Perry, Perry On The Wall … Who’s the Biggest Brother Of All?

Posted in America, British Raj, Current Affairs, Desert Bloc, Media, Pax Americana, politics, Propaganda by Anuraag Sanghi on September 29, 2012


For reasons not quite clear, Perry Anderson does a hatchet job on India, using selective data on police, prisons, surveillance. Better data leads to conclusions different from Perry Anderson’s.

After millions of agents and billions of dollaqrs ...  |  Cartoon By Dwayne Booth, Mr. Fish - 9/25/2006 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy - cagle.com

After millions of agents and billions of dollaqrs … | Cartoon By Dwayne Booth, Mr. Fish – 9/25/2006 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy – cagle.com

Changing spots

Employed with an American university (UCLA) for 30-years, Perry Anderson, a Marxist professor of British origin, has been completely taken up with India.

Published in July was his first-post, Gandhi Centre Stage (LRB 5 July 2012), and his next post was After Nehru (LRB 2 August 2012). Between these two posts, Perry Anderson has come up with some 33,000 words.

Enough material for a 100-page book.

Follow the money

Cleverly mixed with his reluctant admissions of truths, half-untruths, and complete lies, it is unclear why he has taken up such a project.

Why India?

As a Marxist, wouldn’t Communist China or Socialist Russia be an easier – and more interesting objects for Perry Anderson’s affections? For me, Socialist Germany is the most interesting country-study one can do today.

As a Marxist, it is again rather puzzling that Perry Anderson has so much thinly-veiled pride for colonial-imperial Britain – and such antipathy towards an earnest, wannabe-socialist India.

This is the third of the posts for a 2ndlook at some issues that Perry Anderson raises in his posts.

Perry, Perry on the wall? Should he West not be worried miore about itself?  |  Justice Is Suspicious Character in Sanford Florida; By RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post Dispatch - 4/17/2012 12:00:00 AM

Perry, Perry on the wall? Should he West not be worried miore about itself? | Justice Is Suspicious Character in Sanford Florida; By RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post Dispatch – 4/17/2012 12:00:00 AM

Big Brother

Perry Anderson makes an interesting point on India.

the role and character of the army, the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Home Guards, let alone the clandestine powers and activities of the Intelligence Bureau (a vast military, paramilitary and surveillance complex, totalling upwards of two million operatives), receive even passing mention in most of the literature on the world’s largest democracy.

via Perry Anderson · After Nehru · LRB 2 August 2012.

Perry Anderson does not provide any comparative aggregates, for any other country. Either at a gross level or on a per-capita basis.

Except India.

Perry Anderson expects us to accept his surmise at face-value – without further examination, data or evidence? By not providing comparative data Perry Anderson attempts to imply that the numbers he provides for India is a large number – and other comparable countries are lower.

Which is completely untrue!

But, not to worry!

Cross country statistics are hard to come by. Takes some searching, but on some country pairs, some data is available.

For instance, India and USA.

Increasing data on this subject have been available to 2ndlook readers for the last 5 years.

Does Perry Anderson’s India numbers include army, police, para-military, industrial security forces?

150 years after Emancipation; 50 years after xcivil rights movement, we are left with this  |  Disney World  By Keith Knight, PoliticalCartoons.com - 3/27/2012 12:00:00 AM

150 years after Emancipation; 50 years after civil rights movement, we are left with this | Disney World By Keith Knight, PoliticalCartoons.com – 3/27/2012 12:00:00 AM

Half Untruths

Let us check out some data to see how valid Perry Anderson’s claim is about India’s ‘vast military, paramilitary and surveillance complex, totalling upwards of two million operatives’.

Before going further let us look at some data on Indian police & military size.

  1. CRPF – 3 lakhs
  2. BSF – 2.5 lakhs
  3. Railway Protection Force0.65 lakh
  4. CISF – 0.25 lakh
  5. Civilian Police – 10 lakhs
  6. Total Police – 16 lakhs (total of 1-5 items).
  7. Indian Armed Forces – 13.25 lakhs
  8. State Total – 30 lakhs
  9. Private Security Total – 30 lakhs

I wonder from where does Perry pull out the 2-million figure – when the actual is closer to 3 million?

Let us look at USA – the only Western country close to India in terms of size, diversity, population.

US Police & Military

  1. US Armed Forces – 15 lakhs
  2. US Civilian Police – 10 lakhs
  3. US Secret Police – 30 lakhs
  4. US Industrial Security – 20 lakhs
  5. Total US Military & Police apparatus – 75 lakhs

Indian population is 120 crores and the US population is 31 crores. The American military-police apparatus is bigger by 25% for a population, that is a quarter the Indian population.

Bigger technology, larger police, more secret policemen. More prison ers, more killings b y the State.   |  Cartoon titled Intelligence Bureaucracies By Huffaker, Politicalcartoons.com - 5/8/2006 12:00:00 AM

Bigger technology, larger police, more secret policemen. More prison ers, more killings b y the State. | Cartoon titled Intelligence Bureaucracies By Huffaker, Politicalcartoons.com – 5/8/2006 12:00:00 AM

Macro Numbers

US Census Bureau says, 63% of US population, is between the age of 18-65 – numbering 19.5 crores (from 31 crores). US DoJ data release for the year-2011, says the number of people in correctional system (probation, parole or prison) excluding under prosecution, is more than 70 lakhs – mostly from 18-65 years group. That is 70 lakhs people out of 19.5 crores – nearly 4% (3.63% to be exact).

Anyway you look at it, it is more than any other country in the world.

Each year, the US system has to deal with 2.1 crore people in prison, on probation or parole, or being prosecuted. Ranged against 2.1 crore law-breakers are 60 lakhs in the various types of police plus 10 lakhs in judiciary.

This totals to 2.8 crore people who are law-breakers or law enforcers from a working age population of 19.5 crores. With every seventh adult in the business of (il)legal-activity, makes US clearly a leader of the ‘Free’ World.

Bigger technology, larger police, more secret policemen. More prison ers, more killings b y the State.   |  Cartoon titled Intelligence Bureaucracies By Huffaker, Politicalcartoons.com - 5/8/2006 12:00:00 AM

Bigger technology, larger police, more secret policemen. More prison ers, more killings b y the State. | Cartoon titled Intelligence Bureaucracies By Huffaker, Politicalcartoons.com – 5/8/2006 12:00:00 AM

Custodial Deaths

Perry Anderson then goes onto wite about the excesses of the Indian Police.

Arvind Verma writes that 53,000 people were arrested under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act, of whom just 434 could be convicted seven years later, he underlines some daily realities of Indian democracy: ‘Torture is routinely practised in most police stations and death in police custody is a frequent phenomenon’

Before looking at Indian numbers, let us look at some American numbers.

In the words of the BoJ-Statistics department report, ‘At yearend 2007, federal and state prisons and local jails held just under 2.3 million inmates (2,293,157).’

The US Bureau of Justice reports a total of 32,834 custodial deaths in the USA for 2001-2007 period. This has been broken up into local prisons with 8,097 inmate deaths from a local prison population of 782,595. This data is for local prisons only – which are lower level prisons. State prisons accounted for 21,936 deaths and Federal prisons for 2801 during 2001-2007, totalling 24,737 custodial deaths in State and Federal prisons for the 2001-2007 period.

This does not include arrest-related deaths.

For India, a activista report gave out the statistics.

“Torture in India 2011” states that a total of 14,231 persons i.e. more than four persons per day died in police and judicial custody in India from 2001 to 2010. This includes 1,504 deaths in police custody and 12,727 deaths in judicial custody from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010 as per the cases submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

These deaths reflect only a fraction of the problem with torture and custodial deaths in India as not all the cases of deaths in police and prison custody are reported to the NHRC.

via 14,231 Persons Died In police And Judicial Custody In India From 2001 To 2010 By Suhas Chakma.

A comparison could be made by taking data on a pro-rata basis. Some 8,900 custodial death among 400,000 prisoners in India (2.23%) compared to nearly 33,000 deaths from a prisoner base of 2 million (1.65%).

This means 19 additional deaths each month in India. Does this speak of unspeakable torture and human abuse in a country of 120 crores, with a State policing apparatus that uses nearly 3 million ‘operatives’?

How many of these deaths could be due to pre-existing illnesses? India after all has the largest numbers of people affected by TB, diabetic, cardiac diseases. Prison conditions could easily result in higher mortality due to these illnesses. Poorer healthcare in Indian prisons?

Is this vastly different from mortality rates between general population in India and USA?

UPSA – United Police State of America

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

It is fashionable in the US to moan over how powerful ‘secret police’ has become of late.

But this is not new.

For 48 years, Edgar Hoover headed FBI. No POTUS (President of the US), no GOTUS (Government of the US), no SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the US) could touch him. He had a file on everyone. Including musicians (like John Lennon) to many Hollywood starlets.

No State has taken so much offence against its own citizens as the GOTUS.

Of late, the US Government made more requests to Twitterto reveal confidential information,  than all other Governments in the world put together.

Was the persecution of Julian Assange useful, or essential for any other reason ?  |  Julian Assange Siege  By Paul Zanetti, Australia - 8/16/2012 12:00:00 AM

Was the persecution of Julian Assange useful, or essential for any other reason ? | Julian Assange Siege By Paul Zanetti, Australia – 8/16/2012 12:00:00 AM

Police Killing – In India & USPA

Coming to the point about Indian police killing civilians.

First, let us take data for people killed by US-police during line of duty.

Looking for the number of burglaries last year in Devils Lake, N.D.? How about the increase in property crimes in Caribou, Maine? The answers (34 and 23 percent, respectively) are readily available from the FBI.

Want detailed information on how many people were shot by police in the United States last year?

That’s not so easy to find.

The nation’s leading law enforcement agency collects vast amounts of information on crime nationwide, but missing from this clearinghouse are statistics on where, how often, and under what circumstances police use deadly force. In fact, no one anywhere comprehensively tracks the most significant act police can do in the line of duty: take a life.

“We don’t have a mandate to do that,” said William Carr, an FBI spokesman in Washington, D.C. “It would take a request from Congress for us to collect that data.”

Congress, it seems, hasn’t asked.

via National data on shootings by police not collected – 142 Dead, and Rising – Deadly Force – ReviewJournal.com.

But let me confess. I am wondering is this is a case running and hiding …

A Pulitzer prize winning investigation by Washington Post, on Washington DC police practices concluded that the

extent and pattern of police shootings have been obscured from public view. Police officials investigate incidents in secret, producing reports that become public only when a judge intercedes. In a small hearing room closed to the public, nine of every 10 shootings are ruled justified by department officials who read the reports filed by investigating officers but generally hear no witnesses.

In the internal records used to track shooting trends, D.C. police undercounted by nearly one-third the number of people they killed from 1994 to 1997, tallying only 29 fatal police shootings. The Post investigation confirmed 43 fatal police shootings in that period. Seven fatal shootings were missing from police shooting trend records, and seven other fatal shootings were mislabeled as nonfatal.

The rise in police shootings in the mid-1990s went largely unnoticed among the top officials charged with policing the police.

“No one said there was a problem with shootings,” said Stephen D. Harlan, former vice chairman of the D.C. financial control board. Former D.C. chief Larry D. Soulsby, who presided over the department from 1995 to 1997, said the rise in shootings “was not a hot topic among police officials.”

Off-duty shootings have added to the total of District police shootings in the 1990s. When shooting incidents peaked in 1995, 36 percent of the shootings occurred while officers were off duty, considerably more than the 17 percent to 22 percent that various studies over the years have found in other large cities. Even more striking, more than half of the District’s 16 fatal shootings in 1995 happened off duty — compared with a national average that ranges from 9 percent to 16 percent, according to a study by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Many experts consider off-duty shootings problematic for several reasons: The officers are not readily identifiable; they may have been drinking; and they are usually acting alone without backup officers, making them more vulnerable and fearful.

The lawsuits that often follow off-duty police shootings have been costly to District taxpayers.

via Washingtonpost.com: Deadly Force.

It appears that while FBI is not publishing or releasing this data, it is nevertheless available – as this 2008 report reveals.

The number of justifiable homicides committed by police and private citizens has been rising in the past two years to their highest levels in more than a decade, reflecting a shoot-first philosophy in dealing with crime, say law enforcement analysts.

The 391 killings by police that were ruled justifiable in 2007 were the most since 1994, FBI statistics show. The 254 killings by private individuals found to be self-defense were the most since 1997.

Police are justified, the FBI says, when felons are killed while the officer is acting in the line of duty. Rulings on these deaths are usually made by the local police agencies involved.

Some law enforcement analysts say the numbers represent changing attitudes on the streets, where police have felt more threatened by well-armed offenders.

via FBI: Justifiable homicides at highest in more than a decade – USATODAY.com.

What in the USA are called officer-involved shootings, in India are called police-encounters.

But there is marked difference in the way this has been handled.

Indian courts (including the Supreme Court), media, bureaucrats have been monitoring these cases – and passed strictures on some policemen and departments.

Killings of people from minorities (Muslims in India, like the US Blacks) arouses the systems’ ire. In the Sohrabuddin case, a high-ranking politician (Amit Shah) and a high-ranking police-official (DG Vanzara) are being prosecuted. The Batla House shooting continues to to be debated years after the incident. This is only of course, anecdotal evidence. Quantitative data is also given which dilutes Perry Anderson’s critique to nothing.

Meanwhile in the Washington, DC, USA

Three times in the last three years, police have shot fellow officers, killing two and wounding the third. In all three instances, white officers shot black officers in civilian clothes, including a pregnant female officer, after mistaking them for criminals.

via Washingtonpost.com: Deadly Force.

India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been meticulously compiling data and publishing this data. Media and civil activists have been involved in this. Given below is an extract from a report carried by an American magazine (Time) – which gives indicative data.

Mirror, mirror on  the wall, who ia is worst of them all.  |  Lawless OWS Hippies  By Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune - 10/27/2011 12:00:00 AM

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who ia is worst of them all. | Lawless OWS Hippies By Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune – 10/27/2011 12:00:00 AM

the violence is for real: public records show he has personally gunned down 87 gangsters in the mean streets of India’s film and organized crime capital since 1990. The 41-year-old’s scorecard has made him the country’s deadliest cop ahead of two other inspectors, Praful Bhosle, 46, and Vijay Salaskar, 45, who have clocked scores of 82 and 40, respectively. All three are from Bombay’s elite Criminal Intelligence Unit, which, as Mob crime spiraled out of control in the early 1990s, was tasked with taking down the bad guys, guns blazing if necessary. Few mobsters went quietly: police shot 71 in “encounters” in 1997, 83 in 1999 and 97 in 2001. In all, since records of shoot-outs began in 1982, police have killed 1,200 gangsters in and around Bombay.

The effect on India’s crime capital has been dramatic. From two a week at the height of the violence in the early 1990s, intergang gun battles are down to two a month. Once almighty syndicates are losing scores of men and millions of dollars because of the disruption to their businesses. Arun Gawli, who describes himself as a former Mafia don, sees himself as a virtual prisoner in his own mansion, living behind a phalanx of armed guards, CCTV and four separate locked gates, out of fear of what he calls “police contract killings.” “In a democracy, these sorts of killings are unlawful,” he says. Gawli, 51, claims he has lost a total of 60 associates to encounters in the past decade. “O.K., there were days a while back when I went astray. But this sort of murder campaign is way beyond acceptable.”

That’s a view shared by human-rights groups. Lawyer Seema Gulati even warns that the “growing trend of police killings” is endangering India’s democratic foundations. “They’re just bumping them off,” she says.

Police bosses counter that they are being criticized merely for being better shots than the Mafia. They add that none of the hundreds of complaints alleging staged shoot-outs or executions filed by victims’ relatives or human-rights groups or even a handful of official inquiries has ever led to a conviction for extrajudicial killing. “The allegations of fake encounters are baseless,” says Pradeep Sawant, Bombay’s deputy police commissioner. “It’s not that we always go to kill. Our idea is to arrest the gangsters. We only retaliate if we’re fired upon.”

Many in India argue that there are few alternatives, since the country’s judicial system is tainted by corruption and crippled by backlog. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, India’s most famous cop for helping put down the Sikh insurgency in Punjab state in the 1990s, is blunt: “Our legal system doesn’t work at all. If there are no legal remedies, there’ll be extralegal ones.”

By and large, this is a compromise the public accepts. “We know the vast majority of encounters are fake,” says Hindustan Times editor Vir Sanghvi. “We do not think that this is a perfect situation, but in common with the rest of the middle class we have come to the regrettable conclusion that there is no real alternative.” For a professional enforcer like Sharma, success isn’t just measured in body bags or reduced gang violence, but invitations to celebrity parties and near unanimous media praise. “I don’t enjoy killing,” says Sharma. “But after we shoot some mobster, his victims look at me like God. That’s the best part of the job.”

via Urban Cowboys – TIME.

Based on official monitoring of such ‘encounters’ an updated Wikipedia entry gives more data.

According to the National Human Rights Commission of India, there were 440 cases of alleged fake encounters in the country during 2002-2007. Most of these happened in the states of Uttar Pradesh (231), Rajasthan (33), Maharashtra (31), Delhi (26), Andhra Pradesh (22) and Uttaranchal (19).[2]

From 2008-09 to June 2011, NHRC recorded 369 cases of alleged fake encounters. By June 2011, NHRC had resolved 98 of these cases, while the rest were pending settlement. The states with high number of cases were Uttar Pradesh (111), Manipur (60), West Bengal (23), Tamil Nadu (15) and Madhya Pradesh (15).[3]

via Encounter killings by police – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Though officially not published or collated, investigations by civil rights groups reveal indicative data about police officer-involved killings in the US.

The problem of fatal police shootings in America goes beyond a few bad apples. It points to persistent and systemic problems that lead to ongoing tragedies for communities of color. Between 1980 and 2005, close to 9,600 people were killed by police in America — an average of about one fatal shooting every day. However, the real number may be higher due to underreporting by some departments to the federal government. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by claiming there were 79 fatal police shootings from 2000 to 2005. Yet only 38 fatal shootings were reported to the federal government for the same period.

While the precise number may not be clear, it is apparent that fatal shootings are not inevitable. Washington, D.C. had the nation’s highest rate during the 90s. It’s also clear that shootings are not distributed evenly throughout the population. In Chicago, for example, more than two-thirds of the shootings happened in black and Latino neighborhoods, and the majority of the incidents occurred in poor neighborhoods.

African Americans are particularly at risk of being killed by police. Black people were overrepresented among victims in each of America’s 10 largest cities. This contrast was particularly glaring in New York, Las Vegas and San Diego, where the percentage of black people killed was at least double their share of the general population. “There is a crisis of perception where African American males and females take their lives in their hands just walking out the door,” said Delores Jones-Brown, interim director of the Center on Race, Crime and Justice at John Jay College in New York. “There is a notion they will be perceived as armed and dangerous. It’s clear that it’s not a local problem.”

The shootings may be explained in part by implicit bias on the part of police officers, according to research by University of Chicago Professor Joshua Correll. In New York, connecting negative stereotypes with racial identity was considered as a factor in the 1999 fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo and the 2006 shooting of Sean Bell — both of which involved black male victims being killed by more than 40 shots fired by officers.

Another key part of the equation: a disturbing lack of internal accountability from local police departments.

In Chicago, nearly half of the officers sued in those shootings had been sued for previous violations. Most had been sued at least twice. Although being sued does not mean an officer is guilty, multiple lawsuits against the same officer should draw the department’s attention.

Yet little seems to happen to these and other officers accused of killing residents. Chicago’s initial “roundtable” investigations of 85 officers cleared all but one of them — and that officer got a promotion two years later. (Police officials said they did find fault among other officers but could not provide any statistics.)

A similar situation exists in Phoenix, which had the highest rate of fatal police shootings among the nation’s 10 largest cities. Although there were more than 100 incidents of officer-involved shootings in the city during the past five years, and numerous shootings in neighboring jurisdictions, only one shooting in the county has resulted in criminal charges being filed against the officer who fired — and that was for the fatal shooting of a white woman.

This broken system hurts everyone.

via Too many police shootings: More than a few bad apples.

Multiple reports and studies seem to converge to an estimate of roughly 400 officer-involved fatalities in USA. The 2008-report extracted above also gives a similar figure. The latest Wikipedia listingof officer-involved fatalities for 2012, of the last 9 months is close to 400. Full year figures will cross 500 – unless there is intervention.

The US Secret Service Colombian  prostitute scandal. Secret service agents on the POTUS detail ignored their job  - and spent time on hiring prostitutes.  |  Cartoonist Jimmy Margulies in 2012

The US Secret Service Colombian prostitute scandal. Secret service agents on the POTUS detail ignored their job – and spent time on hiring prostitutes. | Cartoonist Jimmy Margulies in 2012

So, while in the USA, officer-involved deaths are around 400 per annum. In  India the comparable figure is 75-80 ‘encounter’ deaths. Roughly in the same 4:1 to 5:1 prisoners ratio between US and India.

So the major difference in arrest-related deaths is the noise levels. While noise levels seem lower in US, in India these encounter deaths have evoked a significant backlash. Even mobsters like Arun Gawli thinks he can protest against these deaths.

Secret Police

With the biggest secret service in the world, the largest prisoner population, in addition to one of the the largest police forces in the world.

Regarding figures for people employed in pure intelligence work, India has some 25,000 people in the Intelligence Bureau. Compared to 30-lakh employees in US Secret Service.  So, Perry-bhau, we are talking of 25,000 intelligence operatives in India – versus US that has  30 lakhs.

The predominant target of the US secret police are the 70 million American males in the 18-60 years of age. Thousands of organisations, controlled by 17 apex American secret service agencies track these 70 million people.

Industrial Security

If Perry Anderson would like to include the CISF, in India’s ‘vast military, paramilitary and surveillance complex’, then would he like to include its Western equivalent – like private security, which has the same function?

A report commissioned by the US-DoJ estimates that the private sector provides about 1 million employees for industrial security. Another million by provided to US defence and government establishments by Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) through contractors. That is a total of two million private security personnel.

Indian private security industry is estimated at Rs.25,000-30,000 crores by value – and about three million by head count.

The elite did manage to drive away the 'usurpers'.  |  After the evacuation of OCCUPY WALL STREET  By Patrick Chappatte, The International Herald Tribune - 11/21/2011 12:00:00 AM

The elite did manage to drive away the ‘usurpers’. | After the evacuation of OCCUPY WALL STREET By Patrick Chappatte, The International Herald Tribune – 11/21/2011 12:00:00 AM

Anecdotal Evidence

Remember Bradley Manning. Dare I remind you of the another marine Brandon Raub. Probably you don’t have the courage to advise your Government after Obama has signed the NDAA Bill. So, no bail, only jail, if Daddy does not like you.

You got problems at home. Save your ideas and lectures where it is needed most.

Nearly a 100 countries in the world have a population that is lesser than the number of US citizens in prison, on parole or probation, or under prosecution by the State.

Of course! It clicks now.

After all, Britain the mother-country of Anglo-Saxon Bloc, first annihilated the native populations and then populated the entire continent of Australia with such people.

‘A staggering number of laws that sanction the use of coercive powers have been enacted in India,’ Arvind Verma writes. Noting that 53,000 people were arrested under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act, of whom just 434 could be convicted seven years later, he underlines some daily realities of Indian democracy: ‘Torture is routinely practised in most police stations and death in police custody is a frequent phenomenon,’ while – nominally outside the jails themselves – ‘the police practice of getting rid of suspects through staged encounters is unfortunately all too common. Suspects against whom the police are unable to bring substantial evidence or those who are perceived to be dangerous are simply murdered.’ Nor, while the police are at work, have the military been idle. In the 1960s, the army was deployed ‘in aid of the civil power’ some 476 times, and in 1979-80 alone, 64 times; often ‘openly stationed so as to provide a perpetual reminder, and on occasion an actual expression, of the fact that the existing social and political order in India is only to be challenged by its critics at their peril’.

Let us compare again.

Big talk also means Big Walk.   Questions on Assange  By Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE - 8/28/2012 12:00:00 AM

Big talk also means Big Walk. Questions on Assange By Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE – 8/28/2012 12:00:00 AM

Behind Bars – Benchmark USA

Under all laws, all statutes, for all reasons, at all stages of prosecution, India has custodial population of 400,000 compared to the US with 2 million. N on -custodial prosecution figures are excluded from these figures.

Without getting technical or delicate, if we include all disappearances, encounter deaths as State Executions, the figure is less than the people executed in the US.

So …

Perry-bhau If our Indian Government wants to foolishly follow the Yumm-Rikan example, we will take care of it. Our Government! Our problem. Our solution. Don’t need no silly mindless, hectoring from you.

But I will limit it to one simple, suggestion. Give your gyaan to your YummRikan Government.

Tagged with: ,

A Good Idea

Posted in British Raj, Desert Bloc, India, Pax Americana, politics, Propaganda by Anuraag Sanghi on September 23, 2012


Left, Right or Centre – why does Indian polity derive inspiration from the gutters of Western polity?

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Ramachandra Guha correctly castigates, Indian Right and Left for adoring dubious Western (ized) leaders of the Right (Hitler, Mussolini) and Left (Stalin, Mao).

The Indian Marxists’s admiration of foreign dictators is a curious thing indeed. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is the only party in the world which still worships Stalin, putting up his portrait alongside those of Marx, Engels and Lenin in their annual congresses. Yet the party has long ago abandoned armed struggle, and is happy enough to participate in the routine processes of Indian democracy.

Admittedly, hypocrisy of another kind is practised by parties of the Indian right. The founders of what is now the Bharatiya Janata Party were fervent admirers of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. And Bal Thackeray admires those fellows still.


But, why does Ramachandra Guha ignore Centrist-India’s adoration of  Anglo-Saxon polity in US and UK?

Why don’t we abhor Centrist monsters like Churchill who made Bengal into a huge gulag that ended with the death of some 4-5 million Indians, in the Great Bengal Famine. Churchill faulted Indians for the famine, because Indians ‘breed like rabbits?’ All this, while Indian grain was diverted for British soldiers.

Or why do we turn a blind eye to the modern American gulag, where each year, some 2 crore Americans (mostly Blacks) are prosecuted, imprisoned, are either on probation or parole. Supervised by 1 million civilian police, 3 million secret police, supervised by 2 million industrial police. This is more victims than the rest of the world combined. Or a bigger police force than the next 10 biggest police forces of the world combined.

Central to this discussion on the merits of Left, Right and Centre, is the fact that there is little difference in the outcome.

The Left, Right and Centre have similar outcomes – the same over-important role of the State; the identical concentration of wealth; the typical reliance on fear (imprisonment; execution) to control the citizenry.

The only system that offers an alternative is भारत्तंत्र Bharattantra.

Extract from: Modern South Asia: History, Culture and Political Economy - Sugata Bose - Google Books on 2012-09-23 15-33-44' | Page 124. Click for source at books.google.co.in

Extract from: Modern South Asia: History, Culture and Political Economy – Sugata Bose – Google Books on 2012-09-23 15-33-44′ | Page 124. Click for source at books.google.co.in

When asked by a reporter, what he thought of the Western Civilization, Gandhiji replied ‘It would be a good idea.’

While Rajaji went galloping after American style capitalism, Nehru was besotted with European-socialism. It was left to Gandhiji alone to talk of panchayati raj and Ram rajya. Congress in free India was an idea that worried Gandhiji – and he called for a meeting to discuss this. But before this idea could be discussed at the proposed Wardha meeting, Gandhiji was assassinated.

Is this short Indian memory – or great Western propaganda?

Nehru & Gandhiji

Nehru & Gandhiji

Satjayit Ray, Peter Sellers and aliens

Posted in Media, politics, Propaganda, Satire by Anuraag Sanghi on September 19, 2012

A post that appeared in UltraBrown. The site seems to have expired.Following content accessed from webcache

Tuesday, July 17

Satjayit Ray, Peter Sellers and aliens

Satyajit Ray accused Steven Spielberg of ripping off his ‘67 script The Alien for the hit E.T. The Alien was to star Peter Sellers and Marlon Brando:

In 1967 Ray wrote the script to a science fiction film he wanted to make called The Alien. Peter Sellers was interested in the lead role, and Marlon Brando in the second lead… Ray was alarmed to discover that producer Mike Wilson had copyrighted the script Ray had written in both their names… He returned to Calcutta and abandoned The Alien project…

In 1982, when Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster E.T. was released, the plot bore a striking similarity to Ray’s script for The Alien, and was produced by the same company that had contracted with Ray in 1967. The similarity was considered by some, including Ray, to be more than mere coincidence. He told the Indian press that E.T. “Would not have been possible without my script of The Alien being available throughout America in mimeographed copies…”

… Spielberg has denied plagiarizing Ray’s script. “I was a kid in high school when his script was circulating in Hollywood…” [Link]

The script was written by Ray in 1967, based on Bankubabur Bandhu (Banku Babu’s Friend), a Bengali story he had written in 1962 for Sandesh, the Ray family magazine.

What differentiated The Alien from previous science fiction was the portrayal of an alien from outer space as a kind and playful being, invested with magical powers and capable of interacting with children, in contrast to earlier science fiction works which portrayed aliens as dangerous creatures.

The plot revolved around a spaceship that landed in a pond in rural Bengal. The villagers began worshipping it as a temple risen from the depths of the earth. The alien established contact with a young village boy named Haba (Moron) through dreams and also played a number of pranks on the village community in course of its short stay on planet Earth. [Link]

Sellers turned the Bengali character into bad ethnic joke:

Second-rate brownface

When Ray went to see Sellers, on the set of The Party… a coarsening was evident: the detail and imponderability of Kabir had gone, to be replaced with a brittle slapstick charm. The Indian sensibility was now an opportunity for gags

[Ray:] ‘Later I saw The Millionairess where I found his Indian English very amusing, though not authentic… Sellers was shooting (The Party)… [and] was again playing an Indian with the unlikely first name of Hrundi, using brown makeup and the same accent he had used in The Millionairess...

‘There was a scene in The Party where Hrundi was shown playing the sitar. Ravi Shankar, a good friend of mine, was then living in Los Angeles. Sellers wondered if there would be an opportunity to observe Ravi playing the sitar… After a gorgeous North Indian meal, RS gave a splendid recital with Sellers sitting cross-legged on the floor, his eyes glued on RS’s fingers for well over an hour…

‘A few months later I saw The Party. I recall regretting that even a first rate comedian could get enthused over a shoddy script. But there was one thing in the film that tickled me. Towards the end, the following exchange takes place between Hrundi and the American girl who has befriended him in spite of his gaucherie:

‘H: I must get home to my pet monkey.
Girl (surprised): Your pet monkey?
H: Yes. Apu…

‘To this day I haven’t been able to fathom why Sellers wrote what he did the way he did. It was as cold and brief as an editor’s rejection slip. It said there was no question of Sellers’ participation in The Alien unless his part was rewritten and expanded… ‘

[Sellers:] ‘Kubrick… reckons that Satyajit Ray is number two or number one, and I think so too… But for some reason he can’t get distribution. Nobody’s interested, so he has an art house showing…’

That last sequence [of Sellers’ later movie The Magic Christian had] the businessmen going into the shit to grab the free pound notes… City gents doing the breast stroke and dodging turds… ‘You’ve really got to hate people to love this film.’ [Link via Another Subcontinent]

Sellers and Ray fell out so badly, there are several versions of a story where Sellers likens arthouse icon Apu to a monkey:

Sellers had a fight with Ray, and to spite him, kept a pet monkey which he named Apu. [Link]

When Ray was insisting [that] Peter Sellers… play the lead role in The Alien, he saw [at a] party Sellers mimicking Apu as a monkey… Now people can say that this was just petty humor and, well, Sellers was a small guy while Ray was 6 feet 5…. but Ray himself found that debasing… It reflects an acute lack of sensitivity on this great actor’s part. [Link]

Sadly, Sellers’ interpretation of Apu is what Hank Azaria seems to have imitated in voicing the Apu character in The Simpsons.

Related posts: The Apu travesty, White guys in turbans, Peter Sellers still outsells actual desis, Giants, dwarves and lemurs, Goodness gracious, Peter Sellers is alive, Mr. Birdie Num-Num gets a biopic, Sick of spices, ”The Party” remake

manish vij on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 1:04 am in Film, Profiles, SimpsonsEmail this Email this
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  1. 1prakruti

vow Manish, this is news..how did u end up digging this 2001 article..

spielberg of all people in this ..cant believe..I admire both satyajiy ray and spielberg as worlds best directors..

u know thats why copy-righting is important…once u write something just make sure u send it to copy right office in washington DC for registration..

look at how many hindi movies are copies of english movies..plagiarism is a big thing these days.. look at kaavyas scandal…

  • 2Pravin I think Mike Wilson , not Spielberg should have been the target of Ray’s ire. Besides Melissa Matheson(ex Mrs Harrison Ford) is credited with the script. Whether she did the story or not, I am not sure. Or did Spielberg come up with the broad story and commissioned Melissa to write a screenplay?Regardless, Ray should have hired a lawyer. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to do business in the u.s.
  • 3aseem chhabra (Full disclosure — I broke the Ray/Spielberg story — 24 yrs ago as a student at Columbia Univ. J. School. The story was carried by major US papers — LA Times, Philly Inq, etc., in March 1983, just weeks before E.T. and Gandhi were entering the final Oscar race.)There are so many facets to this story. Ray learnt about E.T. from his friend Arthur C. Clarke, who called him from London and told him about the similarities between the E.T. and The Alien script. Clarke’s advice to Ray was “Don’t take it lying down. At least write to Spielberg and tell him so” (Quotes from my memory, as told to me by Clarke in 1983 from his home in Colombo).Incidentally, Ray traveled to Hollywood with Clarke, taking the script studio to studio. At one point Steve McQueen was also being considered for a role in the film (For more details about the Ray’s journey to Hollywood, checkout Marie Seton’s “Portrait of a Director: Satyajit Ray” and Andrew Robinson’s “Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye.”).There were indeed a lot of similarities (I managed to get hold of a copy of The Alien’s script, which btw is now available in a book published by Faber & Faber). E.T. had the power to heal wounds; so did Ray’s Alien. E.T. could make dead flowers blossom; Ray’s Alien could bring alive a dying paddy field. The first time we are introduced to E.T. we notice his fingers — same with Ray’s Alien. And there were more.When I spoke to Ray for the article, he had one major regret — that he would never be able to make The Alien, because then people would say that he had taken the idea from Spielberg’s E.T.
  • 4Shashwati What a great post Manish! thanks! I had known about the Ray and E.T. connection, but all the details were murky. As for Aseem, where were you July 4th?
  • 5Ryan Spielberg is known for muscling in on book and scripts. It is likely he read the script in the 70s and commissioned his own writer to make an Americanzed treatment of it.

India’s Future: Not leaders! Not Institutions! Then How Will India’s Future Emerge?

Posted in British Raj, History, India, Indo Pak Relations, Islamic Demonization, Pax Americana by Anuraag Sanghi on September 11, 2012

In a short thirty years, the greatest empire in world history had been humbled. In less than 70 years, they are back.

The boycott of Simon Commission by Indian negotiators sounded the death knell of the British Raj in India. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 11 Feb 1928). Click for larger image.

The boycott of Simon Commission by Indian negotiators sounded the death knell of the British Raj in India. (Cartoonist – David Low (1891-1963) Published – Evening Standard, 11 Feb 1928). Click for larger image.

Rock & A Hard Place

Between 1916, when Lokmanya BG Tilak, declared ‘Swaraj is my birthright’ to Atlee’s announcement of British withdrawal, in February 1946, in a short thirty years, the greatest empire in world history had been humbled.

In less than 70 years, they are back.

While we discuss, argue, shout, scream, talk, negotiate

Anglo-American forces today control Af-Pak region. The Indian Government and the people of India see Pakistan, an Anglo-American agent, as its prime rival – instead of the Anglo-American patrons as the root cause.

In the last 20 years, India has lowered guard considerably – and unless, this direction is reversed swiftly, the Indian Nation maybe in peril.

In the last 12 years

It has become common in Indian media to promote colonial ‘contribution’ in the building of modern India.

With memory dim, for India’s Y2K generation, Indian poverty after colonialism, the food and clothing shortages are only stories. The context forgotten, India’s Y2K generation is being shoe-horned into blindness, by a shouting brigade.

Led by the ‘intellectuals’ like ‘Lord’ Meghnad Desai, Amartya Sen, or Indian origin journalists with global-Western media like Sadanand Dhume, or hoax journalism like Andy Mukherjee or lazy writers in the mould of Krittivas Mukherjee, aided by Indo-Western academics like Jagdish Bhagwati, Rafiq Zakaria, etc.

Within India itself, this shouting brigade has a large following, too many to name or count.

To illustrate this point,

The ritual murder of Pakistani polity by the Pakistani army (Democracy in Pakistan By Olle Johansson, Sweden; courtesy - blackcommentator.com.).

The ritual murder of Pakistani polity by the Pakistani army. (Democracy in Pakistan By Olle Johansson, Sweden; courtesy – blackcommentator.com.). Click for larger image.

India has a constitution; Pakistan has editions. These are the various Pakistani constitutions: 1935 (secular), 1956 (federal), 1962 (dictatorial), 1973 (parliamentary), 1979 (Islamic), 1999 (presidential), 2008 (parliamentary). Why do they keep changing and searching? Muslims keep trying to hammer in Islamic bits into a set of laws that is actually quite complete. This is the Government of India Act of 1935, gifted to us by the British. (via What ails Kashmir? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’ – Columns – livemint.com).

Birth of a Nation

To this school of commentariat, Indian Constituent Assembly counts for nothing.

The Constituent Assembly, which included at least 50% of the Indian political leadership and their work over 25,000 man-hours, amount to nothing. Or the Indian contribution to the making of the Government of India Act of 1935, itself.

In a short period of less than 30 months, India wrote and implemented its constitution. It has been been a rather pliable constitution getting amended a number of times – and yet has been upheld and respected by all the extensions of the State. Britain enacted The Government of India Act, first in 1919 and then in 1935. Some Indians have claimed the Indian Constitution is nothing original – but based on The Government of India Act, 1935, by the British Raj.

The wonder is not any document. It is in making it work.

What matters to Indians are not declarations of belief – but hard, real actions. In the words of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, ‘what counts is conduct, not belief’. American declaration of independence talked of ‘all men are created equal’ and promptly became the biggest importer of slaves in the history of the world.

For how long will our glitterati, chatterati, papparazzi, intelligentsia, cognoscenti, continue with this bilge.

Just the two of us!

At this stage it maybe worthwhile to revisit the record of Republican Democracy.

In the last 250 years,  just 6 countries succeeded with Republican democracy without a significant breakdown in the first 50 years. Of the six, Sri Lanka (pop. 200 lakhs) Switzerland (pop. 80 lakhs), Israel (pop. 75 lakhs) and Singapore (pop. 50 lakhs) are tiny countries to generate any valuable data, models, norms or precedents. In any other day, age and society, the republican-democracy model would have been laughed off – and not studied by millions.

America became one of the first successful republican democracies – from 1789, when George Washington became the first elected President of USA. 70 years later, the strains were showing – North versus South. America was on the verge of Civil War – the main cause of which was the desire of the Southern states to remain independent (due to tariff issues) or at best as a loose confederation – not a federal union (actually slavery was a side issue).

The reason why India’s Republican Democracy works is because Indian genius has made it work. It is the commitment to make the system work, which is why the system is working.

Though some may cavil about how well (?) it works!

Meeting of minds

In the period between 1916 to 1946, India developed a national consensus and agenda.

On many subjects there was no political or even popular leadership. For instance, in 1944, Indian businessmen, in the middle of WWII, met and started work on an industrial policy for independent India. Or the huge protests by the entire Indian nation against the Red Fort Trials of the INA.

Of greater significance was the meeting that Gandhiji called in November 1947. This meeting was to happen in February of 1948. On January 30th, 1948, Gandhiji was assassinated. But Gandhiji’s co-workers went ahead and organized the meeting at Sevagram, Wardha, between March 11-March 14 1948 (alternate date (PDF) is March 13-15, 1948).

Gandhi is Gone: Who Will Guide Us Now? edited by Gopalkrishna Gandhi. (is a) remarkable book (that) is a record of introspection amongst Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Vinoba Bhave, J B Kripalani, Jayaprakash Narayan and others, at Sevagram in March 1948.

They had been charged by the Mahatma to consider the type of institutions India would need for its development and what should be the role and structure of the Congress party. Nations are ill-served when their institutions fail to evolve to fit their needs. The questions the Mahatma had posed in 1948 have become burning issues again.

via Who will lead us now? Institutions waiting for leaders who will bring them back from the brink and win citizens’ trust – The Economic Times.

Much was discussed – and powerful figures like Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayen decided to work from within and and outside the system. With no constitution, without a Parliament, without elections, India was being governed by a British administrator, at Indian request, to provide continuum, from the Raj to a sovereign India. From these discussions was born the Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement – and Jaya Prakash Narayen’s Sarvodaya movement.

Without the power of the State, these movements worked on the power of suasion – and were powerful movements till the Bombay High generation took over the country, in 1975.

Unlike Pakistan

This ‘gift of the British’ to us Indians is a public document.

If it’s value is so apparent, why have others not been able to take advantage of it. The same British, gave the same document to the Pakistan also. So, this claim that Indian Constitution, Indian democracy, even the British nation are a British ‘gift, is not only incorrect and illogical. Immaterial too!

This a claim not even worth examining, since this Government of India Act, 1935, has been in public domain for more than 75 years. Pakistan had all the rights to it. Apart from India – and to how many other colonies in the world, I have never counted..

Why could Pakistan do nothing with it.

In fact Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly dragged this Constitution-making exercise till October 1956.

Is Pakistan A Free State? Cartoon by Zahoor in Daily Times, Pakistan  |  Click for image.

Is Pakistan A Free State? Cartoon by Zahoor in Daily Times, Pakistan | Click for image.

Cut back to 1956 Pakistan

Remember that 1956 was the year of India’s 2nd general election.

Also the year when Pakistan became a republic – and the first constitution of Pakistan was adopted.

Governor General Sahibzada Sayyid Iskander Ali Mirza (a Shia Muslim from Bengal, direct descendant of Mir Jaffer) became the first President of the Pakistani Republic.

Two years later, in October 1958, President Iskander Mirza staged a coup d’état and dismissed the constitution. Shortly afterwards General Ayub Khan deposed Iskandar and declared himself president. These shenanigans started the tradition of Army rule in Pakistan.

To an emerging Pakistan, after a 9 year struggle to write a constitution, two years later, the Army declared that the Constitution was worthless piece of paper. Another Constitution was written in 1962, and then a third.

And a few more after that.

British Governance

For a realistic assessment of the British ‘capability’ to govern, let us look at British misrule in Britain itself.

How could super-power Britain spiral down to bankruptcy, in less than 70 years, after WWII. If their ideas of governance and administration were so good, why could they not save themselves from this slide in fortunes? British ‘capabilities’ in areas of technology, industrial management, academia stands naked and exposed.

It is the British mindset itself that may need examination to understand this decline!

British Loss of Power

1916 – April 16. BG Tilak declares Swaraj is my birthright; forms Home Rule League at the Bombay Provincial Conference held at Belgaum.

1927 – Indian polity refuses to negotiate with Simon Commission.

1930 – Bhagat Singh displays disinterest in the legal outcome of his trial.

1944 – India’s leading industrialists come together (Bombay Club) and make an economic-plan document for an India which was yet to be born; for a government that was yet to be formed.

1946 – Naval Ratings raise the Indian Flag of independence.

1947 – Britain out of India

Managing the Indian State

The Indian State today, like its Desert Bloc’s cousins, is getting entangled in my marriage, in my sex life, in my monetary affairs, in my disputes with my neighbors, in my housing layout, in my sewage, in my garbage.

Why? Get out of my life.

Instead, we the people must set a clear agenda for the government. And the Top-3 items on  are

  1. defence
  2. Defence

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