Why Schools, Hospitals, Political Parties don’t work in India. At least upto user expectations

Posted in Current Affairs, History, India, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on August 18, 2012

If the Government has to declare that the Parliament is supreme, maybe the Parliament is no longer supreme. Is there a rumble gathering in Indian polity?

Clearly, the Indian has been less than a success in some fields. Notably health, education and producing venerable leaders.  |  A undated, unsigned RK Laxman cartoon.

Clearly, the Indian has been less than a success in some fields. Notably health, education and producing venerable leaders. | A undated, unsigned RK Laxman cartoon.

India – Failed State?

In the last sixty-five years of Indian independence, India has seen many successes – and had its share of failures, too.

Modern India is tempted to romanticize or demonize the Western and Islāmic influences and legacies – depending on the personal bias and predilection. This bias is not only popular but also widely prevalent in academia and the media.

Of the significant Indian failures has been healthcare, education and the Indian Politician. While many imports into India have been successful – like democratic elections, smooth handover of power after elections, public-sector enterprises, the software and automotive industry, there are three institutions that India has not been able to make a success of.

  • Health-care through hospitals
  • Education through schools
  • Venerable polity through political parties

Building an agenda

Yogendra Yadav, who is part of the 7-member panel that will guide the formation of Team Anna‘s political unit, makes some interesting points.

Will Party-Anna be significantly different. BJP had promised, falsely, that they will be different. |  Cartoon by Shreyas Navare on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm in blogs.hindustantimes.com

Will Party-Anna be significantly different. BJP had promised, falsely, that they will be different. | Cartoon by Shreyas Navare on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm in blogs.hindustantimes.com

Many of the Anna followers have had obvious difficulty in reconciling the strident anti-party rhetoric of the movement with its latest decision. Some have seen it as a betrayal. But if we step back from the specific context of the current discussion, both these assertions may not appear so incompatible with each other. There is no doubt a tension here, but this tension is necessary and perhaps even creative.

The dilemma of Team Anna provides a good lens to view our troubled relationship with the institution of the political party in the last 65 years. Political parties are both very robust and fragile, at once the magnet that draws people and pushes them away, ever-present and routinely hated. Hence the widespread ambivalence towards this institution. After all, founders and leaders of very different parties, such as Gandhi and M N Roy, ended up advocating party-less democracy. And it was Jayaprakash Narayan, an advocate of party-less democracy, who later formed the Janata Party.

The idea of the political party, an imported form of political organisation, has captured modern Indian political imagination. The institution of the party has acquired the same status in our political imagination as the institution of school in thinking about education or the institution of the hospital in thinking about disease and healing. The word ‘party’ is now used in almost every Indian language to refer not just to modern political parties that contest elections but also for any political grouping or faction in a local context. It is not uncommon to hear complains about ‘partybaji’, meaning groupism or factionalism, in a village.

This success is not confined to ideas and language. Very few other institutions can match political parties in the width and depth of their reach in this large and diverse country. Contrary to popular impression, fragmentation and proliferation of parties has actually contributed to deepening of their reach. The rise of regional and caste- or community- based parties has brought parties closer to the people. Between 1971 and 2004, the proportion of voting-age Indians who identified with a political party went up from 38% to 51%. During the same period, those who claimed to be a member of a political party went up three times, from 5% to about 15%.

In other words, the poli-tical party as an organisational format is here to stay. It has outlived proponents of party-less democracy and outpaced non-party political formations.

At the same time, the prevalent form of the political party does not enjoy much popular legitimacy. Even those who identify with a political party express an abstract disaffection with the nature and functioning of political parties in the country. Parties are held to be at the roots of all the problems in the country.

Some of the ills of the parties are nearly universal. Instead of being institutions that represent the peoples’ aspirations and demands, political parties have become election machines and patronage distribution networks that focus only on gathering votes by using all kinds of short cuts. While they talk about democracy and competition, most political parties in India lack even a modicum of internal democracy.

In our context political parties have acquired some special difficulties. The model of a centralised party does not easily fit with the scale and diversity of a county like India. As centralised ‘high command’ driven parties seek to reserve power for a coterie of leaders, if not a family, people do not experience parties as an entity that derives power from them. Greater number of parties does not necessarily mean greater political choice as different parties are effectively tied to the same policy. Party politics is not a nice word.

Having taken root in an alien soil, this tree has acquired a new shape. Its fruit tastes different from that of its counterpart in other parts of the world. Everyone consumes it, but few seem to like its taste.

This is the lesson Team Anna can learn from the experience of political parties since Independence. The political party is both inevitable and avoidable. While there is a need for a vehicle of political opinions and interests that seeks to direct state power, it is equally important that this vehicle be designed differently.

The new vehicle must not be focussed only on elections: struggle, constructive work and formation of ideas must be equally critical to a new kind of party. Instead of being the instrument of centralised power, it needs to recognise different levels of power at the regional and local levels. Instead of monopolising power, it needs to share power with other organisations and movements. It needs to build in norms of internal democracy. In other words it needs to build a political party that does not look or act like a political party.

via A broken trust – Times Of India.

Connecting with the media is illusory power. Connecting with this man will make the difference.  |  Ajit Nina cartoon posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 at 03:35:27 AM  in Mumbai Mirror captioned, 'The idea of 'one-man-one-post' was stolen by the Congress from us.'

Connecting with the media is illusory power. Connecting with this man will make the difference. | Ajit Nina cartoon posted on Monday, June 08, 2009 at 03:35:27 AM in Mumbai Mirror captioned, ‘The idea of ‘one-man-one-post’ was stolen by the Congress from us.’

Just no practice

Probably the one reason the Indian State has failed on health, education and political factionalism is tradition. The Indian State, governed by the traditional norms of भारत-तंत्र Bharattantra did not manage healthcare, education and factional politics.

European and Islāmic records are significantly silent on variations in legal systems and State policies. The only point of difference that British writers mention is the predisposition of the rulers towards various European factions and on the differences in social customs.

Standardization – without centralization

While there is a large body of European writing on the different social units, norms, groups, practices, there is little mention about the differences in polity. This points to a great degree of standardization in polity – yet, without a central authority. On most political issues there was national consensus, even though political control over the Indian geography was spread thinly among 1000 rulers.

This precedent goes right back to the Indus Valley-Saraswati Basin cities which were widely spread, highly standardized – yet there was no central authority.

This may seem strange, because according to our failed education system, the British Raj made the Indian nation. But the part that modern studies miss out completely, is how in भारत-तंत्र Bharattantra, Indian kings did not make laws. Indians kings could not even proclaim a different legal system for their ‘own’ kingdom. Their powers were severely proscribed.

So how did the extensive legal system of भारत-तंत्र Bharattantra that the Islāmic kings perverted, British Raj dehumanized, and modern India has forgotten, come into being.

Two men are what made the law

Much of modern Hindu Law, is based on the two major legal systems that existed in India at the start of the British Raj. This was the Vighneshwara’s Mitākṣarā and the Dāyabhāga system. Dāyabhāga based mainly on the Yajnavalkya-smrti, was updated by Jimutavahana sometime between the eleventh or thirteenth century. Widely used in Bengal, Odisha, Assam and North East, modern Bangladesh, Bihar, Nepal, it has significant overlap with the Mitākṣarā.

Mitākṣarā, criticized in Jimutvahana’s Dāyabhāga system, preceded the Dāyabhāga system. Also based on Yajnavalkya-smrti, Mitākṣarā is considered more classical – and Dāyabhāga as more synthetic. This is not to imply that Mitākṣarā and Dāyabhāga were the start of the Indian legal system. Both Mitākṣarā and Dāyabhāga, were based on Yajnavalkya-smrti – which itself is derived from Manusmriti. Vishnu-purana states that there were different ‘manus‘ for different eras.

So which Manu from which era wrote the Manusmriti is unclear – though it is usually believed that Vaivaswata Manu is the author.

Not that it helps.

Advent of Islāmic rule in India

Interestingly, both Mitākṣarā and Dāyabhāga texts are dated roughly around the time that initial Islamic rule began in India with the Slave Dynasty in Delhi – at the beginning of 13th century.

Were Vighneshwara and Jimutvahana major court figures – like Raja Todar Mal, whose writings on Indian Law helped Mughals to steer their way around the legal environment in India. Hardly anything is known about the individuals, except the extensive work that they left.

So, how did these anonymous, powerless Brahmins become law-makers – without armies, parliaments, courts, judges and lawyers. At least comparable to the Islāmic and European contemporaries.

Bombay-High & Y2K generations has not produced venerable political leadership. Instead we have a collusive democratic leadership, which conspires against us. Divide and rule continues.  |  Ajit Ninan caroon with a caption that reads 'Today it's a make-up artist who gets you votes, not your speech writer.';  posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 02:17:47 AM; source & courtesy - Mumbai Mirror

Bombay-High & Y2K generations has not produced venerable political leadership. Instead we have a collusive democratic leadership, which conspires against us. Divide and rule continues. | Ajit Ninan caroon with a caption that reads ‘Today it’s a make-up artist who gets you votes, not your speech writer.’; posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 02:17:47 AM; source & courtesy – Mumbai Mirror

Parliament is Supreme

While there is thin evidence that these Brahmins did have royal patrons, their legal standing did not depend on that patronage. More importantly, how did their writings cross the boundaries of the resident-kingdoms. From areas, where their patrons had power to areas where these two Brahmins had no influence, power or patronage?

State-controlled and managed models of the West, are relatively new to India. In the entire Anna-Baba campaign, the Indian Parliament kept repeating The Parliament Is Supreme. Did these repeated statements imply doubts about the supremacy of the Parliament?

Will the Anna-Baba political movement see re-birth of non-parliamentary legal systems?

Is that the flow – and the direction?

Anna-Baba are Opposites

This is in contradiction to the Anna campaign that has focussed on More State. Baba Ramdev’s campaign speeches have been largely based on a Lesser State. Can this basic disagreement be bridged?

Can Anna-Baba come together?

Team Anna’s campaign made much about the fact that some of them were Magsaysay award winners – while Baba’s campaign is more rooted in the Indian political tradition – भारत-तंत्र Bharattantra.

Team Anna has usually got excellent media support – and allegedly ‘foreign support. In case of Baba Ramdev, the commercial success of his Ramdev products points toward a deeper connect to the Indian Voter. Baba Ramdev has been building his campaign for nearly ten years now – while Anna campaign has sputtered for little over 10 months.

Anna-Baba may seem like peas in a pod. But they are vastly different by the way of agenda, policies, inpiration.  |  Cartoon titled Anna Hazare Vs Baba Ramdev by MANJUL on 8.12.2012.

Anna-Baba may seem like peas in a pod. But they are vastly different by the way of agenda, policies, inpiration. | Cartoon titled Anna Hazare Vs Baba Ramdev by MANJUL on 8.12.2012.

Anna’s campaign was able to make Indian polity sit up – and take note. Baba Ramdev has been largely ignored by India’s political leadership – and the media. While Anna’s campaign has been over-analyzed to death, the Baba-Ramdev-phenomenon has been buried under silence by the media.

While the Anna-campaign for all appearances is a single-point campaign, Baba Ramdev’s campaign has been across a broad front – with much work on building a unique agenda.

Many have claimed credit for Anna-campaign’s success, starting with the media and RSS having the last word. In case of Baba Ramdev, his movement has been based on his own work and agenda.

Electoral politics on the cusp of a major change?  |  Cartoon By Ajit Ninan (Times Of India) on March 26, 2009

Electoral politics on the cusp of a major change? | Cartoon By Ajit Ninan (Times Of India) on March 26, 2009

Gimme, Gimme

How will the Indian Voter manage this divergence?

Will it give power to Anna-campaign – and make Baba Ramdev powerful enough to question the polity?

Early days …

Policing America: The Grip on the Population Tightens Visibly – Sometimes Even Invisibly

Posted in America, Current Affairs, Desert Bloc, Propaganda by Anuraag Sanghi on August 15, 2012


Each year US prosecutes more people than the rest of the world put together. US has more secret police, civilian police than any country in the world. Wassup?

The SCOTUS has reaffirmed that the US police can stop anyone and do a personal body search based on a suspicion of a concealed weapon.  |  SCOTUS Up the Wazoo - Cartoon by Pat Bagley on Apr 3, 2012

The SCOTUS has reaffirmed that the US police can stop anyone and do a personal body search based on a suspicion of a concealed weapon. | SCOTUS Up the Wazoo – Cartoon by Pat Bagley on Apr 3, 2012

Overwhelming data point towards the fact the US is a police State beyond comparison.


In 2011, New York police stopped about 700,000 people on the road – and nearly half of these people were intrusively searched. One estimate put the total number of such searches in New York alone at 4 million – 40 lakhs, in the past decade.

All this in a city of eight million – a little larger than Pune. Imagine 2000 body searches every single day in Pune.

These personal body searches and CCTV surveillance has become common across the US  |  Cartoon titled Travel School and Prison By Andy Singer, on 11/20/2006

These personal body searches and CCTV surveillance has become common across the US | Cartoon titled Travel School and Prison By Andy Singer, on 11/20/2006

Police procedures demands that a the crotch is manually felt by hands – and in case of women, even the area between breasts.

Remember these figures are for New York only. National figures will be higher.

The New York City Police Department under its increasingly unpopular stop-and-frisk program (revealed) New Yorkers were stopped nearly 700,000 times last year.

Judge Shira Scheindlin of Federal District Court granted class action status to a lawsuit accusing the Police Department of using race as the basis for stopping and frisking New Yorkers. The judge rebuked the city for its “deeply troubling apathy toward New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights,” and found “overwhelming evidence” that the program had led to thousands of baseless, unlawful stops. Despite the police claims that the stops keep criminals and weapons off the streets, only about 6 percent of stops lead to arrests, and last year, only one in every 879 stops turned up a gun.

According to the department, it conducted 203,500 stops in January, February and March of this year — a record number — but stopped only 133,934 in April, May and June.

A young woman from Harlem Heights said police officers who claimed to be searching for a rapist interrupted her and two female friends, demanded identification and then patted her down. “It was uncalled-for,” she said. “It made no sense. How are you going to stop three females when you are supposedly looking for a male rapist?”

via Stop-and-Frisk in New York City – NYTimes.com.

Not surprisingly 85% of these target were African-Americans and Hispanics.

Steve Kohut, born and raised in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, says he’s been stopped and frisked “more times than I can remember” since he was 12. “It was just life to me,” Kohut said.

He only realized that it was not common to all areas of the city when he visited a friend’s upscale neighborhood. It prompted him to question the practice. “Wait a minute, the cops don’t stop you every time you go to the store over here? They don’t do that to you? They don’t search you? They don’t push you up against a wall? They don’t put your face on the hood of their car?”

“It’s not a positive thing to just declare martial law on a colored community or a poor community, which is pretty much what they’re doing.”

via NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy to be reviewed by US department of justice | World news | guardian.co.uk.

In some areas, it has become reflex action for people to prepare themselves for a search – as soon as they see a policeman in uniform.

In her lower Manhattan office, Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, raises her hands in surrender.

Lieberman, 63, is miming the resigned reaction of young black and Latino men who she says are stopped and frisked so often by the New York Police Department that they put their hands in the air as soon as they see an officer approaching.

“The police don’t say a thing,” says Lieberman of the technique, which the NYPD says has netted 800 guns in a 10-year period. “They just go right for the pockets.”

via New York, Philadelphia police stops draw criticism – thestar.com.

What's on the menu? You got choice. A Police State or a Military State  |  by Tim Kelly at Monday, January 11, 2010

What’s on the menu? You got choice. A Police State or a Military State | by Tim Kelly at Monday, January 11, 2010

Is New York the only city where the police have gone berserk?

In Philadelphia, a court challenge to stop-and-frisk resulted in an agreement involving the mayor, the police commissioner and those who brought the suit, to make the force more accountable. Officers, who once recorded stop and frisk details on paper, now use mini laptops and that information goes into an electronic data base that can be monitored by Messing and the ACLU.In 2009, 250,000 people were stopped, principally black and Latino men, in a city of 1.5 million.

via New York, Philadelphia police stops draw criticism – thestar.com.

Unlike popular image, for years the legal, civil rights community and the media simply watched. The challenge to these abusive police searches mounted only after overwhelming evidence was built up.

In recent years, stop-and-frisk tactics employed by police departments in other major cities have been impugned by civil rights leaders. In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a class-action federal lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department. The lawsuit led to a settlement in which Philadelphia officials agreed to adopt safeguards to make sure police stops were conducted legally, and to accept oversight by an independent monitor. After the changes, the number of street stops declined.

via Number of New York Police Street Stops Falls 34 Percent – NYTimes.com.

TSA seems to be getting away with the most intrusive body search by any agency in the world  |  Future Travel by Cameron Cardow editorial; cartoonist for the Ottawa Citizen;  Dec 14 2010.

TSA seems to be getting away with the most intrusive body search by any agency in the world | Future Travel by Cameron Cardow editorial; cartoonist for the Ottawa Citizen; Dec 14 2010.

These intrusive search procedures increased even as crime figures remained high.

the explosion in stop-and-frisks under Bloomberg’s administration – by 600% in the last decade – has had little impact on the number of people of shot in New York City, in contrast to claims made by the mayor and the commissioner that the practice is making the city safer. NYPD statistics reveal that 1,821 people were victims of gunfire in 2011, a figure which is almost identical to the 1,892 people who were shot in 2002 when Bloomberg came into office.
via NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy to be reviewed by US department of justice | World news | guardian.co.uk.

Outrage followed and the complete lack of logic was revealed, as data of searches on the female-persons was revealed.

Last year, New York City police officers stopped 46,784 women, frisking nearly 16,000. Guns were found in 59 cases, according to an analysis of police statistics by The New York Times.

While the number of women stopped by officers in 2011 represented 6.9 percent of all police stops, the rate of guns found on both men and women was equally low, 0.12 percent and 0.13 percent, respectively. Civil rights leaders have argued that the low gun-recovery rates are a strong indication that the bulk of stop-and-frisk encounters are legally unjustified. (The number of police stops has dropped by more than 34 percent in recent months.)

When officers conduct stops upon shaky or baseless legal foundations, people of both sexes often say they felt violated. Yet stops of women by male officers can often involve an additional element of embarrassment and perhaps sexual intimidation, according to women who provided their accounts of being stopped by the police. And many incorrectly believe that the police, like Transportation Security Administration officers, are required to have female officers frisk women.

That search is not random; it is based on information provided to an officer, like a detailed description of an armed suspect, or actions that raise an officer’s reasonable suspicion that the woman may be armed, she added.

And although the police stops of women yielded very few guns, they did produce 3,993 arrests last year.

Crystal Pope, 22, said she and two female friends were frisked by male officers last year in Harlem Heights.

Besides, Ms. Pope said, she thought male officers were required to summon a female colleague when conducting a frisk.

That belief, though incorrect, is shared by many women, said Andrea Ritchie, a civil rights lawyer and co-coordinator of Streetwise and Safe, a nonprofit organization that focuses on police practices that affect young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are also members of ethnic minorities.

via In Police Pat-Downs, Many Women See Sexual Overtones – NYTimes.com.

A brilliant PR coup to damp simmering public rage at these pat-downs, the TSA (in collusion, or otherwise) ensured media coverage of a pat-down done on Henry Kissinger.

TSA screeners at New York’s LaGuardia Airport gave former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger a pat-down. The 88-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner was in a wheel chair because of the long walk to the gate when he was pulled aside for screening.

Witnesses were shocked at the sight of him being patted down, and said it looked like the agents had no idea who Kissinger was.

via Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger Given Pat-Down by TSA | Fox News Insider.

In recent months, several officers said, many sergeants conducting roll calls have stopped emphasizing the need to stop and question people on the street.

“They don’t ask for it anymore,” an officer in the Bronx said. “They just stopped.”

This is key, the officer said, because when sergeants were asking for them, “it starts becoming a quota or a production goal.”

“Why is it so important how many 250s someone did?” the officer added, referring to a form, a UF-250, filled out after a stop-and-frisk episode.

After the first quarter of 2012, police and city officials began to wonder how high the number would go in future years, and some privately questioned why the number of street stops continued to rise even as crime levels remained relatively flat in recent years.

via Number of New York Police Street Stops Falls 34 Percent – NYTimes.com.

In police parlance, this is called a Terry search. The SCOTUS decided in this case that as long as a policemen believed that a person

  1. Had committed
  2. Was going to commit a crime
  3. Probably armed

the police had a right to search.

One more minute, and it becomes clear that anyone can be searched under these three qualifications.

The constitutional origin and basis for police protective searches stems from the U.S. Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio (392 U.S. 1 (1968). In the Terry case, the high court first considered the issue of whether police pat downs were constitutional. That case evaluated the police practice of weapon searches on accosted persons and deemed it governed by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections.

The decision stood for the proposition that police protective searches were legitimate and constitutional, as it established justifications for the searches in the jurisprudence. Specifically, the supreme court held in Terry that the Fourth Amendment’s bar on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated by the police when they stop a suspect and pat down that suspect without probable cause to arrest him or her, so long as the police have a reasonable suspicion that the suspect committed, is committing, or committed an offense, and the officer has a reasonable belief that the suspect might be dangerously armed.

via What Is Permissible During a Police Pat Down? – Attorneys.com.

With one law-breaker or law enforcer, for every 17 adult males, the US is a world leader. For the 70 million American males in the 18-60 years of age who are the predominant target; there are 17 apex American secret service agencies that track these 70 million people. The biggest secret service in the world, the largest prisoner population, in addition to one of the the largest police forces in the world, make US clearly a leader of the ‘Free’ World.

those opposed to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new ‘enhanced’ pat down searches is that these pat downs violate a traveler’s Fourth Amendment rights.the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution it reads “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”While the new TSA enhanced pat downs may violate the Fourth Amendment on the surface,

the 9th Circuit Court of the United States ruled on the search of passengers in airports back in 1973, which effectively suspends limited aspects of the Fourth Amendment while undergoing airport security screening.

In 1973 the 9th Circuit Court rules on U.S. vs Davis, 482 F.2d 893, 908, there are key pieces of wording that give the TSA its power to search essentially any way they choose to. The key wording in this ruling includes “noting that airport screenings are considered to be administrative searches because they are conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme, where the essential administrative purpose is to prevent the carrying of weapons or explosives aboard aircraft.”

U.S. vs Davis goes onto to state “[an administrative search is allowed if] no more intrusive or intensive than necessary, in light of current technology, to detect weapons or explosives, confined in good faith to that purpose, and passengers may avoid the search by electing not to fly.”

U.S. vs Davis was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court in 1986 in U.S. vs Pulido-Baquerizo, 800 F.2d 899, 901 with this ruling “To judge reasonableness, it is necessary to balance the right to be free of intrusion with society’s interest in safe air travel.”

These 9th Circuit Court ruling laid the path for the creation of Public Law 107-71, the Aviation Transportation and Security Act, which was virtually unopposed by legislators when it was it was signed into law on the 19th of November 2001 by President George W. Bush. This law laid the groundwork for the Transportation Security Administration and the evolution of its current security procedures.

These laws give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Administration significant legal latitude to perform the searches utilizing their current procedures without fear of violating the Fourth Amendment.

via How The TSA Legally Circumvents The Fourth Amendment – Flying With Fish.

Simmering discontent about the intrusion is now out on the streets too  |  Pre-Flight Check. Friday, November 26th, 2010 by Ted Rall. at cartoonistswithattitude.org

Simmering discontent about the intrusion is now out on the streets too | Pre-Flight Check. Friday, November 26th, 2010 by Ted Rall. at cartoonistswithattitude.org

The Terry pat-down industry in the US Police got a big boost when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) upheld the police case against Lemon Montrea Johnson (argued December 9, 2008–Decided January 26, 2009) that police did indeed have the power to stop and search for weapons – and any other item which discovered during this search could be grounds for prosecution.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided today that, based on an Arizona case, cops who pull vehicles over in traffic stops can pat down passengers for weapons without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

We suspect this ruling could make it easier for unscrupulous police officers to abuse typical search standards.

Anytime an officer is suspicious someone is carrying drugs or other illegal contraband, the person can be searched for “weapons.” The officer has nothing to lose, now that the Supreme Court has spoken: If the search produces no weapons, there’s no legal foul ball. But if it produces drugs, the cop is rewarded with a felony bust.

via Pat-Downs of Passengers by Police Approved by U.S. Supreme Court – Phoenix News – Valley Fever.

A few cases have been overturned – but these precedents have not been enough, in number or strength of juridical importance, to turn the tide.

The Court of Appeals recently reaffirmed the long standing rule that an officer who conducts a traffic stop must have a particularized suspicion that an occupant of the vehicle poses a safety threat before the occupant can be patted-down. The Court went on to hold that this rule holds true even if the officer intends to search the vehicle.

In Molina v. State, a Gwinnett County case, an officer conducted a traffic stop of a pickup truck after noticing a broken tail light. Upon being asked by the officer, the driver consented to a search of the truck. The driver and the passenger, Molina, were then asked to step out of the truck. A backup officer conducted a “Terry pat-down” of Molina to search for weapons. During the pat-down, the officer felt “a large brick-like substance or material or object in his front waistband.” Unsure as to whether the brick was a weapon or drugs, the officer pulled the brick out and discovered that it was a kilo of cocaine. Molina was then charged for trafficking in cocaine.

At the suppression hearing, the officer testified on direct that prior to the pat-down Molina was breathing heavily and that the artery in his neck was pounding rapidly. The officer also stated: “Other than that. . . [he] was pretty normal.” On cross, the officer stated that he patted-down Molina immediately after he exited the truck. The officer also stated, “Every time we have a consent to search and we get someone out of a vehicle, I always pat them down for weapons.” The officer explained: “While I’m going to be tucked inside somebody’s car I want to know if while they’re standing out there they’re armed.” Molina lost the suppression hearing, and following a bench trial, he was sentenced to the minimum 25 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals reasoned that, “If the officer has a particularized basis for his suspicion the defendant might be armed or dangerous, he may frisk a suspect.” Quoting Terry v. Ohio, the Court went on to state that, “the issue is whether a reasonably prudent man in the circumstances would be warranted in the belief that his safety or that of others was in danger.”

via Georgia appeals court limits “pat-down” searches and “safety frisks” | Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers.

The state Supreme Court has thrown out the 2005 methamphetamine conviction of an Olympia man, ruling that police had no right to frisk him just because he was apparently intoxicated and acting nervous in a public building.

The unanimous court overturned a decision by a Thurston County judge and the state Court of Appeals, both of which had found Lt. Don Stevens of the Tumwater Police Department justified in patting down Michael Setterstrom for weapons.

Bystanders had called police the morning of Feb. 28, 2005, to complain that Setterstrom appeared intoxicated.

The court’s ruling means that evidence seized because of that search — including a baggie of methamphetamines — is inadmissible. Setterstrom, who served six months in jail for the conviction, will have the conviction reversed.

According to the court opinion, Setterstrom lied to Stevens about his name, was fidgety and seemed nervous.

Even though Setters actually do or say anything threatening, Stevens frisked him. While he felt hard objects in the man’s front pocket, he testified “that none felt like a gun.”

Among the items the officer pulled from the pocket was a small baggie containing white powder. Stevens placed it all on the bench and told Setterstrom he was under arrest.

“What happened next was, we assume, unusual,” wrote Justice James R. Johnson for the court. “Setterstrom dropped to his knees, grabbed the baggie, and swallowed it.”

Efforts to make Setterstrom spit it out were not successful, and Johnson wryly noted that, “For obvious reasons, police never recovered the baggie.”

Based on these actions, Setterstrom was arrested and Stevens obtained a search warrant for his backpack, where officers found a small safe containing a baggie of methamphetamine, a syringe, a pipe and a set of scales. In Thursday’s ruling, the justices said that because the original pat-down was illegal, so was the search warrant that resulted from it.

while officers have every right to protect themselves, they must have a reason to suspect someone may be armed and dangerous.

“Officers must have some basis beyond nervousness and lying to justify the intrusion of a frisk,” the opinion said. “The officer here lacked such a basis.”

via Local News | Court: Police pat-down was not justified | Seattle Times Newspaper.

In JOHNSON v. THE STATE, (A11A0941.), Judge McFadden, dissenting wrote

Officer Spahr lacked authority to conduct the pat-down;  and Johnson’s consent to the subsequent search that turned up the drugs was not freely and voluntarily given, but rather was tainted by the illegal pat-down.   Therefore, the trial court should have granted Johnson’s motion to suppress, and I would reverse his conviction.I now turn to the question whether Officer Spahr had constitutionally adequate grounds to conduct the pat-down search.   I would find that the state did not meet its burden of establishing that Spahr reasonably suspected that Johnson was armed and dangerous or otherwise a threat to his personal safety.   So Spahr did not have constitutionally adequate grounds for the pat-down.Before an officer places a hand on the person of a citizen in search of anything, he must have constitutionally adequate, reasonable grounds for doing so.   If an officer conducts a pat-down for weapons without sufficient justification, any evidence discovered is inadmissible under the exclusionary rule.   Constitutionally adequate, reasonable grounds for a pat-down for weapons for officer or bystander safety are present when, based on particular and articulable facts, the officer actually and reasonably suspects that the individual is armed and dangerous or is otherwise a threat to personal safety.The state has the burden of proving that the pat-down was lawful.  Molina, 304 Ga.App. at 95.   That burden entails proving that the officer reasonably believed the suspect to have been “armed or otherwise dangerous.”  No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.Since the pat-down was illegal, the relevant question becomes whether Johnson’s consent to the subsequent search that turned up the drugs was voluntarily given and not the product of the illegal pat-down.   Johnson argues that he did not freely and voluntarily give his consent because he was surrounded by three officers, one of whom had already conducted the illegal pat-down, and he was not told that he could leave.   In other words, Johnson contends that the encounter had not de-escalated into a first-tier encounter, and therefore his consent was not voluntary.   To determine whether the encounter became consensual, the courts must look to the totality of the circumstances in determining whether a reasonable person would have felt free to leave.

via JOHNSON v. THE STATE, A11A0941., December 01, 2011 – GA Court of Appeals | FindLaw.

Anything left out …

There are some other developing ‘stories’, which are equally a cause for worry spread over the USA.

County officials are looking into an almost 70% spike in fatal officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles County last year but said it’s too early to tell what, if anything, drove the jump.

Fifty-four people were fatally shot by authorities in 2011, according to autopsy reports analyzed by The Times, an increase all the more notable because it occurred at a time when the number of homicides in the area fell to historic lows. With 612 people killed in the county last year, nearly 1 in every 10 such deaths occurred at the hands of law enforcement officers.

via L.A. County officials looking into spike in fatal police shootings – latimes.com.

In US capital, Washington, DC, an anti-prostitution law is being watched with interest by the rest of USA.

In areas designated as prostitution-free zones, police can make arrests for up to 24 consecutive days if two or more people congregate in public in certain neighborhoods and ignore dispersal orders.

In his testimony, Newsham told council members that the city’s well-publicized prostitution-free zones appear to have played only a minor role in an overall reduction of prostitution in the city. Despite common perceptions, Newsham said, police have never made an arrest using the prostitution-free zone statute.

“While PFZs may have contributed to a temporary displacement of street-level prostitution, development and changing trends in prostitution have likely played a greater role,” Newsham said, noting that there has been a steep decline in prostitution-related calls in the District.

Courts upheld a person’s right to loiter so long as it’s not “being done with the specific intent to commit an illegal act.” Under current law, Gorman said, police do not need “probable cause” to arrest someone using the prostitution-free zone statue.

“It’s about disrupting,” Mendelson said. “If the market has to move because of a prostitution-free zone, it’s going to hurt business.”

via D.C. ‘prostitution-free zones’ probably unconstitutional, attorney general’s office says – The Washington Post.

So how do police identify prostitutes?

Over 1,200 people have signed a petition to demand the right to carry three condoms in the District of Columbia without fear of arrest. Why do 1,200 people think that carrying more than two condoms is against the law?

Widespread media reports of a “three-condom rule” in D.C. began with an item on RH Reality Check investigating the District’s anti-prostitution provisions. The item, written by researchers Aziza Ahmed and Brook Kelly, claimed that in the District of Columbia, “Anecdotal evidence suggests that having three or more condoms is considered a proxy for being a sex worker.”

Last week, the three-condom rule hit Jezebel, where it received 4,426 page-views—and inspired dozens of comments from women concerned that a late-night prophylactic run could send them behind bars. “Don’t many brands sell in 3-packs? Anyone who carries around a new package is automatically carrying 3,” one wrote. “so people in long term relationships that decide to stock up are really screwed,” wrote another. Feministing also picked up the three-condom rule. On Amplify, Jaclyn Friedman worried that her new “cute red vinyl condom case” designed to hold three Trojans could be grounds for arrest. “I once used over a dozen [condoms] in a particularly memorable weekend,” Friedman writes. “And I still wasn’t a sex worker.” Meanwhile, Dibranco’s post has been viewed over 40,000 times.

Where did this “three-condom rule” originate?

It’s not a legal standard. In D.C., police can set up temporary “Prostitution Free Zones” where officers who suspect you of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution can force you to leave the area. If you don’t leave, they can arrest you. The zone can remain in place for up to 10 days. According to the Prostitution Free Zone Law, “prostitution-related offenses” include “repeatedly beckoning to, stopping, attempting to stop, or attempting to engage passers-by in conversation for the purpose of prostitution,” “stopping or attempting to stop motor vehicles for the purpose of prostitution,” or “repeatedly interfering with the free passage of other persons for the purpose of prostitution.” Cops can also ask you to disperse if they recognize you from previous incidents as a gang member or a sex worker, or if a “reliable source” informs the police that they have observed you engaging in prostitution. The law contains plenty of objectionable procedures—they can make me leave my neighborhood if someone “reliable” tells them I’m a sex worker?—but no mention of contraceptives.

According to D.C. police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump, carrying condoms can lead an officer to suspect prostitution—but there’s no three-condom arrest rule. “Although the possession of multiple condoms may be a factor that leads an officer to suspect (reasonable suspicion) that a person is engaged in prostitution, it is not enough to establish probable cause for any crime,” Crump writes. “Depending on the circumstances, factors such as this may justify an investigative stop—but not an arrest.”

Of course, it’s possible that some D.C. police officers don’t always follow the letter of the law. Is there any evidence that D.C. police have an internal three-condom rule?

According to the report, 8.6 percent of sex workers interviewed claimed that officers had taken “safe sex supplies” from them during their interactions with police; the report also cites evidence of police officers seizing or destroying condoms in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Again, the report’s findings reveal police conduct that can be extraordinarily harmful for D.C.’s sex workers. However, the report includes no magic number of condoms required to ignite suspicion—and it doesn’t provide any evidence that condoms alone are enough to get you locked up.

via Can Having Three Condoms In D.C. Really Get You Arrested? – The Sexist.

For a short while it did appear that the this Prostitution-Free Zone practice was effective. There seemed to be a reduction in prostitution.

The prostitution landscape in the nation’s capital is changing.

WAMU-FM’s “Metro Connection” reported on the District of Columbia’s crackdown on prostitution and why it is that prostitution is moving from areas downtown into residential neighborhoods, especially in Ward 7 east of the Anacostia River.

The migration mostly has to do with a 2006 law that allows chief of the Metropolitan Police Department to temporarily designate some areas of the city as “prostitution-free zones.” In such areas, it is “unlawful for a group of two or more persons to congregate in a public space or property in that area for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or prostitution-related offenses.”

Contrary to public opinion, the carrying of more than two condoms is not itself enough to get a person arrested for prostitution though the City Paper’s former sex columnist Amanda Hess did find that carrying multiple condoms in a prostitution-free zone can lead an officer to suspect that a person is a sex worker — which, in a prostitute-free zone, is enough for the police to tell the person to disperse.

Most of the PFZs so far have been downtown, which has pushed prostitution into other parts of the nation’s capital. WAMU reports that in Ward 2, the downtown jurisdiction traditionally known as D.C.’s prostitution hub, arrests have gone down by 10 percent in the past 10 years. But east of the Anacostia River, arrests have tripled in Ward 7.

The group told WAMU it isn’t seeing any overall decrease in the number of prostitutes working in D.C., though — it’s the same number of prostitutes, just working in different places– More dangerous places, say sex worker advocates.

via D.C. Prostitution Moves East Of Anacostia River.


Why Do We Love Our Invaders So Much?

Posted in British Raj, Desert Bloc, History, India, Indo Pak Relations, Propaganda by Anuraag Sanghi on August 7, 2012


Colonial history produces in the minds of many English-speaking Indians, the belief that India has been a rather frequent military loser – even though facts are otherwise.

Colonial history, left largely untouched after Indian Independence, produces it own kinds of stunted minds. A 2ndlook reader responded with a revealing comment.

being a Hindu from east India (Bengal – Assam), believe me I would Any Day prefer the british or east India company, rather than live under nawab’s, muslim league, tikka khans (u know who was tikka khan, maybe you don’t know about the pakistan genocide of east bengali hindus in 70-71).

Ever head of the begali hindu renassiance in the 18-19 centuries (or for that matter the general Hindu reniasance all over india). I am sure u’ll be upset / angry / bitter to learn that it started once the british has booted out the nawbs / mughals

Koenraad Elst, recently wrote a blog-post calling Hindus cowards, questioning if they are all right in all the departments. All this because Hindus were not hounding out Muslims from India – or at least making them second-class citizens, if not putting them in concentration camps.

To make this point, Elst picked up on India’s partition (1947) into India and Pakistan (to later subdivide into Pakistan and Bangla Desh.).

Anglophiles apart, it is an accepted reading of events for the 1940-1947 period when the Partition was formalized, that the British did encourage Jinnah to make strident, aggressive claims for disproportionate authority and veto powers in the soon-to-be independent India – failing which, India must be partitioned.

Some 2ndlookers felt that Elst’s absolution given to the British, for the Partition of India was a trial balloon by vested interests. A logical doubt, as Koenraad Elst’s writing has been suspect – and his ‘scholarship’ distasteful.

It is Elst’s proposition in his post (linked above) – unsupported by any facts, links, citations, references that the British wanted a united India – but it was Muslims led by Jinnah who wanted otherwise.

Curiously, the most significant support for Elst came from some Indians. Some interesting ramifications and reactions to this debate.

Koenraad Elst: Singing Bhajans to British Gods to an Indian Audience or The Game Is Over

Posted in British Raj, Desert Bloc, History, India, Islamic Demonization, Propaganda, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on August 5, 2012


British were not the worst says Koenraad Elst. They killed some people. That is all. Just some fifty times more than Islamic raiders and invaders.

Koenraad Elst’s writing has been distasteful – and his ‘scholarship’ suspect.

A 2ndlook reader, Dr.OP Sudrania, drew my attention to a new post by Elst. Unlike 2ndlook, Elst does not respond to comments or criticism – probably, because he has none.

For reasons of time, I would not normally spend much time with verbiage of the Elst variety – excepting this was too easy.

Elst writes

Lord Louis Mountbatten, only accepted Partition because the Muslim League threatened and started violence.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Is it beyond your Catholic-Christian intelligence to see how British could put Gandhiji behind bars for threatening non-violent protest! The British had no qualms (and artificial regret later) when O’Dyer opened fire on unarmed people in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar?

But could not do anything when Jinnah threatened and started violence? Your Christian-Catholic logic escapes my ‘Hindu-Indian’ thinking.


Viceroys Lord Victor Linlithgow and Lord Archibald Wavell told Jinnah to his face that they would not countenance the division of their nice and neat Indian empire, not even in the event of decolonization. Their successor, Lord Louis Mountbatten, only accepted Partition because the Muslim League threatened and started violence.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

I presume it is below Elst’s Catholic-Christian intelligence to provide proof and citation of this. Day, date, time, place, witnesses, subjects discussed, duration of the meeting(s), other participants? Catholic Christian Elst gives no details.

Was Catholic Christian Elst the proverbial fly-on-the-British-wall, who witnessed these events first hand, in his previous birth?

brainwash the Indian Muslims into becoming India-loving Hindus

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

I presume again that is is below Elst’s Catholic-Christian intelligence to provide data or source which shows that Indian-Muslims do not love India – as much as Hindus?

And what are ‘Hindus’ supposed to do? Send Indian Muslims to concentration camps?

Like America did with Americans of Japanese descent during WWII? Or Britain did to Boers during the Boer War? Or the Spanish did with Cubans in the War of Freedom by Cuban Slaves?

Or are we to follow the example of your king, Leopold of Belgium who managed to annihilate more than 1 crore people of Congo, who he deemed to be his ‘personal’ property?

British had nothing to do with Partition, and that this was a purely Muslim operation necessitated by the present democratic age’s belief in numbers.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Is it below Elst’s Catholic-Christian intelligence to accept evidence from Jinnah’s statement when Jinnah said how “suddenly there was a change in the attitude towards me. I was treated on the same basis as Mr Gandhi. I was wonderstruck why all of a sudden I was promoted and given a place side by side with Mr Gandhi.”

I will argue that the British had nothing to do with Partition

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Mr.Elst, you will make your Catholic-Christian arguments without citations, evidence, links, quotes, sources, because the Hindu is polite to stop you?

It is only the fledgling Cold War that made the British and also the Americans see a silver lining in the Partition, viz. that one of the parties would join the Western camp and provide it an outpost to monitor the Soviet threat

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Is it beyond your Catholic-Christian intelligence to do some background study about the The Great Game that was played out between the Tsarist & Soviet Russia and the British from 1840-1940?

How Russia was seen as the biggest threat to the Indian Empire by the British Raj?

To be sure, the British were guilty of many things, and the fixation of Hindu nationalists on them is understandable. Principally, they caused several very serious famines, they dismantled the technology and economic structure of India, and they imposed a foreign ideology that harmed the natives’ self-respect. This did not make British rule “the biggest crime in history”, as L.K. Advani claims on his blog (15 July 2012), but it was pretty bad.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

After killing more than 25 million Indians – which is about 50 times more than what the Islamic invaders and rulers killed and enslaved, your Catholic-Christian intelligence believes that the British were not the worst killers in the history of humanity – way beyond Hitler.

I would agree with you on one thing here.

The Hindu is too polite – and should actually go after your Catholic-Christian *#@* with all that he has in all his god-given Hindu departments … and a crowbar, to prove his courage!

Hindus who blame the British for Partition, show that they are afraid of the truth, and afraid of Islam. It is far easier to accuse the British, who have safely departed, than to lay the blame at the door of Islam. Blaming Islam opens a can of worms, it is difficult to deal with this religion. It is a challenge to one’s courage, but it is mainly a challenge to one’s intelligence. If you are deficient in these departments, then go ahead and blame the British.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Is there a deficiency in your Catholic-Christian departments that you should deal with facts, documents, sources, evidence, quotations – and not in hate, name calling?

Can a Catholic-Christian intelligence rise above it’s vile, genocidal ways of the last 2000 years?

It is here that I have more reason to worry. Though Hindus have shown great intelligence in the literature of the past and ICT initiatives of the present, they have mostly failed to apply their intelligence to the Islam problem, though this is staring them in the face every day. But I am confident that now you will do something about it.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Your Catholic-Christian mind has a good reason to be worried. Indians are seeing through the Christian-Progressive-Liberal Game – and you may be out of business.

Faster than you imagine.


Tagged with: , ,

How Jinnah was made Important; became Somebody & got Pakistan

Posted in British Raj, History, India, Indo Pak Relations, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on August 2, 2012

To mount a credible challenge to Hitler in WWII, British desperately needed Indian soldiers. Congress could have denied them this luxury.

1935 Nazi Party Rally at Nurnberg displayed the new half-track artillery-carriers.  |  Image source and courtesy - Hitler's Army- The Men, Machines, and Organization- 1939-1945 - David Stone - Google Books 2012-08-02 17-43-23  |  Click for image.

1935 Nazi Party Rally at Nurnberg displayed the new half-track artillery-carriers. | Image source and courtesy – Hitler’s Army- The Men, Machines, and Organization- 1939-1945 – David Stone – Google Books 2012-08-02 17-43-23 | Click for image.

Jinnah turns

In 1940, Jinnah, who for most part of his career was anti-colonial, suddenly changed.

The man who defended Bal Gangadhar Tilak wanted a Pakistan.

To many this has seemed like a puzzle.

Transfer Of Power In India - V.P. Menon - Google Books accessed on 2012-07-31 at 01-20-35  |  Click to go to books.google.co.in

From MA Jinnah’s speech at the Lahore Session in March 1940 of the The All-India Muslim League. | Image Extract from Transfer Of Power In India – V.P. Menon – Google Books accessed on 2012-07-31 at 01-20-35 | Click to go to books.google.co.in

Why or what changed Jinnah?

The simple answer is the British.

The British needed a counter to the Congress – which could have disrupted the British recruitment of Indian soldiers. Congress decided to oppose British recruitment of Indian soldiers. Jinnah agreed to support British recruitment of Indian soldiers to fight a British war in far-off lands.

Indians soldiers who were essential to the British victory in WWII.

Keys to British power

Just as Indian gunpowder powered the British rise to world power, the other leg was the Indian Army. Drawing upon India’s vast military market, tens of thousands of soldiers could be raised in a short time – at a very reasonable cost.

To impose British writ on the world.

When the British needed to teach a lesson to Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia (then Abyssinia; also “Theodore”), it was the Indian sepoy who was sent. After the British disaster in Burma, it was decided to use the Bengali sepoys in Burma – which resulted in the Barrackpore Mutiny of 1824. After a lull, British power was imposed on Burma, in degrees, between 1856 to 1896,  by Indian soldiers. As the Chinese started steaming, and the Boxer Wars started, it was the Indian Sepoy who landed in China.

On August 4, 1900, a relief force of more than 3000 soldiers from Sikh and Punjabi regiments left Tianjin, part of the larger eight-nation alliance that was dispatched to aid the besieged quarter, where 11 countries had set up legations. Indian troops were also dispatched to guard churches and Christian missionaries, the targets of the Boxer uprisings.

Among the Indians, there was sympathy for the Boxers, Colonel Jaishankar said. Gaddhar Singh, a Rajput who was in Beijing in 1900-01, empathised with Chinese grievances in his accounts, arguing it was an entirely justified peasant rebellion.

The British also dispatched Indian regiments to China leading up towards the Opium War, which ended with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 and the opening up of Chinese ports to the British.

The British deployed Sikh soldiers as law enforcement officers in ports like Shanghai, where their trading companies had set up a large presence by the early twentieth century. The Sikh soldiers were feared by the Chinese with their imposing figures, so much so that the British deemed that they did not even need guns when on duty, Colonel Jaishankar said, citing records from the time.

The history of Indian troops in China is one that is ignored in Chinese accounts, and is likely a sensitive legacy considering they were often deployed against the Chinese.

via The Hindu : Arts / History & Culture : The forgotten history of Indian troops in China.

During WWI, more than ten lakh Indian soldiers fought all over the world to save the British Empire from being overrun by the German-Ottoman alliance.

After WWI, with many idle Indian soldiers and no war, the British Raj decided on another adventure against Amir Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan in 1919. A small contingent of Indian soldiers under Wilfrid (also Wilfred) Malleson landed in Russian Central Asia to hold crucial railway lines and oil fields from falling in Bolshevik hands. Both campaigns failed.

Modern Western narrative is reluctant to admit the role played by the British Indian Army in the power and conquest of the Raj.

Inadequate Cover

The role of the Indian soldier was most crucial in the British victory in WWII.

A White Paper introduced in the British Parliament on March 1, 1935 discussed Germany’s secret re-armament – and proposed British increase in defense production.

Germany responded with an announcement of Luftwaffe, and universal military conscription on March 16, 1935 in the Wehrmacht. Nearly four years after the white paper, Britain introduced conscription to increase the size of its army, after the passage of the Military Training Act (April 27, 1939).

The small size of the British military against the might of Hitler’s Blitzkrieg, forced Britain into conscription at the beginning of WWII.

During the early years of the war, the army suffered defeat in almost every theatre in which it was deployed. With mass conscription, the expansion of the army was reflected in the formation of larger armies and army groups. From 1943, the larger and better equipped British Army hardly suffered a strategic defeat.

In September 1939, the army had a total of 892,697 officers and men in both the full-time regular army and part-time Territorial Army. The regular army could muster 224,000 men, who were supported by a reserve of 173,700 men. Of the regular army reservists, only 3,700 men were fully trained and the remainder had been in civilian life for up to 13 years.The Territorial Army numbered 438,100, with a reserve of around 20,750 men.

By the end of 1939, the Army’s strength had risen to 1.1 million men, by June 1940 it stood at 1.65 million men, and had further increased to 2.2 million men by the following June. The size of the Army peaked in June 1945, at 2.9 million men.

By 1944, the United Kingdom faced severe manpower shortages. By May 1944, it was estimated that the Army’s strength in December 1944 would be 100,000 less than at the end of 1943. Although casualties were actually lower than anticipated, losses from all causes were still higher than could be replaced. 35,000 men from the Royal Air Force and Royal Artillery were retrained as infantry.

via British Army during the Second World War – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Although 35 lakh British soldiers enlisted during WWII, the peak numbers of soldiers fighting was never more than twenty-nine lakhs – including reserves, under-training, injured and non-combatants, which was about half the number. In contrast twenty-five lakh Indian soldiers fought to save the British Empire. Compare this with the thirty lakh soldiers that Germany committed for Operation Barbarossa (June 22, 1941) against Soviet Union.

At the beginning of the WWII, the British attitude, in part was ‘Me? Worry!’ ‘Indeed the advice coming from London was that it was unlikely that Indian troops would be required at all.’

The tune soon changed.

There were over two and a half million Indian citizens in uniform during the war. The Fifth Indian Division, for example, fought in the Sudan against the Italians, and then in Libya against the Germans. From North Africa the Division was moved to Iraq to protect the oilfields.

After this relatively easy posting, the Division was moved to the Burma front, together with eight other Indian Divisions, and then occupied Malaya. It was then moved to Java to disarm the Japanese garrison there.

The Fourth Indian Division also fought in North Africa, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus and then in Italy. Together with the 8th and 10th Division it participated in the taking of Monte Cassino, after which it was moved to Greece.

India also served as an assault and training base, and provided vast quantities of foods and other materials to British and Commonwealth forces, and to the British at home. This necessitated the involvement of more millions of men and women in war work and war production.

via BBC – History – World Wars: Colonies, Colonials and World War Two.

For this privilege of saving the British skins

India also had to pay for its two and a half million citizens in uniform, as well as for the highly paid white British officers.

via BBC – History – World Wars: Colonies, Colonials and World War Two.

Later in this post we will use gold prices indices to demonstrate the high salaries paid to Indian and British soldiers by the British Raj. From the taxes levied on the Indian peasant.

Western historians make much of the fact that the British-Indian Army was a voluntary Army and not a conscript army.

They conveniently overlook the fact that what went towards paying for the British Indian Army were extortionate taxes that the Indian peasant paid. Neither voluntarily nor willingly.

Taxes that were not even fair.

Wages of sin?

The question about British-Indian Army on most people’s minds was

What motivated men to fight in a war thousands of miles from home, in a cause that did not seem to be their own? The Indian Army has often been described as a mercenary force, and money may have been one motive for enlistment. The pay for an Indian infantryman was a modest 11 rupees a month, but the additional income would have been useful to a hard-pressed peasant family. Promotion could bring more substantial income, particularly to men who had served for many years.

via BBC – History – World Wars: India and the Western Front.

In an India wracked by famines in the British Raj, in an agricultural economy subjected to crippling taxes, British-Indian Army with it high pay, timely salaries, pension benefits was attractive to rural families with any surplus children, that could not be used on the farm.

The other aspect is that as the Squeeze-India Campaign initiated by Churchill-Montagu Norman progressed, indebtedness of the Indian population also grew. The Central Banking Enquiry Committee estimated the total rural debt in 1929 at Rs.900 crores. Some 4.5 crore families owed equal to today’s Rs.200,000 in debt – calculation based on Rs.200 debt per family debt with gold at Rs.30 per tola.

By 1937, this doubled to today’s Rs.400,000 for every rural family – indexed to current gold prices.

To get a handle on this

Let us compare this to modern India’s labour market.

Look at the software industry. Employing about 28 lakh people (Nasscom; 2012), the average entry level pay for a basic software professional (HTML; Java) is about Rs.1.00-1.20 lakhs per annum. SAP-trained entry level employees cost between Rs.2.0-3.0 lakhs.

At entry-level, software employees get just about double of what farm labour gets in India. A typical farm labourer makes about Rs.50,000-Rs.100,000 per annum.

Similar to India modern software industry, the British Indian army at the end of WWII had recruited about 25 lakh soldiers. Unlike software employees, the recruits in the British Army had close to zero skills and negligible education. Mostly from rural areas, a career in the British Indian Army was rewarding. For most of the British Raj period, rural wages in India were about 10%-20% of a sepoy’s salary.

To better understand the value of this salary, we will need to understand the value of the Indian currency vis-a-vis the British pound and the price of gold in India – during this period.

In 1927, the peg was once more reduced, this time to 18 pence (13⅓ rupees = 1 pound). This peg was maintained until 1966, when the rupee was devalued and pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 7.5 rupees = 1 dollar (at the time, the rupee became equal to 11.4 British pence). This peg lasted until the U.S. dollar devalued in 1971.

via Indian rupee – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Gold in India, before WWII was at Rs.30 per tola. A salary of Rs.60 indexed to today’s gold price would mean Rs.60,000 – excluding food, lodging, uniform, and other allowances.

So, what were actual pay scales like?

Paying for loyalty

We will take a broad sample of reports for that period. A luminary from the British Indian Army was

Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon (March 18, 1914 – February 6, 2006) an officer in the Indian National Army charged with “waging war against His Majesty the King Emperor”. Along with Shah Nawaz Khan and Prem Kumar Sahgal, he was tried by the British at the end of World War II in the INA trials that began on November 5, 1945 at Red Fort. Dhillon also played an important role in the Indian independence negotiations.joined the Training Battalion of the 10/14th Punjab Regiment on May 29, 1933, receiving pay of fifteen rupees per month. He completed his training in the first week of March 1934.

via Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Another INA leader who joined in the officer grade had a much higher salary.

Habib ur Rahman Khan (1913–1978) was an Indian freedom fighter during British colonial rule of India, Rahman was an officer in the Indian National Army who was charged with “waging war against His Majesty the King Emperor”. Along with Gen. Shah Nawaz Khan, Col. Prem Kumar Sahgal & Col. Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon, he was tried by the British at the end of World War II in the famous INA trials that began on November 5, 1945 at Red Fort.

Khan got enrolled himself at the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun and was commissioned as an officer in the British Indian Army. In 1933 after training from Dehradun joined 5th Battalion, formed by redesignation of 40th Pathans, the 5/14th Punjab Regiment on May 29, 1933. As a officer his pay was hundred rupees per month. He was posted to 1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment.

After Independence Quaid-i-Azam was delighted with that Khan joining the government service and advised him in writing to visit and report about the current situation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar. Following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Khan chose to settle in Pakistan

via Raja Habib ur Rahman Khan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Comparing pay scales in navy yields similar numbers.

In 1914, Indian deckhands earned between 16 and 22 rupees (£1.00-£1.50) a month and firemen (who worked with the engines) 20 rupees (less than £1.50) compared to wages of £5.10 per month for their British co-workers. By 1919, their wages had stayed the same, while the British seamen’s wages had nearly tripled to £14.00 a month.

When World War II began, there were still big differences in pay, with White seamen earning on average seven times as much as lascars. This caused widespread unhappiness amongst the lascars, and led to strikes, running away and the setting up of seamen’s unions. By the end of the war, lascar wages had increased by 500% to over £9.00 a month, but still stood at less than half the wages paid to White seamen (£20.00-£24.00 a month).

via Bangla Stories – Two World Wars.

As the German motorized division rolled across Europe brushing all opposition aside, the British also changed their Indian army recruitment. At the start of the war some British Indian Army divisions had entire regiments where no one knew how to drive an automobile.

The outbreak of World War Two forced the British to speed up mechanisation but initially mechanisation for Indians meant only trucks or armoured cars. There was one important measure which the British undertook and which most probably attracted the best available manpower to try to enrol in the Indian Armoured Corps. This was an almost doubling of the pay of the Armoured Corps soldiers from around 18 rupees to 33 rupees per month. This was done in October 1942, once General Martel who was visiting India in order to reorganise the Indian Armoured Corps was told that “India had a mercenary army” and that the best men in India would not join he (sic; read as the, and not he) Indian Armoured Corps if they were paid Rs 18 per month which was the average monthly pay of an Indian soldier.

via Pakistan Armoured Corps as a Case Study.

The above figures are broadly confirmed by the memoirs of a soldiers. This following memoir, with some contradictions and inconsistencies (not to mention spelling mistakes) still serves a useful purpose of confirming a soldiers salary.

Once the situation came under control, then I joined the Indian Army. This was in 19th Febuary 1948. At first I was an electrician/ motor vehicle engineer. After this I was made an Armamnet Artificial Vehicle Officer. At that time India was in the commonwealth. India brought independance in 1947. However, Lord Mountbatton was still the Governer General of India until 1952.

During the British period the uniforms were Khaki. Under Indian rule this changed to olive Green. Status was low. We used to receive the same wages though, 29 rupees monthly. Normally people were not very well educated at that time. When i joined the air force,

During the beginning, I was going to join in 1945, but the British recruitment was finished. That is why I had to join later. Living standards were very good for army people, and people used to give us more respect. British people really appreciated the Sikhs joining the British Army, and were very encouraging.

via BBC – WW2 People’s War – My Life as a Sikh Soldier In India.

Money alone is not enough

By the time of the Burma offensive (Nov.1944-August 1945), Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck had to increase pay to retain Indian soldiers. When the time came, even this increased pay was not enough.

In January 1943, the Japanese invited Bose to lead the Indian nationalist movement in East Asia[12]. He accepted and left Germany on 8 February. After a three-month journey by submarine, and a short stop in Singapore, he reached Tokyo on 11 May 1943, where he made a number of radio broadcasts to the Indian communities, exhorting them to join in the fight for India’s Independence.

On 15 February 1943, the Army itself was put under the command of Lt. Col. M.Z. Kiani. A policy forming body was formed with the Director of the Military Bureau, Lt. Col Bhonsle, in charge and clearly placed under the authority of the IIL. Under Bhonsle served Lt. Col. Shah Nawaz Khan as Chief of General Staff, Major P.K. Sahgal as Military Secretary, Major Habib ur Rahman as commandant of the Officers’ Training School and Lt. Col. A.C. Chatterji (later Major A.D. Jahangir) as head of enlightenment and culture.

On 4 July 1943, two days after reaching Singapore, Subhash Chandra Bose assumed the leadership of the IIL and the INA.

via Indian National Army – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

An estimated 40,000 joined the INA, though the Japanese agreed to kit and fit only some 16,000 soldiers.

After winning WWII, the British attempted to punish the Indian Army deserters, rebels who had joined SC Bose’s INA, and fought against the armies of the Raj. Against much objections and opposition, the trials and court martial proceedings were initiated against Habib-ur-Rahman and

Colonel Prem Sahgal, Colonel Gurubaksh Singh Dhillon and Major General Shah Nawaz Khan. The three had been officers in the British Indian Army and taken PoW in Malaya or Singapore. They had, like a large number of other troops and officers of the British Indian Army, joined the Indian National Army and later fought in Imphal and Burma alongside the Japanese forces in allegiance to Azad Hind.

via INA trials – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The whole nation rose in revolt. A common rhyme during the period was

Lal Qile se aaee awaz,
Sahgal Dhillon Habib Shah Nawaz,
Charoon ki ho umar daraz

Translation – Comes a voice from the Red Fort, Sahgal, Dhillon, Habib, Shah Nawaz, May the Four live long

End game

Nehru informed the Congress and Mountbatten reported to London, that India was like like a volcano, which could erupt any time. Penderel Moon, a much quoted British Civil servant, felt that the Raj was on “the edge of a volcano.” As did Nehru and Pethick Lawrence. The INA trials had created serious ruptures in British control over India.

This movement marked the last major campaign in which the forces of the Congress and the Muslim League aligned together; the Congress tricolor and the green flag of the League were flown together at protests.

During the trial, mutiny broke out in the Royal Indian Navy, incorporating ships and shore establishments of the RIN throughout India, from Karachi to Bombay and from Vizag to Calcutta. The most significant, if disconcerting factor for the Raj, was the significant militant public support that it received. At some places, NCOs in the British Indian Army started ignoring orders from British superiors. In Madras and Pune, the British garrisons had to face revolts within the ranks of the British Indian Army.

Another Army mutiny took place at Jabalpur during the last week of February 1946, soon after the Navy mutiny at Bombay.

via INA trials – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

British officers deemed that this court-martial was minimum necessary to maintain military disciple. Later retreating, Claude Auchinleck wrote to his British officers, explaining why the sentence could not be carried out.

practically all are sure that any attempt to enforce the sentence would have led to chaos in the country at large, and probably to mutiny and dissension in the Army, culminating in its dissolution.

Unsure of Japanese and German ability to fully arm and support the INA, the thinking was that an armed confrontation by an Indian Army against the British, with foreign aid and support would establish diplomatic and military credentials of the Indian leadership.

Prem Kumar Sahgal, an officer of the INA once Military secretary to Subhas Bose and later tried in the first Red Fort trials, explained that although the war itself hung in balance and nobody was sure if the Japanese would win, initiating a popular revolution with grass-root support within India would ensure that even if Japan lost the war ultimately, Britain would not be in a position to re-assert its colonial authority, which was ultimately the aim of the INA and Azad Hind.

via Indian National Army – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Even as India draws direction from the above elements, in Pakistan, it can be quite different. One study derives the Pakistani-military tendency to British recruitment patterns.

Explains a Muslim historian

The most drastic effect of the 1857 Uprising was the regional recruitment shift in the British military from Bengal to the Punjab and North West Frontier Province NWFP of the subcontinent. This shift resulted in the de-Bengalisation and the Punjabisation of the Indian army – a punishment for the Bengal region that rebelled and a reward to the Punjab that suppressed the Uprising. the assertive role played by the Pakistan Army during the 1950s and 60s can be traced to the evolution of the colonial Indian army.

Railways were not available for all locations. Regiments had to simply march . Image of 5/13th Frontier Force Rifles, preceded by their band, marching from Kohat to Banu in December 1930 |  Source - Liddle Collection; courtesy - The Indian Army 1914-1947 - Ian Sumner - Google Books |  on 2012-07-31 at 20-33-25  |  Page 20

Railways were not available for all locations. Regiments had to simply march . Image of 5/13th Frontier Force Rifles, preceded by their band, marching from Kohat to Banu in December 1930 | Source – Liddle Collection; courtesy – The Indian Army 1914-1947 – Ian Sumner – Google Books | on 2012-07-31 at 20-33-25 | Page 20


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