2ndlook

For Pete’s Sake

Posted in Current Affairs, European History, History, India, Islamic Demonization, Media, politics, Religion, Satire by Anuraag Sanghi on September 5, 2010
Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren, an Swedish model and the ex-wife of Tiger Woods enacshed on her insecurity. (By Mike Lester, The Rome News-Tribune - 6/30/2010 12.00:00 AM; ©Copyright 2010  Mike Lester.).

Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren, a Swedish model and the ex-wife of Tiger Woods encashed on her insecurity. (Cartoon By Mike Lester, The Rome News-Tribune - 6/30/2010 12.00:00 AM; ©Copyright 2010 Mike Lester.). Click for larger image.

Iran in Stone Age

On the Islamic side of the world, in Iran, courts reopened a 2005 adultery case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. After the trial, it was decided that Sakineh would be stoned to death for her ‘crime’.

This would have been just another case of Desert Bloc justice, till the French First Lady, Carla Bruni sprang to the ‘defence’ of this ‘victim’. The case become more high profile, after Brazil’s President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, offered asylum to Sakineh – which Iran rejected.

Iran has reportedly sentenced Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani – the 43-year-old Iranian woman who faces execution after being convicted of adultery – to 99 lashes in prison for “spreading corruption and indecency” after allowing an unveiled picture of herself to be published in a British newspaper.

The claim, which could not be confirmed, comes from her family and a lawyer representing Mohammadi Ashtiani, based on reports from those who have recently left the prison in Tabriz where she has been held for the last four years. (via Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to be lashed over newspaper photograph | World news | guardian.co.uk).

The "Free' Press had a gala time with a 'free' victim. Cartoon by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette - 4/16/2010 12.00.00 AM

The "Free' Press had a gala time with a 'free' victim. Cartoon by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette - 4/16/2010 12.00.00 AM. Click for larger image.

On the other side

In the USA, over the last 12 months, we have a modern-day spectacle – The Hounding of Tiger Woods.

His crime?

Tiger Woods had sex with willing women. With a lot of willing women. No pedophilia, no rape or forced sex, no violence.

Just simple sex.

OK. May not be simple sex. Maybe in complicated ‘kamasutra‘ positions, in unusual locations, with varied partners. But does all this, change the issue. Make it  any different.

Guys, he just had sex.

Nothing more than sex. How can consensual sex be a sin, immoral, crime, shameful, and all that baggage of guilt? If there is an injured party, I can only see Tiger. All those willing and able women quite ‘enjoyed’ both the kissing, and the telling. Not to forget the money they made for both the kissing and the telling!

What exactly is it that Tiger Woods did? Cartoon by Mike Smith from the Las Vegas Sun.

What exactly is it that Tiger Woods did? Cartoon by Mike Smith from the Las Vegas Sun.

Mebbe …

Coming from the land of kamasutra, where काम kaam (desire, including sexual) is my right, probably I am under-developed. Maybe these advanced, monotheistic Desert Bloc religions and societies are more advanced than the primitive culture I am from! Maybe, the social system of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has ‘corrupted’ me.

Who can object

Not Elin Nordegren.

She made US$400 million (or is it US$500 /600 /750 /1000). For her insecurity. That Tiger may abandon her and the children, while he is chasing all these women. A fear that is fair and legitimate. For a mother to two of Tiger’s children.

Not a bad deal. Or is there something more? Am I missing something?

Jesus tried, God knows! (Cartoon By John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune - 9/4/2008 12.00.00 AM; cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com.). Click for larger image.

Jesus tried, God knows! (Cartoon By John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune - 9/4/2008 12.00.00 AM; cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com.). Click for larger image.

What’s the difference

Now.

I really don’t see a difference between Iran’s stoning of Sakineh and the American stoning  of Tiger Woods.

Except that the stones are different. The US and world media has tried to kill Tiger with stones made of words, ill-will and smear, imputations, cans of tar and brushes. All of them, ganged up, against one man. One lonely man.

Just because a married man had sex with a few women!

Now Iran is doing much the same thing as the stoning of Tiger Woods. Only the stones in Iran are different. The Western world has made Desert Bloc ideals of shariat into Liberal-Christian dogma.

Did the world have to hound him for having sex? Cartoon by Christo Komarnitski, Bulgaria - 4/9/2010 12.00.00 AM

Did the world have to hound him for having sex? Cartoon by Christo Komarnitski, Bulgaria - 4/9/2010 12.00.00 AM

Although the West has become ‘educated’, ‘advanced’, ‘developed’, ‘civilized’, rich – they have not given up. Stoning people.

Jesus tried, God knows.

The 2ndlook Gold Report – 2010

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, European History, Gold Reserves, History, India, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on May 29, 2010

Buy gold … young man!

2ndlook has proposed to all and sundry, to buy gold for the last 20 months. Interestingly, a Chinese-blogger-online financial advisor, with some fan-following, going as Maoxian says, “I’d wager $20 that no one can show me an audited trading record for any system that has traded GLD since its inception that has beaten simply buying and holding GLD since then.”(errata – an American blogger, and not Chinese).

Now, 2ndlook is not a hedge fund, or a financial advisor! And will not pretend to be one either. But 2ndlook will take a 2ndlook, and put a context and perspective that others will not. And answer your question, “Is it the time to buy gold!

How far and how high will gold go? Some history before that.

Nixon and Kissinger - 1972 (Courtesy - nytimes.com)

Nixon and Kissinger - 1972 (Courtesy - nytimes.com)

The Nixon Chop

On August 15th, 1971, ‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon emerged from Camp David, on an evening television show, and announced the end of dollar redemption against gold.

For the 10 years, France had been redeeming gold, even sent a French warship to escort gold from US to France. On August 13th, 1971, Britain also made an official request for dollar-redemption – and Nixon shut the door on that possibility.

And that was the end of Bretton Woods Agreement!

Dollar anchor shifts – from gold to oil

Over the next 10 years, the world saw severe stagflation (economic stagnation + price inflation). Gold prices zoomed from US$35 an ounce to US$800 an ounce.

Gold does not have any price-correlation is traditional wisdom! Correlation like inverse, perverse, reverse, positive!

Gold does not have any price-correlation is traditional wisdom! Correlation like inverse, perverse, reverse, positive!

From 1980, President Ronald Reagan, in the next 8 years, persuaded his Middle East allies to pump out more oil – cajoling, mixed with threats – ranging from the Iran to US-led increase in oil production. The resultant drop in oil prices cooled down inflation, strengthened the US dollar.

Surplus revenues from oil-sales by Middle East oil producers, were used to fund US deficit. By 1990, surplus petro-dollars vanished, with the drop in oil prices, and the increased cost of running welfare states in the Middle East.

In the last decade, it was the turn of the Chinese and the Japanese to prop up the dollar.

IN China, many people refer to the dollar as mei jin, or “American gold.” Government officials, businessmen and people on the street all use the term. So if a Chinese person tells you that he owes you 100 American gold, don’t expect a big fortune, because he’s planning to pay you $100.

US has been able to find lenders to bridge their deficit for more than 50 years. From the 1950s to 2010. Europe till the 70s, Middle East up to the 90s, Japan and China, till 2010!

Can the US find another target to fund their deficits.

The collapse of Soviet Union

In the 70s, with out-sized gains in oil, platinum and aluminum prices, the Soviet economy became a powerhouse, funding anti-US regimes across Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East. Soviet Russia, one of the largest gold producers in the world, made windfall gains.

The expansion in subsidies by the USSR in the 1970-1990 period to its allies and sympathetic regimes created a huge pressure on Soviet finances. A simultaneous drop in oil and gold prices in the 1985-1995 period severely dented Soviet export earnings, leading to the economic collapse of the Soviet Union. In USSR’s economy, after WWII, commodities like oil, natural gas, metals (like gold, platinum, uranium) and timber accounted for 65%-80% of Russian exports.

Reagan managed to increase oil production, decrease Soviet earnings - and create an economic crisis  in the USSR! (Cartoon by David Horsey from seattlepi.com).

Reagan managed to increase oil production, decrease Soviet earnings - and create an economic crisis in the USSR! (Cartoon by David Horsey from seattlepi.com).

Gold sales by central banks

The Central Bank Gold Sales Agreement, further dented gold prices, 1995 onwards. Gordon Brown, the then British Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been under pressure to ‘reveal’ details of British gold sales during this period.

The (British) bullion was sold in 17 auctions between 1999 and 2002, with dealers paying between $256 and $296 an ounce. Since then, the price has increased rapidly. Yesterday, it stood at $1,100 an ounce.

Dark stories are told that this was stolen gold during WWII, going around as the Yamashita gold, the Nazi gold, with marginal characters like Edmond Safra, playing an important role. It is suspected that the Soviet Union unloaded a lot of gold during the glasnost and perestroĭka period under Gorbachev.

The upshot of this was that for the first time in modern history (1800-2000), ‘declared’ gold reserves of governments across the world, reduced to a historic low of 20% of total global reserves.

The Great Collusion

By the end of The Great Depression, and the start of WWII, public sector (all the Governments of the world) owned some 50%-65% of the gold in the world. That is now reduced to less than 20%.

Will the State(s) sit back and allow the citizenry to become so independent – and the State to become ‘powerless’?

Improbable!

Global conclaves on economic matters (the G20 Summits, WTO Summits, the Copenhagen Summit) are getting organized easily and often. A global, mass nationalization of gold to ‘save the global economic system’ may be called for! Instead of warring with each other, Governments may decide to collude and jointly loot their respective citizens in a coördinated manner!

Was the US crackdown on Swiss banks a precursor to the global gold nationalization?

Central Banks own ≈20% of the world’s gold

Central banks the world over, claim to own something over 30,000 tonnes of gold – about 20% of the world’s total gold stocks. Officially, that is. Some of it is double counting. The most obvious example is IMF gold.

Most of IMF’s gold reserves are actually pledge papers by founder-member countries that they will pony up the gold. A book entry. This pledge was covered by a back-to-back with a reverse sale agreement by the IMF back to the pledgor -called ‘restitution agreement’ in IMF lingo.

The Bretton Woods agreement gave birth to IMF and World Bank (Pictured above: Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau speaking at the opening of the Bretton Woods conference on July 8, 1944.; picture credit - nytimes.com).

The Bretton Woods agreement gave birth to IMF and World Bank (Pictured above: Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau speaking at the opening of the Bretton Woods conference on July 8, 1944.; picture credit - nytimes.com).

The hoax of IMF gold

Of the 3005 tons which is held by IMF at ‘designated’ depositories (meaning pledgor central banks), 2600 is covered by the restitution agreement. Of the balance, 403 tons, only some 191 tons remains with IMF. In fact, IMF does not have any gold – apart from 191 tons.

What it has, are pieces of paper that various central banks have given, ‘promising’ gold to the IMF – and this ‘promised’ gold was held in safe custody by the pledgor-central bank on behalf of the IMF.

Is this the right gold price

Estimated global economic output is some US$70 trillion. Gold is now ruling at some US$1200-1250 (per ounce). Total global reserves of gold (private, public, central banks, et al) are estimated at 130,000-140,000 tonnes. In dollar terms, the value of gold stock is US$5.0-5.5 trillion.

Gold futures (Image Source - Wall Street Journal).

Gold futures (Image Source - Wall Street Journal).

If all the liquid capital in the world is measured in gold, then the total capital to output ratio turns out to be 1:14 ratio. For every 1 unit of gold, there are fourteen units of economic production (US$5 trillion of gold gives an output of US$70trillion). Of course, to make this liquid capital productive, other forms of capital are also required – namely land, buildings, factories, technology, education, healthcare, et al. Those could also be similarly valued – and added to the gold capital in the form of gold. Currency would become proxy for gold – and hence all currency units will be ignored as store of capital. Looking at the past, adjusting for inflation,

Gold is still at half the peak set in 1980, after adjusting for inflation. Then, prices rose to $US850, equal to $US2266 today.

If one were to measure gold as a proportion of global /national economy, it may give us a better idea about where gold is headed. Looking at it from this perspective, the upside for gold is definitely less than 100%. Based on current pace of liquidity creation – that is printing of Euros, dollars, yuan, yen, rupees, that various governments are printing. In Western markets, it is seen that

The yellow metal remains in a $1220-$1260 channel for the time being, and is still showing a Kilimanjaro-sized 975 tonne pile of long positions standing and casting a…long shadow in the market.

and … gold revealed some ‘disconcerting’ technical signals on the price charts and that in coming days ‘prices may not ‘necessarily strengthen.’

These weak signals, are largely due to some expected dampening in demand from India during June to September, in the generally slack monsoon season (though not quite so, last year).

Helicopter Ben is using his famous 'printing' technology!

Helicopter Ben is using his famous 'printing' technology!

Gold shortage!

There have been many reports about shortage of gold – in coins and bars form. Now this is strange.

In India, there is no such talk or shortage! The probable reason is that in India, gold lumps are also accepted by customers – without hallmarking! The jewellers, assayers and valuers are dime a dozen. Hence, gold fraud by the trade can be easily detected – especially in raw gold. Not to mention, that there are ‘dharam-kantas’ in every town and village across India – which does gold assaying for free.

In jewellery form, however, there is rampant mis-declaration of purity. So, buying gold in India is, as of now, not a problem!

Due to this ‘shortage’ in some Western markets, for sometime gold futures were cheaper than gold for physical delivery. The US mint and the Perth mint in Australia have suspended coin sales – supposedly, as they were swamped by orders, and demand.

Let us look at old mining and productions figures, to get some context.

All the gold in the world

Annual global gold production at some 2200 tons, is itself seen as an issue! Gold mining companies are “digging deeper to extract dwindling reserves, with mines in South Africa extending as far as 3.8km down” Apart from having to dig deeper, the other issue is “Ore grades have fallen from around 12 grams per tonne in 1950 to nearer 3 grams in the US, Canada, and Australia.”

China, Australia and the 16 other largest mining nations averaged weekly output of 42.3 tonnes last year, researcher GFMS estimates. Even though prices have fallen 5.8 percent to $US1177.10 from a record $US1249.40 an ounce May 14, the median prediction in a Bloomberg survey of 23 traders, analysts and investors is that it will reach $US1500 by the end of the year.

Investment, including bars and coins, almost doubled to 1901 tonnes last year, exceeding jewellery demand for the first time in three decades, according to GFMS. Jewellery will jump 19 per cent to 2100 tonnes this year and industrial use 8 per cent to 398 tonnes, Sydney-based Macquarie Group says.

The gap in demand and supply is being met by scrap sales.

In Southeast Asia, scrap sales, which are routed through Australia and sold on to India, are already up.

“When gold gets to these sorts of levels, Southeast Asia gets interested in dishoarding,” said Nigel Moffatt, treasurer at the Perth Mint in Australia. “We’ve been seeing it now for some weeks.”

Which way the wind blows?

With the world’s largest private reserves of gold, and as the world’s largest consumer of gold, India has a significant role to play in gold prices.

The Bloomberg poll of 23 traders (linked and extracted above), gives a consensus estimate of some US$1500 an ounce.(31.1034768 grams). Which translates to about Rs.21000-23000 per tola (10 gm) range. Dollar rupee exchange rate will also make a difference. That is an appreciation of about Rs.3000-5000 – some 15%-25% from current prices (Rs.18,100-18,500 range). A strong and stable gold price during July-September period could easily see gold cross 21,000 by October. A weak 3 quarter, will corner gold to the 20,000 barrier.

In another post, Maoxian remarks,

Two years ago when I wrote the post, Jim Sinclair’s Crazy Bet, I annoyed the tinfoil hatters. One commenter wondered where a pajama blogger dude sitting in a crappy little Third World apartment would get the money to take a million dollar bet. :-)

I thought it was time for an updated post/chart given the Greek drama and Euro crisis. Recall that Sinclair’s wager was: “Gold will trade at USD $1650 before the second week of January 2011.” Price could still make it there, but looking at the chart, it seems as improbable to me now as it did back in 2008.

Will Government’s scam people out of gold

Let us deconstruct this price upmove.

A US$1650 gold price @Rs.50 to a USD price means some Rs.26,500 per tola. At that rate, in Jan 2ndweek, we are talking about a 45% appreciation in 6 months. Take gold at US$1650 @Rs.42 to a USD, translates to about Rs.22,300 per tola.

At about 21,000-23,000, Indian consumer buying is likely to be anemic – and investment demand from OECD+China will have to make up for weak Indian demand. At Rs.26500 per tola, the Indian consumer may start selling gold – and we may see a small replay of the Hunt Brother’s silver saga in gold. Scrap sales of gold out of India may dampen prices much.

The third scenario may see gold at about 33000-36000 per tola. To do this the Indian rupee must trade at Rs.60 to a dollar, to get Indian consumers to part with their gold. Like the successful scam by Winston Churchill-Montagu Norman between 1929-1939 to loot the Indian peasant of his gold.

We may see a variation on that play!

Indic Justice – rediscover or reinvent?

More like Amartya Sen has foot in mouth disease?

More like Amartya Sen has foot in mouth disease?

Indic Justice …

The on-going saga of the Ambani brothers’ dispute, brings home how deeply and completely Indic norms of justice and fair play have been lost. The Ambani brothers have approached the Prime Minister and are pressing their cases in the Supreme Court for justice. Such a form of dispute redressal is alien and remote to Indic thought.

The other apparently unrelated ‘event’ is the much promoted and publicised book, The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen, has no clue about justice (at least on Indic thoughts on justice). Apart from a few token mentions about Ashoka Maurya and Akbar Moghul, he has very little to say about Indic thought on justice.

But he speaks very volubly on Western thinkers and thought on justice.

The wise king delivers justice

To bring out the contrast, one has only to read the Biblical story of King Solomon’s justice (where two prostitutes claimed the surviving baby as theirs). The point worth noting is that this paradigm of justice centralizes solutions and concentrates power in the hands of some central authorities.

So, whether it King Solomon or Caliph Haroun Al Rashid (the King in disguise), or the Turkish Çapanoglu Ahmet Pasha (of the bell of justice fame which even a donkey could ring to summon the king for justice) – the model was the all-knowing King. Variations of the Donkey /Horse and the Bell of Justice story is localized and retold in various cultures.

King Solomons Justice
King Solomon’s Justice

Going back earlier, the Desert Bloc model of seeking justice was captured in the story of Tehuti-nekht (the oppressive overseer); a sekhti’ (the poor salt-trader) the ‘clever’ Meruitensa (The Grand Vizier /Supreme Judge) and The Wise Pharoah Nebkanra.

The Duke of Venice perpetuates the myth of justice in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. The more than 120 Doges of Venice who ruled Venice for nearly a 1000 years, preserved the myth of justice during the Middle Ages.

In modern times, as republican democracy made Emperors and Kings redundant, the Smart Lawyer took over the justice function, in the garb of legal thrillers.

Perry Mason replaced The Wise Emperor as the fount of justice. John Grisham keeps company with many writers about legal-eagles, who go out to save the innocent from the hangman- and send the guilty into the dock. Like John Buchan, GK Chesterton, Wilkie Collins, et al.

Hollywood used the legal thriller genre with assembly line regularity – with successes galore, like Billy Wilder’s Witness for the Prosecution (1957), with earlier instances like Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich, or the screen adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), or the more modern Erin Brockovich (2000)and My Cousin Vinny (1992).

All quiet on the Indian front …

In more than 1000 Indic books, that record more than 10,000 years of history, there is no instance of any dispute reaching an Indic King.

The longest ancient epic in the world, The Mahabharata has no incident where a private dispute reached Yudhisthir (though a mongoose could lecture the King about sacrifices and yagnas). There was never any case of private dispute, recorded in the Ramayana, that reached Ramachandra (though a dhobi could ‘inform’ the king on bazaar talk about the Queen Sita). Even a poor Brahman, Kautsa, could reach King Raghu for help in the disbursal of guru-dakshina गुरु-दक्षिणा.

Kannagi and Devanthi - The Dream, from the epic Silappadhikaram

Kannagi and Devanthi - The Dream, from the epic Silappadhikaram

In yet another instance, rulers were warned against disproportionate punishment – through the Mandavya incident. Mandavya, was punished by Yama (the God of Death) for his ‘crimes’ as a child, of hurting insects. Through a chain events, Mandavya ended up, impaled on a trident /stake.  After best efforts to remove the offending weapon, a part remains inside  Mandavya’s body.

With a trident through his body, Mandavya confronted Yama. Mandavya, the sage, berates Yama for ‘criminalising’ children. Codifying the principle of juvenile justice, Mandavya exhorts “that no action committed by a human being till he is fourteen years of age shall be regarded as a sin  which it would thereafter.” In turn, Mandavya curses Yama to be born as a shudra child – to learn about the ‘reality’ of life. Yama, born to shudra woman, became Vidura, Dhritarashtra’s court.

In Buddha’s childhood, an injured swan becomes a point of legal dispute with his cousin, Devadatta. The injured swan, Devadatta’s hunting /archery practice target, was claimed by Siddhartha. Some minister’s preferred Prince Siddhartha’s claim, due to his position. Since the hunt was not for food, but for pleasure, Devadutta’s claim over the swan was seen as weak. Finally the claim of the saviour was seen as superior to the claim of the hunter /captor. Replace the swan, with a slave, and the legal principle for any dispute between a slave-owner versus slave-liberator, is established. The same principle is evidenced in Artha-shastra in many shlokas.

The Tamil classic, Silappadikaram, is ancient Tamil drama about the perils of royal justice.  Silappadhikaram is, a literary critic informs us is “a saga of the of the cult of the Goddess Pattini … the first ripe fruit of the Aryan-Dravidian synthesis in Tamil Nadu.” Who is Goddess Pattini? Once a widely worshipped Goddess in South India, now limited to modern Sri Lanka “Pattini was an angry deity, whose anger was directed at evil people and she is also associated with rational justice.” The destruction of the city by Pattini, the Goddess of ‘rational’ justice, is a warning against vengeful royal ‘justice’ – and instead move towards ameliorative Indic justice system.

Elango Adigal warns Indic kings from taking over and  interfering with dispute resolution mechanisms. The Pandyan King, Neduncheziyan, in  Silappadikaram, comes to grief, after royal intervention goes horribly wrong, resulting in miscarriage of justice.

It gets worse! No prisons …

Modern econometric modelling shows that for much of the last 1000 years, India has been a significant economic power – till the 1900. China and India, this analysis estimates, for the last 1000 years, accounted for 50% of the world economy. Statistical analyses showed India with a world trade share of 25% for much of the 500 years during 1400-1900. The interesting (historical) aspect of the criminal management story is the absence of any surviving mass jails in India prior to colonial India. Just how did pre-colonial India, one of the largest (and most prosperous) populations of the world, deal with crime and criminals?

Without prisons!

But then crime rate in India must be really high …

Cut to modern India. With such an inheritance, India has the lowest prison population in the world. How can India have such a low prison population, with a poor police-to-population ratio and a crime rate which is not above the average – in spite of a large civilian gun population.

All the 5 indices (below) create a bias for a lawless Indian society and rampant crime. With these five indices, namely: –

  1. Police to population ratio (‘increase police force’)
  2. Prison population (‘put more criminals behind bars’)
  3. Capital punishment (‘kill enough criminals to instill fear’)
  4. Poverty (‘it is poverty which the root of all crime’)
  5. Gun ownership (‘more guns means more crime’)

against a stable social system, how does current day India manage low-to-average crime rates. More than 2000 years ago, Megasthenes a Greek traveller to India wrote,

Theft is of very rare occurrence. Megasthenes says that those who were in the camp of Sandrakottos, wherein lay 400,000 men, found that the thefts reported on any one day did not exceed the value of two hundred drachmae, and this among a people who have no written laws

Historically, trade in India is governed by शुभ लाभ ‘shubh labh’ – and hence Indians have not been major players in drugs proliferation (unlike Japan, the West in which traded Opium in Korea and China) or in slave trade.

In modern times, India is not a big player in spamming or in software virusthough a power in computing industry. In August 2008, a hoax story alleged that an Indian hacker, had broken into a credit card database, and sold it to the European underworld. Some ‘experts’ feared that this would spark of a crime wave across Europe.

The Indic model of justice, crime and law

Evidence of a different Indic system goes far back in history. To Lipit Ishtar, Hittite laws, Hammurabi et al. At least as far back as 4000 years back in history. Indian kings did not deliver justice. It was done at the local level by panchayats पंचायत. Indian justice systems did not rely on imprisonment or executions or the police to control crime!

The answer – the world’s most stable marriage system and the extended family-social structures took care of the wayward.

Still from Breaker Morant - Edward Woodward, 3rd from left, portrayed Harry 'Breaker' Morant

Still from Breaker Morant - Edward Woodward, 3rd from left, portrayed Harry 'Breaker' Morant

A recent Hollywood film on the Desert Bloc system of justice was the schizophrenic Breaker Morant – by Bruce Beresford. In the closing lines of Breaker Morant, when asked about his religion, Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant declares that he is a pagan.

When the execution detail comes to get Morant and Handcock, the military chaplain asks their religious affiliation. “Pagan.” replies Morant. “What’s a pagan?” inquires Handcock. Morant replies, “Well, it’s somebody who doesn’t believe there’s a divine being dispensing justice to mankind.” Handcock nods and says to the chaplain, “I’m a pagan too.” (extract from Wikipedia; accessed on 25th January, 2010).

I have always wondered how much the writer knew – and understood the import of that statement.

Crumbling edifice

In India, under the onslaught of the Desert Bloc, Akbar-Birbal stories, Tenali Ram-Krishna Devaraya were used to create expectations of a Wise King. From then on, the Indic system of justice crumbled at a faster pace.

Is it that Indians were ‘saints’ and did not have private disputes? Were they so civilized that they could solve all disputes by talking to each other? Is it that Indian kings were not bothered about delivery of justice!

By Richard Brust

Israel As A Country Model For India

Posted in Current Affairs, European History, India, Islamic Demonization by Anuraag Sanghi on October 25, 2008

Should India adopt a hard-line policy like Israel with ‘zero tolerance’ policy on ‘terrorism’.


Probably the best depiction of Israeli role in the world.  |  Cartoon by Jim Morin in Miami Herald  on February 17, 2012  |  Click for larger image.

Probably the best depiction of Israeli role in the world. | Cartoon by Jim Morin in Miami Herald on February 17, 2012 | Click for larger image.

Soft state … soft target

The Indian State has often been accused of being soft on terror‘soft on terror.’ We are frequently reminded how we should consider patterning India along hard lines like Israel – which has ‘zero tolerance’ policy on ‘terrorism’. As proof, the Israeli actions against the perpetrators of the Munich massacre. Or the capture of Eichmann. The air raid of Entebbe is another example that is referred to, with a glint in the eye.

Israel - The US Hatchet Man (Creative credit absent at source. Cartoon courtesy - http://www.science.co.il). Click for larger image.artoonist

Israel - The US Hatchet Man (Creative credit absent at source. Cartoon courtesy - http://www.science.co.il). Click for larger image.

Israel’s Tenuous Existence

The first disqualification against accepting the Israeli State model is the fact it is heavily dependent on America, for fiscal and military aid – “since 1974 totals roughly $80 billion” and an article from Daily Times Of Pakistan says enviously “The United States has poured $140 billion into Israel since its formation”. That is about a US$56,000 for every Israeli family.

After all, (as NYT says)

America has vital long-term strategic interests in the Middle East. The gulf has well over 60 percent of the world’s proven conventional oil reserves and nearly 40 percent of its natural gas.

To some it may look like a boon, but is surely the kiss of death.

American policymakers began regarding Israeli strength as an American asset in the Cold War, they supported significant aid as a matter of strategy, not charity. … American aid continues to flow to Israel. … critics on the opposite end of the political spectrum argue that while aid to Israel may be tied to the best of intentions, it does more harm than good to the Jewish State by propping up a big and inefficient government and making Israel dependent upon the U.S.

The Israel and USA tango - who is using whom!

The Israel and USA tango - who is using whom!

For how long can any country, society, individual survive on foreign largesse? Note how during the 1973, Arab Israeli War, the tide of battle finally turned when the massive US airlift of weapons, tanks, spares happened! Which itself, is self-serving – American assistance, emerging as a disjointed policy that urges a peaceful resolution to the conflict while boosting military aid to Israel.”

Another client state of US, Pakistan enviously records, that

Israel is the only country that receives all of its U.S. aid in a single package, while others only receive it in quarterly installments.” It continues, “Most recipients of military aid are obliged to spend it in the US but Israel is permitted to spend 25 percent of what it receives to subsidize its own defence industry,”…

Israel’s Future With Its Neighbours

The biggest Israeli failure is the state of permanent hostility it has engendered in the neighbourhood. Israel’s dysfunctional relationship with its neighbours has taken significant efforts from Israel – possibly, based on its superior ‘European’ extraction.

The Israel and USA tango - who is using whom!

The Israel and USA tango - who is using whom!

How long can Israel depend on US support which since

“1982, … has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions which were critical of Tel Aviv, a number that exceeds the total number of vetoes exercised by all other permanent member states put together.”

American support may change (linked to American decline?) with time – but Israel’s neighbourhood is not changing!

The Persecution of Palestinians

The logic for the creation of Israel was persecution of Jews in Europe. Within 10 years, the same ‘persecuted’ Jews, allied themselves with their former persecutors and invaded Egypt – precipitating the Suez Crisis. Thus the very logic of the creation of the Israeli state was corrupted within 10 years.

The subsequent occupation of neighbouring territories was a continuation of this policy of aggressive expansionism based on European and later American support.

Israeli Style Of Justice

Israel’s population is less than Pune

Pune’s official population of 45 lakhs is close to Israel’s population of 72 lakhs.

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

India with a population of 110 crores, has no such option.


India Lowers Guard

Huntington's book gave pseudo-intellectual justification started the Western campaign of Islamic demonization. (Image source - http://www.bayesianinvestor.com/books; artist attribution not available at image source)

Huntington

Mercenary logic

Samuel P . Huntington’s 1993 book, Clash of Civilizations, has a historical ring to it – a hint of something grand. An influential book, it ostensibly examined ‘conflicts between Western and non-Western cultures’ – and brought the phrase, Clash of Civilizations into limelight.

In the post-Soviet World, the book marked the launch of a new Western campaign – Islamic demonization. This book, released some four years after Rushdie-fatwa, provided pseudo-intellectual justification for West’s anti-Islamic campaign.

The America+NATO sponsored ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaign in Bosnia was underway, since 1992. Saturation media coverage of Monica Lewinsky and cigars effectively drowned President Clinton’s role in the initiation of the anti-Islamic campaign – and the news coming out of the Balkans. Deliberate diversionary tactics?

With one of the largest Islamic populations in the world, India’s co-option into this persecution was essential for this campaign to succeed.  India’s co-option was planned in significant detail – and successfully executed. 9/11 (September 11, 2001) was still 8 years in the future. The verbal trickery behind Huntington’s Clash of civilizations ‘package-deal’ has been swallowed whole – without challenge or de-construction in India.

This post will cover some Trojan moves that smuggled destructive concepts that Huntington  made respectable, into the mainstream.

Koenraad Elst1990

A ‘orientalist’ writer from Belgium, Koenraad Elst, waded into India. His books on Hinduism, Aryan culture, Islamic history in India were avidly lapped up by a section which was eager for Western approval. Elst’s blatant anti-Islamic agenda warmed the cockles of many hearts.

LK Advani released Elst’s book in India. BJP’s proximity has given Elst’s ideas high visibility which imbalances the discussion.

Elst busied himself in attacking the decrepit and contrived colonial-era Aryan Invasion Theory, and its ‘modernized’ variant, the Aryan Migration Theory (AIT /AMT). These attacks by Elst endeared him to India’s right-wing.

With less fanfare and noise, the same Elst has been propping up a newer and more obnoxious Dravidian Invasion Theory.

1991

Rajiv Gandhi had come back from Sriperumbudur in a coffin. The common Indian had given up on Punjab. The 1984 anti Sikh riots only strengthened the negative outlook. Assam problem seemed beyond resolution. Kashmir was simmering. The Indian electorate had given a fractured mandate. A hung Parliament. Corruption was endemic and every politician was an Untouchable – nobody or anything could touch them. It seemed there were no laws.

Indian economy was going downhill – and nothing seemed to get the economy out of the “Hindu rate of growth”. India was on the verge of a debt default. Indian debt was downgraded by Western rating agencies.

The Asian Tigers had done wonders – under US tutelage. China was furiously reforming – and succeeding at it. USSR 2 years ago had decided to retreat from Afghanistan. India’s faithful ally, Russia was breaking up. Many across the world shook their head and could be heard saying, “I knew … I told you … It had to happen …”

All bets on India were off.

Larry Pressler with AB Vajpayee (Image source and courtesy - larrypressler.com.).

Larry Pressler with AB Vajpayee (Image source and courtesy - larrypressler.com.).

1992

In this siege mentality, one fine day, a US Senator, Larry Pressler, announced at a press conference in New Delhi, that India was encircled by an Islamic coalition of 9 countries. The proxy war against India by Pakistan was at its height. This ‘Islamic Crescent’ (as Larry Pressler called it) first stunned India – and then stampeded its foreign policy.

Larry Pressler was seen as a friend of India – by Indians. He got some well-paying corporate board room positions – and he has kept in the back ground after that. But his press conference still rings. And Pressler’s proximity to Indian liberal establishment (which is close to both the BJP and the Congress), flanks India’s movement towards Western paranoia from the opposite direction. (Strangely, Google search, Yahoo search, Indiatimes search, websites of newspapers like The Hindu, cannot find any newspaper coverage for that press conference.)Western

Soon thereafter, India upgraded its relationship with Israel, (practically) abandoned the Palestinians (not to ignore West Asia’s own desire to cosy with the West) – and started getting closer to the US. The Vajpayee Government (with a historic tendency) continued with this rush to embrace the US.

There is too much tradition and culture for India to go down the demonization path, but recent developments do call for consciousness on this account. Is India falling prey to Western case-building and logic for Islamic demonization?LaRouche's Triple Curve

India’s Record – And the Reversal

India and its Government was in the vanguard of opposition to Apartheid, neo-colonialism, (especially in the Middle East). However, in the last 15 years, under the garb of ‘geo-strategic interests /initiatives /imperatives’, changed ‘super power equations,’ ‘uni-polar world,’ India is losing its moral initiative – and equally importantly its long term interests. It is getting sucked into uni-directional relationships – which are going down.

Western Adventurism – The Imperative

Without slavery, the West does not enjoy the manpower edge that it had till 1900. The loss of colonies from 1900-1950 has taken away the resource base and captive markets for Western dominance.

Now with the collapse of Bretton Woods, the opacity in financial systems is diminished. The welfare state has put a significant burden on an aging Western population.

With fading prowess on one side, and a resurgent Asia on the other, the US and EU are now at the cross roads. Is the West prepared to quietly fade away in the sunset?

Unlikely.

US Defence BudgetIndian Perceptions – Preparedness and Paranoia

Will this loss of power encourage some adventurism by the West? Are the various ‘co-operation’ agreements a sign of India becoming a client state of the West – again? What is the threat magnitude of this ‘cowboy imperative’? Does India need to prepare itself against a misadventure of the ‘desert bloc’?

While the activities of these Western ‘friends’, sensitised India to the Islamic ‘threat’, it more importantly, has lowered the Indian guard against the resurgent Western encirclement.

American forces are based in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Diego Garcia – and of course Iraq. The wolf pack behaviour of pursuit of quarry does not allow co-operation between packs – but within the pack itself. So, while the Islamic crescent perception has some validity, the threat of The Star and The Cross is equal, if not greater.

Sometimes, ‘friends’ are more dangerous than a recognised opposition.

Moral Stature

Equally, India should not acquire the practices or memberships that have made recent history bloody and exploitative. While many civilisations have stumbled (Greeks, Romans, Egypt) and fallen by the wayside, India’s many comebacks, have been based on never losing moral stature – and it is late in the day to start down that path.

Concerns! Questions?

West Outsources It Wars To India

Is the ‘Islamic demonisation’ an attempt by the ‘wolf pack’ to separate a member of the herd and then go for the kill – like Iraq.

Is India getting co-opted in this ‘wolf pack hunt’?

What Followed

PS – A few days after this post I found his cartoon (linked on the right), which is possibly truer than one would have imagined.

And then this book review by Vivek Chibber – an assistant professor of sociology at New York University. In this article, he reviews a book by a neo-CON, Niall Ferguson (yes, yet another one). The drift of this book is that America should declare itself as an empire – and go about ruling countries just the way Britain did – is what Ferguson has written in Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire by Niall Ferguson.

But the best of all this was the post by Gurcharan Das, an ex-MNC CEO, who started writing in various newspapers. His latest post in The Times Of India, plumbs the depth of misdirected warmth towards Western democracies. He writes,

thanks to the treaty, which paved the way for closer ties with the Western democracies. The West stood by India during its times of trouble and eventually India went on to balance power in Asia and the world”.

Gurcharan Das’ gullibility on matters of international relations is worth a bucketful of tears. Why would any country (let us keep Western powers aside for a minute) support India (or any other country) – except if it in their self interest? After 300 years of pillage, loot, murder, genocide, slavery are Western nations going to suddenly change become God Samaritans, Mr.Das?

Your naivete makes me squirm.
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