana Jones. For villainy, Hollywood drew upon German archaeologists like Hermann Junker (German archaeologist will do anything for artifacts), Otto Rahn (SS officer after Holy Grail), Ludwig Borchardt (German archaeologist ships home ‘stolen’ artifacts).

From: Christian examiner, Volume 78; Source and courtesy - books.google.co.in

From: Christian examiner, Volume 78; Source and courtesy - books.google.co.in

German archaeologists  became cannon fodder to build a Hollywood caricature as a villain – as Indiana Jones’ protagonist.

What gave this competition a cutting edge, was the Aryan ‘legacy’ that the Germans ‘discovered’.

For this idea of an Aryan nation, Germany turned to India.

Mise-en-scène

Many Germans played a crucial role in this development.

A pioneer in this was Friedrich Schlegel in 1808, whose book Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier (On the Speech and Wisdom of the Indians, Heidelberg, 1808) created the Aryan ‘industry’.

August Schlegel, a professor of literature at the University of Bonn from 1818, pursued oriental studies, and set up a Sanskrit printing centre. Between 1823-1830 he translated the Bhagavad Gita in Latin (1823), the Ramayana (1829), the Indische Bibliothek journal – with Reflections on the Study of the Asiatic Languages in 1932. The Swedish crown prince used August Schlegel’s services as a secretary from 1813-1817.

With August Schlegel, was Christian Lassen, who co-wrote a critical, annotated edition of Hitopdesa in 1829-1831. His biggest work was possibly the Indische Altertumskunde (Indian Archaeology), originally in four parts, during 1847-1861.

Baron Alfred von Gutschmid was another Orientalist who contributed to India and Sanskrit studies. Albrecht Weber’s was active in both Sanskrit and German politics .

The other leading light in Germany was Franz Bopp – author of Über das Conjugationssystem der Sanskritsprache in Vergleichung mit jenem der griechischen, lateinischen, persischen und germanischen Sprache (On the Conjugation System of Sanskrit in comparison with that of Greek, Latin, Persian and Germanic) in 1816, which was followed with many works on comparative grammer – between Sanskrit and other languages. Earlier, in 1812, the Bavarian government, financed Bopp for a study trip to Paris, in Sanskrit. There, in Paris, he joined eminent men such as Antoine-Léonard de Chézy (one of his instructors), Louis Mathieu Langlès, Silvestre de Sacy.

Georg Friedrich Creuzer, a professor of philology and ancient history at Heidelberg, did not endear himself to many, when in 1810-1812, he published Symbolik und Mythologie der alten Völker, besonders der Griechen. Going into 3 editions, Creuzer suggested that behind Homer’s and Hesiod’s mythology were Eastern sources. These ‘sources’ were the pre-Hellenic natives in Greece, the Pelasgians.

The Grassmann brothers, Hermann and Robert were active in German politics – especially during the 1848-1850 period. Hermann Grossmann’s translation of the Rig Veda is still in print. He was also a significant mathematician – which was usually dismissed as incomplete and inadequate presentation. It might be interesting to investigate, how much Hermann derived from Vedic mathematics – which would account for incomplete and inadequate presentation.

The three volume catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts, Catalogus Catalogorum, published between 1891-1903, documented the huge mass of writings in Sanskrit – by Theodor Aufrecht who was not active in German politics.

In Paris, there was Alexander Hamilton, the linguist (1762–1824), a British cousin of Alexander Hamilton, the U.S. Secretary of State for Treasury, under George Washington. In Paris, studying and writing on Sanskrit, Hamilton was for sometime tutor to brothers Schlegel – and assisted Charles Wilkins in translating the Hitopdesa.

There were other Sanskrit scholars and Indologists – whose contribution to German statehood was however minimal. For instance, sponsored by the Russian government, Otto von Böhtlingk (May 30, 1815 – April 1, 1904) a Russian-born, German Indologist and Sanskrit scholar, translated Pannini’s grammer, worked on a Sanskrit dictionary for some 23 years, in collaboration with Rudolf von Roth.

All these scholars were supported by their respective governments – August Schlegel by Prussia, Bopp by Bavaria, for instance. In 1885, Richard Garbe, a German professor at the University of Tübingen, was funded by the Prussian Government, for a trip to India.

Curiously, in India

The best known German Indologist of all time, Friedrich Max Mueller (1823–1900), is famous for never having set foot in the country that he studied and romanticized all his life.

Max Muller’s big role in all this was being the source of manuscripts. Many like William Dwight Whitney supported Max Muller, ‘because Muller’s access to manuscripts in England could prove useful to scholars such as himself’ – and he favoured those German Indologists who toed his line.

Duncker’s Aryan invention

Tying this output together, as a unified story, was an early attempt at creating a German history by Maximilian Wolfgang Duncker (1811-1886). From the publishing family that owned publishing house Duncker & Humblot,

Duncker’s history books started appearing in 1834 – with his Latin publication – De historia eiusque tractandae varia ratione (Translation – Treatment of Rationale for History). Duncker was a member of the Frankfurt National Assembly (1848-49) for the Halle electoral district. Duncker was active in the Gotha Nachparlament (1849) and also at the Erfurt Union Parliament (1850).

In 1852, his Geschichte des Alterthums (Translation – History of antiquity) went into reprints and a recent edition has been re-published. His Vier Monate auswärtiger Politik: Mit Urkunden (Translation – Four months of foreign policy: with documents) sparked a criminal case against him. His 1850 work Die Männer der Gegenwart: neue Folge. Heinrich von Gagern : eine biographische Skizze ; neue Folge (The men of the present: new sequence. Heinrich von Gagern: a biographical sketch; new episode in English).

Duncker compiled the considerable German academic activity in history and philology, to build an extensive narrative, drawing linkages from Greece to India. Using work of eminent Orientalists of their time, like Christian Lassen, Alfred Gutschmid, Duncker’s work preceded Hume’s work.

Duncker as a part of a publisher family, well-connected to the administration, meant he could draw upon the finest German minds of his time. For instance, Duncker shared his bachelor quarters with philologist August Friedrich Pott (1802-1887), an expert on Gypsy Romany language. Potts took care of Duncker, during this period, while he recovered from a bout of typhus.

Another of Duncker’s associate was Droysen (Johann Gustav), whose authoritative book on Alexander The Great, Geschichte Alexanders des Grossen (History of Alexander the Great), (Berlin, 1833 and other editions) pioneered the trend of equating power with greatness. Thomas Carlyle was to subsequently define “history of the world is but the biography of great men”. In Duncker’s inner circle was Hermann Baumgarten, an uncle of Max Weber.

Close to the administration, Duncker occupied various positions of great intellectual influence. Notably, he was the advisor to the Crown Prince, Friedrich Wilhelm (1831–1888) – later to Emperor Friedrich-III – for 99 days.

Maximilian Wolfgang Duncker - His work, position and activity brought him into contact with the movers and shakers of Germany. |  Mind map by InfoRapid Knowledge Portal on 2012-02-25 at 10-17-08  |  Click for a larger image.  For interactive image source, shortlink is  http://goo.gl/ZImBg

Maximilian Wolfgang Duncker - His work, position and activity brought him into contact with the movers and shakers of Germany. | Mind map by InfoRapid Knowledge Portal on 2012-02-25 at 10-17-08 | Click for a larger image. For interactive image source, shortlink is http://goo.gl/ZImBg

But Duncker’s biggest contribution to German ‘story’ was his Aryan narrative.

Max Duncker’s conversion of Yavana king Bhagadatta, to Greek king Apollodotus is at best fanciful. Duncker writes,

from the mention of the Yavanas as the allies of the Kurus, and Dattamira, i. e. Demetrius, the king of the Yavanas. This king reigned in Bactria in the first half of the second century b. c. (Lassen, loc. cit. 1, 557). Another king of the Yavanas who is mentioned is Bhagadatta, i. e. apparently, Apollodotus, the founder of the Grseco-Indian kingdom in the second half of the first century B.C. (Von Gutschmid, ” Beitrage,” s. 75).

Apollodotus, Apaladata on tho Arian legends of his coins, is no doubt the Bhagadatta of the Mahabharata, just as the Dattamitra there mentioned is Demetrius ; Vol. IV. p. 80, n. Among the Indians Menander appears in the form Milinda.

This invention by Duncker has continued from nearly 1860-2010 – for 150 years.

In Mahabharata, the Yavana king Bhagadatta’s elephant, Supratika, plays an important role in the battle of Mahabharata. Bhagadatta’s elephant, Supratika, named after a diggaj, the eight elephants that bear the burden of the world, a result of the Kshirsagar manthan. In which history did ancient Greeks use elephants and know anything about elephants. Capture, breeding, training, and use of war elephants was an Indian monopoly for many a millennium.

Also, Bhagadatta is clearly an important and historical character. Ruling families in Assam, North East trace their lineage to Bhagadatta.

‘Aryan’ history becomes fashionable

At the start of twentieth century, there were swarms of people wanting to study ‘Aryan’ history. Along with cultural dacoits like Augustine Waddell, Auriel Stein, there were the more academic types who wrote a book on India and ‘Near East’ – Nejstarší dějinyPřední Asie a Indie by Bedřich Hrozný.

By the 1920′s under a deluge of archaeological evidence, it appeared that Indian history would run away from its rulers – the British Colonial Raj.

Usurping Aryan Achievements

Aryan history of languages, culture, spread of civilisation, its science and technology appealed to many in the West – and especially White Supremacists.

One hilarious example of this kind Charles Morris, writer of The Aryan Race: Its Origins And Its Achievements. If this book was not a best seller, as ‘history’, it would surely have been best seller as a comedy. Another book – based on the Aryan Invasion Theory, was Lectures of the Arya by Albert Pike.

A set of books written by L. Austine Waddell – again had a single point agenda of usurping Aryan achievements and culture. Wadell declared, “the Aryan Race — now chiefly represented in purest form in North-western Europe.”

One of the first big hits from Hollywood was the 1915 film, DW Griffith’s ‘Birth Of A Nation’. This film on the ‘Knights of the Ku Klux Klan’ enjoys cult status. D.W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation was based on a book by Thomas Dixon, Jr. titled The ClansmanAn Historic Romance of the Ku Klux Klan, written in 1905. Dixon thought (from the book preface) that the rise of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was the “most dramatic chapters in the history of the Aryan race.” Later, this piece of racism was replaced by another phrase – “Carpetbaggers’ political folly” in the film. In the climactic scene, these KKK knights ride to the rescue of the Whites from North and South, to the blaring sounds of Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries.’

Yes, the same music – Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries.’

The common enemy of the united ‘Aryan Whites’ is the liberated black soldier. The original screen title gives the viewer the message: “The former enemies of North and South are united again in common defense of their Aryan birthright.” Remember, this was during WW1.

Thomas Huxley, the British  biologist, known also as ‘Darwin’s Bull-dog’ in “The Aryan Question,” published in the Nineteenth Century Magazine, 1890, page 766:—

“There was, and is, an Aryan Race, that is to say, the characteristic modes of speech, termed Aryan, were developed among the Blond Longheads alone, however much some of them may have been modified by the importation of non‑Aryan elements.”

After, WWII, it became politically incorrect for any White to call themselves as Aryan. That has not stopped White Supremacists, mainly gangs in USA, from calling themselves Aryans.

Today, the Jewish genocide is being blamed on ‘Aryan’ superiority – although, Europe has healthy and living tradition of anti-Semitism of more than 500 years. Evidently, in the land of the Aryans (India), the lack of religious persecution is not relevant. The precedent of Australian Aboriginal and the Native American genocides, Europe’s parallel, are ignored.

Greek Miracle vs Aryan achievements

While Britain and the France, for colonial reasons, were ‘discovering’ the Greek miracle, Germany and the USA started ‘discovering’ the ‘Aryan’ roots’ to Western civilization.

Martin Bernal, author of ‘Black Athena’ trilogy, analyzes Western “amnesia” towards African contribution to Western culture. His thesis traces this ‘amnesia’ to the replacement of Europe’s “Ancient Model”  (Egypt-Greece-Rome model) of historiography with the “Aryan” (India-Mesopotamia-Babylon-Assyria) model.

Simply speaking, the West replaced Egypt as the source of culture with the Aryans. Fact is, neither the cultural achievements of Egypt (from Africa) nor of the Aryan (from India) are for the West to arrogate to themselves.

A writer on this phase of history, Susan Marchand says,

“The Aryan industry, of course, burgeoned. Even the former Kaiser Wilhelm II, in exile, took up the study of the Orient … In a 1928 letter to his friend, the former emperor reported a recent conversation with Oswald Spengler in which Wilhelm had tried his best to convince the herald of Western doom that “we are orientals [Morgenländer], and not westerners [Abendländer].”

With Germany and America on the Aryan train, Britain was hard pressed to control Indian historiography. ‘Fresh’ evidence was needed to show ‘Aryan’ invasion. Indus Valley civilization provided that opportunity.

The task became easier, as Germany lost WWI, and the Ottoman Empire was carved out of existence. The rump state of Turkey went down the ‘Westernization’ path. Neither Germany or Turkey were in any position to oppose Anglo-French historiography. The Egypt-Greece-Rome-Europe axis dismissed the ‘Aryan model’ archaeologists as pan Babylonists. Colonialists have resisted change from the Egypt-Greece-Rome-Europe world view – which was called in question by the excavations and study by Friedrich Delitzsch, Alfred Jeremias, Peter Jensen, Eduard Stucken and Hugo Winckler, whose work has been obscured.

After WWII, the USA no longer supported the ‘Aryan’ model.

German industry gained rapidly after unification. German economy soon challenged Britain and France in industry and technology – without the benefits of the colonies. The Franco-British relationship was settled into an easy duopoly, by the time the German nation emerged. Spain was already an empire in decline and irrelevant to Europe’s power equations. The Dutch, Italians, Danes had accepted their role as junior partners.

That left Germany to confront Britain.

And also, note, Hitler’s name has not been used even once.

The ‘Great’ Game

India – Land of rape, kidnapping and crime

Posted in America, Current Affairs, Desert Bloc, Feminist Issues, India by Anuraag Sanghi on February 23, 2012


More laws means more crimes. More police, more courts – more crime. For proof, take rape, kidnapping cases in India.

When all fails, create sex charges  |  Cartoonist Paul Zanetti; source & courtesy - courrierinternational.com  |  Click for larger images.

When all fails, create sex charges | Cartoonist Paul Zanetti; source & courtesy – courrierinternational.com | Click for larger images.

Fixing Julian Assange

After everything failed, two Swedish women filed rape charges against Julian Assange – based on ‘withdrawal’ of consent. Is sex such a trivial matter that consent is given and withdrawn– with or without notice?

Can sexual relationships be debased to the extent of opportunistic ‘consent’ withdrawal?

Power corrupts. |  Cartoonist Olle Johansson / Sweden; source & courtesy - nrc.nl  |  Click for larger image size.

Power corrupts. | Cartoonist Olle Johansson / Sweden; source & courtesy – nrc.nl | Click for larger image size.

Criminalizing love, sex, marriage & romance

Many ‘kidnapping’ and rape cases in India, are also in the same category.

Police categorize juvenile marriages, love affairs, and cases of pre-marital sex as rape, kidnapping and enticement.

Familial or parental consent, knowledge, while being economically dependent on parents or family is essentially implied by law.

Special mention must be made of laws that have made 18 years as the age of consent for girls. 18 years is way too old. Going by current laws, even consensual sex by two people, below 18, is a crime – and

Rape, it is.

Part of the population control dogma.

While around 150 kidnapping cases were registered across Mumbai during each of the past three years, police officials said a large number of the cases pertained to elopement. Statistics accessed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from 85 of the city’s 93 police stations show that 136 kidnapping cases were registered in 2009, 169 in 2010 and 159 in 2011.

“In cases where the victim is an underage girl, her consent would be immaterial and the man would be booked for kidnapping,” said joint commissioner of police Himanshu Roy. “Although a large number of the cases we receive pertain to elopement, we treat each of them with seriousness.”

However, in such circumstances, lawyers said that for the charge of kidnapping to be framed, an important condition needs to be met — ‘enticement’. “If a boy promises to marry a girl and then elopes with her, that would amount to enticement,” said criminal lawyer M A Khan. He added that if the girl is underage and elopes with a boy after being enticed, and they subsequently have a physical relationship, the boy would be also booked for rape.

Nandita Shah, co-director of NGO Akshara, spoke of trends she has been noticing. “More and more girls and boys are taking an independent stand on their marriages, while parents are not yet ready for this. Secondly, the age at which youngsters are getting into a relationship is falling, so a lot of these cases get registered with the police as kidnapping.”(via Many kidnapping cases in Mumbai involve eloping with minor girls – The Times of India).

So many rape cases …

Similarly, most cases of rape in India, too fall in the same legal confusion.

Recent stats show that in 91% of cases, rape was committed by ‘known’ people – with 33% of the ‘rapes’ committed by neighbours. A significant number of these ‘known’ people probably received a ‘distorted’ signal, some ‘disguised’ consent or faced a ‘withdrawal’ of consent problem.

Rape, she alleged  |  Credit embedded  |  Click for source image.

Rape, she alleged | Credit embedded | Click for source image.

This takes rape out from the class of random crime, on unknown victims by dysfunctional or maladjusted aggressors – which can properly be termed as crime – and rape.

I would doubt claims of ‘rape’ by neighbours, relatives, known people. It maybe withdrawal of consent, or misinterpretation of behaviour. It may also be deliberate ‘gaming’ by the ‘victim’. In such cases, rape is not the reality, usually.

I am defining crime and rape differently. Some ‘consenting’ couples indulge in sex that borders on rape. Marital rape cannot be grounds for classification as crime. The State cannot enter bedrooms of consenting partners – at least in societies based on Bharattantra.

In most of these cases, the perpetrator of the crime was an acquaintance of the victim, according to data provided by the National Crime Records Bureau. A total of 21,467 rape cases were reported in 2008, registering an increase of 3.5% over the previous year. Provisional data for 2009 shows that 21,397 rape cases were reported during the year.

In 2008, 57.2% (12,299) of the victims were from this age group, only 0.5% less than in 2007 (11,984). In as many as 91% (19,542) of these cases,the offenders were known to the victims. Neighbours were accused in 33.1% of rape cases. (via Madhya Pradesh tops in rape cases, Nagaland ranks lowest – Times Of India).

Only in a confrontational equation does the State come into play - which is what the State wants  |  Cartoonist Crumb; image source & courtesy - bleedingcool.com  |  Click for larger image.

Only in a confrontational equation does the State come into play – which is what the State wants | Cartoonist Crumb; image source & courtesy – bleedingcool.com | Click for larger image.

Thou shalt not have sex

Girls attain puberty mostly by 13 years. Forced, mass, abstinence for 5 years after puberty is just bad social practice. Especially, when you consider contrary social values and norms.

In parts of India, a girl’s first menstruation is celebrated as a community event, with feasting and worship. Remember, Gandhiji was married and eagerly into sex in his middle teens – as were my grandparents.

These ‘rapes’ are crimes under laws that: -

  1. Are a carry-over from colonial period
  2. Discourage ‘relationship-building’ laws with an anti-marital agenda.
  3. Make withdrawal of ‘consent’ easy.

Now imagine a zamindar in cahoots with corrupt policemen, who uses these age-of-consent laws to foist a ‘rape’ case on a ‘troublesome’ farmer or a political rival.

Bad ideology, confused law

These laws have created horrifying legal situations like marital ‘rape.’ Withdrawal of consent for sex is an especially potent tool used by ‘authorities’ to ‘fix’ or ‘control’ elements in the system.

In Indic societies, consent was a public event, which became marriage. Vishnu Purana specifies 8 marriage types. Though, most common in India, is the what we see – grand, public affairs, with neighbours, friends, relatives and family – announcing voluntary, long-term ‘consent’.

These laws, squarely and roundly, belong to the Desert Bloc. These laws deviate from Bharattantra by restricting kaam, desire, which is one of the four essential freedoms, called purushaarth in Indic systems. Loaded with an agenda – aimed to make India into a regressive society that discourages ‘relationship-building’.

China’s reality – Solitary Sex

Posted in America, Business, China, Current Affairs, Desert Bloc, Feminist Issues, India, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on February 22, 2012


State engineered sex-deprivation is reality in most of the world – except India and Africa. Official media in China is worried about the consequences of sex-deprivation.

The State and the Church are competing to find newer ways to intervene in the family lives of its citizens. | Cartoonist Jim Morin; in Miami Herald; on February 20, 2012  | Click for larger image.

The State and the Church are competing to find newer ways to intervene in the family lives of its citizens. | Cartoonist Jim Morin; in Miami Herald; on February 20, 2012 | Click for larger image.

What’s measured, is managed

The Chinese State publishes a unique data-set for “public order disturbances” [National statistics by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS)], that cover anything from riots and protests to participation in cults or organised crime, hacking, insulting the national flag, gambling and …

Even sexual orgies.

Now orgies is interesting

Why would the Chinese State measure and manage sexual activity among consenting adults – individual or group? Outlining the issue was a recent post in China’s Economic Observer. It says of China.

Sex is the most neglected of all social issues

Paradoxically, despite the rising anxiety and sense of emptiness among urban men and women, sex is a topic rarely discussed by academics, the public or even the media. “In comparison with poverty, war, disease, racism and starvation, sex is regarded as a trivial subject,” the feminist Gayle Rubin, has pointed out.

It’s demonstrated in the collective, desperate searching for a one night stand. Chinese women still feel severely oppressed by the traditional view that women should not enjoy sex, and should renounce this activity if they become a widow. Li Yinhe quotes a statistic that 26 percent of Chinese women have never experienced an orgasm, a figure which stands around 10 percent in other parts of the world.

So does this mean that we are poised for an extreme and opposite reaction to the virulent sexual oppression of the Cultural Revolution? Li Yinhe says no. Change has happened slowly. The proof is that the average number of sexual partners in China is 1.3 compared to 16 in other parts of the world.

In a recent case, a man who went to an orgy in Nanjing was sentenced to three and a half years of jail time. Hypocrisy is everywhere. Pornography is rife on the Internet, but if you are caught watching it, you face harsh punishment. When corrupt officials are arrested for embezzlement and fraud, it usual turns out they’ve had numerous mistresses. The official is not punished for his sexual exploits, but the lonely worker satisfying his fantasies with online porn is a criminal.

Accoring to Li Yinhe, in the mid 1980s, during a strike-hard campaign, people were shot for opening a sex shop or running a porn site.

In the West, feminists are usually opposed to pornography, which they say turns women into objects. In China, no such subtlety is necessary: pornography is condemned on moral grounds, that’s all.

For Li Yinhe, pornographic films and sex toys are the fruit of people’s imagination and are there to stimulate desire. She sees no harm in them as they are objects not actions. For her the Chinese constitution guarantees the freedom of expression and publication, and that includes the contents of a sex shop.

In a good society, not only are you satisfied with your food, but you are also satisfied with your sex life. This is the sign of an advanced society. It is also classical Confucianism. The Communist Party of China has resolved the problem of providing food; now is the time to let that other human desire be fulfilled. (via Solitary Sex – Economic Observer News- China business, politics, law, and social issues).

Mapping it out

With near universal marriage, combined with a low-degree of State intervention, India (and Indians) don’t understand sex deprivation. Though with the government pushing up the age of consent and marriage, to impossibly high levels, sex-deprivation is reality only for urban Indians in the 16-24 years. However, since sex-deprivation is limited to a short window of time in the lives of Indians, most forget about it – and sex-deprivation has not become a significant social issue.

Africa too, with its unique system of non-marital, consensual sex with multiple partners, does not have a sex-deprivation problem.

In the Desert Bloc

In the West sex-deprivation is evidenced with high output of pornography, and widespread prostitution.

Since data is thin about the 200 million population of the Islāmic Middle East (from Iran to Turkey, from Oman to Saudi Arabia; excl. Egypt) spread over 15 nations, the problem is not visible.

However, like this extract shows, in China it is reality. A reality that the State has engineered – and fostered. For China’s ruling elites, there is no de facto regulation of sexual activity. For all others, there are high levels of restrictions and regulations.

Unlike, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra is the Indic political system that guarantees four freedoms – धर्म (dharma – justice), अर्थ (arth – wealth and means), काम (kaam – human desires) मोक्ष (moksha – liberty) and ensures three rights – ज़र (jar - gold), जन (jan - human ties) and जमीन (jameen – property) for all.

Related articles – By 2ndlook


India – Farmer Suicides

Posted in Current Affairs, India by Anuraag Sanghi on February 19, 2012


Farmer suicides is a leftist straw men argument. The suicide rates in India are amongst the lowest in the world . Since 40% of the country is employed in agriculture , farmers account 40 % of India’s suicides . (via Bharat Rakshak • View topic – PRC Economy – New Reflections : Dec 15 2011.


Table Source – Wikipedia

Rank Country Male Female Total Year
Suicides per 100,000 people per year[2]
1 Lithuania 61.3 10.4 34.1 2009
2 South Korea[3] (more info) 41.4 21.0 31.2 2010
3 Guyana 39.0 13.4 26.4 2006
4 Kazakhstan 43.0 9.4 25.6 2008
5 Belarus[4][5]
6 Hungary[6] 40.0 10.6 24.6 2009
7 Japan (more info)[7] 33.5 14.6 23.8 2011
8 Latvia 40.0 8.2 22.9 2009
9 People’s Republic of China [8](more info)
10 Slovenia 34.6 9.4 21.9 2009
11 Sri Lanka[9]
12 Russia[10]
13 Ukraine 37.8 7.0 21.2 2009
14 Serbia and Montenegro 28.4 11.1 19.5 2006
15 Finland 29.0 10.0 19.3 2009
16 Estonia 20.6 7.3 18.1 2008
17 Switzerland 24.8 11.4 18.0 2007
18 Croatia 28.9 7.5 17.8 2009
19 Belgium[note 1][6] 26.5 9.3 17.6 2009
20 Moldova 30.1 5.6 17.4 2008
21 France 24.7 8.5 16.3 2007
22 Uruguay 26.0 6.3 15.8 2004
23 South Africa[11] 25.3 5.6 15.4 2005
24 Austria 23.8 7.1 15.2 2009
25 Poland 26.4 4.1 14.9 2008
26 Hong Kong 19.0 10.7 14.6 2009
27 Suriname 23.9 4.8 14.4 2005
28 Czech Republic 23.9 4.4 14.0 2009
29 New Zealand[12] 20.3 6.5 13.2 2008
30 Sweden 18.7 6.8 12.7 2008
31 Cuba 19.0 5.5 12.3 2008
32 Bulgaria 18.8 6.2 12.3 2008
33 Romania 21.0 3.5 12.0 2009
34 Norway 17.3 6.5 11.9 2009
35 Denmark 17.5 6.4 11.9 2006
36 Ireland 19.0 4.7 11.8 2009
37 Bosnia and Herzegovina 20.3 3.3 11.8 1991
38 Canada 17.3 5.4 11.3 2004
39 Iceland[13] 17.9 4.5 11.3 2009
40 Chile 18.2 4.2 11.1 2007
41 United States (more info) 19.0 4.9 11.8 2008
42 Trinidad and Tobago 17.9 3.8 10.7 2006
43 India (more info) 13.0 7.8 10.5 2009
44 Singapore 12.9 7.7 10.3 2006
45 Slovakia[6] 19.8 1.9 10.3 2009
46 Australia[14] 14.9 4.5 9.7 2009
47 Germany[6] 15.1 4.4 9.5 2009
48 Kyrgyzstan 14.1 3.6 8.8 2009
49 Turkmenistan 13.8 3.5 8.6 1998
50 Netherlands [6] 12.0 5.0 8.5 2009
51 Republic of Macedonia[6] 12.6 3.9 8.0 2009
52 El Salvador 12.9 3.6 8.0 2008
53 Portugal[6] 13.2 3.4 7.9 2008
54 Zimbabwe 10.6 5.2 7.9 1990
55 Luxembourg[6] 13.2 2.9 7.8 2008
56 Thailand 12.0 3.8 7.8 2002
57 Argentina 12.6 3.0 7.7 2008
58 Spain 11.9 3.4 7.6 2008
59 Puerto Rico 13.2 2.0 7.4 2005
60 Ecuador 10.5 3.6 7.1 2009
61 United Kingdom 10.9 3.0 6.9 2009
62 Mauritius 11.8 1.9 6.8 2008
63 Iran[15] 7.6 5.1 6.4 2001
64 Italy 10.0 2.8 6.3 2007
65 Costa Rica 10.2 1.9 6.1 2009
66 Israel[16] 9.9 2.1 5.8 2007
67 Nicaragua 9.0 2.6 5.8 2006
68 Panama 9.0 1.9 5.5 2008
69 Colombia 7.9 2.0 4.9 2007
70 Brazil 7.7 2.0 4.8 2008
71 Uzbekistan 7.0 2.3 4.7 2005
72 Seychelles 8.9 0.0 4.6 2008
73 Georgia 7.1 1.7 4.3 2009
74 Albania[17] 4.7 3.3 4.0 2003
75 Mexico 6.8 1.3 4.0 2008
76 Turkey[18] 5.36 2.50 3.94 2008
77 Bahrain 4.0 3.5 3.8 2006
78 Belize 6.6 0.7 3.7 2008
79 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 5.4 1.9 3.7 2008
80 Paraguay 5.1 2.0 3.6 2008
81 Cyprus[6] 5.9 1.3 3.6 2009
82 Guatemala 5.6 1.7 3.6 2008
83 Barbados 7.3 0.0 3.5 2006
84 Greece 6.1 1.0 3.5 2009
85 Malta 5.9 1.0 3.4 2008
86 Venezuela 5.3 1.2 3.2 2007
87 Tajikistan 2.9 2.3 2.6 2001
88 Saint Lucia 4.9 0.0 2.4 2005
89 Dominican Republic 3.9 0.7 2.3 2005
90 Philippines 2.5 1.7 2.1 1993
91 Pakistan [19]
92 Armenia 2.8 1.1 1.9 2008
93 Kuwait 1.9 1.7 1.8 2009
94 The Bahamas 1.9 0.6 1.2 2005
95 Jordan 0.0 0.0 1.1 2009
96 Peru 1.1 0.6 0.9 2000
97 São Tomé and Príncipe 0.0 1.8 0.9 1987
98 Azerbaijan 1.0 0.3 0.6 2007
99 Maldives 0.7 0.0 0.3 2005
100 Jamaica 0.3 0.0 0.1 1990
101 Syria 0.2 0.0 0.1 1985
102 Egypt 0.1 0.0 0.1 2009
103 Grenada 0.0 0.0 0.0 2008
104 Honduras 0.0 0.0 0.0 1978
105 Saint Kitts and Nevis 0.0 0.0 0.0 1995
106 Antigua and Barbuda 0.0 0.0 0.0 1995
107 Haiti 0.0 0.0 0.0 2003

Sometimes, disbelief is a good idea

Since India has the largest rural population in the world, farmer suicides in India are also likely to more. Is there is a huge differential between suicides between farmers – and the rest of the country.

A recent UN report states

  • The suicide rate for farmers throughout the world is higher than for the non-farming population.
  • In the Midwest of the U.S. suicide rates among male farmers are twice that of the general population.
  • In Britain farmers are taking their own lives at a rate of one a week.

Free Trade By The Free World

Posted in America, Business, Current Affairs, Desert Bloc, India by Anuraag Sanghi on February 19, 2012

Western agriculture has to answer existential questions. Can the West do without subsidies? And the world must press for an answer.

What troubled FDR now trobles Obama - and the West?  |  Undated cartoon by C.D. Batchelor in the New York News; source - nisk.k12.ny.us  |  Click for larger image.

What troubled FDR now trobles Obama - and the West? | Undated cartoon by C.D. Batchelor in the New York News; source - nisk.k12.ny.us | Click for larger image.

Hunger, starvation and plague

Western Europe has a long history of food insecurity!

Much as it may seem strange, Western Europe either depended on imports – or starved. Food shortages are a historical constant – and the current surplus is an exception.

Before WWI (1914-1918), Russia was the main grain supplier to Europe.  Russia’s grain exports kept cooking fires burning in Europe. After WWII (1939-1945), it was Argentina that supplied Europe with food grain – to Spain at nearly double the open market price, for instance.

The Roman Empire (circa 150 BC-400 AD) depended on Egypt to supply them with grain. The French Revolution (1787-1799) was preceded by bad harvests in 1788. Supposedly, the French Revolution was triggered by the comment, “If they dont have bread, let them eat cake” by the the French Queen, Marie Antoinette. Victor Hugo’s French epic ‘Les Miserables’ (published 1862) starts with a child, Jean Valjean, stealing a loaf of bread.

Since, the land and forests, and all that lived and grew on the land and in the forest – all belonged to the king, it was the royal responsibility to ensure food availability. Friar Tuck, one of Robin Hood’s men in Sherwood forest was persecuted by English nobility for hunting deer in the forest. .

What about those who had no land or food? They could eat cake.

This was picture in Europe.

Starving victor of WWII

What was the situation in Britain – the victor of WWII.

After WWII, potatoes, eggs, milk, cheese, clothes, meat and bacon (fish excluded, petrol included) were all rationed – which finally ended in 1954. A huge bureaucracy and rules created an elaborate rationing system which finally ended 9 years after the end of the WWII – in 1954.

Reduction in Russian agricultural exports after Stalinist collectivization of farms, deprived war-ravaged Europe of a nearby source of agricultural commodities. In the Russia of  1953, one year before rationing ended in Britain, the year of Stalin’s death, grain production was below the level reached in 1913.

Instead, high cost food imports from Argentina were needed. This caused much angst and hand-wringing in the British Parliament. One British MP, Sir Waldron Smithers (Orpington) made a revealing complaint about how it “looks as if the Argentine Government took a nice commission of £49 million at the expense of the British taxpayer”.

The same MP, Sir Waldron Smithers (Orpington), further referred to “an article which appeared in “Wall Street Journal, New York,” published in the “Evening Standard” on 13th March, with the title, “How to make 200 per cent. profit on wheat … The procedure is simple. Buy wheat from the farmers for £11 to £13 a ton—sell it to the bread-hungry British for £34 a ton.” This, according to the MP, was a price that, “tops the peaks of world war I and the Napoleonic wars … They know that Britain is short of food, and they are getting the highest prices they can.

The West has been papering over this problem for the last 100 years.  |  Cartoon by Cargill in the Cortland Standard ; source - nisk.k12.ny.us  |  Click for larger image.

The West has been papering over this problem for the last 100 years. | Cartoon by Cargill in the Cortland Standard ; source - nisk.k12.ny.us | Click for larger image.

Birth of a behemoth

After WWII, with acute food shortage across Europe, with colonies going, situation in Europe was desperate. Enter the Common Agricultural Programme – (CAP).

A Europe-wide agricultural subsidy scheme named Common Agricultural Programme – (CAP) was put in place. British and European farmers increased production as massive subsidies were lined up.

The CAP was instigated against the backdrop of food shortages and rationing after World War II, to stabilise European food markets while giving farmers a steady income and consumers low prices. (from Q&A: Farm funding row).

The CAP scheme was never withdrawn – and what was an emergency scheme, is now a US$70 billion behemoth.

CAP originated as a means to avoid food shortages in Europe following World War II. By the 1990s, payments were linked to production leading to massive stockpiles of rotting agricultural produce; the infamous “mountains of bread” and “lakes of butter”. Subsequent reforms decoupled subsidies from production and linked them instead to land ownership.

Under the current system, farmers are paid, in the main, according to each hectare of land they own. But this leads to the ironic situation in which the largest farmer-holders (like the Queen) get the most subsidies, while poorer, more marginal farmers get the least. There are, moreover, several instances of “farmers” getting paid for doing nothing since they don’t actually grow anything but simply own land. (via Pallavi Aiyar: In EU, farm subsidies remain crisis-proof).

The State blesses the farmer. The imagery is revealing.  |  Cartoon by Halladay in the Providence Journal; source - nisk.k12.ny.us  |  Click for larger image.

The State blesses the farmer. The imagery is revealing. | Cartoon by Halladay in the Providence Journal; source - nisk.k12.ny.us | Click for larger image.

What now!

By 1962, The European Community (EC), started

intervening to buy farm output when the market price fell below an agreed target level. This helped reduce Europe’s reliance on imported food but led before long to over-production, and the creation of “mountains” and “lakes” of surplus food and drink.

The Community also taxed imports and, from the 1970s onward, subsidised agricultural exports. These policies have been damaging for foreign farmers, and made Europe’s food prices some of the highest in the world.

European leaders were alarmed at the high cost of the CAP as early as 1967, but radical reform began only in the 1990s.

In 2010 the budget for direct farm payments (subsidies) and rural development – the twin “pillars” of the CAP – was 58bn euros (£48bn), out of a total EU budget of 123bn euros (that is 47% of the total). In 1970, when food production was heavily subsidised, it accounted for 87% of the budget. Regional aid – known as “cohesion” funds – was the next biggest item in the EU budget, getting 36bn euros.

For the new member states – including Bulgaria and Romania, which joined in 2007 – direct EU payments to farmers are being phased in gradually.

The eastward enlargement increased the EU’s agricultural land by 40% and added seven million farmers to the existing six million. (via BBC News – Q&A: Reform of EU farm policy).

Even as European banking system and State-financing is on the edge, Europe is being forced to work out CAP reforms.

The current CAP regime will end in 2013 and “reforms” of the system are, thus, being worked out for the 2014-2020 period. According to the European Commission’s draft proposals, the CAP budget for the seven-year period would be some 400 billion euro (an amount enough to make the region’s bank recapitalisation needs disappear).

Payments will also be capped at 300,000 euro with progressive levies being charged on subsidies over 150,000 euro.(via Pallavi Aiyar: In EU, farm subsidies remain crisis-proof).

These huge subsidies cause illogical distortions across the world – especially the Third World. Starting with the fact that

the annual income of an EU dairy cow exceeds that of half the world’s human population.

Another problem is that the subsidies cause overproduction.

The EU cannot use all its agricultural products, so it sells them cheaply to the third world. This undercuts local farmers, who cannot compete with the heavily-subsidised imports, and so distorts the market (though the EU is not alone in this, as the US also dumps subsidised agricultural products on developing markets).(via The EU common agricultural policy | World news | guardian.co.uk).

Image source & courtesy - news.bbcimg.co.uk  |  Click for larger source image.

Image source & courtesy - news.bbcimg.co.uk | Click for larger source image.

All this encourages intensive farming. More fertilizer, more pesticides, more hormones, more stimulators – which finally end up in the environment.

And inside human systems.

Earlier, CAP subsidies made it profitable to use practices that are

environmentally damaging intensive farming. Its commitment to guarantee prices makes it economically worthwhile to use all available land, with the aid of chemicals, to grow more crops than are demanded by consumers.(via The EU common agricultural policy | World news | guardian.co.uk).

Most of the money, to the few

Faced with the overproduction critique, the CAP system was modified on American lines. Same results. The CAP system in Europe, in the aftermath of WWII,

was set up 50 years ago when food supplies were uncertain and nearly 20% of the population worked on the land. Today, just 5.4% of EU’s population works on farms, and the sector is responsible for just 1.6% of the economy. Moreover, the subsidy system distorts markets, encourages farms to get bigger, does little for the environment and forces small farmers off the land. The result is that the subsidies are grabbed by fewer and fewer richer and richer people.(via CAP provides another bumper payout for landowners | John Vidal | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk).

‘Real’ farmers responsible for most of EU’s agricultural farm-output, however get the least amount of subsidy.

Gail Soutar of Britain’s National Farmers Union also said it was important to direct support to “active farmers… who are producing a crop or a litre of milk, we don’t want support to go to people who are no longer producing… sofa farmers”. (via BBC News – EU plans CAP reforms for ‘greener’ farm subsidies).

Instead, the opposite happened.

CAP has become badly unbalanced, with 70% of its funds going to only 20% of Europe’s farms – predominantly the largest – and leaves nearly three-quarters of EU farmers surviving on less than £5,000 a year. Small farmers account for about 40% of EU farms, but receive only 8% of available subsidies from Brussels. According to British government figures, five UK farms receive more than £1m a year in subsidies.(via The EU common agricultural policy | World news | guardian.co.uk).

Yes! Western farms are in perpetual need of subsidy | Cartoon by Ding in the South Bend News Times; source - nisk.k12.ny.us | Click for larger image.

Yes! Western farms are in perpetual need of subsidy | Cartoon by Ding in the South Bend News Times; source - nisk.k12.ny.us | Click for larger image.

It is not surprising that release of information was being blocked by the ‘few’ beneficiaries. After prolonged activism, and much pressure, in 2009, the EU authorities directed the releaseof data of subsidy beneficiaries.

Jack Thurston, a founder of Farmsubsidy.org, said that for the first time this year the EU’s 27 governments have provided varying degrees of information on the beneficiaries of farm cash payments.

He is critical of the European Commission of failing to compile complicated and patchy data to give the public a clearer picture of how money is spent.

“The idea of publishing is that European people can have the information so debate about CAP and how it spends money is well-informed,” he said. (via EU farm subsidies paid to big business – Telegraph).

Various governments in the EU, used different methods to make it difficult to extract and analyze data. Some dispersed data, others limited data to 500 records at any one time. ‘Activistas’ used ‘web scrapers’ with some software code to comb the data and make reports.

With all this information in the public domain, it soon became embarrassing for subsidy recipients. Two German farmers approached European Court for ‘justice’. The Court ruled in 2011, that member Governments can with-hold information on subsidy payout.

The UK Government quickly decided to

grant anonymity to all farmers who receive EU farming subsidies, a Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said that it was not possible to reveal details of any individual farmers because this would breach their privacy. All details identifying large industrial farming concerns and individual farmers have been removed from Government websites. Ministers say this follows a directive from Brussels which requires all EU member states to comply with a judgment from the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Plans for the publication of a list of the individuals who have benefited from the EU subsidy last year, which was due to be released at the end of April, have now been halted.

Ministers argue that they are following advice from Brussels, but freedom of information campaigners claim they have deliberately taken draconian steps to protect rich farmers from public scrutiny.

Freedom of information campaigners argue that the Government has over-reacted to the ruling because the judgment bans the identification of private individuals but not the naming of industrial farming enterprises, which include large agricultural concerns such as the Englefield Estate.

The decision represents a reversal of an important freedom of information victory in 2005 when the Government was ordered to release the names and payouts of all those benefiting from the subsidies. (via Wealthy minister earns £2m in EU farm subsidies his department tried to cover up | Mail Online).

Who gets the money?

Under the ‘reformed’ CAP system, subsidies are paid according to the size of lands: the greater the area, the more the subsidy. This leads to some curious situations.

According to Kevin Cahill, author of Who Owns Britain, 69% of the land here is owned by 0.6% of the population. It is this group that takes the major payouts. The entire budget, according to the government’s database, is shared between just 16,000 people or businesses.

As chairman of Northern Rock, Matt Ridley oversaw the first run on a British bank since 1878, and helped precipitate the economic crisis that has impoverished so many. This champion of free market economics and his family received £205,000 from the taxpayer last year for owning their appropriately named Blagdon estate. That falls a little shy of the public beneficence extended to Prince Bandar, the Saudi Arabian fixer at the centre of the Al-Yamamah corruption scandal. In 2007 the Guardian discovered that he had received a payment of up to £1bn from the weapons manufacturer BAE. He used his hard-earned wealth to buy the Glympton estate in Oxfordshire. For this public service we pay him £270,000 a year. Much obliged to you guv’nor, I’m sure.

But it’s the true captains of British enterprise – the aristocrats and the utility companies, equally deserving of their good fortune – who really clean up. The Duke of Devonshire gets £390,000, the Duke of Buccleuch £405,000, the Earl of Plymouth £560,000, the Earl of Moray £770,000, the Duke of Westminster £820,000. The Vestey family takes £1.2m. You’ll be pleased to hear that the previous owner of their Thurlow estate – Edmund Vestey, who died in 2008 – managed his tax affairs so efficiently that in one year his businesses paid just £10. Asked to comment on his contribution to the public good, he explained: “We’re all tax dodgers, aren’t we?”

As for the biggest beneficiary, it is shrouded in mystery. It’s a company based in France called Syral UK Ltd. Its website describes it as a producer of industrial starch, alcohol and proteins, but says nothing about owning or farming any land. Yet it receives £18.7m from the taxpayer. It has not yet answered my questions about how this has happened, but my guess is that the money might take the form of export subsidies: the kind of payments that have done so much to damage the livelihoods of poor farmers in the developing world.

The British government has also demanded that the EC drop the only sensible proposal in the draft now being negotiated by member states: that there should be a limit to the amount a landowner can receive. Our government warns that capping the payments “would impede consolidation” of landholdings.

It seems that 0.6% of the population owning 69% of the land isn’t inequitable enough. (via We’re all paying for Europe’s gift to our aristocrats and utility companies | George Monbiot | The Guardian)

These few cases apart, further analysis by various ‘activistas’ has thrown up more reasons why the system is broken. One group that is in the forefront of this reform, is Farmsubsidy.org that

collated the EU figures which identify where the €55bn common agricultural policy (CAP) subsidies went in 2009. No big surprises there, with five giant European sugar companies netting €500m between them, a few dairy companies making tens of millions each and the top 1,200 landowners and companies on the continent receiving more than €5bn between them.

Last year, the number of farmers and food companies who received individual payments of more than €1m increased by more than 20%. Britain had 32 organisations and individuals each getting more than €1m.

The biggest handout will probably to the Co-op group, which manages 16 large farming estates and is now Britain’s largest farmer. Up near the top of the list, though, are the Dukes of Westminster and Marlborough, the former Lord Vestey’s family, the Queen, and very many hereditary landowners.

The vast majority of farmers get under €5,000 and bust a gut to survive, but in a time of recession and belt-tightening these subsidies to the richest look grotesque. That €55bn (goes to the) top 10% of big landowners, the people in least need, paying them to do little more than own land.

France and Germany, have more subsidy billionaires than any other country. (via CAP provides another bumper payout for landowners | John Vidal | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk)

Image source & courtesy - news.bbcimg.co.uk  |  Click for larger source image.

Image source & courtesy - news.bbcimg.co.uk | Click for larger source image.

For instance, Prince Charles, owner of Sandringham Farms received €3,309,318, subsidy for growing durum wheat.

Ligabue, an Italian caterer, serving luxury cruise ships and airlines, received 148,000 euros of export subsidies in 2008 for the dairy and creamer sachets consumed by international travellers.

The subsidies have included payments to Haribo, the sweet manufacturer, and Coca-Cola. Haribo qualified for 332,000 euros in farming subsidies for the sugar used in its “gummy bears” produced in Germany.

In France, the EU country that benefits the most from farm subsidies, over 103 million euros every year boosts the profits of sugar manufacturers – companies that do not own any farms.

Groupe Doux, a French chicken processor, raises no poultry itself but pocketed 62.8 million euros.

In Britain, Tate & Lyle Europe benefited from the taxpayer to the tune of 134 million euros in 2007.

Arids Roma, a Spanish construction company, received 1.59 million euros for road-making materials under EU rural development budgets that are a growing part of the CAP.

Another Spanish construction company, Pasquina, also benefited for EU farm cash, getting1.13 million euros for an asphalt factory. (via EU farm subsidies paid to big business – Telegraph).

The new, ‘reformed-again’ CAP system links payment of subsidy to ‘environment protection. This proposal raises an important question.

Should land-users get paid not to do, what they should not do in the first place – anyway.

The rest of us don’t get paid for not mugging old ladies. Why should farmers be paid for not trashing the biosphere? Why should they not be legally bound to protect it, as other businesses are?

We may reach this stage sooner than you think.  |  Cartoon by Mark Knight; on 7/8/09; cartoon source and courtesy - thepunch.com.  |  Click for a larger image.

We may reach this stage sooner than you think. | Cartoon by Mark Knight; on 7/8/09; cartoon source and courtesy - thepunch.com. | Click for a larger image.

What about the US of A?

Today, an ‘efficient’ and ‘hi-tech’ agricultural farm sector in the US needs more than US$ 15-20 billion (estimates vary) of subsidies to survive.

The US-EPA says, “By 1997, a mere 46,000 of the two million farms in this country (America), accounted for 50% of sales of agricultural products (USDA, 1997 Census of Agriculture data)- and gobble up most of this huge subsidy that lowers Third World agricultural prices.

EU ‘reformers’ are talking about a 10%-25% cut in ‘real’ terms, between 2014-2020.

Reality.

CAP spending will increase by about €15 billion overall in 2014-2020 period. Who is paying the price for this?

More than anyone else, the poor of this world.

Aid agencies say these subsidies make it impossible for poorer countries to compete, and health groups argue that they make industrial fats and sugars artificially cheap for junk food production. (via CAP provides another bumper payout for landowners | John Vidal | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk).

Trade campaigners have expressed concern at the impact on poor countries. “The biggest problem is that subsidies keep prices artificially low, mainly for grain traders, so developing country farmers cannot compete,” said Ruth Bergan, co-ordinator from the Trade Justice Movement.

Research cited by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) shows that African and Latin American countries are particularly affected by the CAP. A study last year from the University of Lausanne argued that the world as a whole would gain from the removal of the “most distortive CAP instruments, with Europe being the main beneficiary”.

“The reallocation of resources within the economies across the world and corresponding terms of trade effects would increase world economic GDP and welfare by nearly €33bn – the European border protection (various import duties) elimination being the key contributing element,” said the study. (via EU agriculture policy ‘still hurting farmers in developing countries’ | Mark Tran | Global development | guardian.co.uk).

These lower agricultural prices devastate agriculture in Third World countries, creating man-made famines. These man-made famines, of course, gives the West a false sense of superiority.

What is the way out of this?

EU proposes

to cap payments at €300,000 ($409,170) a year for each farm, which would save €2.5 billion a year on direct subsidies. (via EU Proposes Cap on Farm Subsidies – WSJ.com).

Theoretically, this will save some subsidy – but there is a simple loop-hole. Large farms, now under single-management, could easily be ‘de-merged’ and broken into smaller units – to stay under the €300,000 limit. A large enough limit which will not inconvenience the millionaire club – and satisfy all the ‘activistas’, and keep them quiet for 5-7 years.

One of the biggest subsidies was $223 million, given to the French sugar conglomerate Tereos, one of whose subsidiaries produces rum on France’s Indian Ocean territory of Réunion. France’s Saint Louis Sucre also received multimillion-dollar subsidies and the British sugar giant Tate & Lyle received hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Last year, more than 1,200 of the recipients received more than $1 million each — a sharp increase from the approximately 900 such recipients in 2008. “The bigger you are, the more subsidies you get,” says Jack Thurston, co-founder of FarmSubsidy.org. “It is the reverse of what you think a subsidy is.” (via E.U. Farm Subsidies: Agriculture Benefits Raise Eyebrows – TIME).

This will jolt you upright

There have been other aspects to the Western model of farming.

Take swine flu — now renamed. We know it started in La Gloria, a little town in Mexico. We know a young boy suffering from fever in March became the first confirmed victim of the current outbreak, which, even as I write, has reached India. What is not said is this ill-fated town is right next to one of Mexico’s biggest hog factories, owned by the world’s largest pig processor, Smithfield Foods. What is also not said is that people in this town have repeatedly protested against the food giant for water pollution, terrible stench and waste dumping. (via Sunita Narain: The real pandemic).

There were two things about this post which made me sit up.

One – The real story behind the ‘probable’ pandemic. This is something that most mainstream media writers do not tell. Take official Government press releases, (sometimes) change the language and call it news. Sometimes, they help in the cover up. If this story does not become well-known enough, Mexico and its poor will be blamed for the starting this pandemic – by the West.

Two – the fragile state of US agriculture, specifically, and the West in general.

The other two complications are the buying and selling corporations.

Beasts of Debt & Equity

These giant corporations are aiming for entry into India – promising ‘efficiencies’ in buying (which will give consumers a better price), and higher prices for farmers (which will increase farm incomes). Of course, this will last as long as there is competition. Once, these giant corporations, fueled by huge amounts of debt and equity, drive out competition, they will lower the boom on the consumers and the farmer – like in the EU and USA.

Giant food corporations, killed buying competition with high prices (to farmers), direct buying from farmers (at higher prices), monoclonal seeds that destroy bio-diversity. And the US consumers are not getting the lower food prices that are being promised in India.

And paid hacks of these Western corporations are trying to tell Indian consumers and policy makers that these giant corporations will cut the costs of food In India.

Raj Patel, in his book, Stuffed and Starved, demonstrates how global food corporations are behind global food habits, imbalance traditional diets, creating disease epidemics (like diabetes) – and how India needs to be careful before crafting industrial policies that encourage these global corporations to destroy Indian agriculture. A book review extracts some key points as follows,

What we think are our choices, says Patel, are really the choices of giant food production companies. Millions of farmers grow food, six billion people consume it. But in between them are a handful of corporations creating what Patel calls “an hourglass” model of food distribution. One Unilever controls more than 90% of the tea market. Six companies control 70% of the wheat trade. Meanwhile, farmers across the world are pitted against each other, trying to sell these gatekeeper companies their produce. And if you think the consumer comes out on top because of all this competition, think again.

As the Europe & US play out a charade of negotiations, it is Africa and Asia which is suffering from food shortages.  |  Cartoon by Peter Nicholson; on July 5, 2005; source and courtesy - nicholsoncartoons.com  |  Click for larger image.

As the Europe & US play out a charade of negotiations, it is Africa and Asia which is suffering from food shortages. | Cartoon by Peter Nicholson; on July 5, 2005; source and courtesy - nicholsoncartoons.com | Click for larger image.

Which way the wind blows

Will EU abolish their agricultural subsidies?

Different observers are reading this differently. A recent commentary thinks that in Europe, the

one constituency that remains politically off-limits is the continent’s powerful farmers. Although agriculture contributes only 1.8 per cent of the European Union’s (EU’s) GDP, Brussels is currently firming up plans to continue to spend hundreds of billions of euros on trade-distorting farm subsidies called the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

“Throughout CAP’s many reforms and the latest proposals are no exception, the structure of the regime might have changed but the allocations remain the same,” says Jack Thurston, an agricultural policy analyst and co-founder of the website Farmsubsidy.

But when it comes to farmers, it’s a “heads you lose, tails I win” situation, according to Thurston. “In Europe if agriculture is doing well as a sector then it’s argued that it needs support all the more to ensure its continued success. And of course if it’s not doing well, then it needs state support to help it do better,” he says. (via Pallavi Aiyar: In EU, farm subsidies remain crisis-proof).

Nearly three years ago, in July 2009, when G20 talks were headlines, and The Great Recession had started in earnest,

Leaders of five developing countries — India, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa — who also met for summit level talks here had separately, called for expediting a global trade agreement that would stimulate the world economy.

But for this to happen, they wanted developed nations to end trade-distorting subsidies and export sops. The G-8 declaration, however, promised only to refrain from taking decisions to increase tariffs above today’s levels.

“We will refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new exports restrictions or implementing World Trade Organisation’s inconsistent measures to stimulate exports.”

Leaders of the world’s eight most rich countries, in the same breath, vowed to keep markets open and free and to reject protectionism of any kind. “In difficult times we must avoid past mistakes of protectionist policies, especially given the strong decline in world trade following the economic crisis,” the declaration said. (via G8 refuses to cut export subsidies).

3 months ago, or three years ago, the direction seems to be pro-subsidy. If not abolish, how strong is the will and consensus on reforms?

Europe’s deep current economic crisis could be jolting officials into considering ways to overhaul subsidies. After all, with their huge debts, most E.U. governments are strapped for money. A formal E.U. reassessment of agricultural subsidies is due in 2013, but Europe’s slow crawl out of recession could pressure leaders to rethink the system before then. “The economic crisis will have a strong impact,” says Valentin Zahrnt, a research associate at the European Center for International Political Economy in Brussels. “With the budget crisis, governments are happy to save on subsidies.” (via E.U. Farm Subsidies: Agriculture Benefits Raise Eyebrows – TIME).

In the end, net, net, what is most probably likely to happen?

Right question … gets the correct answer

Central to this question is another question.

Can the farmer in EU and USA stand on his two own legs? Without State support?

The EU’s biggest farm lobby, Copa, said the commission’s plan would steer Europeans away from farming. “Many young farmers are not willing to take over the farm and older farmers are leaving the sector in view of the drastic economic situation,” said Gerd Sonnleitner, the lobby’s president.

Pekka Pesonen, the organization’s secretary-general, said the rules will make farmers more reliant on handouts from Brussels, which he estimates already account for as much as 70% of farmers’ incomes. “If you cut off the competitive edge of the agricultural sector it will affect the lives of the 28 million people who depend on European agriculture,” he said. (via EU Proposes Cap on Farm Subsidies – WSJ.com).

West is already one huge public-sector economy already. This will only become pronounced and more extreme. If something like that is possible.

What if …

What is the one reality in the entire CAP debate that must be confronted.

The West will go hungry, without subsidies.

Over the next 20-30 years, this leaves India (with China, Brazil and Russia) to cater to global food shortfalls. The Western industrial model is in its sunset phase. The Indian agricultural model can be the big winner in the next few decades – under the right stewardship.

Indian agriculture has a great future – and you ignore it at your own risk! On the other hand, industrial over-production, debt-financed over-consumption, American economic model, funded in the past by Bretton Woods /Petro-dollars /Sino-dollars, is about to end. And that is the reason why the West (America and Europe) will not lower barriers – or subsidies.

If you thought software was a big success, watch out for the Indian farmer!

What happens to Indian the farmer

Is there a business opportunity in here? Somewhere …

One part of the Rothschild family seems to think so.

China has 60 percent of the arable land of India, but it’s 40 percent more productive because of technology. That India is the largest producer of fruits, No. 1 in the world, No. 2 in vegetables, and has only 1 percent of the export market. So, those are all really big factors that we know how to fix. You fix them with technology on the ground, with cold storage and infrastructure on the ground. And if the retail sector isn’t ready to buy higher-quality fruit and vegetables, which I always thought they would be-but three years ago, it was less obvious than now-you could export them and be the lowest-cost exporter. (via An interview with Lady de Rothschild – Executives Column – Lloyd Grove – World According to … – Portfolio.com).

Most interesting!

The ‘backward’ Indian farmer working without subsidies, with low technology, lower productivity has a cost edge over his European an American counterparts? Between the US and the EU, Western farmers get a subsidy of US$100 billion – and yet they cannot compete with Indian farmers?

How well did this idea go down the European throats? Not too well … going by this reaction.

Even with the transportation and duty costs, the Indian fruit and vegetables are likely to bankrupt the European and Japanese farmers. In Europe, most of these farmers are heavily indebted as the EU paranoid sanitary norms as well as the packaging requirements of the supermarkets have forced them to invest in expensive machinery and infrastructures.

When the Indian fruits and vegetables arrive in Europe, most of these indebted farmer families will have to say goodby to their farms which will be confiscated by the banks. Many of the still remaining independent European farmers are producing fruit and vegetables since the independent livestock and wheat farmers have already been decimated by the “market economy” making profitable only the giant exploitations in these sectors. (via Rothschilds Move To Bankrupt European Farmers « Aftermath News).

How paranoid can the Europeans get?

When it suits them they can talk, from one side of their mouth, about free market – and at other times they get suspicious about small farmers from India.

The Western model of heavy urbanization and small numbers of people in the farming sector, has its admirers in India, too.

Twisted data

India’s top 20 cities account for just 10 per cent of the country’s population, but this population earns more than 30 per cent of the country’s income, spends 21 per cent and, so, accounts for just under 60 per cent of the surplus income. The next lot of cities account for 20 per cent of population, 13 per cent of income and under eight per cent of surplus income or savings. Rural areas account for 70 per cent of population, 64 per cent of expenditure and just a third of the country’s surplus income. It’s obvious then that India’s savings can grow only as the country’s urbanisation rises. Given this, the promise of creating more urban centres would be a more effective tool in getting votes from rural India. (via Rajesh Shukla: Why India’s top cities matter).

How about also pointing out, Mr.Shukla, that urban India hogs all the infrastructure investments? Or that traditional banking (in the form of money lenders) has been done to death in the rural areas – and ‘modern’ urban banks do not go the countryside. Or that the traditional health infrastructure has been demolished in rural areas – and urban areas are getting all the investments. Or that credit growth in the rural areas has been choked for nearly 80 years now – and the Indian farmer competes with the Western farmer, without the US$100 billion dollar subsidy.

Not seen is also the fact that rural India, largely a user of Indian languages, is excluded from higher education, which is transmitted in English? Has it occurred to anyone that this exclusion of India’s rural population from higher education could be the reason for the stagnation in rural areas?

Indian economic model

There is something interesting in the state of Gujarat.

Gujarat is a drought-prone state, with an irrigation cover of just 36% of gross cropped area. Increased water supply from Sardar Sarovar project, higher investments in check-dams and watersheds (as of June 2007, a total of 2, 97,527 check dams, boribunds and Khet Talavadi (farm ponds) had been constructed by the state in cooperation with NGOs and the private sector), and of course, good rainfall for the past few years has helped propel growth. (via Emulate Gujarat’s agricultural success- Policy-Opinion-The Economic Times).

While we have Westernized ‘experts’ saying that Indian agriculture is a dead end - and promoting a line of ‘there is no option apart from mega projects’, we have here in Gujarat the real solution to agriculture and water management. The Gujarat solution, which has been India’s way of managing water. Effectively, at a low cost, under the control of the people who use it and need it.

Indian agriculture has a bright future – these ‘experts’ notwithstanding.

The End of Bretton Woods

With the collapse of Bretton Woods, Western subsidy-based regime will become increasingly difficult.

September’s World Trade Organisation talks at Cancun, Mexico, where the EU is expected to come under fire for its lavish farm subsidies. EU has been accused of attempting to divide opposition in the developing world to the CAP in the hope that this will allow it to get minimal reforms through the WTO.(via The EU common agricultural policy | World news | guardian.co.uk).

Where will Western agriculture be without subsidies – in a massively high costs zone. Western food production and exports will shrivel and global agricultural prices will reach (at least) 200 year highs (my estimate).

And that will be the golden hour for Indian agriculture.

What is the only dark cloud in this scenario – GM seeds which the West is pushing down the reluctant Indian agriculturists’ throat. With significant help from the Indian Government.


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