Archive for the ‘Oh India’ Category
A forthright, if provocative title!
This is an article by by an Indian IT professional, with a side gig as blogger journalist, who just also happens to be an unabashed Indian patriot. His other posting s can be found here, where he calls himself Shadow Warrior
This entire article is reproduced below. Some of Rajeev Srinivasan’s essays appear in India Abroad a weekly newspaper for Indians in North America. It is published by Rediff.
Why I am not a fan of Obama
Rajeev Srinivasan | January 19, 2009 | 17:07 IST
I have never been a fan of Barack Obama; nor am I now. But I have to acknowledge that he has been a master tactician in overcoming apparently insurmountable odds to become the US President. Trouncing Hillary Clinton first and then overcoming John McCain in fine style, he has demonstrated that his message of change and hope resonates with many in America.
It would be churlish to begrudge Obama his day in the sun, which comes on his inauguration on January 20, and there is no denying that it is an historic occasion when a black man steps into the White House, especially if you remember Jim Crow and Bull Connor and Rosa Parks, all iconic in the apartheid known as segregation. To be honest, I did not think Americans were yet ready to elect a black man or a woman as president, and I stand corrected.
But I am not as overwhelmed as many are with this fine show of egalitarianism, because humble India has long been the exemplar in recognising and emancipating the under-privileged or outsiders. With India’s record of raising various Harijans to significant posts like President and Chief Justice, a woman to the prime minister-ship, and so on, India’s record in this regard is superior to America’s. India also has an incomparable record of being the refuge of last resort for the ‘huddled masses’ of the world.
Nevertheless, Obama’s symbolic role is significant. A news magazine conducted a survey and found that its subscribers worldwide would have chosen Obama over McCain, if they could vote, by a large margin. There are expectations about Obama not only among his countrymen, but among foreigners as well: there is something, apparently, in his message of a clean break with the past that is appealing. Besides, Dubya Bush did have a knack of annoying a lot of people, and everyone wants someone — anyone — else in power.
I have personally never supported Obama for three reasons: One, that I am suspicious of the Democratic Party in the US; two, that I fear that Obama is all style and no substance; and three, that I believe his war-cry of ‘change!’ is no more than election rhetoric, because there is no way anybody is going to turn the battleship that is America except very, very slowly. I see no reason to change these views.
Not that I think the Republican Party is any great shakes: Its core constituency includes unreconstructed racists and Bible-thumping fundamentalists. But I find the Democrats more insidious because they mouth all these liberal platitudes, but at the end of the day they are dirigiste protectionists, Atlanticists, non-proliferation fundamentalists, and far too full of admiration for dictatorships, failed States, and totalitarian regimes like India’s unfortunate neighbours, who are such a joy to deal with.
I have seen no evidence that Obama is about to change the status quo ante a whole lot — consider his choices for his senior staff, led, of course, by Hillary Clinton, who must be the epitome of the establishment person. He has asked Robert Gates, the defence secretary, to stay on; which suggests that exiting Iraq in a hurry has fallen by the wayside. Many others are Washington Beltway insiders, veterans of latching onto to the mammaries of the State.
But the irony is that there is indeed a lot that needs to change. The profligacy of the Roaring Nineties — and whatever the right term is for the years 2000 onwards — exemplified by the ‘masters of the universe’ hedge fund managers who paid themselves billions, is coming back to haunt America. The big banks are in parlous state despite extraordinary public handouts. Credit is non-existent; the consumer has tightened his belt, and layoffs rise and house prices plunge regularly.
In many ways, it is ironic that Barack Obama has inherited an America this is worse-off than what greeted any of his predecessors, at least since 1929. Facing two quasi-Vietnam wars, and a Great Depression, this has to be the worst of times, and I am hard pressed to see how it could be the best of the times as well. In other words, a country that fully needs all the soaring rhetoric — Obama’s specialty — to turn into reality.
The situation is so bad that there are two possible outcomes. One is that it will be apparent soon that whatever is done, there will be no succor for at least a couple of years; which could lead to apathy and angst among the Obamistas. The other is that, because of the insane expectations, Obama will end up taking more than his fair share of the blame.
Neither case is going to be pretty. A plausible scenario is a sobered and much-diminished America, no longer the country that bankrupted the Soviet Union via an arms race it imposed on it, but one that is the largest debtor nation ever known. Just like Ireland and Iceland, to take two examples, imploded after years of rapid growth because the foundations of their economies were rotten, America too is likely to face a few years of hardship.
But then, it is a continent-sized country with immense resources and a highly resilient and imaginative people, so it will surely rebound. But Obama may not benefit, because a deep recession lasting till 2011 is hardly likely to enable him to hold on to the White House in 2012. All things considered, though, we should all wish him well because America is such an important locomotive economy for the world.
Surely, the humbled America of 2009 is a far cry from the confident America of 2007 when Obama decided to run. The fabled American self-confidence and the feeling that its system is the best have taken a beating along with the troubles of its banks, its auto-makers, and other icons. But I do hope Obama is able work some miracles. America, all things considered, is a better superpower than several others I could name who are pretenders to that throne.
There is one lesson from the Obama juggernaut that is comforting to India — that it is possible for someone with personal magnetism to electrify a cynical public. There are many examples of charismatic leaders who, through their words, inspired and rallied the people to greatness: for instance, Harihara and Bukka of the Vijayanagar Empire; the Rani of Jhansi; Mahatma Gandhi; Winston Churchill during World War II; Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War; indeed, even Steve Jobs of Apple.
India has been particularly cursed lately with a huge vacuum in leadership; this, along with endemic corruption and lack of a strategic intent of what it should aspire to, are the biggest problems facing the country. The last prime minister who showed any leadership was the laconic P V Narasimha Rao, who understood the need for a change of course, and directed it from behind the scenes. But he was an intellectual, not a magnetic leader who could sway the populace with silver-tongued oratory.
There is one such leader in India today — one with the communication skills to be the inspiration that excites the public. That is Narendra Modi. He has the advantage over Barack Obama because he also has a sterling track record of development. Despite the single-minded demonisation of Modi by the English Language Media in India, what is happening on the ground is quite obvious to anybody, especially anybody who attended the Vibrant Gujarat meet recently and heard the captains of Indian industry sing their chorus of praise. The place works.
If Barack Obama can excite America on the basis of his oratorical and organisational skills alone, surely a Narendra Modi who has those, and also has a track record of achievement and a reputation for personal integrity, could well try to get his message across — that there may yet be hope for India’s threadbare democracy. Modi may could well be the catalyst that raises India to great power status.
For those who don’t know Modi is or only know him from India’s English language media (CNN-India etc.) Rajeev may seem like overreaching. But when you consider that hundreds of major industrial and business leaders sing the praise of Modi as a transformative figure, a beacon of hope for the Indian middle class, you will understand.
The real point of this post exercise is this: this Rajeev is a PUMA!
What do you think?
Posted January 17, 2009on:
Leading Indian national daily in English, The Hindu, published in it’s online edition, the complete sixty-nine page dossier given by the Indian government to Pakistan.
The dossier contains the summary of evidence Indian officials gave to Pakistan. Click this link. The Hindu will open in a new window.
I will post some thoughts on this in days to follow, but bear in mind as you read the dossier:
1. The dossier is in pdf form, you will need Adobe software (if you don’t have it already on your computer).
2. Dates in the dossier follow non-US format: the date is given first, followed by month in the middle. DD/MM/YY
3. Contrary to it’s name, The Hindu is not very pro-Hindu. It is not even jingoistic or patriotic in areas beyond cricket, movies and entertainment. Like most English language media in India, it is intensely leftist, comfortably communist inclined and decidedly anti-Indian-exceptionalism. It is alleged to have pro-China leanings, and is not one of my favorites. Oddly, it is quite hip to US pop culture!
4. Those who have followed the Mumbai attacks blow by blow on live tiv or news updates will find no major new “secrets” in the dossier but will find a fascinating wealth of detail.
5. Often, the same word in Hindi or Urdu will be transliterated into English differently, eg: Quasab, Quassab, Khassab, Khasav, Kassav, Khasab etc. depending on the regional dialect’s phonetic influences. Tip: Arabists tend to use Q for sounds k-K-Kh, while Indists will tend to use Kh. (Americans will recall such recent items as Osama becoming Usama or madrassah becoming madrasa. It’s a matter of degree or simplicity versus so-called authenticity.
6. The all familiar AT sign, @, is used to indicate AKA or also known as.
For convenience the dossier is in three parts, here is a link for each, if you wish to pursue just parts of it:
The first part of the dossier is the most comprehensive narrative of events that took place at Mumbai beginning the night of 11-26-2008. Here is a detailed account of the materials and methods used by terrorists; their names, aliases, origins, and confession. What happened at each site of attack is related with unflinching detail. The personal effects of the terrorists, and their supplies – all made in Pakistan – are noted with photos. Here you will find official death tallies and names of all foreigners killed by muslim attackers.
This part of the dossier gives photos, graphics and charts purporting the navigational path used at sea, the ammunition used, the cellphones used, some transcripts of phone conversations in Hindustani (mixture of Hindi and Urdu) laced with occasional Punjabi word. This section also gives names of terrorists who operated in different locations, their conversations with the handlers in Pakistan. Most chillingly, it shows their efforts to kill only non-Muslims at these locations.
This part of the dossier deals with Pakistan’s response via public stance and statements comprising a “continuous prevarication.” It also details evidence gathered by other world publications etc., what is usually referred to as ‘open source intelligence’. It also sheds light on the history of Pak involvement in and obfuscation in the past about “evidence”. It includes a list of Pakistanis living in Pakistan suspected to be trainers, handlers and enablers of the Mumbai attack. These are folks that India wants tried.
A most fascinating read.
One hates to dwell on Evil on a day sacred to a good part of human race, but the nature of Islamic terror being what it is, dwell we must. As surely as we abhor it, and curse its wile practitioners and damn its devilish advocates. To wit:
These pictures, most of which we have refrained from printing, are in the records of the police and are now part of the investigation. Mumbai Mirror
That somber line sums up a Christmas Day news article by Santosh Mishra. (Thanks to, and Godbless Atlas Shrugs / Pamela Geller)
More from Mumbai Mirror:
Disturbing photographs made available to this newspapers by police sources indicate that several of the guests at the Taj Mahal Hotel during the siege November 26 were sexually humiliated by the terrorists and then shot dead.
Police sources confirm that even as the terrorists were engaged in a fierce combat with NSG commandos, they were humiliating their hostages before ending their terrifying ordeal.
Foreign guests were their particular target. Eight of the 31 killed at the Taj were foreign nationals.
Photographs taken by a police forensic team after the hotel was sanitised yield a gruesome picture of some of the guests in the nude.
These bodies were found away from the hotel’s swimming pool which makes it clear that they were not those guests who were taken hostage from the poolside.
“Even the Rabbi and his wife at Nariman House were sexually assaulted and their genitalia mutilated,” said a senior officer of the investigating team, not wishing to be quoted.
“We have CCTV footage which reveals how these terrorists forced some of the guests who were holed up in restuarants to strip, but there is not evidence of rape,” he added.
These pictures, most of which we have refrained from printing, are in the records of the police and are now part of the investigation.
If you recall, it was the photo editor of this paper, Sebastian D’Souza who silently followed the terrorists through Chthrapati Shivaji Terminal of Mumbai commuter train system and took pictures of the terrorists as they went about the murdering spree. As recalled in this video clip:
Mumbai Mirror solemnly published one solitary example of this depravity, being sure to digitally gloss over the more nauseous parts of the photo. I won’t reprint it, even as much as I want you to be angry, I am so ill, can’t even do simple click and link. Go to Mumbai Mirror or Atlas yourself.
Also, I am fully in agreement with Pam Geller, comparing Islamic terrorism to Nazis:
…. Islam, OTOH, has none of the brilliant disguises of the Third Reich. They contribute nothing to the advancement of humanity. They marinate in their hate, are prideful of their savagery and blood lust. And yet, the West apologizes, caves, bows, grovels …… and so the pious Muslims strive to top their execrable wickedness, thereby insuring further capitualtion and appeasement from the West.
Tell me again why we are not destroying these savages. Why, in G-d’s name, why?
Again, I am sorry to have to bring this item to light on this Day.
Let me make it up to you with this superb recital:
You know, one doesn’t have to be a Christian to enjoy grand music and magnificient sentiment.
Also relevant historically:
All of which really begs the question:
What do the cavemen want?
Or, should the question be, when will we drive them back into the cave, and seal it shut?
Some related posts:
Please watch this clip of NDTV that highlights some of the problems the Mumbai Fire Department dealt with. Hopefully, it will bring some relief to all those frustrated souls. This video shows the extreme nature of the fedayeen attack, the first of its kind on Indian soil. Just think how many lives were saved!
It is believed that there could be as many as 100 more bodies yet to be uncovered and removed from the Taj Hotel. Far too many nooks and crannies of the hotel have simply been deemed ‘clear’ but not cleared yet. The hotel is on a path to recovery, denial and damage control (in more ways than one).
But the good news still keeps coming:
ND-TV has this nice clip about a public announcer at the main commuter train terminal CST, who should be credited with saving hundreds of lives by non-stop announcing to incoming train passengers to use the back exists, avoid the main platforms or stay put on trains. (where was the control center manager, did he know to Shutdown and keep trains from coming in at all, or was the Center even clued in). In this clip, they talk about the announcer booth staff turning lights off, and coming under fire themselves. But, they continued making announcements.
In this chilling article, we read about news photo editor Sebastien D’Souza of Mumbai Mirror who ran across the street from his office upon hearing gunshots, and literally stalking the two terrorists who were on rampage at the CST station. He followed them with a long lens camera, at times as close to them as 40-50 feet, shooting one of the iconic photos of the terrorists – ordinarily I wouldn’t wish to ‘recognize’ the cavemen with a photo, but in this case the drama is just compelling – while going about coolly clicking, and dodging the bullets, Mr.D’Souza was also advising commuters to flee to safety. He said the killers were very calm and unconcerned as they went about firing.
This clip of ND-TV is a wonderful tale of a doctor couple caught in the terrorist seige, and how they gave emergency treatment and saved the life of a bullet riddled hotel employee.
Below is the screen grab from a short video clip, of the Jewish boy Moshe being carried away by his caregiver and saviour.
As I type this, Indian news tv is reporting that the siege of Mumbai is over, hundreds have been rescued from luxury hotels, but sadly hundreds have also perished at the hands of the cavemen.
The Taj Mahal hotel has been laid to waste, the Jews of the Nariman House are dead. Indiatimes website here, gives a country by country tally of foreigners who died during the terrorist attacks.
And now the grim truth, news wires are buzzing at this moment that the Taj Hotel is still under inspection, no cameras allowed thank almighty, but the security folks are cautioning that the hotel is one huge death ground. ‘Bodies everywhere’ is one phrase used.
I will leave it to others to put up the grim photos of carnage or the manic visage of the terrorists themselves. Here, I would prefer to honor the fallen heroes of Indian security and law enforcement.
In no particular order, names of some of the security personnel who gave their lives in the battle against the cavemen. And their native places in India.
NSG Commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnanof Bengaluru (Bangalore City)
ATS Chief Hemant Karkare of the City of Mumbai (State of Maharashtra)
NSG Commando Gajendar Singh Bisht, rank Hawaldar, birthplace Dehradun, State of Uttaranchal
Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte, City of Mumbai
Assistant Inspector General Nana Saheb Bhonsle, City of Mumbai
Deputy Inspector of Police, Baburao Sahibrao, City of Mumbai
Police Constable Rajiv Khandikar, City of Mumbai,
Assistant police inspector Tukaram Umbale.
I should also mention the name of Times of India journalist/editor Sabina Sehgal Saikia. She died on the sixth floor of the Taj hotel. And skipper Amar Singh Solanki of fishing trawler The Kubera, he was found dead in his boat, bound, gagged and shot. The motor vessel apparently used by the terrorists to sail (from Pakistan?) to Gateway of India.
Someone after my own heart has already uploaded a video to YouTube, here it is:
I’ve been scouring the web for good posts and summaries, since I don’t watch tv and online feeds of Indian tv give me a headache, some of my finds will be linked in updates. Like this one:
WWW-SENIOR MAGAZINEhas a nice round up of the anecdotal account of unsung heroes.