Thursday, July 24, 2014

Should India support Palestine or Israel: Ten hard facts on India's international stand and foreign policy in the light of its national interests and realpolitik

[This post has been written after Indian government voted in support of Palestine, inviting criticism from pro-Israel ideologues who thought BJP government would change its policy]

1. India is seen as a responsible nation world over, government has to be careful of its standing too while voting at UN or other fora, can't go by wishes of individuals. 

2. On TV debates, right-wing panelists say that 'Arabs never supported India'. So? Who asks to support them? Must ditch 'em, if needed. Who stops!

3. India is already doing business with Israel. We get lot of oil from Arab countries. Millions of Indians live in Gulf and send foreign currency here.
This is never mentioned in TV debates. In fact, there are more Indians (60 lakh) in Arab countries than in USA and Britain together (45 lakh). 

What are the stakes for us to suddenly turn our back on these countries? Of course, if you simply love Israel because it kills Arabs or Palestinians [read Muslims], then let us talk straight, don't beat the bush [strategic interests, yes we know]. On channels you talk of real-politik and sermonise that we must keep our interests supreme, rather than going for 'passion' or becoming 'world guru, then friends, these are real interests.

4. The only difference is that Arab countries don't claim credit and aren't interested much in PR in India. The NRIs in these countries are mostly from South India, and the North Indian-media glosses over it. 

5. Indian Muslims are with national interest. The expectation or support is on humanitarian grounds. Government should strike balance, use diplomacy and see its interests. If needed, stand with any country, who stops the Viraat government? Don't play politics on us, using our names. 

6. During nuclear deal issue also, it was suggested that Indian Muslims wer against it though it was the biggest lie  

7. Then, there is another argument, 'how can we vote along with Pakistan on the same issue'. This is the reflection of the mentality, 'If your enemy is doing the right thing, you should do the wrong thing just because it is your enemy'. So if Pakistan goes on to vote for saving girl child at an international forum, will India oppose it? 

8. Truth is that only one country was against the vote for probe on war crimes. It was USA which patronises Israel. Many other countries who have major disputes among themselves, voted in favour. We are not in a position to be Israel's patron, do we want to look like its lackey, and reduce ourself to such level without any genuine benefit. 

9. Some journos and self-styled ideologues who think they were behind BJP and Modi's victory, feel they know more about national interests than Govt! Surely, Narendra Modi government knows what is in India's interests.

10. But it doesn't mean that your love for Israel, outgrows your love for your own country and the respect of your nation and its standing. Gaza killings are surely not an humanitarian issue for you, but tell us the real strategic reason, you want India to shift its international position?

Right now, the disgusting tweets that show their love for Israel, more than India, are revealing exactly the same: That sections of right-wing are so obssesed with Israel and are anti-Muslim to such an extent, that they are disowning the BJP government which they considered their own till days ago.

[This post has been written after the outrage by many self-styled strategic affairs experts and 'super patriots', who felt that India under Narendra Modi, shouldn't have voted to censure Israel at BRICS and opposed its vote on UNHRC probe for war crimes against Israel]

Read the post on 'Indians support Palestine despite propaganda' HERE
Read the post 'Irony for Israel: The world calls it a Nazi state, even Jews opposing Israel' HERE
Read the post 'Jews suffered genocide, now commit similar atrocities on Palestinians' HERE

India supports Palestine at BRICS summit and UN, opinion poll shows Indians too stand against Israel: 75% Indians support Palestine, just 15% for Israel

Of late, we often hear that the public opinion in India is shifting and is now inclined towards Israel.

You don't need to rake your brains to think about those who are behind this new found knowledge about Indian masses & public opinion.

On Monday, a journalist tweeted that within three decades, India has become one of the most pro-Israel nations.

There was nothing to substantiate this insight though. He didn't reveal what made him believe that Indians were no longer pro-Palestine.

Right-wing folks have been trumpeting their admiration for Israel. In India, the unique thing is that the same group also eulogizes Hitler.

Clearly, any state that commits mass murders, brutality and genocide is their ideal, with no moral issues for them. The vocal right-wing supporters can keep claiming that Indians are turning pro-Israel, because propaganda works to an extent.

The BJP victory or the Congress loss doesn't mean that Indian have become pro-Israel or anti-Palestine.

In fact, for a large number of Indians, it may not be an issue to align with one side. For them, it will be of siding with humanity. If any ordinary person sees the images of innocents killed in Gaza, he or she would naturally support the victim. 

Just seven decades ago, we won our independence from an imperial power that also used brutality as a state weapon against the subjects.

However, the propagandists know that if they keep repeating lies, half-lies, assumptions and their beliefs, it will have some impact on others too.

But the biggest shock for the Israel-supporter propagandists in India came on Tuesday.

India voted in support of UN resolution on Gaza, calling for investigation against Israel. Suddenly, there was silence among the pro-Israel Twitterati, as they rued and expressed sadness at the Indian stand.

For them, it was almost unbelievable that a BJP government led by Narendra Modi would continue the traditional Indian policy on Palestine. Self-styled ideologues who think they have brought Narendra Modi-led BJP to power, were upset and said that it was unexpected.

After the Indian vote at UNHRC, a journalist Sadanand Dhume, who lives in  USA, also claimed that mood in India was pro-Israel. Other pro-BJP journalists termed Indian vote as 'monumental blunder'. Indian call for implementation of UN resolution, was criticised by them.

MEANWHILE. In Rio, the Prime Minister also signed the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) censure of Israeli offensive in Gaza. What more? Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj says Indian policy towards Palestine remains unchanged.

And if you want to know about public opinion. Check this opinion poll by Hindustan Times on who should India support in the Middle East conflict. While 75% say Indians should be supporting Palestine, just 15% say that the country should stand by Israel. LINK TO THE POLL

This is the situation when it is well-known that right-wing has a disproportionately big presence on the internet. So there is no sign that Indians have turned pro-Israel, en masse. The propagandists can, of course, chant otherwise. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Incidents of rapes in India: Under-reporting of crimes, policemen's reluctance in registering FIRs and media focus on certain states

There has been outrage over recent incidents of rapes in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders feel that UP is being targeted and they claim that UP doesn't record the highest number of rapes.

This is true. In fact, statistics can't be relied upon in India, easily. The reason is the old practice of 'burking' or  non-registration of crimes.

UP may be much behind MP as far as number of rapes is concerned, but if you have to see the 'lawlessness' or 'crime situation' in a state, then the parameter is always--MURDER.

Murder or homicide, is a crime, which the police have to register anyhow [though in case of unclaimed bodies, the police can still hush up to an extent].

They can't hush it up so easily. As far as murders are concerned, UP tops the list with 5,047 murders in a year.

After UP, Bihar is a far second with 3,441 murders, Maharashtra recorded 2,512 murders, followed by AP 2,484, West Bengal 2,264 and Madhya Pradesh 2,112.

If one goes by the basic anology of crime then the state that has most murders would also be leading in other violent crimes including rapes and molestation incident.

If UP doesn't lead and is far behind even a state which has less than half of UP's population, [and is also behind Rajasthan, Maharashtra] suspicion rises that the crimes are not being registered. In heartland, it is very common, especially in rural areas, to not register the FIRs.

Taking application, not registering FIR

In cases of rapes, it is common to take the complaint or 'jaanch mein le liya hai'. So the 'darkhwast' or 'aavedan' is taken, but the application is just kept aside, it is not registered as a crime. Its a common tendency among policemen (station officers), as they want to keep the number of crimes at the police station low.

This practice of not registering crime is common. Apart from murders, the major crimes which are considered heinous are robberies (loots) and rapes. The figure of robberies is also brought down shrewdly in many states.

Hushing up cases to bring down figures of heinous crimes

If your gold chain (or wallet) is snatched by bike-riding snatchers or looters, then ideally, a case under section 392 should be registered. Instead, the police in many states, register it under section 379 (theft). So that's how the crimes are brought 'under control'.

UP records such a high number of murders, abductions and other violent crimes, but when it comes to rape, the figure is not as high. Clearly, there is less registration of cases.  This tendency can't be checked unless superiors take the SHOs/SOs to task.

Also, the politicians should give the go-ahead to police to register each and every crime. But they also dislike the brouhaha over 'rising crimes' and let the cops continue with this practice. When one incident of rape can bring down a government or at leash push the CM to the corner, why would administration give the order to policemen to treat all complaints as FIRs.

More focus on crimes in UP than in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat or Orissa

But there is another aspect to it. UP is the most populous state in the country and being close to Delhi, there is definitely more focus on crimes here, compared to states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat or even Orissa. Media is more charitable to even other states in the North India.

There are gang rapes and rape-cum-murders in many other states, which never get covered in national media. There is also a comfort factor of journalists with certain regimes. Certain states have more crimes but it won't get as much criticism.

There are multiple factors. So, politicians and police also fear the excessive 'negative coverage'. Ideally, each case should be registered and there should be proper investigation, so that culprits are arrested. But at times there is selective [disproportionate] anger over certain cases, while there is no mention of equally heinous crimes in some other states.

Assam records nearly 2,000 rapes though UP with seven times population registered 3,000 rapes

Assam is a small state compared to UP, Maharashtra or MP. It is almost 1/6-1/7th [13-14%] in population to UP, but when it comes to rape, the difference is startling. Assam records 1,937 rapes, compared to 3,050 (UP), which is almost 2/3rd [66%].

Isn't it unbelievable? Also, there is another aspect. The huge state of Bihar records 1,128 rapes, much less than Delhi. So Delhi that has a population of around 1.5 crore registers far more number of rapes than in the entire Bihar state, which has a population of over 10 crore!

Just see the figures:

India registered 32, 613 murders in 2013

UP 5,047
Bihar 3,441
Mah 2,512
AP 2,484
WB 2,264
MP 2,112

India registered 31,967 rapes in 2013

MP 4,335
Rajasthan 3,285
Maharashtra 3,063
UP 3,050
Assam 1,937
Orissa 1,832
WB 1,685
Delhi 1,636
Bihar 1,128

[UP 19.9 crore, Maharashtra 11.2 crore, Bihar 10.3 crore, WB 9.1 crore, MP 7.2 crore, Orissa 4.1 crore, Assam 3.1 crore et al]

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chetan Bhagat's tweet on killings in Gaza leads to outrage on Twitter: Sick, inhuman comment or just his view!

Chetan Bhagat's shocking tweet about the killings by Israel in Gaza, led to outrage on social networking website Twitter on Wednesday.

Bhagat tweeted, "What is happening to Gaza isn't fair but sadly that is the only way sometimes terrorist organizations and their supporters learn to behave".

The tweet just when Israel has killed over 200 Palestinians, many of them innocent children, in cold blood, angered Twitterati.

A twitter user with the handle@Homer2bart tweeted, 'Chetan bhagat probably doesnt' have a kid. He knows nothing about how families feel when they lose their kids in such tragic incidents".

They expressed shock and surprise that how he could write with such indifference about civilian deaths in Palestine.

Twitter uses termed Bhagat's tweet as reflecting his 'insensitivity', 'sick mind', 'inhumanity' and 'cheap thinking' for his apparent justification for the killings of innocents. Bhagat, who has written a few novels, later tweeted, that his three tweets should be read together.

"Anyone posting them selectively quoting them out of context", he wrote. But there were angry responses. Another user Vishakha wrote, "kisi apne ka khoon jab dekhte hai tab ye intellectual thoughts koi kaam nahi aate'. [When you see the blood of your near and dear ones, intellectual thoughts don't work]

But there were some tweeples who supported him too. Many said that though his statement might be inhuman or condemnable, he had a right to express his views. And that, at least, one knew where our 'celebrity author' stood on the issue of Israel-Palestine, especially, the humanitarian crisis that it has become. 

Check Chetan Bhagat's twitter account AT THIS LINK.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Government schools functioning without building, basic facilities show lack of focus on education in India

The government schools cater to majority of children in the country.

But there is little focus on the infrastructure at these schools.

The photograph on the left shows a school in Dindori in Madhya Pradesh.

It shows how classes in this school are held in the open, under the tree shade.

For the last couple of years, the school has been functioning in the open. If there is rain, obviously, classes are suspended.

The local officials say that funds have been sanctioned to build rooms for the school, but the building is yet to be built.

The school earlier functioned from a dilapidated structure. The condition of the structure was so bad, that there was no option but to bring the kids out. Since then, the situation hasn't changed. Children hope that one day they would be able to study in proper rooms.

Government withdrawing from education, health sectors and its impact on society

But this is just an example. Centre and state governments have little focus towards maintaining infrastructure in government schools. Just like hospitals [health], this sector [education] too shows official apathy.

The middle-class [which is vocal] in cities stopped going to government hospitals, and over the years the condition of sarkari hospitals deteriorated. Private hospitals stepped in and the result is that cost of treatment has gone up steeply, and the sufferer is the common man.

Similarly, in the education sector, many people in urban area stopped sending their kids to government schools. But the onus is on government to ensure that its schools that have nominal fee and that cater to poor and under-privileged are run properly.

Poor infrastructure in government schools

The schools that have buildings don't have other facilities. Even in cities, government schools often don't have fans or drinking water. It is common to find that electricity connection is cut because no one bothers to pay the power bill.

In small towns and rural areas, the situation is plain bad. The truth is that a vast majority of Indians, can't afford the fees of private schools. One or two teachers conduct all the classes and teach students together.

The cadre of 'Shiksha Karmis' in MP [education workers, not teachers] has worsened the situation. Their salary structure is so bad that it can hardly inspire a person to take the job. The government came up with this new cadre, so that it didn't have to pay the salary to teachers, which is obviously much higher.

These shikshakarmis get barely Rs 3,000-5,000 per month. Clearly, there is no intention on part of government to improve the state of school education. It is the same situation everywhere. The governments pay little attention to ensure that the 'sarkari schools' are improved and are run efficiently.

[Photo courtesy: Patrika, Hindi newspaper]

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Irony for Israel: When the world calls Israel a 'Nazi state', Jews also oppose its atrocities on Palestinians

Would Jews who suffered enormously in holocaust could have imagined that their State would one day kill innocent children, almost the same way, as the Nazis did in Hitler's Germany?

And that many would term Israel as Nazi state! Further, the state of Israel would defend itself despite the wanton killings, refuse to accept the truth, disregard international opinion, and remain adamant, just like the perpetrators of Holocaust, seven decades ago.

What is happening today in Gaza [Palestine] is a tragedy. And how, the country [homeland] of the most persecuted group of people on earth, gets involved in such massacres, is equally a tragedy for mankind.

Across, the world, organisations, leaders, individuals of standing, are equating Israel's brutal killings of children, women and elderly, with Nazi Germany.

Even more, the Jews themselves, are saying it. Gaza is a virtual prison and is termed as 'concentration camp'. In America and several other countries, Jews are opposing Zionism and the policies of Israel. There are Jews protesting against the bloodbath in Gaza, and raising banners, saying that they are opposed to Israel's aggression.

How world sees Israel, which isolates itself, refuses to learn from its own experiences

African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa, has termed Israeli military operation in Gaza strip, with the Nazi war against Jews.

ANC condemned the action as 'barbaric attacks' and that 'Israel has turned occupied territories into permanent death camps.

See the link comparing Israel's offensive to atrocities by Nazis, at this link, HERE

Many countries in Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world apart from Human Rights group have made similar comparison.

But what should serve as a wakeup call for the state of Israel is that even Jews are openly speaking up against the country's acts against civilian population in Gaza. TV star Roseanne Bar, who has Jewish ancestry, said that Israel was acting like Nazis.

She wrote this on her blog when there was similar attack on Gaza, last time. The comments drew strong reactions. She had written, "Israel is a NAZI state. The Jewish soul is being tortured in Israel". Read about it HERE.

Then, musician Roger Waters [who was earlier with Pink Floyd] made a similar assertion.

He compared modern state of Israel with Nazi Germany. The veteran rock star's comments had angered Zionists and pro-Israel lobby.

But he said that it was not anti-semitism. The report is HERE.

Brett Wilkins, in Digital Journal, wrote the article under the headline, 'Israel is much closer to Nazi Germany than Iran is'. [LINK].

The Committee for Remembrance Education, [Belgium], equates treatment of Palestinian Arabs by Israelis today with the treatment of Jews by Nazis in the 40s. See an earlier part to this article below:

Jews suffered holocaust, now inflict it on Palestinians

Read to find out the historical issue, the problem of Palestine, how Europe persecuted Jews and later shifted the problem to Middle East, the sufferings of Jews, the manner in which Muslims saved persecuted Jews, and then the modern era--the Israel-Palestine conflict. READ IT HERE

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Muslim legislator's bill for ban on trade of cow bones and fat defeated by BJP in MP Assembly

It was a major embarassment for the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The lone Muslim legislator, Arif Aqueel, came up with a private bill for ban on trade of bones and fat of the cows.

This was not the first time when Aqueel has brought up the issue, as he has consistently spoken about condition of old cows and need for protection of cows, which is considered sacred in India.

Aqueel said that while cow is termed as 'gau mata' and given status of mother, old cows are left to die. Those involved in trade of bones and fat of cow, kill the bovines. He said that the trade should be banned and there must be proper system in place to hold last rites of cows on government expense.

While minister for Animal Husbandry Kusum Mehdale praised Aqueel and even suggested giving him an award for his concern, she refused to take any action in this regard. The speaker suggested that the bill could later be introduced, after there is talk with religious gurus.

But Aqueel didn't back down. He kept raising the issue in the house. The MLA who represents Bhopal North Assembly seat and has won five times from the constituency since 1989, said that BJP is expected to ban the trade.

Muslim MLA speaks for cow conservation, BJP opposes it!

"You have won because on your plank that you would work for conservaton of cow", he said.

The BJP legislators created uproar but Aqueel remained defiant and stood his ground.

Finally, the speaker decided to take voice vote. The BJP being majority in the house, the bill was defeated by 55 to 31 votes.

Interestingly, most newspapers didn't report this debate in the Vidhan Sabha, properly though two newspapers carried it in their online editions. Read the report in Hindi newspapers and a brief report in the Agency below.

1. Government in a fix over Aqueel's private bill seeking ban on trade of cow fat, bones
2. Govt didn't accept proposal for last rites of cows
3. Agency report on the same issue

Monday, July 07, 2014

Role of Islamic clergy: Ulema's rejection of Western world reason behind decline of Muslims?

Zafar Agha is a senior journalist and well-known columnist. In this article, he questions the role of Ulema who opposed the Western culture and rejected the Maghribi dunia*. 

This, he says, is among the reasons behind the decline of Muslims. Either you agree or disagree, do share your thoughts on this article and post them in the comments section below.

By Zafar Agha

There was an era when Muslims held sway over vast regions in the world. Whether you recall the Khalifas at Baghdad, the Mughal emperors at Delhi or the rulers in Constantinople, the Muslim states were superpowers of the period. [Not just art and culture, Muslim world was far ahead in science and technology too]

But, once the renaissance took place in Europe, and the West made giant strides, the Muslim world retreated. The situation hasn't improved since then. In India, even today, Muslims are in a state of defeat and suffer from victimhood.

I often point out the reason behind this colossal failure of the Muslims. The reason is that when Muslims lost their status to the Western civilsation, the Ulema considered it as extension of the conflict from the era of Crusades.

As a result, the loss was termed as a civilizational clash and the entire Western world was rejected. Hence, Muslim world also rejected the industrial culture which had given the Western world a new push, not just in terms of democratic societies but also scientific and technological momentum.

This revolution led to major progress in the Western countries. In the light of these developments, it is pertinent to ask whether a clash between a religion and a particular culture is possible? Of course, there can't be a clash between these two.

Feudal values overtook Islamic values

Islam had brought a radical change in the life of humanity. It brought equality among mankind, ended racism or the difference between black and white, gave rights to women that were unimaginable in that era and even till the modern era.

There was freedom in religion and there was no institutionalised clergy one was bound to. This was the reason that within a century, the message of Islam spread far and wide. Muslims were empowered and prosperous. Islam spread across the world, and Muslim nations became major superpowers.

But what happened in later centuries? In Baghdad and later in Constantinople, the Caliphs became Kings. The feudal system came in place. Kings became 'shadow of God on earth'. The changes were not in sync with Islamic teachings.

Rights of Muslim women curtailed

The rights of women were curtailed steadily. Hejab turned into the Burqa. Because of increasing feudalistic mindset, women were restricted to households. While the Prophet's wife Khadija was a business woman, today if a woman gets into business, it is not seen approvingly in our society.

Muslim women aren't encouraged to go for jobs compared to the men. While Islam gave the right to walk out of marriage to woman, more than 1400 years ago [khula allows woman to get out of wedlock], today Muslims in India are prepared to go to streets to fight for the 'right' to have verbal triple talaq.

The society that had emerged among Muslims after the advent of Islam, was thus transformed into a feudalistic society once again. It has more of 'Shahi-Zamindarana aqdaar' or royal-feudalistic values, which have nothing to do with the ideal Islamic values.

No 'Clash of Civilizations' between Muslim world, West

In many Muslim countries, there is dictatorship and the feudal values are propagated. On the other hand, the religious groups that seize power also have similar ideas. They restrain women from even getting education, let alone participate in other fields.

The Taliban are just one of these groups. The truth is that Muslims' beliefs have no conflict with Industrial culture of Western civilisation. These are remains of the Muslim feudalistic culture, which consider West as Crusading Force, and to uphold their feudal culture, keep pushing Muslims towards backwardness.

This is also a harsh truth that many of the flag-bearers of this 'Muslim' feudal culture and this mindset are the Ulema. Hence, it is not Western world with which we have conflict. We need to oppose and get rid of those who intend to keep Muslims stuck to the regressive and anti-West mindset.

[This is a short translation of Zafar Agha's article 'Muslim Ulama, zamindarana Muslim tehzib ke alambardar' or 'The Muslim Ulama, flag-bearers of feudal Muslim culture. It was originally published in Sahafat, the Urdu daily newspaper]
[*Maghribi dunia=Western World]

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Schoolgirl writes to Chief Minister, gets road constructed to the village

Maimoona Khan, 14, who studies in ninth standard, lives in Narsinghpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Like other children Maimoona suffered for years due to the lack of proper road connectivity to her school in Naktua, a village, which is quite far from her settlement, in the district.

For residents of Nakuta too, it was a major issue. For sick and elderly, it was even more difficult. Narsinghpur, the town and the district headquarters, wasn't too far, yet all pleas to get a road constructed, fell on deaf years of the officials.

One day, the girl decided to take a step herself. She wrote a letter to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who terms himself as 'mama' [uncle] of children, especially, girls. The first letter elicited no response. But she wasn't disappointed and wrote another letter.

Yet again there wasn't any answer. However, Maimoona wrote the third letter. The schoolgirl's constant communication was finally taken seriously. The officials were directed to take immediate action. Plan was made and under a development scheme, funds were sanctioned.

Soon the construction material came and the work began. The road was laid down. The 'bhanji' (niece) was delighted. The villagers were surprised, as the efforts of the politically connected persons, had failed to get the road constructed.

The approach road was laid and connected to the bypass. Everybody including the village Sarpanch praise her for her determination and her idea to write directly to CM.

Maimoona belongs to an ordinary Muslim family. She had asked her father before writing the letter. Her father Mohammad Husain Pathan owns a tailoring shop.

But that's how ordinary people dream big and ultimately get close to their goals. The key is to be positive, work for change and take proactive action. 

Things may move slowly, but they do move, if you are persistent. Maimoona is a bright girl, who is good in studies, and wants to get into administrative services, so that she can also help needy people and ensure development. [Second photo shows Maimoona standing on the newly constructed road]

(This news was published in Hindi newspapers in Narsinghpur-Jabalpur and in local editions of other Hindi-English papers of MP later)