Monday, February 16, 2009

Indian Muslims Take Global lead - 'Jihad and terrorism poles apart'

A group of ulema (religious scholars) came out heavily against terrorism on Saturday. Besides reiterating the Deoband fatwa against

terrorism-first issued at the seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in February last year- and repeated at many mammoth anti-terrorism rallies in the country since then, the clerics also declared suicide bombings as anti-Islam. (via 'Jihad and terrorism poles apart'-The Times of India).

The first step

On February 22nd, 2008, the Deoband Seminary, the most respected Islamic seminary in South and South East Asia, issued a anti-terrorism declaration at a huge public meeting attended by hundreds and thousands of people. This set up a new direction in Islamic social dialogue - where a non-establishment, Islamic theological group came out against terrorism. Subsequently, some other ‘liberals’ jumped onto this bandwagon.

And then …

Pakistan was sent on a cold turkey … by Saudi Arabia, China and the US. Pakistan has been forced to go to IMF which is prescribing a heavy cut back in defence spending.

But most interestingly …

Suddenly the world has been reminded about Khan Abdul Khan Ghaffar Khan. The LA Times recently ran an column on him.

As the 2ndlook post ‘Behind The Web of terror’, on December 17th, 2007, pointed out, the answer to the Pakistani problems in the North West tribal areas was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. On October 3rd, 2008, the Frontier Gandhi’s grandson was the target of suicide bomber. The terrorists are obviously worried that Khan Abdul Khan Ghaffar Khan’s sensibility may make a comeback.

Hopefully, this a new beginning for Pakistan …

History of Hindu Muslim Feud …?

For starters, you must consider the Hindu Muslim fight for the overthrow of British colonialism from 1857 War to 1947. The Deoband Seminary, Sheikh Abdullah were all popular Muslim leaders - who did not wish for or support the formation of Pakistan. Allama Iqbal (now the iconic figure in Pakistan) converted to the a very nascent two-nation theory after his stint in England - circa 1909. Poets like Sahir Ludhianvi moved from Pakistan to India. MJ Akbar’s family was another that moved from Bangladesh (then part of Pakistan) to India.

The two nation theory was a British creation - and remains a colonial legacy.

After 150 years, the dreams still lives - From 1857-2008

This is Mahmud Madani - head of Deoband Islamic seminary. Deoband seminary was set up after the 1857 War, as a religious institution to ‘escape’ British repression. A 75 years later, the Deoband school became famous during Independence due to its strong anti-Jinnah, anti-Partition stand. 60 years later, Mahmud Madani still talks about ‘our’ India.

His interview here lays out the land very clearly - without the pussyfooting around the issues. For all those in India, who are onto the Islamic demonization route, this should make them re-think.

In the West …

Sometime back, Nicholas Sarkozy reminded Manmohan Singh to take care of Christians in Kandhamal. Soon after that, the Pope came out and advised Christians that their faith came first - and their country and society later. What would happen in Ayatollah Ali Khameini told that to Mulsims in Britain, France and USA? Pope Benedict has confirmed the true intentions of the missionaries. Let us understand this for what this is - backdoor attempts to subvert Indian cultural fabric. Nothing less.

When Acharya Rajneesh ‘converted’ a few thousand Christians to his brand of beliefs (in Oregon, USA), he was picked up, packed out and sent back to India - on charges of ‘chemical warfare.’

India has 2.5 crore Christians - out of 110 crores. I would like to see how the EU would react if Indian missionaries went about converting 12.5 million Christians to Hinduism - or 7.5 million Christians to Hindus in the US! Russia has long persecuted the Hare Krishna devotees (spontaneous White Hindus converting White Christians).

For a beginning let them stop targetting Roma Gypsies for persecution.

Lowest levels of religious, ethnic, linguistic diversity,

The sight of the West, strutting as a protector of freedom on the global stage is a hoax. How can the West have a problem with Native American tribes (aka Red Indians) and the Aborigines - if there are none left. The West which has the highest levels of prison populations in the world - raucously reminds the world of lessons in freedom.

Western pre-occupation

With One God, One Book, One Holy Day, One Prophet (Messiah), One Race, One People, One Country, One Authority, One Law, One Currency, One Set of Festival are the root of most problems in the world.

And this ain't the lowest …

A free online game has sparked outrage among Muslims, in Australia. A player has to kill as many Muslims as possible has sparked an uproar in Australia, with members of the community accusing the government and police of double standards in their efforts to stop the game.

Things will get worse - and I am not sure when they will get better.

The West can speak from both sides of the mouth - tell Indians to respect foreign missionaries who want to convert Indians to their religion - and the West can continue with this demonization of Islam.

This is freedom - from both sides. For the West.

Wishful thinking or ignorance

Actually neither. It is propaganda.

The West has the lowest levels of religious diversity - and the way they have dealt with it is simple - genocide. Native Americans in Canada, USA, Native Aborigines in Australia are excellent examples.

India however, is exactly - and unfortunately, the only country of its kind. No country offers the freedom of religion that Muslims have in India - including Muslim countries. Christians cannot proselytize with as much freedom (and arrogance) in any other country as in India.

That is inconvenient truth (for the West) Mr.Kaplan.

Modern day demonization

The Western campaign aimed at the demonisation of Islam has replaced the Jewish demonisation (Shakespeare joined in with his anti-Semitic Merchant Of Venice). Without taking responsibility for the destabilisation of the Islamic World by the liquidation of the Ottoman Empire after WW1 - perpetrated by Anglo Saxon countries and the French.

Cover up

The problems in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle East have their genesis in the cynical intervention by the West - in the last 150 years. These interventions have imbalanced traditional structures - and magnified problems. The US has turned Peshawar into a military arms bazaar. CIA created these Afghan Frankensteins - in pursuit of it own imperial competition with USSR.

What was earlier localized tribal infighting in the Pashtun areas, which could possibly have been controlled by a leader like the Frontier Gandhi, has now been internationalized. The resultant terrorist load on India is the highest.

The demonization of Islam is real threat to the peace and stability of this world. And it is an attempt to deflect Western culpability and responsibility for the present day ills.

Bush helped us forget …

Bill Clinton, arguably, would have become the US President for the 3rd time - but for bar by the US Constitution. And he is the one who facilitated the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia - and the Islamic demonization, which George Bush so successfully carried forward.

After the Iraq War and the Afghanistan quagmire, George Bush has become a favorite whipping boy - and people have forgotten Bill Clinton’s legacy - Monica Lewinsky apart. And Bill Clinton’s point man was Emanuel ‘Rahmbo’.

And who is Obama’s? The same ‘Rahmbo’. The more things change, the more they remain the same. I wonder how much, fiction inspires reality is based on fiction - which feeds on real life …

Look at Israel

You only have to look at a failed state like Israel, to understand where ‘false’ persecutions can take you. Where would Israel be - without US ICU support. It has been on ICU support for the last 60 years.

Friday, February 13, 2009

US prison population just got larger … this time it is kids

Put em in ...

In one of the most shocking cases of courtroom graft on record, two Pennsylvania judges have been charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers.

Prosecutors say Luzerne County judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in lockups run by PA Child Care LLC and a sister company, Western PA Child Care LLC. The judges were charged on January 26 and removed from the bench by the Pennsylvania supreme court.

No company officials have been charged, but the investigation is still going on. (via New low: US judges jailed kids for cash-US-World-The Times of India).

Just a short step away ...

USA, with a population of 30 crores (300 million), has a criminal population of 70 lakhs (7 million) - behind bars, on probation or on parole. US Government estimates a figure of 20 lakhs (2 million) people serving prison sentences.

The current status of Indian criminal system is a study in contrast. India, with a population of 110 crores (1100 million) has a prison population of 2 lakhs (0.2 million). The Indian National Human Rights Commission gives a figure of 3.5 lakhs as the prison population - including convicts and those who are undergoing trial. The UK Home Office survey of World Prison Population estimates Indian prison population at 2.5 lakhs.

With less than 25 people per 100,000 in prson India has the world’s lowest imprisonment rate. Cynics may snigger at India’s ‘inefficient’ police or the slow court procedures as the cause for this low prison population. That can only mean criminals are at large and India must, therefore have the highest crime rate - which is not true. India has low or average crime rates - based on category.

The root causes of high crime levels …

At different times, high crime levels are blamed on the following five elements. The theory in crime management is control these five and you are in control: -

  1. Police to population ratio (increase police force).

  2. Prison population (put more criminals behind bars)

  3. Capital punishment (kill enough criminals to instil fear)

  4. Poverty (it is povery which the root of all crime)

  5. Gun ownership (more guns means more crime)

The Indian conundrum …

India has the low scores on the first three indices - low number of policemen, low prison population and low capital punishment number - and high on gun ownership and poverty.

Yet the crime rate in India is in the low-to-average range. How come?

Is it difficult to imprison people?

Increased imprisonment of suspected criminals can be easily enabled by lowering burden of proof and creating legislation which will allow for incarceration.

For instance, the various laws under which disproportionately large number of African-Americans were disenfranchised and /or imprisoned in the US. Or the large number of Muslims have been imprisoned in the UK.

And that brings us back to the central question …

How is it that India has the lowest prison population, the lowest police-to-population ratio and an average crime rate?

Behind the paradox is 4000 years in history

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why India’s top cities matter … or do they really?

India’s top 20 cities account for just 10 per cent of the country’s population, but this population earns more than 30 per cent of the country’s income, spends 21 per cent and, so, accounts for just under 60 per cent of the surplus income. The next lot of cities account for 20 per cent of population, 13 per cent of income and under eight per cent of surplus income or savings. Rural areas account for 70 per cent of population, 64 per cent of expenditure and just a third of the country’s surplus income. It’s obvious then that India’s savings can grow only as the country’s urbanisation rises. Given this, the promise of creating more urban centres would be a more effective tool in getting votes from rural India. (via Rajesh Shukla: Why India’s top cities matter).

Twisted data

How about also pointing out, Mr.Shukla, that urban India hogs all the infrastructure investments? Or that traditional banking (in the form of money lenders) has been done to death in the rural areas - and ‘modern’ urban banks do not go the countryside. Or that the traditional health infrastructure has been demolished in rural areas - and urban areas are getting all the investments. Or that credit growth in the rural areas has been choked for nearly 80 years now - and the Indian farmer competes with the US farmer, without the US$7.5 billion dollar subsidy.

Are you looking at the fact that rural India which is largely a user of Indian languages is excluded from higher education, which is transmitted in English? Has it occurred to you that this exclusion of India’s rural population from higher education could be the reason for the stagnation in rural areas?

Farmers - in India and USA

The Indian farmer working without subsidies, with low technology, lower productivity has a cost edge over his European an American counterparts.

Giant food corporations, killed buying competition with high prices (to farmers), direct buying from farmers (at higher prices), monoclonal seeds that destroy bio-diversity. And the US consumers are not getting the lower food prices that are being promised in India.

And paid hacks of these Western corporations are trying to tell Indian consumers and policy makers that these giant corporations will reduce the costs of food In India.

Corporate farming … anyone?

Today, an ‘efficient’ and ‘hi-tech’ agricultural farm sector in the US needs more than US$ 7.5 billion (conservative estimates, assuredly) of subsidies to survive. The US-EPA says, “By 1997, a mere 46,000 of the two million farms in this country (America), accounted for 50% of sales of agricultural products (USDA, 1997 Census of Agriculture data)- and gobble up most of this huge subsidy that lowers Third World agricultural prices. These lower agricultural prices devastate agriculture in Third World countries, creating man-made famines. These man-made famines, of course, gives the West a false sense of superiority. (bold letters mine).

These giant corporations are aiming for entry into India - promising ‘efficiencies’ in buying (which will give consumers a better price), and higher prices for farmers (which will increase farm incomes). Of course, this will last as long as there is competition. Once, these giant corporations, fueled by huge amounts of debt and equity, drive out competition, they will lower the boom on the consumers and the farmer - like in the USA.

Raj Patel, in his book, Stuffed and Starved, demonstrates how global food corporations are behind global food habits, imbalance traditional diets, creating disease epidemics (like diabetes) - and how India needs to be careful before crafting industrial policies that encourage these global corporations to destroy Indian agriculture. A book review extracts some key points as follows,

What we think are our choices, says Patel, are really the choices of giant food production companies. Millions of farmers grow food, six billion people consume it. But in between them are a handful of corporations creating what Patel calls “an hourglass” model of food distribution. One Unilever controls more than 90% of the tea market. Six companies control 70% of the wheat trade. Meanwhile, farmers across the world are pitted against each other, trying to sell these gatekeeper companies their produce. And if you think the consumer comes out on top because of all this competition, think again.

Selective data, is usually called propaganda Mr.Shukla. I wonder, who your minders are?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fitch cuts Russian debt rating, sparks memories of '98 crash- International Business-News-The Economic Times

Emerging markets are being battered by the global financial crisis as investors shun assets seen as being riskier. Russia, the world’s largest energy supplier, has spent $210 billion, or more than a third of its currency reserves, supporting the ruble since August, Fitch said.

“The country made a mistake trying to defend the ruble when it was indefensible,” said Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who forecast a US recession two years ago, in an interview in Moscow. (via Fitch cuts Russian debt rating, sparks memories of '98 crash- International Business-News-The Economic Times).

G7 and OECD countries have created a club for themselves, by giving each other unlimited line of credit - while the developing world gets credit based on fast-depreciating dollar/euro foreign exchange reserves. Maybe this needs an inversion.

The OECD and G7 should be asked to pay their purchases. In a new global reserve currency. And the BRICS need to start working on that.

Right and wrong-The Times of India

Those who support the change on the ground that the amendment merely puts in the statute what is already a requirement of arrest and part of police practice ignore the fact that the amendment alters the emphasis significantly, and mandatorily provides that the accused "shall not be arrested in respect of the offence referred to in the notice unless, for reasons to be recorded, the police is of the opinion that he ought to be arrested". The sad truth is that India has a surplus of legislations but a poor record in enforcement.

By contrast, due to a combination of emotional reactions coupled with some jingoistic formulations, the lawyers have clearly got it wrong in their criticism of the LLP Act. The Act seeks to provide for the creation and regulation of LLPs essentially as hybrid entities which retain the partnership model but are closer to corporations in design and function. (via Right and wrong-The Times of India, By Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Minister in GOI).

Abhishek Manu Singhvi is a Minister in the the current UPA run Government. He is a legal eagle - and the sophisticated face and spokesman for the Congress Party.

Wrong is right, Mr.Sanghvi ...

When you are worried about abuse of power by the police, your concerns are quite misplaced Mr.Sanghvi.The Indian Police is doing a good job - and they can do without your cynicism. So you are quite wrong when you are worried about the police abuse of power - with this amendment in law.

All the 4 indices (below) of crime management create a bias for a lawless Indian society and rampant crime. With these four indices, namely: -

  1. High gun ownership

  2. Low police-to-population ration

  3. Low prison population

  4. Highest number of poor people in the world
against a stable social system, how does India manage low-to-average crime rates.

With less than 25 people per 100,000 in prison, India has the world’s lowest imprisonment rate. Cynics may snigger at India’s ‘inefficient’ police or the slow court procedures as the cause for this low prison population.

That can only mean criminals are at large and India must, therefore have the highest crime rate - which is not true. India has low or average crime rates - based on category. 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.

And what you think is a right move ...

On the other hand, limited liability companies have created a huge debt mountains. What about expanding liability, instead of limited liability. While LLCs can have limited outward liability, they can create unlimited inward liabilities - in the way of debt, bonds, debentures, notes, paper, et al.

These two elements, limited liability and a separate legal entity, have made these Frankensteins different from any previous association of businessmen. The legal structure of corporations allow actual owners to hide behind a legal facade, without liability. These corporations have access to large amounts of fiat currency. Old debts are repaid by taking new debts. Competition is killed by raising entry barriers - which is again done by accessing huge amounts of debt. Some of this borrowings are irredeemable - and called equity.

Limited liability of the shareholders has meant that various stakeholders usually have little or no recourse - when things don’t pan out. Some stakeholders (usually shareholders and management) have access only to an upside, other stake holders, actually, finally take the risk. Such companies resist any attempt at accountability.

It is this ability to evade ethical practices and issues that differentiates these corporations from other business enterprises. From the massacre of millions of Indians during the 1857 War (by the East India Company), the many regime changes that corporations have pushed, the record of these organizations has been far from average.

Concentration Of Power

Newer methods to measure this concentration are devised. Today the most popular methods are the Fortune 500 listing and the Forbes listing. These listings finally demonstrate that half the world’s economic output is controlled by about 25,000 individuals. Add another 25,000 politicians and bureaucrats. We have about 50,000 people managing the lives of 5 billion people. Read this with the faceless entity aspect, it becomes more worrisome.

What Is Happening In India

Out of the 30 current Sensex stocks, which make up the Indian Benchmark Index, 15 started off as SME (small and medium enterprises) 20-30 years ago. These organizations today are lobbying (successfully) to ensure that other SMEs do not challenge and compete with these large corporations. Indian policy makers, apparently, cannot learn from successes.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi is so mixed up ...

Just like his Government and party is ...

The LLCs and LLPs are legal monsters that are the creations of the West to concentrate power and exploit their power.

SinghviSaheb - Get up and give up ... your notions. They are mixed up.