2ndlook

Can Pakistan let go

Posted in America, India, Indo Pak Relations, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 27, 2012

Pakistan is unable to deal with the loss of Bangladesh; it cannot let go of India – and Kashmir. Sometimes, to keep what you have, you have to let go.

December 16, 1971: Pakistan's Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, right, signs instrument of surrender with Indian Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora. With nearly 100,000 lakh POWs, it is ther biggest surrender in 20th century.  |  Source, courtesy & more: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1844754,00.html#ixzz1qGDC4WLj  |  Click for image.

December 16, 1971: Pakistan's Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, right, signs instrument of surrender with Indian Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora. With nearly 100,000 lakh POWs, it is ther biggest surrender in 20th century. | Source, courtesy & more: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1844754,00.html#ixzz1qGDC4WLj | Click for image.

Get up … and get on

To most Indians, the modern India is what India ever was. The loss of Pakistan to Partition evokes little emotion today among most Indians.

But for Pakistan, the loss of Bangla-Desh is still a painful wound – and evokes strong emotions. Based on second-hand reports, it seems that this pain in Pakistan is more about the defeat at the hands of India. More than any repentance for the horrors visited on Bangla-Deshis or the loss of Bangla-Desh.

Forty years on, Pakistan has still not been able to objectively look at the Bagladesh experience. In contrast, the Indian response to the 1962 experience with China is dealt with threadbare every few years.

In modern India this victory in Bangla Desh is forgotten victory. Even way back then in 1972, immediately after the victory, the full magnitude of the victory never quite sank into minds of most Indians.

Mired that they were in economic problems of their own.

Slough of despond

Forty years after the loss of Bangla-Desh, the Pakistani narrative does not recognize that Pakistan has few friends. Read this edited account by a Pakistani military official, stationed in Bangla-Desh during that key period.

If I am asked who to blame for the debacle I would say that we were all – from the common man in the street to the highest person in the office, equally responsible for it. The common man for committing the sin of keeping himself ignorant of the under currents simmering there ever since that fateful 19th day of March 1948 when Quaid raising his admonishing finger to the Bengali students at the Dacca University convocation had warned them that Urdu will be the only official state language of Pakistan, and not trying to assess the anguish caused to the Bengalis and take measures to bring any rapprochement.

Unfortunately we all treated East Pakistan as a colony and never granted them their justly deserved status of being the major human organ of Pakistan’s body – 54 percent of the population. As power barons of the Federal government mostly hailed from West Pakistan they never shared the power willingly or happily with their Bengali brethren.

Imagine, the Bengalis though in majority going jubilant in 1956 when Suhrawardy got them ‘parity’ (equal treatment) with the West Pakistanis! Ever heard of a majority people thanking obligingly the minority people for treating them equal?! We did it again in 1971. The minority pronouncing the majority unpatriotic, traitor and secessionist! Minority forcing the majority to leave the country whose foundations they had laid in 1906! Not only, that the Bengalis were treated as unequals, but it is also a fact that they were the major revenue earner for Pakistan, mainly through the export of their Golden Fibre to Manchester and Dundee jute mills in the UK. They bore the major financial burden of Pakistan and happily too for more than 15 years and until 1962 the cash flow was from East Pakistan to West Pakistan.

Thereafter, after an equilibrium of about two years the process revers ed but not that heavily. Bengalis had, therefore, every reason to be chary of and chagrin with the sala Punzabis. (every West Pakistani was a Punjabi to them).

Though the Bengalis proved themselves to be equally, if not more, patriotic than the West Pakistanis during the 65 war with India, yet the state of mutual confidence between the two left more to be desired. By 1971 the relations deteriorated further and irreversibly. The last straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was Bhutto’s rejection of 1970 election results which had given Shaikh Mujib ur Rehman’s Awami League a clear cut majority to form the government at the centre.

ZAB’s one after the other statements like “we will break the legs of anyone going to Dacca to attend the NA session there”, “Udhar tum idhar hum” and “I would rather be a top dog of half of Pakistan than be an underdog of full Pakistan” left little doubt in the minds of Mujib and company who opted for the Civil Disobedience in the province. Their provincial autonomy stance kept becoming harder by the day and all negotiations between them and the West Pakistani leaders and the Federal government led by Gen.Yahya himself failed. The civil disobedience had transformed itself into an outright mutiny and to quell it the army struck on the night of 25th March 1971, starting an internecine guerrilla war between the military and Mukti Bahini lasting for 8 long months. On 21st November 1971 – Eid Day – the Indians launched a fully fledged armed attack on East Pakistan which lasted for 26 days of intense fighting by the Pakistan army under extremely adverse conditions

India had stopped the over flights since February 70 after the clever and clandestine planting of Ganga episode

the only squadron of the F-86s that we had could not operate as the runway of the only military airport Kurmi Tola had been rendered out of operation by the Indians bombing it incessantly.

In the second half of the year 1971 those in power – both civil and military – seemed to be suffering from a stupor and behaving like silent spectators waiting helplessly for the catastrophe to fall. I distinctly remember Major General A Rahim Khan – later Secretary General Defence, while addressing a batch of newly posted two dozen Lt Cols and Majors to East Pakistan saying on or around 11 July 1971 “Gentlemen, the entire administration of the province had collapsed. I have made it stand but only on its knees. Now it will be for you to make it stand and stand it erect.” Having said that the General went on to add, “I have given my word to the Chief (Gen. Yahya) to give me three months for the task, and if I cannot do it, he can — (I murmured under my lip, hang me!) he can – replace me”.

I was shocked that the general had equated the stakes simply to his being replaced!

On another occasion Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi – alias Tiger Niazi – the GOC Eastern Command as late as in October 71, before the start of a special briefing to the visiting high powered army team from the GHQ on the latest military situation in East Pakistan, advised his senior staff officers not to depress the visiting generals from the GHQ by giving them the dismal military picture of East Pakistan or ask them for more troops. He quipped, “gentlemen, if they send us more troops – more the merrier, but if they don’t – lesser the better”.

With the result that the operational military map on the board showed more of ‘Green’ pins all over the area than the ‘Red’ pins depicting the area under Mukti Bahini control. Whereas the map should have been clustered with the Red pins. The GHQ team returned satisfied about all being hunky-dory in East Pakistan. Similar ‘Sab Achha’ reports kept ema nating from various sectors and parts of East Pakistan to West Pakistan, till the water passed over the head.

Handling of the East Pakistan issue at the International level, too, was a fiasco on our part. Not that we did not mobilise any world opinion in our favour, we on the contrary rather alienated them mostly. On the other hand Indira undertook a whirlwind tour of 19 countries in October 1971 propagating the imaginary atrocities against the Bengalis and particularly the Hindus of East Pakistan and yet assuring each one of them that India had no intentions of aggression. Ironically, while she was convincing and canvassing the world powers, her army’s Eastern Command was giving the final touches to the Attack Plan in Fort William at the eastern bank of river Hoogli, Calcutta.

Whereas in our case despite Nixon’s more or less ordering Kissinger to ‘do some thing’ their 7th Fleet just passed by the Bay of Bengal without even radioing the customary courtesy good will message or tooting its horns thrice the Navy style. I am personally witn ess to the Chinese repeated enquiries as to what could they do for us, after we had established am emergency radio link with them? But all that we could get from the stupor struck President’s Secretariat at Rawalpindi was, “Just wait, please”.

Hopes from the sincere Chinese friends were so high that when the Indian para troopers chuted down over Narain Ganj every one waived them jubilantly taking them to be Chinese coming to our aid! (via Fall of Dacca – PakTribune).

At least people in Dhaka did mistake Indians for the Chinese. | Image by Bettmann / now Corbis Liberators Dhaka residents cheer a convoy of Indian troops. | | Source, courtesy & more: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1844754,00.html#ixzz1qGFNwfWA | Click for image.

And Col.Jafri, these people in Dhaka were cheering the Indian troops. There was no confusion there.

If you close your eyes, reality does not quite vanish …


British Raj – The Rewards of Collaboration

Posted in British Raj, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on March 18, 2012

Have we become so forgiving that even ‘collaborators’ with the British Raj are being considered for honor by the Government of India.

The Delhi Durbar of 1911, with King George V and Queen Mary seated upon the dais.  |  Source - Wikipedia

The Delhi Durbar of 1911, with King George V and Queen Mary seated upon the dais. | Source – Wikipedia

Run … you can

In 1911, at the Delhi Durbar, George V announced that the capital of the British Raj would be shifted. Tired of regular killings, assassinations and explosions in Kolkatta, the Raj decided to shift the capital from Kolkatta – to New Delhi.

The very next year, on 23 December 1912, a 17-year old Basanta Kumar Biswas, dressed as a woman, exploded a bomb at Lord Charles Hardinge during the Viceroy’s parade in Delhi.

Cut to today

One hundred years later, the Indian government decided to celebrate the shift of the British Raj capital from Kolkatta to Delhi.

Nine months ago, the Indian Prime-Minister, Manmohan Singh acted on a request by a certain ‘interested’ group for naming a prominent place in New Delhi in memory of Sir Sobha Singh.

The Delhi government proposed to

rename the Capital’s Windsor Place area after Sir Sobha Singh, following a request from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Sobha Singh was a key building contractor in the early to mid 20th Century, and with his father Sujan Singh is credited with landmarks like India Gate and Connaught Place.

Prime Minister Singh wrote to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on June 28, citing a request by a private organisation to rename the area – to mark (Sir Sobha Singh’s) contribution towards building the national capital (and) to mark the 100th anniversary of Delhi being declared the national capital.

The government has since consulted the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) which informed the government that most places and roads in the area have already been named after important people; the only options open were Windsor Place, which falls on the roundabout near Le Meridien Hotel, and South Avenue.

“The places are close to where Sir Sobha Singh’s family lives now, Sujan Singh Park, which is named after his father. We eventually narrowed down on Windsor Place,” the official added.

Sobha Singh and his father Sujan Singh moved to the city as building contractors when the British administration declared Delhi as the national capital, to coincide with the Coronation Durbar that was to be held in December 1911.

The renaming of Windsor Place, however, may not be an easy option, a senior NDMC official said, as the civic agency has in the past rejected proposals to change its name. (via Let’s name Windsor Place after Sir Sobha, PM tells Sheila – Indian Express).

The rehearsal of the state entry: Passing the Jama Masjid from the book 'The historical Record of the Imperial visit to India 1911. Photo: central news agency  | Courtesy - thehindu.com

The rehearsal of the state entry: Passing the Jama Masjid from the book ‘The historical Record of the Imperial visit to India 1911. Photo: central news agencyThe rehearsal of the state entry: Passing the Jama Masjid from the book ‘The historical Record of the Imperial visit to India 1911. Photo: central news agency | Courtesy – thehindu.com

Sir Sobha Singh?

You might ask, who is that.

Sobha Singh’s son explained

You can’t be blamed for not being aware of this because free India’s rulers did nothing to perpetuate their (Sobha Singh’s and his group) memory. Not a single road, bylane or round-about was named after any of them.

Whether the new rulers were from the Congress party or the BJP, they were more concerned with giving credit to their party members than recording the truth. At times it appeared like anti-Sikh communal prejudice. Perish the thought. (via Give the builders of New Delhi their due – Hindustan Times).

The minefield of public memory

This story would have ended with Indian Independence.

But for the fact that Manmohan Singh proposed to honor ‘Sir’ Sobha Singh. That is when the media caught on to this story. A forgotten chapter in Indian history came alive again.

An angry journalist suggested that

the proposed national history mission should visit 7, Race Course Road to tell the Prime Minister the story of the Bhagat Singh trial.

The greatest youth icon of India’s struggle for independence was betrayed by a contractor, Sobha Singh.

In what appears to be false testimony, Sobha Singh identified Bhagat Singh during the trial as the person who threw the bomb down from the visitor’s gallery of the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi. Sobha was not a legislator, nor a journalist, nor an official, and had no business to be there at that very moment.

But this extremely dubious testimony was accepted by the court. And Sobha became the biggest contractor in Delhi and was knighted by the Empire.

Now, Manmohan Singh wants to honour the memory of this man who betrayed the nation’s biggest hero. Singh has asked Sheila Dikshit to rename Windsor Place after Sir Sobha. Hope he doesn’t write to Parkash Singh Badal to get Jalianwala Bagh named after Dyer. (via Teach royals their history : COLUMNS News – India Today).

Some in the media are questioning Manmohan Singh’s ‘integrity’ on this question.

Now we have Sardar Manmohan Singh as prime minister – who sports a light blue turban in honour of ‘Cambridge Blue’ and Sardarji No. 2, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, totally imitates him. Just as Robespierre was the ‘sea green incorruptible’ of the French Revolution, Dr Singh is the ‘light Cambridge Blue incorruptible’ of India in the 21st Century.

Now we have another Sardar, a known toady of the British, being honoured by a government of free India. Does this not leave the ‘light Cambridge Blue incorruptible’ open to a charge of partiality to a particular community, in this case, his own? (via Shadow of British rule seen in every nook of Delhi; text edited for brevity and relevance.).

This Sir Sobha Singh, OBE (1890–1978) is not to be confused with Sir Sobha Singh (1901–1986), a prominent painter whose paintings of the Sikh gurus (and other Punjabi and nationalist) have become famous.

So, who was Sobha Singh – and how was he involved with Bhagat Singh?

Bhagat Singh lives …

The prosecution by British Raj of Bhagat Singh succeeded with evidence from some Indians.

Not that Bhagat Singh ever claimed ‘innocence’.

Sobha Singh was one such collaborator – who simply ‘told the truth’ to the British authorities. Sobha Singh’s son wrote,

Some weeks ago I had written about the builders of New Delhi, naming five of them as the best known. I had complained that not one road or by-lane had been named after any of them. Unknown to me, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit that Windsor Place be named after my father Sobha Singh. This was reported by the media.

It was followed by a storm of protest describing my father as a stooge of the British. I made no protest. But when some papers linked his name with the death sentence passed by the courts, I felt deeply hurt because there is not an iota of truth in the insinuation.

The death sentence on Shahid Bhagat Singh and his companion was passed for the murders of Inspector Saunders and head constable Channan Singh. They had killed the two policemen for having assaulted Lala Lajpat Rai when he was arrested in Lahore. Then they wanted to do something which would give worldwide publicity to India’s freedom movement. They chose to fire shots in the Parliament and then surrender to the police. And so they did. They took their seats in the Visitors’ gallery. So did my father. The debate going on was very boring; so he started reading a newspaper he had brought with him.

His attention was distracted by firing of pistols and explosion of bombs. Others in the visitors’ gallery fled leaving my father and the two revolutionaries. They did not put up any resistance when the police arrested them. My father’s ‘crime’ was to identify the two in court. He told the truth and nothing but the truth. Is telling the truth a crime? (via When telling the truth becomes a crime – Hindustan Times).

Talking of truth, a

noted historian and lawyer – who has various books on freedom struggle and Bhagat Singh to his credit – said the journalist-writer had been unnecessarily attempting to convince people against the facts etched in history. Historian and Bhagat Singh’s relative Waraich contested (this) assertion saying Sobha Singh never spoke the “truth” about the British atrocities.

For not pointing out the unpleasant truth about British atrocities, and wishing to publicly reward this collaboration, Sobha Singh, with his family and relatives, were amply rewarded by the British Raj.

Sobha Singh’s son explains

I had no intention of writing about my father in my own columns. I do so because he has been maligned and implicated in the death sentence passed on Bhagat Singh and Dutt for killing two police officers in Lahore. I repeat, he had nothing to do with these killings. All he did was identify them as the two men who fired pistol shots and hurled bombs in the Parliament when it was in session. However, it does not deter men from maligning him for reasons best known to them. I would like to tell readers what he did for the city in which he spent most of his long life (he lived to be 90) and gave it more than anyone I know. (via Clearing the air on the man who ‘owned’ half the Capital – Hindustan Times).

Built by profiteers from Bhagat Singh's death. Built to perpetuate the memory of the British Raj  |  Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan  |  2010 Dec 29  | The Times Of India Hyderabad  |  Click for image.

Built by profiteers from Bhagat Singh’s death. Built to perpetuate the memory of the British Raj | Cartoonist – Ajit Ninan | 2010 Dec 29 | The Times Of India Hyderabad | Click for image.

In the next less than 20 years, the British rewarded Sobha Singh and his group with prime real estate in New Delhi. The British Raj rained construction contracts in the construction of Lutyen’s New Delhi on this group.

Sobha Singh’s son informs us that Sobha Singh

was the biggest builder of New Delhi and the single largest owner of real estate. It was a pardonable exaggeration when Dilliwalas referred to him as Aadhi Dilli ka Malik – owner of half of Delhi. (via Clearing the air on the man who ‘owned’ half the Capital – Hindustan Times).

This group came to known as aadhi dilli ke maalik. These five sardarjis were derisively called the panj pyaare – as they seemed to get all the contracts from the British Raj.

Sobha Singh’s son explains

It would not be an exaggeration to say that most of New Delhi was built by a coterie of sardar contractors of whom five did the lion’s share of building. In Sikh circles they were known as Panj Pyare – the five beloved after the first five followers of the last Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.

The top five builders were Sobha Singh, Basakha Singh, Ranjit Singh, Mohan Singh and Dharam Singh Sethi. The British gave them due credit by inscribing their names on stone slabs. You can see them in the alcoves of South and North Blocks. The South Block has five names starting with my father, Sobha Singh, the North Block has a list of architects and engineers including my father-in-law, Teja Singh Malik, who was the first Indian head of the Central Public Works Department. The British did more.

Before quitting India, they conferred knighthoods on Teja Singh Malik and Sobha Singh. (via Give the builders of New Delhi their due – Hindustan Times).

Sobha Singh's son running down Bhagat Singh - and his memory in the minds of Indian people. |  From the column: punjabi by nature - COCK-A-DOODLE-DO |  By Khuswant Singh  |  Posted on 8 Aug 2010  |  Accessed on 2012-03-18 15-01-22

Sobha Singh’s son running down Bhagat Singh – and his memory in the minds of Indian people. | From the column: punjabi by nature – COCK-A-DOODLE-DO | By Khuswant Singh | Accessed on 2012-03-18 15-01-22Sobha Singh’s son running down Bhagat Singh – and his memory in the minds of Indian people. | From the column: punjabi by nature – COCK-A-DOODLE-DO | By Khuswant Singh | Posted on 8 Aug 2010 | Accessed on 2012-03-18 15-01-22

Sobha Singh’s family

One of Sobha Singh’s son is Brigadier (Retd) Gurbux Singh.

Another is Saran Singh, I.A.S. (Retd.). Former Secretary to Govt. of India & Chief Secretary, Bihar; an ex. adviser to Governor of Assam.

Sobha Singh’s grandson Rahul Singh, was an ex-editor with the Indian edition of Reader’s Digest.

Saif Ali Khan’s ex-wife, Amrita Singh, an Indian film actress, is the great grand daughter of Sir Sobha Singh – daughter of Shivender Singh and Rukhsana Sultana.

Mohinder Kaur was the daughter of Sir Sobha Singh.

And the son, who has been quoted above, was an ex-editor Illustrated Weekly of India, a press assistant to PM JL Nehru, a supporter of Indira Gandhi and Emergency. He is also a writer of some repute. Mostly as a writer of ‘dirty’ sex-jokes.

Khushwant Singh.


Rahul Singh,

Famous Last Words

Posted in British Raj, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 11, 2012

Many Indians willingly credit the British Raj with the unification of India. This is a claim worth examining – especially in the backdrop of the War of 1857.

Kashmiri Gate was evidence of the heavy fighting between the British army and the Indian defenders. This was a double gateway to Delhi, built in 1835, on the north wall of Delhi, by a British engineer, it suffered from major assault by British forces. Later this became a major draw for British tourists. In 1858, Delhi was besieged by British, and this gate was the scene of the final assault on Delhi by forces under Brigadier John Nicholson. | Image of Kashmiri Gate from Felice Beato photographs. | Source & courtesy - bbc.co.uk. | Click for larger image.

Kashmiri Gate was evidence of the heavy fighting between the British army and the Indian defenders. This was a double gateway to Delhi, built in 1835, on the north wall of Delhi, by a British engineer, it suffered from major assault by British forces. Later this became a major draw for British tourists. In 1858, Delhi was besieged by British, and this gate was the scene of the final assault on Delhi by forces under Brigadier John Nicholson. | Image of Kashmiri Gate from Felice Beato photographs. | Source & courtesy - bbc.co.uk. | Click for larger image.

Divide … or unite?

There is a modern myth, especially among the English-speaking Indian élite, that the British ‘unified’ India.

This is a little strange, because in the next breath, the same people will also claim that the British could rule over India because of divide et impera – divide-and-rule policy of the British.

The Delhi Bank building wrecked during the Anglo-Indian War of 1857. The Delhi Bank, set up in 1847, owned by the Dyce Sombre family in Delhi, had other local businessmen as shareholders, was housed in this stately building. In May 1857, the manager of the bank, one Beresford, was killed by the rebels during the fighting. British forces took back the bank in September. | Image source & courtesy - bbc.co.uk | Click for larger image.

The Delhi Bank building wrecked during the Anglo-Indian War of 1857. The Delhi Bank, set up in 1847, owned by the Dyce Sombre family in Delhi, had other local businessmen as shareholders, was housed in this stately building. In May 1857, the manager of the bank, one Beresford, was killed by the rebels during the fighting. British forces took back the bank in September. | Image source & courtesy - bbc.co.uk | Click for larger image.

So did the British divide-and-rule over India – or did they unify India.

Or were the British able flip around their policy by 180 degrees, on a regular basis?

A simple question that begs asking is ‘why would the British want to unite India.’

If India was a divided lot?

British legacy

Before making this claim, no one is looking at the British record in other parts of the world.

Starting with their own backyard.

More than two centuries after the annexation of Ireland in 1801, Northern Ireland, a small part of Ireland that Britain occupies, has still not been integrated into the UK. Coming to the Middle East, the British worked hard to break up the moderate Islāmic Ottoman Empire – releasing a global wave of fundamentalist Islam. British record in Cyprus, Malaysia has been equally disastrous.

Or the other British creation, Pakistan, broke into two, within 25 years.

Another angle of Bank of Delhi building. The street fights between Indian warriors with the British colonialists.  |  Image source & courtesy - prophotos-ru.livejournal.com  |  Click for larger image.

Another angle of Bank of Delhi building. The street fights between Indian warriors with the British colonialists. | Image source & courtesy - prophotos-ru.livejournal.com | Click for larger image.

None of the above examples have the complications of language, religion, race that India has. So how did British achieve the singular feat of uniting people who speak hundreds of languages and dialects, dress differently, worship differently, into one nation?

Something that they could or would not do in any other part of the world!

Not British, but Gandhiji

There are others who would claim that it was Gandhiji who did this? Although Gandhiji could and did bring many disparate elements together, it could not have happened, without a pre-existing ‘bias’ among Indians.

Much before Gandhiji was even born, soon after the start of the Anglo-Indian War of 1857, (aka The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857), an American journalist wrote on India.

Army movements and transport in circa 1857. Elephants, camels, oxen, horses, mules, hauling cannon, carts, luggage, people over long distances. Pitched battles were fought - and this was no mutiny.  |  Image source and courtesy - bbc.co.uk  |  Click for image.

Army movements and transport in circa 1857. Elephants, camels, oxen, horses, mules, hauling cannon, carts, luggage, people over long distances. Pitched battles were fought - and this was no mutiny. | Image source and courtesy - bbc.co.uk | Click for image.

We are so accustomed to speak of India as if it constituted one country, and were inhabited by homogeneous people, that it is difficult to understand that not even in Europe are nations to be found more unlike to one another than in British India. In Hindostan and the Deccan there are ten different civilized nations, resembling each other no more than Danes resemble Italians, or Spaniards Poles. They differ in moral, physical, and intellectual conditions, — in modes of thought and in modes of life. This is one of the chief causes of England’s supremacy, just as similar state of things not only promoted the conquests of Rome, but facilitated her rule after they had been made. The Emperors ruled over Syrians, Greeks, Egyptians, and other Eastern peoples, with ease, because they had little in common, and could not combine against their conquerors. (via British India by Charles Creighton Hazewell).

This 'picket' fence could not safeguard the 1000-acre estate of Metcalfe against the local people, who stormed the barricade after the war broke out. | Photographer Felice Beato's Image; Source & courtesy - bbc.co.uk | Click for larger image.

This 'picket' fence could not safeguard the 1000-acre estate of Metcalfe against the local people, who stormed the barricade after the war broke out. | Photographer Felice Beato's Image; Source & courtesy - bbc.co.uk | Click for larger image.

Mutiny that lasted for more than a year

One proof of this unity in India was the 1857 War against Colonial England.

Finally, Britain’s new-found wealth from slavery, piracy, loot from the Spanish Empire, coupled with British brutality against Indians defeated the Indians in 1857.

This ‘mutiny’ lasted for nearly two years, had lakhs of soldiers, moving across the Deccan plateau and the Indo-Gangetic plains. The triangular region, measuring across nearly 2000 km (Nagpur to Dhaka to Rawalpindi) had coördinated troop movements, needed huge volumes of arms and armaments, that had to bought.

This war was fought simultaneously on multiple fronts.

How was the spontaneous Sepoy mutiny coördinated across such a huge geography, for so long, with such a huge cost. The fighting, mainly between 10 May 1857 to the capture of Gwalior (20 June 1858), was an expensive affair, and extended to nearly two years.

While the main theater of war was Deccan plateau and the Indo-Gangetic plains, disturbances spread to Burma, Malaysia, Trinidad.

After the blood on the ground dried, after the dead were buried, and the dust settled, the the iron pillar at Mehrauli in Delhi was still standing.  |  Image source & courtesy - Image source & courtesy - prophotos-ru.livejournal.com | Click for larger image.  |  Click for larger image.

After the blood on the ground dried, after the dead were buried, and the dust settled, the iron pillar at Mehrauli in Delhi was still standing. | Image source & courtesy - Image source & courtesy - prophotos-ru.livejournal.com | Click for larger image. | Click for larger image.

Republic of 65 years

65 years ago, when the British could not no longer stay in India, British apart, there were many Indians who predicted that India will break up – and soon.

65 years later, the Indian republic is the only Republican democracy, apart from USA, to have lasted for more than 50 years without a break down. Though smaller countries like Switzerland, Israel, Singapore, can make a similar claim, they do not generate the same challenges to create a historic landmark.

Behind Population Control

Posted in America, China, Desert Bloc, European History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 6, 2012

The price China is paying for accepting ‘free advice’ on population control – which ‘uneducated’ Indians rejected.

US plans for India and China

After WWII (1939-1945), the US initiated the program of population control for India and China. First implemented by USAID, Ford Foundation, Carnegie Endowment, this programme was later handed over to UN, World Bank and IMF. Economic and other aid to China and India, was tied to implementation of the population control agenda.

Within a matter of 15-20 years, population control was rejected by the Indian population – though embraced by India’s English-speaking elites. Family control pressures contributed to the electoral defeat of Indira Gandhi in 1977.

After that, the Indian system lost all motivation to push this program.

Trojan of Population Control

In China, however, the Government and the people implemented the population control dogma very effectively.

After a few decades into the implementation of one-child policy, China is now staring at nightmare.

China had an extreme youth bulge until the 1960s. | Image via Wikipedia

China had an extreme youth bulge until the 1960s. | Image via Wikipedia

Expanding China’s rudimentary pension system to all workers would cost 7 percent of GDP, or $411 billion, rising to 15 percent of GDP by 2050, as the number of pensioners triples, according to Richard Jackson, director of the Global Aging Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The pool of workers able to pay taxes will fall by 233 million to 682 million, UN projections show.

“To experience that level of aging with basically an unfunded retirement safety net is a recipe for serious trouble,” said Stephen Roach, a professor at Yale University and former non-executive chairman for Morgan Stanley in Asia.

Cai at the Carolina Population Center estimates an end to the restrictions would cause the fertility rate to rise only temporarily before falling back to 1.5 within five years. Jackson sees it rising to 1.8 or 1.9, while Wang says there “is no reason to believe it can go up to 2,” the rate a nation needs to prevent its population shrinking.

Japan’s fertility rate is 1.42 while in the U.S. it is 2.08.

Without measures to relax the one-child policy and encourage more children, China’s rate may slump to close to 1 within 20 years, said Cai.

China is “shooting itself in the foot” and should offer incentives to families to have more children, said Wang. In Shanghai the fertility rate was about 0.79 in the year ended October 2010, according to the latest data from the city’s statistics department.

Worse still, the policy (of population control*) led to thousands of aborted fetuses, many of them female because of the importance of male children in Chinese society, causing a gender imbalance. A 2007 study by the State Population and Family Planning Commission said that by 2020 there will be 30 million more men of marriageable age than women, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.A “large group of unhappy, dissatisfied” men, unable to find wives, “is clearly a serious social concern,” said Wang.

Some parents travel to Hong Kong to have a second child in an effort to circumvent the rules, according to hospitals in the city. More than 230,000 babies were born to mainland mothers in Hong Kong in the decade to 2010, according to the city’s Census and Statistics Department.

“The one-child policy is definitely one of the important reasons mothers come to Hong Kong to give birth,” said Cheung Tak Hong, who runs the obstetrics and gynecology department at Hong Kong’s Prince of Wales Hospital. “China’s community, like in most Asian countries, still has deep-rooted values in liking the idea of a bigger family.” (via China’s One-Child Policy Dilemma for Leaders – Businessweek; * marked text, supplied).

English: Population pyramid of China, 2009  |  Image via Wikipedia

English: Population pyramid of China, 2009 | Image via Wikipedia

Tradition and history

Population control in its modern form has been a recurring theme in Western thinking for the last nearly 200 years. It most famous and early proponent was Thomas Malthus (1766-1834). However, relatively speaking, Britain was seen in Europe as more successful at growing its population.

It took the combined weight of French authors like Voltaire, Diderot and Helvetius to increase incidence of marriage in France. Added to this, were the arguments by Montesquieu, that Catholic France suffered due to celibacy, in comparison to Protestant Britain. France in 1920, re-introduced an anti-celibacy surtax to stem decline in French population. And Italy followed soon after in 1926.

Malthus recommended prostitution as a solution to population increase. The number of prostitutes in Europe and the USA, the covert encouragement of pornography are part of Western pattern of showing themselves as champions of ‘freedom’ and ‘individual’ choice. This narrative hides a systemic bias against marriage and cynical on-off ‘tolerance’ towards prostitution.

Maybe even a political motive!

Neo-colonialism in Asia

After WWII, a new kind of colonialism came into existence.

America waged wars in SE Asia to impose its puppets – instead of sending viceroys and governors as rulers. Pax Americana in Asia came at a huge cost of Asian lives.

For instance, after killing 20 lakhs Vietnamese, the American Empire only counts its own 60,000 killed. In Iraq, after 10 lakh dead Iraqis, the US Empire counts, its’ own less than 5000 dead. The wars of Pax Americana were (and are) fought covertly and by unprecedented use of propaganda.

Pax Americana is a new kind of Empire. Covert and by proxy.

How McNamara fought in Vietnam

Managed by Robert McNamara, Americans lost the Vietnam War. McNamara’s unique contribution to the Vietnam War was ‘body count’

he was so impressed by the logic of statistics that he tried to calculate how many deaths it would take to bring North Vietnam to the bargaining table … (later) he wanted to know why his reckoning had been wrong, why the huge casualties that he had helped inflict had failed to break the will of the men in Hanoi …

His ruminations about this began at the Americans’ April meeting in Washington, where he, Cooper and General Vesser agreed that casualties did not seem to weigh heavily with North Vietnam …. “Was there any consideration of the human cost in Hanoi as they made these decisions?” McNamara asked. “Is the loss of life ever a factor?” He noted that while 58,000 Americans had been killed, the most authoritative estimate — in a September 1995 article by General Uoc — put the number of Vietnamese deaths at 3.6 million. “It’s equivalent to 27 million Americans!” McNamara exclaimed.

To explain this to himself, he remembered … There were some people to whom life was not the same as to us, he reasoned as he stood one evening in the hotel lobby. (Ellipsis, bracketed text mine).

McNamara was right.

Only he could have killed an equivalent of 27 million Americans – and still talk about the value of life, with a straight face. For American neo-colonial objectives.

What McNamara learnt in Vietnam

The technology gap is temporary.

Against a determined enemy (like the Viet Cong), the technological edge that America had, was not very useful. Worse, American technological edge, was only temporary.

The experience of the Vietnam War, preyed on McNamara’s mind. The Vietnam War brought home the reality that India and China could raise an army bigger than the entire population of United States.

Against America’s temporary technology superiority, the population superiority that the Indians and the Chinese had, was permanent. India’ subsequent rise in technology (with engineering skills in software, pharma, automobiles, etc.) and the Chinese rise in manufacturing proved some of McNamara’s ‘fears’ true. McNamara’s legendary quantitative skills made him a convert to The Population Crisis propaganda.

The anti-War protests in the US during the 60s, combined with the experience of the British nation, during the Boer War, faced with a shortage of soldiers, is not lost on the West.

Specially, the USA.

Extract from - Gender and power in Britain, 1640-1990  |  By Susan Kingsley Kent - |  Source & courtesy - Google Books |  Accessed on 2012-02-24 15-13-36-1.

Extract from - Gender and power in Britain, 1640-1990 | By Susan Kingsley Kent - | Source & courtesy - Google Books | Accessed on 2012-02-24 15-13-36-1.


Hit me with your best shot

Posted in America, Business, Desert Bloc, History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 5, 2012

Is Ayn Rand the best, that the West can throw? Facing an existential crisis, the West seems clueless.

I wonder why words like karmic, disciple, wise hermit in the mountain type of Indian imagery is used to debunk Ayn Rand.  |  Cartoon source & courtesy - cartoonstock.com; credits embedded.

I wonder why words like karmic, disciple, wise hermit in the mountain type of Indian imagery is used to debunk Ayn Rand. | Cartoon source & courtesy – cartoonstock.com; credits embedded.

Love on Wall Street

Gary Weiss, the Wall Street writer (of the) comprehensive chronicle of Wall Street corruption in 2006 (Wall Street Versus America) charts a bold new course with the release of Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul.

We did some further digging into the money cartel financing this “spontaneous” outpouring of campus and Tea Party interest in Rand, whose work is regularly considered to be mediocre and simpleminded.

Oil billionaire, Charles Koch, has been funneling tens of millions of dollars through his foundation into economic programs at public universities and mandating approval of faculty and curriculum in some instances. It has not been reported that a sweeping partnership in these programs has sprung up between Koch and the southern banking giant, BB&T, the latter corporation mandating that Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged is taught and distributed to students.

An email request to the Charles G. Koch Foundation for information on how this partnership evolved went unanswered, despite Koch’s claim to want to set the record straight on his past funding schemes.

Raising more eyebrows is the discovery that the so-called populous craze for Ayn Rand’s seminal work, Atlas Shrugged, is also being financed by a decidedly non-populist pact of deep-pocketed hedge fund operators.

Weiss piqued our curiosity when he mentions in his book that the Ayn Rand Institute based in Irvine, California is holding its annual gala fundraiser, not on the west coast, but at the swanky St. Regis hotel in Manhattan and charging $1500 a plate. We learn further from Weiss that Arline Mann, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel of the Board of Goldman, Sachs & Company is the Co-Chair of the Ayn Rand Institute. To move the money trail along, Weiss interviews Barry Colvin, Vice Chairman of a hedge fund, Balyasny Asset Management, who just up and decides to open a New York chapter of the Ayn Rand Institute and spearhead a fund drive.

Weiss attends the 2010 St. Regis event and was stuck at an ultraconservative press table, getting a sugar high on moelleux aux chocolat, coconut sorbet and berry chutney, as the mindless clap-trap of Objectivist theory drones into the microphone.

There are two simple words that sum up why hedge funds would be bankrolling the resurrection of a woman who’s been dead for thirty years: Dodd-Frank, the financial reform legislation that Wall Street is desperately trying to kill.

While the hedgies are financing the flood of books to high schools and campus, Koch and BB&T are taking care of business with the professors. (via Resurrecting Ayn Rand: How Corporate Money Pushes Economic Poison on Campus | Economy | AlterNet).

Ayn Rand's thin maya framework is blown by the first intrusion of reality. |  Cartoon by Peter Bagge of 2009  |  Source and courtesy - blog.partners-west.com  |  Click for larger image.

Ayn Rand’s thin maya framework is blown by the first intrusion of reality. | Cartoon by Peter Bagge of 2009 | Source and courtesy – blog.partners-west.com | Click for larger image.

Adversity does strange things

The reason why Ayn Rand is catching on with the young crowd (for a short while), is not because she is being pushed by Wall Street.

The pushing may be coincidental and opportune.

Sure.

But what about, for instance, pirated editions of her books that are sold on pavements in India, for the last 25 years – at least. There is a demand for her books.

Make no mistake.

The reason for Ayn Rand’s popularity is because she offers a sanitized, internally consistent Western framework that people can refer to.

But her framework crumbles the moment reality intrudes.

Capitalism golden age

For instance, according to Ayn Rand, the 19th century was the closest that the West came to capitalism.

Yes, she is right.

Capitalism was built in the 19th century. On a solid foundation of slavery, loot from the colonies, genocides in American and Australia. When slaves revolted in Haiti, West Indies, Cuba, capitalism collapsed. When there were no more victims left, genocide stopped in America and Australia. In Congo, it stopped short of extinction. It was massive extraction of raw minerals from earth, starting with gold, using slave labour that made the brilliant burst of capitalist fireworks of 19th century possible.

Of course Ayn Rand dismisses slavery, genocide and colonialism with ‘condemnation’ in a few sentences.

Instead Ayn Rand uses the common Desert Bloc trick – follow me now; and heaven can wait. Capitalism will make any country, the land of milk and honey. But it is always in the future.

Ayn Rand’s anti-family ideas are coming home to roost in America. Single-mothers are raising nearly a quarter of America’s children.

Every story is different, but when you examine the figures, actual single parent statistics may surprise you. According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007, released by the U.S. Census Bureau in November, 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S. today). (via Single Parent Statistics – Number of Kids With One Parent).

Without families, the few children that are born, will grow up in aging and shrinking societies. These societies will need to import labour – and that is what happened in Greece, Rome, and West for most of the last 500 years.

Labour was imported mostly as slaves – but lately, it is immi-grunts.

Ayn Rand main appeal seems to be teen-agers, juveniles and the young. At least in India.  | Cartoon source & courtesy - toonpool.com; artist credit embedded.   |  Click for image.

Ayn Rand main appeal seems to be teen-agers, juveniles and the young. At least in India. | Cartoon source & courtesy – toonpool.com; artist credit embedded. | Click for image.

Minimalist theme

Ayn Rand’s knowledge of history and economics was less than minimal.

Her imagery of indolent Indian rajas, counting gold coins, was neither history nor economics. Indian Rajas for longest never built palaces, mausoleums, edifying structures – even though they presided over the world’s most prosperous region. And most of the Indian gold that Ayn Rand talks of is in private hands – not in the hands of the State, as Ayn Rand proposes.

Ayn Rand’s support for the gold standard is sure recipe for giving birth to tyrants, dictators and war-mongers – which is what Western history is about.

And strangely, apart from tall tales, tyrants and dictators in India never lasted in India. Makes one think.

But thinking was never Ayn Rand’s strength.

Pulp fiction of capitalism

The second half of 20th century saw the end to dominant inputs for Western ‘success’. The Western world, faced a serious economic crises with the decline in: -

  1. Slavery in the Western world, due to many slave revolts, social disaffection due to unemployment
  2. Colonial exploitation was an ‘adequate’ replacement for slavery
  3. Genocide in the Americas, and Australia – and near annihilation in Africa.
  4. The wages of crime. Opium (forced production in India, forced trade with China), piracy, slave trading
Ayn Rand's version of society. Can Ayn Rand be the 'guiding light' at Cato Institute!  |  Libertarians and Civil Rights by Jim Day, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Ayn Rand’s version of society. Can Ayn Rand be the ‘guiding light’ at Cato Institute! | Libertarians and Civil Rights by Jim Day, Las Vegas Review-Journal

This ‘White-Wash’ job was taken up by professional Western propagandists. One such was a popular writer, waxing nostalgic for this ‘golden age’ – Ayn Rand.

Her books have become popular in the last 50 years. In India too, her popularity has created a demand for pirated prints of her books that are sold from pavements.

This then is the West, facing up to the biggest challenge the Western world has seen – I would say, in the last 500 years.

To go down, clutching Ayn Rand’s skirts, is pretty lame.


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