2ndlook

IPL: The Empty Moral Posturing?

Posted in America, European History, India, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on May 25, 2013

India alone, outside Europe, has been able to create and sustain a near-global sporting event. The IPL. India needs to handle the IPL more professionally.

Even with billions in American Football, the game has not crossed America's borders. Here is Running back DeShaun Foster (20) of the Carolina Panthers scores on a 33 yard touchdown run against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium on February 1, 2004 in Houston, Texas.  |  Getty Images File Photo

Even with billions in American Football, the game has not crossed America’s borders. Here is Running back DeShaun Foster (20) of the Carolina Panthers scores on a 33 yard touchdown run against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium on February 1, 2004 in Houston, Texas. | Getty Images File Photo

Which American sport has been able to graduate into the global league? NBA finals? Major League Baseball (MLB)? NFL’s Super Bowl? These are the three biggest sporting events in the USA – which are domestic US events – with little TV viewership outside the US.

Across The World

The biggest sporting events in the world – Olympics, World Cup Football, Tennis Grand Slam, the F1 auto Grand Prix, are all events that were created by Europeans – and that have gained international buy-in and participation.

Not truly global, are top events in badminton, squash, table-tennis, volleyball, cricket that are second-level events with limited participation, viewership and following.

In Our League

Among the BRICS nations, Russia, South Africa, China or Brazil do not ‘politically’ dominate any sport, the way India dominates over cricket.

Even before the 1983 Cricket World Cup began, that India won, the future of the cricket world cup was in jeopardy. Without sponsors, the ‘politically’ dominant ECB and Australian Cricket Board, (now Cricket Australia), pronounced the Cricket World Cup dead.

India Bids

The 1983 Indian economy, beginning to feel the benefits of the Bombay High, had also seen the domestic benefit of the 1982 Asian Games. Based on the success of the Asian Games, which saw a dramatic expansion of TV coverage in India, the BCCI made a hesitant pitch at the world cup.

BCCI was able to obtain the support of the Pakistan and Sri Lankan cricket Board in this bid. A rather surprised ECB and ACB allowed this bid to go through – probably sure that BCCI would make a mess of it.

Start Of The Chapter

In the next 4 years, BCCI obtained a sponsor, Reliance, organized the event – and pulled off a successful event. From 1987 onwards, BCCI’s political power has only grown in international cricket.

Twenty years after 1987 Cricket World Cup in India, in 2007, India’s major home-grown TV network, ZEE TV launched the Indian Cricket League – independent of BCCI and ICC.

Without ICC and BCCI support, the ICL was a lame-duck affair. Two years later, the BCCI launched the IPL in 2008.

Let The IPL Begin

After the first few years of hesitant growth, in the last one year, the IPL has truly changed world cricket. A few important international players have abandoned their domestic teams – and made IPL their main earning opportunity.

The hold of non-Indian cricket boards over their players has weakened considerably – as the IPL earning opportunity is an alternative. Though no player has explicitly stated this, when pushed by domestic boards to choose between national team and their IPL earning opportunity, some chose to go with IPL.

The Numbers, The Spread

With many players from Australia, South Africa,  Sri Lanka and West Indies and fewer players from England, New Zealand, Pakistan Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, IPL has attracted international player attention.

With 8-9 teams, between 65-80 games, some 250 players, with nearly a quarter of the players international, with support staff that draws the best from the world, the IPL has become a significant sporting opportunity in its sixth year itself.

Such growth in stature and with system-wide revenues exceeding Rs.2500 crores (US$500 million), ensures that IPL in the next few years will be in the Top10 global sporting events. This figure of  Rs.2500 crores (US$500 million) includes TV rights, advertising, franchise fees, ticket sales, player fees, IPL merchandise. All this without any funds or regulatory support from the Government.

Between Envy And Vacuity

Already a world leader in the film industry, for a country like India, to define, create and deliver this kind of sporting event, with its softpower implications, has aroused equal amounts of admiration and envy. While viewership data in non-Indian markets is not yet available, based on player statements, it is significant.

It is time that BCCI takes the IPL more seriously – and importantly the mainstream media and the Government too, must handle IPL with some maturity. The amount of police enthusiasm, media noise around the recent alleged spot-fixing, exposed the complete lack of judgement.

A quiet phone call while the tournament was going on – and hard actions later would have ensured that the IPL success was not compromised as it has been now.

MS Dhoni (CSK) and Ricky Ponting (MI) with Danny Morrison at MI vs CSK 49th Match Highlights IPL 2013 - 5 May

MS Dhoni (CSK) and Ricky Ponting (MI) with Danny Morrison at MI vs CSK 49th Match Highlights IPL 2013 – 5 May

Smell The Coffee

The silly moral posturing on a simple sporting entertainment shows mental vacuity – especially in the mainstream and the social media. The chatteratti, twitteratti, FaceBookeratti, the Libtards and the Righturds have great enthusiasm in out-doing each other in empty moral indignation.

This moral noise, by those with negligible achievements of their own, over alleged questionable behavior exposes their mental vacuity. These questionable actions by probably 10 people is not representative or reflective of the effort and achievements of the 1000 people who are behind the IPL event (mainly players, coaches, support staff, franchise managers, media staff, stadium staff, BCCI administrators).

All that is needed is that these 10 people are adequately and significantly dealt with – post-facto. After the event. This unholy haste, while the tournament is in progress smacks of envy and immaturity.

Be Warned

Thankfully, Bharat understands this – and will turn out in gargantuan numbers today evening, and crown the winners of a magnificent event.

If India does not start behaving with maturity, be warned. Bharat will simply cast you aside – and consign you to the dustbin of history.

Time India took itself seriously.


1900-2000: How much change can 100 years make!

Posted in China, Desert Bloc, European History, History, India, politics, Propaganda by Anuraag Sanghi on July 5, 2012

A little over a hundred years ago, Western power, wealth and technology seemed overwhelming. How a hundred years can change everything. Everything.

Russia, Japan, Germany and England as Shylocks gather round a kneeling China (Antonio) and demand their pounds of flesh for the Boxer Rebellion, while Puck urges the US to step in as Portia and rescue China. by John S. Pughe for Puck Magazine / Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection; Subtitle on the cartoon reads:

Russia, Japan, Germany and England as Shylocks gather round a kneeling China (Antonio) and demand their pounds of flesh for the Boxer Rebellion, while Puck urges the US to step in as Portia and rescue China. by John S. Pughe for Puck Magazine / Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection; Subtitle on the cartoon reads:

The Dark Before Dawn

In the year 1900, China, seen as an effete, weak nation, could be bullied into submission. The West, suddenly rich, with wealth from piracy, slavery, sugar, tobacco, gold from America and Australia and Africa was in a position of supreme power.

In Cahoots

Ancient civilizations like India and China seemed to be in an interminable grip of the West. In the year 1900, the Chinese kingdom saw its 1857 moment. When the Chinese nation rose as one against the Western powers – under the leadership of Society of Right and Harmonious Fists (- 義和團 I He Tuan or I Ho Ch’uan; Boxers in English).

Empress Cixi, A Manchu Queen, who ruled over Han China.

Empress Cixi, A Manchu Queen, who ruled over Han China.

At the turn of the last century, with the European “Scramble for Africa,” as it was known, only recently completed, three assertive new major powers were fast emerging: Germany, Japan and the United States. Most of the world had already been claimed by more established actors. But decrepit, late Qing Dynasty China, with its hundreds of millions of people, centuries of accumulated wealth and vast territory, loomed as the final big prize on the imperial frontier. The New York Times at the time called China “the greatest potential market of the world,” and circling foreign powers, old and new, were drawn by its weakness and misrule.

The Boxer Rebellion. The war was the last of the West’s repeated armed confrontations with the Qing, but compared with other Chinese conflicts of the era, notably the midcentury, overlapping Taiping Rebellion and Second Opium War, it was a far smaller affair, both in duration and scale, essentially lasting through the long summer of 1900.

The war in a tradition that he says was long familiar to the British but brand-new to the Americans, one where empire is created “on the scene, and to the surprise of the mother county,” by free-lancing representatives of faraway Western capitals. In the case of the Boxer Rebellion, this meant a conflict that pitted the assembled forces of the world’s major powers against China. The unforeseen result, soon after the defeat of the Qing, was the end of thousands of years of dynastic rule and arguably the beginning of the end of the imperial age itself.

The Boxer Rebellion—its name derives from the uprising’s practitioners of martial arts—had its roots in China’s 19th-century demographic explosion, as well as crop failures and drought, which served as a catalyst for one of the era’s many Chinese peasant uprisings. What was different this time was the target. The Boxers, who arose in Shandong Province, were not mobilized against the Qing state but rather against the large Western presence in the country, especially that of Christian missionaries, who were attacked by the rebels in the summer and fall of 1899.

The Boxers’ problem was not with the Westerners’ religion per se. The rebels were incensed because, in the vacuum left behind by a failing Qing administration, the foreign church-based organizations were becoming local administrators. As such they were direct competition for the Chinese secret societies, like the Boxers, that were also moving to fill the void.

The Boxers were leaderless, largely illiterate peasant militants whose alliance in loose, improvised networks made them hard to stop. The movement quickly gained momentum in 1900, when spring rains failed to arrive: Unable to plant their crops, peasants were idled, frustrated and receptive to the Boxers’ recruiting efforts. In May, rallying under the slogan “Support the Qing. Exterminate the Foreigners,” the Boxers descended on Beijing and laid siege to the foreign quarter. Forced to choose sides, the Empress Dowager Cixi ordered foreign legations to quit the capital.

The war that ensued was fought by an uneasy but eager eight-nation coalition, including Austria-Hungary and Italy, who pushed to reach Beijing from the port of Dagu. Strange pairings were forged between rivals soon to be mortal enemies: the British and Germans, the Japanese and Russians, each eager to outdo the other.

China’s defeat—the country was forced to pay onerous reparations—marked the end of “a disastrous two years, part of a disastrous decade, [and] the end of a disastrous century,” Mr. Silbey writes. But the defeat also marked a turning point. British India, which had sent many troops to suppress the Boxers, was soon gripped by its own revolutionary movement. The Japanese learned from the war that “they held the whip hand in Asia” and would soon defeat Russia and later take over China.

Putting down the Boxer Rebellion had been a successful, coordinated display of imperial power—and a last hurrah. The new century had other plans for the victors.

From America’s recent, brief moment of unipolar pre-eminence, we have suddenly stepped into a new and uncertain age, with big, fast-growing new actors, China and India chief among them, rising to claim a place on the world stage. (via Book Review: The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China – WSJ.com; Links supplied).

Boxer rebels, 1900 photograph. From Tōgō Shrine and Tōgō Association (東郷神社・東郷会), Togo Heihachiro in images, illustrated Meiji Navy (図説東郷平八郎、目で見る明治の海軍), (Japanese),   |  Source Wikipedia.  Click for image.

Boxer rebels, 1900 photograph. From Tōgō Shrine and Tōgō Association (東郷神社・東郷会), Togo Heihachiro in images, illustrated Meiji Navy (図説東郷平八郎、目で見る明治の海軍), (Japanese), | Source Wikipedia. Click for image.

Soon after the Boxer War, China’s ruling dynasty, the Qing fell in 1911.

Civil war followed.

This civil war lasted until Communist forces under Mao Zedong’s gained control over China in 1949.

Looking for a pattern.

There are a few things in common between War of 1857 and the Boxer War of 1900 in China.

One – No Leaders They Say

Western historians have a knack of describing all anti-Western uprisings and wars as leaderless. The War of 1857 was Mutiny. The War by the Boxers too was an Rebellion.

Even though the West did not rule over China, yet it was rebellion. Even though the War of 1857 saw major engagements across India, over 18 months, it was a Sepoy Mutiny.

Leaderless.

Killing Over Spoils

Just 15 years after this China’s Boxer War, the same 8 nations that had made an unholy alliance to subjugate China, were at each others throats.

More than 10 million people died in World War – I.

15 years before China’s Boxer War, billed by the hosts as the Kongokonferenz, or the Berlin Conference (1884-1885) in English, was organized by the Chancellor of a newly formed nation, Germany. Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s Iron Chancellor called for this conference to demarcate Africa between European Powers (plus the Ottoman Empire & USA).

These eight European powers could unite when it came strategy for undermining target-populations – and were equally capable of unprecedented slaughter when it came to sharing the spoils of loot.

A point though mentioned last,  as important as any preceding points, is how European residents in China could easily act and call upon their national Governments for aggressive military actions. European Tai-Pans in China or the Company Bahadur in India could easily switch roles from being traders to an extension of the European State.

Even today?

When you get up again

Looking back over the last 100 years, the most edifying observation that can be made is about India and China.

In 1900, it would have appeared to most that China and India would never recover. Today, both India and China have recovered.

But the real question today is – Will former colonial powers like Spain, Portugal, Britain and France go the way of Rome, Greece and Egypt.

Never to rise again.

A Troublesome Egg to Hatch by J.S. Pughe  |  1901 cartoon as Industrial powers’attempt to exploit China. US & Japan look on.  Image source & courtesy - historytoday.com  |  Click for larger image.

A Troublesome Egg to Hatch by J.S. Pughe | 1901 cartoon as Industrial powers’attempt to exploit China. US & Japan look on. Image source & courtesy – historytoday.com | Click for larger image.


2000 years Of World Manufacturing History

Posted in America, Business, China, European History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on June 28, 2012

Till 200 years ago, India was the dominant industrial power in the world. It has regained a place in the Top 10 again in the space of the last fifty years.

Western manufacturing starts its dominant phase after slave-revolts in Hiati and Caribbean. These revolts coupled with the capital-concentration allowed the Industrial Revolution to spread across the West - and later the world.  |  Creative credits embedded. Additional animation at source. |  Click for image.

Western manufacturing starts its dominant phase after slave-revolts in Hiati and Caribbean. These revolts coupled with the capital-concentration allowed the Industrial Revolution to spread across the West – and later the world. | Creative credits embedded. Additional animation at source. | Click for image.

Western Invention of China

Gunpowder or silk, China has long been credited by the modern West as the inventor or innovator. Thin Chinese evidence in the face of overwhelming balance of convenience favoring India has been overlooked – largely the work of one man, China-Champion Needham.

Even with this bias, India emerges as the historical champion in manufacturing. With technology monopolies in gunpowder, sugar, wootz steel, dominance in silk, cotton, textiles, fabrics, India was an unmatched industrial power till 200 years ago. India’s de-centralized manufacturing made it a lead innovator and manufacturer for the longest period in human history – thanks to भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

Recent DNA analysis of fibre has revealed that Saraswati-Indus Valley urban centres processed silk much before China. India produced 1000% more gunpowder than China.

Yet, China gets the credit.

Mehrgarh Statuette; Courtesy - Wikimedia Commons; Source: Denis Biette

Mehrgarh Statuette; Courtesy – Wikimedia Commons; Source: Denis Biette

Saraswati Plains – Indus Valley Pioneered Silk, Cotton & Copper

On the plains of Saraswati River and in Sindhu River, (Indus Valley as per modern history) there is archaeological evidence that Indians were the first in the world to use silk, cotton, copper and bitumen (tar) – called daamar डामर/अलकतरा in Hindi (also daambar in some parts).

The metallurgical analysis of a copper bead from a Neolithic burial (6th millennium bc ) at Mehrgarh, Pakistan, allowed the recovery of several threads, preserved by mineralization. They were characterized according to new procedure, combining the use of a reflected-light microscope and a scanning electron microscope, and identified as cotton (Gossypium sp.). The Mehrgarh fibres constitute the earliest known example of cotton in the Old World and put the date of the first use of this textile plant back by more than a millennium. Even though it is not possible to ascertain that the fibres came from an already domesticated species, the evidence suggests an early origin, possibly in the Kachi Plain, of one of the Old World cottons. (via ScienceDirect.com – Journal of Archaeological Science – First Evidence of Cotton at Neolithic Mehrgarh, Pakistan: Analysis of Mineralized Fibres from a Copper Bead).

This topic has come to the fore again.

An infographic (on top) by a British publication badly represented the fact that between 1AD-2000 AD, for 1800 years India was either a dominant or a significant manufacturing centre in the world.

This infographic at first glance seems to show Western manufacturing prowess as long-term development – and not a short-term blip in the last 200-years.

Not surprisingly, it coincides with India’s eclipse – now a 200-year old phenomenon.

What does the future look like.

China will rival the US as the country with the biggest potential to develop key technology breakthroughs with a big impact on the business world, according to a survey of more than 650 executives in industries such as computing and electronics.

According to the poll, organised by the KPMG consultancy, Chinese companies and researchers are beginning to develop expertise.

In the study, 30 per cent of the executives asked to give their views said that China will be the single biggest “global hotspot” for innovation within the next four years, with the US in second place attracting 29 per cent of the votes.

India, Japan and South Korea came next in the poll, with 13 per cent, 8 per cent and 5 per cent of the respondents to the survey naming these countries.

The executives who answered questions in the survey work in technology-based businesses around the world, mainly in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. (via China to rival US tech knowhow, say execs – FT.com).

This survey, overplays India manufacturing prospects and ignores Germany.

More than India, Japan or Korea, it is Germany which is likely to be the Top-3 industrial and innovation power stakes in the next 25-50 years.

While Indian prospects are indeed worthy of mention, it is unlikely that India will provide the concentration of wealth and power to become a global ‘innovation’ leader in the next 25 years.

We can check this ‘prediction 13 years later.

A date in 2025 , then!


Israel’s Refugee ‘Problem’

Posted in America, Current Affairs, Desert Bloc, European History, Media, Pax Americana, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on May 24, 2012

75 years ago, the world turned its face away from Jewish refugees from Germany. America allowed talented, the rich and accomplished Jews to come to America. Today Israel thinks that refugees are ‘cancer’ and ‘plague’

Jews were refugees a few decades ago. They seem to forget that.  |  Cartoon by Baloo; source & courtesy - balooscartoonblog.blogspot.com  |  Click for image.

Jews were refugees a few decades ago. They seem to forget that. | Cartoon by Baloo; source & courtesy – balooscartoonblog.blogspot.com | Click for image.

Nearly 75 years ago, on on 9–10 November 1938, German SA Sturmabteilung, Nazi Stormtroopers in English, attacked Jewish business and residential establishments. That was soon after the start of ten years of unprecedented persecution of Jews in Germany. That night came to known as the Kristallnacht- the night of crystal, as Nazi stormtroopers broke glass doors, displays and show windows.
After the WWII, governments the world over decided that the Jewish experience must not be repeated. Most countries put in place laws that would safeguard refugees. The strongest safeguards possibly were in Germany, itself.

In the last ten years, there have been an estimated 60,000 African refugee-immigrants (mostly from Sudan and Eritrea) who have come to Israel to make a living.

Protesters gathered Wednesday across the country to protest the growing influx of African infiltrators in Israel. Over 1,000 people attended the demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, holding signs calling for the deportation of the migrants, one of which read “Bibi [Netanyahu] decide – Sudan or Israel.” Similar demonstrations were held in Eilat, Bnei Brak, Sderot, Ashdod and Ashkelon. (via TA anti-African rally ends in rioting, a… JPost – National News).

Israelis, themselves seeking refuge a few decades ago, came out in the streets to create an opinion against African refugees.

Thousands of Israelis, including high-profile politicians, attended an anti-African demonstration in Tel Aviv. The rally turned violent, with attacks on Africans and grocery shop windows being smashed.

­The gathering, which took place in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, targeted the influx of African asylum seekers and was organized by Michael Ben Ari, a Knesset member from the National Union party, along with far-right activists Itamar Ben-Guir and Baruch Marzel, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.

But the rally was also attended by politicians from the ruling Likud party, including Knesset members Miri Regev and Danny Danon.

Former army brigadier general and Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman Regev described asylum seekers as a “cancer in our body.”

On Thursday, Regev explained that her use of the word “cancer” was meant “to illustrate the spread of a negative phenomenon. This is a manifestation of rage that has been unleashed after a long time of people feeling unsafe in their own homes.”

“With all due respect to the Left and Peace Now – they are the reason that our country is in the state it’s in. Because of their High Court petitions we cannot deport all those infiltrators to their countries of origin,” she reportedly charged.

Danon also said the “infiltrators” had to be immediately expelled from Israel.

“We should not be afraid to say the words ‘expulsion now,’” Danon was reported as saying.

The crowd carried signs proclaiming messages such as “This is not Africa” and “Stop talking, start expelling.”

But as the sun set the rally turned violent, with demonstrators attacking at least a dozen African men and women who were unfortunate enough to be near the scene. They also smashed the shop front of a grocery store that served the migrant workers, subsequently looting it. Dene. They also smashed the shop front of a grocery store that served the migrant workers, subsequently looting it. Demonstrators also broke the window of a cab driven by a suspected African migrant worker. A bonfire was also lit up in the street. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his ministers that the phenomenon of “illegal work infiltrators” was “very grave,” and that it “threatened the social fabric of society,” Israel’s national security and national identity. He also warned that unless action is taken, the migrants could “inundate” the country and “cancel out its image as a Jewish and democratic state.”Thousands of migrants from Eritrea and South Sudan came to Israel, saying they wanted to escape the poverty and political instability at home. The government has been trying to deport refugees from South Sudan back to their homeland, but the motion was halted by the Jerusalem District Court. The court issued a temporary order prohibiting the deportation until it rules on a petition filed by five human rights organization against the state’s decision to deport the immigrants, arguing that their lives may be endangered if they return home. (via Israeli Kristallnacht: Africans attacked in Tel Aviv anti-migrant demo (PHOTOS) — RT).

Attention deficit disorder?  |  Cartoon by Baloo; other details embedded in image  |  Click for image.

Attention deficit disorder? | Cartoon by Baloo; other details embedded in image | Click for image.

Ironically, the Jewish State of Israel itself finds it difficult to handle some 60,000 African immigrants.

The Israeli prime minister has stoked a volatile debate about refugees and migrant workers from Africa, warning that “illegal infiltrators flooding the country” were threatening the security and identity of the Jewish state.

“If we don’t stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state,” Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. (via Israel PM: illegal African immigrants threaten identity of Jewish state | World news | The Guardian).

In a nation of 80 lakh people (8 million), can less than 60,000 migrants become a threat?

Is the State of Israel so fragile?

Israelis claim that these Africans have increased the crime rate in Israel. Facts as reported by The Guardian, that

According to police data quoted by the Hotline for Migrant Workers, the crime rate among foreigners in Israel was 2.04% in 2010, compared with 4.99% among Israelis. Micky Rosenfeld, spokesman for the Israeli police, said the overall crime rate in Israel had fallen. There had been one alleged rape of a teenage girl connected to the migrant community, for which three suspects were in custody, he added.

Yohanan Danino, the Israeli police chief, said migrants should be permitted to work to discourage petty crime. Nearly all are unable to work legally, and live in overcrowded and impoverished conditions. “The community needs to be supported in order to prevent economic and social problems,” said Rosenfeld.

But the interior minister, Eli Yishai, rejected such a move, saying: “Why should we provide them with jobs? I’m sick of the bleeding hearts, including politicians. Jobs would settle them here, they’ll make babies, and that offer will only result in hundreds of thousands more coming over here.”

Israel has been paranoid about immigrants since this cartoon from this 1990.  |  Cartoons credits embedded.  |  Click for image.

Israel has been paranoid about immigrants since this cartoon from this 1990. | Cartoons credits embedded. | Click for image.

On the other hand, time and again, Jewry, seems to usually land up at the side of powerful oppressors. Ignoring the persecution of the Roma Gypsies for decades, Israel now pays lip service. In another part of the world, a commentator notes, for instance,

from 1948 until 1994, the semi-official bodies representing the Jewish community in South Africa had been consistently mute on the apartheid question.

In Israel itself,

Israel is constructing a vast steel fence through 150 miles of the Sinai desert as a deterrent to people-trafficking and the smuggling of drugs and weapons. The barrier would be completed, bar one small section, by October, Netanyahu said.

Israel is also constructing the world’s largest detention centre for asylum seekers and illegal migrants, capable of holding 11,000 people. The £58m building, close to the border, will receive its first detainees by the end of the year. Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition has skimmed a minimum of 2% from every ministry’s budget to fund the construction and start-up costs of the (detention) building.

According to UNHCR figures, 66% of Eritreans who arrive illegally in the UK are granted refugee status and 96% of those arriving in Canada.

In 2010, Israel recognised three refugees, rising to six last year. In total, just 170 people claiming asylum have been granted refugee status by the Jewish state since it signed the refugee convention in 1949.

All this not surprising. Israel has seen itself as a part of the West. Never a part of the Middle East or considered Africans as close as people from Mars are. Israel’s biggest failure is the state of permanent hostility it has engendered in the neighbourhood. Israel’s dysfunctional relationship with its neighbours has taken significant efforts from Israel – possibly, based on its superior ‘European’ extraction.

The only logic for Israeli policy is the probable Israeli intention. Is it that they are not staying in the neighbourhood after, or when American aid ceases?

Last summer’s protests against the cost of living suggested that many Israelis were less than satisfied with the state of the state. Almost a year later, housing is as unaffordable as ever and wages are relatively low. The gap between Israel’s rich and poor remains one of the highest in the western world. This winter saw a steep increase in electricity and gas prices. And, despite last year’s “cottage cheese protests”, food prices continue to rise. (via Refugees join Palestinians as the reviled ‘other’ in Israel – The National).

Nearly 65 years ago, the world turned away its face from the fate of Jews in Germany.

Today Israel’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, Yishai said: “I’m not responsible for what happens in Eritrea and Sudan, the UN is.” Does the UN have a country where these refugees can stay? How does Yishai expect the UN to handle these refugees?

After ten years of persecution in Hitler’s Germany, one would expect global Jewry to change.

Forever.

The fact they it has made no difference to them is probably my problem. But Jews have no such expectation of themselves.

It is a problem of my expectation.


Tagged with: , ,

India: Mangled by Western Historians

Posted in British Raj, European History, Feminist Issues, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on May 4, 2012

How the myth of courtesans and nautch girls has persisted in Indian history?

Ochterlony, like many Britishers of his age, lived a double life. By night,he lived in Mughal style with his Mughal wives, as seen in his celebrated image on view here, dressed in turban and kurta pajamas watching his dancing girls. By day he promoted the interests of the Company. He also fought in the Anglo-Maratha war of 1803–5, and the 1815 Nepal War of 1815, and was a prominent person in the Company’s political service.

Ochterlony, like many Britishers of his age, lived a double life. By night,he lived in Mughal style with his Mughal wives, as seen in his celebrated image on view here, dressed in turban and kurta pajamas watching his dancing girls. By day he promoted the interests of the Company. He also fought in the Anglo-Maratha war of 1803–5, and the 1815 Nepal War of 1815, and was a prominent person in the Company’s political service.

Patrick French recently claimed in a rather prolix manner that India is xenophobic and gives little place to foreign writers on India.

Aatish Taseer made short work of French by saying that since foreigners have done such a shoddy job on Indian history, a little xenophobia is not bad.

Especially in India.

Foreigners tend to distort India. Some deliberately – like creators of the Aryan Invasion Theory, or the Caste-System Theory.

Some other foreigners were simply ignorant.

A case in point is Fernão Nunes. A Portuguese writer, he created the myth around Indian military and soldiers.

Nunez, the Portuguese chronicler, who was contemporary with Krishna Deva, the Raja of Vijayanagar, in the sixteenth century (1509–30), affirms that that prince led against Raichur an army consisting of 703,000 foot, 32,600 horse, and 551 elephants, besides camp-followers.

Did Fernão Nunes go and count the 551st elephant?

Another Portuguese writer, Faria y Souza mentions 586 elephants. These numbers apart, Fernão Nunes also made a very important contribution to Indian history.

An Indian soldier with the Madras Native Infantry and his wife, circa 1810. Watercolour on Oriental paper, by a EEIC artist, at Tanjore, 1810 (circa)  |  Source - national-army-museum.ac.uk  |  Click for image.

An Indian soldier with the Madras Native Infantry and his wife, circa 1810. Watercolour on Oriental paper, by a EEIC artist, at Tanjore, 1810 (circa) | Source – national-army-museum.ac.uk | Click for image.

Nautch girls of Indian armies

Nunes wrote of courtesans, nautch girls who travelled with Indian armies, soldiers, generals and kings.

Dissolute Indian military that was defeated  by every invader.

Many in modern history think that the Third Battle of Panipat was lost due to the ‘encumbrance’ of women in Maratha forces.

A modern general, Jagjit Singh Arora who obtained the surrender from ‘Tiger’ Niazi in Bangladesh also subscribed to this view.

At one stroke, the equation in the entire game was inverted.

Shop till you drop

What of British ‘traders’ who built harems in India like Ochterloy? See first image.

Islamic trade in Indian women slaves drove the practice of sati and jouhar. Indian women rather than taken captive as slaves, committed self-immolation. For instance after the Third Battle of Panipat, a reported 22,000 Maratha women and boys were captured as slaves by the Islamic army of Durrani.

Wrong turn, Nunez

Now how did Nunes know that these 20,000 were courtesans? A couple of factors that would go against Nunez: -

1. Indian women in 17th century did not wear a top garment – but saree of varying lengths. See image no.2 of the Indian soldier with the Madras Native Infantry and his topless-wife.

2. Compared to near-universal marriage in India, marriage in the Desert Bloc was a upper-class phenomenon till about a few hundred years ago. Stable marriages in the West, that will celebrate shashthipoorthi are still a very low figure – probably single digits. Only the rich could marry their daughters.

3. Remember, Alexander’s Indian wife, Roxanne, from modern Afghanistan, then a part of Bharat-ah travelled with her husband on battles and wars.

4. Is it a simple case of brave Indian wives travelling with their soldier husbands – taking care of injured soldiers?

To a European Nunes,

1. 20,000 of these women (so many married men?)
2. Without a top garment (shameless women!)
3. Accompanying the men to battle (which woman would be stupid to go to battle unless paid handsomely!).

would seem, most likely to be courtesans.

At least, on a per capita basis, modern India has lesser prostitutes than modern Europe. Patronage of courtesans by common soldiers is also not a common practice. Everything, I know about Indians goes against this ‘observation’. However, when you take the context into account, the picture would be different.

But can a foreigner understand this? Unlikely. Many Indians don’t.

And that bring me back to Taseer.

When you don’t study your past, you expose yourself to people distorting it. It was like Churchill said: “India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator.”

Such an offensive thing to say! A near complete dismissal of India’s classical past. And so untrue. I grew up around many such distortions.

But there have been many: old and new, they range from mangoes and slum dogs to apologising histories of the Mutiny; there are the correspondents with their povertarianism and exaggerated fears of Hindu fascist take-overs; and there are the orientalists, who would turn hard gritty India into a fantasy of sweetmeats and fakirs. All problematic, all irritating enough.

Patrick French is right: there is defensiveness these days, there is over-sensitivity and perhaps a degree of xenophobia too. But in a country which has bended so easily to the will of foreigners in the past, and where foreigners are still invisibly able to occupy positions of great power, both politically and intellectually, a little xenophobia is not such a bad thing. (via A vibrant entity – Hindustan Times).


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