Friday, January 30, 2009

Assassination of Gandhiji by Hindutva extremists-Time to remember

Friday 5 10 pm 30th January 1948

It was 61 years ago this very day that the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi was killed in cold blood by Hindutva forces.

Even though the RSS failed to own up the responsibility and put it on the head of its brother organisation Hindu Mahasabha,there was no doubt that none of the Hindutva fanatic groups could be absolved from that hateful crime.

As the then Home Minister Sardar Patel said

“As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, the case relating to Gandhiji’s murder is sub judice and I should not like to say anything about the participation of the two organisations, but our reports do confirm that, as a result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible….The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of government and the state….Indeed, as time has marched on, the RSS circles are becoming more defiant and are indulging in their subversive activities in an increasing measure.”

“All their speeches were full of communal poison. . . As a result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji…In fact opposition (to the RSS) grew. . . when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.”

Narayan Apte, front row, far left, leader of Gandhi assassination plot; Nathuram Godse, front row, third from left, who pulled the trigger and ended Gandhi's life;

Nathuram Godse and the R.S.S
The current posture of the RSS is that Godse had given up his membership long before the Gandhi murder.But the evidence is contrary.

Gopal Godse, his brother in his book 'Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi' (1993) says unambiguously: “He (Nathuram) has said in his statement that he left the RSS. He said it because Golwalker and the RSS were in a lot of trouble after the murder of Gandhi. But he did not leave the RSS.” In the same book he also characterises Advani’s denial of Nathuram’s membership of the RSS at the time of the murder as “cowardice".

Nathuram Godse is no more but the mindset which gave birth to such distorted ideology is unfortunately still with us and is gaining popularity among gullible public.It was the same ideology that we saw in Ayodhya in 1992,Gujarat in 2002,Malegaon in 2006 and Mangalore in 2009.

Hate attacks may increase
There will be more such hate attacks is evident from the report below.

In a speech made at Udupi on January 17 2009, Sri Ram Sene leader Pramod Muthalik warned, “The Malegaon [blast] incident is just a ‘Jhalak’ [curtain-raiser] for similar events in the future.”
The speech was made at an event, ‘Hindu Dharma Jagruthi Sabhe,’ organised by the Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti at the MLN Rao stadium of the MGM College.
Lauding the blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur, he says: “There is soon going to be a Pragya Singh in every Hindu house.”
Amidst shouts of “Har Har Mahadev,” he asks the audience, “Imagine what we can achieve if every Hindu woman gives up the cooking ladle in favour of a bomb?”

The Hindu Janajagruti Samithi, an affiliate of the Sri Ram Sene, has been organising similar rallies across the coastal districts of Karnantaka with the intention of recruiting youth for the Dharma Shakti Sene.
At an event organised by the Samithi on March 4, 2008 at the Nehru Maidan here that was reported in The Hindu, the members were dressed in military-style camouflage uniforms.
There were registration counters at the venue where interested people could join the Sena.
The counters displayed weapons such as knives, swords and air-rifles. The person manning one of the counters told The Hindu that any ‘Hindu’ could register for the ‘army’ and would be given free lessons in the use of arms.
All over the venue there were gory posters of victims of terror attacks. The entire meeting area was cordoned off by opaque cloth walls that made the happenings inside invisible to passers-by.
Over 2,000 people, including local BJP MLA N. Yogish Bhat and head of the Pejawar Math in Udupi Visvesha Tirtha attended the event. Journalists were forced to wear ‘tilaks’ on the forehead at the entrance.

Only sustained and united effort and constant vigil by democratic forces can thwart the ideology of Gandhi assassins becoming more powerful.

They wanted the World to see their "moral authority and power"

You might have wondered how so much video footage of the fascist attack on girls in Mangalore were available.The attack was supposed to be a sudden and swift one.How the visual media reached there so fast?
The answer is simple.The fascist goons wanted the video footage to be seen widely,all over India. So they informed all the TV channels and might even have waited for the cameramen to get to the vantage spots before starting their molestations.
Why they wanted this publicity? For them this is a warning to all liberal minded girls[and boys who accompany them].They want to instill fear in civil society.They want to make people believe that they are powerful and will do what they like.
In last few months they had also carried out attacks against Churches,Muslims,girls in a bus going for picnic,against slaughtering houses etc.They realised that absence of Visual media in all those attacks made it less visible to public. So they took great care in organising the media before the act.
Why are they not afraid of the Video footage? Such damning evidence is sure to put them in jail right?
It depends on who are the prosecutors.The goons have absolute faith in their mentor the Home Minister Dr.V.S.Acharya, the local BJP leader.
Did the idea of giving maximum publicity back fired? May be.Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

History behind the drafting of Constitution of India

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a
to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual
and the unity of the Nation.
This is the preamble of India's Constitution approved by the Constituent Assembly in November 26 1949 and came into effect as supreme law of the Nation on January 26 1950.
How this revolutionary and historical document came into being? Is it the legacy of our former rulers,the British?Is it a brain child of few wise men who shut themselves from the World to write a set of laws for the country?

Let us try to look back to understand how the Indian Constitution came into being.

The process of evolution of Constitution began much earlier than 1947.Its origin is closely related to India's struggle for Independence from British rule.
Way back in 1895 the leaders of India's freedom struggle [Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak]had put forward a document called Constitution of India Bill [also known as Home Rule Bill] which envisaged freedom of expression and equality before law. In February 1924 Motilal Nehru introduced and passed a resolution outlining the procedure for drafting and adopting a Constitution for India in the Central Legislative Assembly.
In 1927 Lord Birkenhead,the Secretary of State challenged Indian leaders 'to produce a Constitution which carries behind it a fair measure of general agreement among different sections'.

The Indian National Congress accepted the challenge and convened an All Parties Conference in 1928 which appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru 'to determine the principles of Constitution for India'.
The Nehru Report submitted on 10th August 1928 was in effect an outline of a draft Constitution of India. It envisaged equal rights to men and women regardless of caste.class,religion or region,free elementary education,freedom of expression to all etc.The secular character of the State was listed as a fundamental right.

The revolutionary idea that framing of Constitution should be made by a Constituent assembly elected with widest possible franchise [not by a nominated body of legal experts] first propounded by M.N.Roy and Jawaharlal Nehru began to gain ground. Congress included it in the election manifesto for 1936-37 elections to provincial legislatures.

The British agreed to it only in 1945 after the end of second world war. As an election based on universal adult franchise will require lot of preparations and will take lot of time,[as till then such elections had never been held] Congress had to agree to the Cabinet Mission's scheme of the elected provincial assembly members electing the members of Constituent Assembly.
Congress won a huge majority of seats in the Constituent assembly. The Congress working committee made great effort to see the members form Scheduled Caste and Tribes,Women,Christians.Parsis and Anglo-Indians were among the Congress candidates.There was also an effort to bring in the best available talent what ever be the political affiliations.Thus 30 members who were elected on Congress ticket were not its members.
The Muslim League continued to oppose the Constituent Assembly raising the demand for a separate State.Even though it won a big majority of Muslim seats. it never took part in the deliberations of the Assembly.

The first session of the Constituent Assembly was held on December 9, 1946 and was attended by 207 members.Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as Chairman. The Assembly formed different sub committees dealing with different aspects of the Constitution.The most important Drafting Committee was under the Chairmanship of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar. After long and painstaking deliberations and several modifications lasting for 166 days in a period of about 3 years the Constituent Assembly approved the draft Constitution on November 26 1949. The longest written Constitution of the World became law on January 26 1950.

Indian Constitution have several unique features.It also have borrowed freely from many other Constitutions including that of USA, Ireland and Australia and also from the time tested conventions of British Parliament and the Govt of India act of 1935 enacted by the British.
Indian Constitutions lays down a set of rules to which the ordinary laws of the country must conform.It provides a framework for a democratic and Parliamentary from of Government.

The Constitution provides a list of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
Fundamental Rights are a guarantee against encroachments on the rights of citizens by the State or other citizens.If any of the rights are denied a citizen can approach the Courts.
This include Right to Equality,Right to Freedom,Right to practise Religion,Cultural and Educational Rights and Right to Property.

Directive Principles are directives to the State to introduce reforms to make those rights effective.
Let me try to explain various provisions of Indian Constitution in the words of Dr B.R.Ambedkar the principle architect as he addressed the Constituent Assembly.

When asked why India is a Union of States he said
"Some critics have taken objection to the description of India in Article 1 of the Draft Constitution as a Union of States. It is said that the correct phraseology should be a federation of States. The Drafting Committee wanted to make it clear that though India was to be a federation, The Federation is a Union because it is indestructible. The Americans had to wage a civil war to establish that the States have no right of secession and that their Federation was indestructible. The Drafting Committee thought that it was better to make it clear at the outset rather than to leave it to speculation or to dispute".

On the question of why Parliamentary system was opted Dr Ambedkar said
"The Presidential system of America is based upon the separation of the Executive and the Legislature. So that the President and his Secretaries cannot be members of the Congress. The Draft Constitution does not recognise this doctrine. The Ministers under the Indian Union are members of Parliament. Only members of Parliament can become Ministers. Ministers have the same rights as other members of Parliament, namely, that they can sit in Parliament, take part in debates and vote in its proceedings. Both systems of Government are of course democratic and the choice between the two is not very easy. A democratic executive must satisfy two conditions - (1) It must be a stable executive and (2) it must be a responsible executive. Unfortunately it has not been possible so far to devise a system which can ensure both in equal degree. You can have a system which can give you more stability but less responsibility or you can have a system which gives you more responsibility but less stability. The American and the Swiss systems give more stability but less responsibility. The British system on the other hand gives you more responsibility but less stability.The reason for this is obvious. The American Executive is a non-Parliamentary Executive which means that it is not dependent for its existence upon a majority in the Congress,while the British system is a Parliamentary Executive which means that it is dependent upon a majority in Parliament. Being a non-Parliamentary Executive, the Congress of the United States cannot dismiss the Executive. A Parliamentary Government must resign the moment it loses the confidence of a majority of the members of Parliament. Looking at it from the point of view of responsibility, a non-Parliamentary Executive being independent of parliament tends to be less responsible to the Legislature, while a Parliamentary Executive being more dependent upon a majority in Parliament become more responsible. The Parliamentary system differs from a non-Parliamentary system in as much as the former is more responsible than the latter but they also differ as to the time and agency for assessment of their responsibility. Under the non-Parliamentary system, such as the one that exists in U.S.A., the assessment of the responsibility of the Executive is periodic. It is done by the Electorate. In England, where the Parliamentary system prevails, the assessment of responsibility of the Executive is both daily and periodic. The daily assessment is done by members of Parliament, through questions, Resolutions, No-confidence motions, Adjournment motions and Debates on Addresses.Periodic assessment is done by the Electorate at the time of the election which may take place every five years or earlier. The Daily assessment of responsibility which is not available under the American system is it is felt far more effective than the periodic assessment and far more necessary in a country like India. The Draft Constitution in recommending the Parliamentary system of Executive has preferred more responsibility to more stability."

Answering the question why the draft constitution do not reflect the ancient polity of India he said
"It is said that the new Constitution should have been drafted on the ancient Hindu model of a State and that instead of incorporating Western theories the new Constitution should have been raised and built upon village Panchayats and District Panchayats. There are others who have taken a more extreme view. They do not want any Central or Provincial Governments. They just want India to contain so many village Governments.
"I hold that these village republics have been the ruination of India. I am therefore surprised that those who condemn Provincialism and communalism should come forward as champions of the village.What is the village but a sink of localism, a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness and communalism? I am glad that the Draft Constitution has discarded the village and adopted the individual as its unit."

When criticised about the safeguards for minorities he replied
"To diehards who have developed a kind of fanaticism against minority protection I would like to say two things. One is that minorities are an explosive force which, if it erupts, can blow up the whole fabric of the State. The history of Europe bears ample and appalling testimony to this fact. The other is that the minorities in India have agreed to place their existence in the hands of the majority.They have loyally accepted the rule of the majority which is basically a communal majority and not a political majority.It is for the majority to realize its duty not to discriminate against minorities. Whether the minorities will continue or will vanish must depend upon this habit of the majority. The moment the majority loses the habit of discriminating against the minority, the minorities can have no ground to exist. They will vanish."

About Directive Principles he said

"It is a novel feature in a Constitution framed for Parliamentary Democracy. These Directive Principles have also come up for criticism. It is said that they are only pious declarations. They have no binding force. This criticism is of course superfluous. The Constitution itself says so in so many words.
If it is said that the Directive Principle have no legal force behind them, I am prepared to admit it. But I am not prepared to admit that they have no sort of binding force at all. Nor am I prepared to concede that they are useless because they have no binding force in law.
The Directive Principles are like the Instrument of Instructions which are issued to the Legislature and the Executive. Such a thing is to my mind to be welcomed. Wherever there is a grant of power in general terms for peace, order and good government, it is necessary that it should be accompanied by instructions regulating its exercise.
The Draft Constitution as framed only provides a machinery for the government of the country. It is not a contrivance to install any particular party in power as has been done in some countries. Who should be in power is left to be determined by the people, as it must be,if the system is to satisfy the tests of democracy. But whoever captures power will not be free to do what he likes with it. In the exercise of it, he will have to respect these instruments of instructions which are called Directive Principles. He cannot ignore them. He may not have to answer for their breach in a Court of Law. But he will certainly have to answer for them before the electorate at election time. What great value these directive principles possess will be realized better when the forces of right contrive to capture power. "

About the strength of the Central Government
"Some critics have said that the Centre is too strong.Others have said that it must be made stronger. The Draft Constitution has struck a balance. However much you may deny powers to the Centre, it is difficult to prevent the Centre from becoming strong. Conditions in modern world are such that centralization of powers is inevitable. One has only to consider the growth of the Federal Government in theU.S.A. which, notwithstanding the very limited powers given to it by the Constitution, has out-grown its former self and has overshadowed and eclipsed the State Governments. This is due to modern conditions. The same conditions are sure to operate on the Government of India and nothing that one can do will help to prevent it from being strong. On the other hand, we must resist the tendency to make it stronger. It cannot chew more than it can digest. Its strength must be commensurate with its weight. It would be a folly to make it so strong that it may fall by its own weight. "

About Constitutional amendments Ambedkar said

'It is said that the provisions contained in the Draft make amendment difficult. It is proposed that the Constitution should be amendable by a simple majority at least for some years. I must repudiate the charge because it is without foundation. To know how simple are the provisions of the Draft Constitution in respect of amending the Constitution one has only to study the provisions for amendment contained in the American and Australian Constitutions. Compared to them those contained in the Draft Constitution will be found to be the simplest.The Draft Constitution has eliminated the elaborate and difficult procedures such as a decision by a convention or a referendum. The Powers of amendment are left with the Legislature Central and Provincial. It is only for amendments of specific matters - and they are only few - that the ratification of the State legislatures is required. All other Articles of the Constitution are left to be amended by Parliament. The only limitation is that it shall be done by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting and a majority of the total membership of each House. It is difficult to conceive a simpler method of amending the Constitution. "

In his final Statement before moving the resolution to approve the Constitution Dr Ambedkar said

"The debates in the Assemblies give me courage to say that the Constitution as settled by the Drafting Committee is good enough to give this country a start with. I feel that it is workable, it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peace time and in war time. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution,the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is, that Man was vile. Sir, I move".

The Indian Constitution represent the basic principles of the Freedom movement, arguably the largest mass movement in World History.It has all its strengths and Dr Ambedkar and his team tried their best to rectify its weaknesses [like predominantly upper class, urban ,and basically hindu].

When we look back after 60 years we have to agree with its architect that it gave our country a good start and was strong enough to keep it together in war and peace. It is important to realise that at a time when most other institutions of Governance have suffered grave loss of legitimacy, the Constitution have continued to command respect. Its unambiguous commitment to a democratic,secular,equitable civil libertarian society will be the anchor of support on which India can confidently face the coming turbulent times.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Indians are wise as per this Opinion Poll

An Opinion Poll conducted by a newspaper[none other than our New Indian Express,NIE] asked randomly chosen people of 4 Indian cities a series of questions regarding India's response to 26/11 terror attack.
To the question
How should India respond to the Mumbai attacks by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba ?
an overwhelming 79 percent were against any air or land offensive against Pakistan.
To the question
Was Israel correct in attacking Gaza?
only 18 percent Indians said yes.
To a question
Has aggressive military action over the years reduced the security threat to Israel?
63 percent said, No it has not changed much
The result of the poll according to the newspaper
"come as a surprise to policymakers, politicians and voices in the media which have been clamouring for “action” against Pakistan for the Mumbai attack".
It might have been a surprise for the war mongers in the print and visual media[like NIE] but not to ordinary people of India.
Let me congratulate the New Indian Express for being brave enough to publish the opinion poll even though it produced a different result to what they wanted.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An open letter to Obama about Gaza massacre

This is an open letter to President elect Barack Obama regarding the Gaza massacre written by US academic David Lloyd and signed by thousands of teachers and other academics of USA and many all over the World.To endorse this send a mail to
To see the names of the signatories click here

Dear President-Elect Obama
By David Lloyd
Once, in what was perhaps an unguarded moment, you stated that: "Nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people". After days of relentless Israeli bombing in the Gaza strip that has already killed over seven hundred people, most of them civilians or policemen, and injured over three thousand, many of whom may yet die for lack of medical supplies and facilities, your words have never rung more true. And yet, so far, your signal response to this latest assault on the Palestinians, that the UN Secretary General diplomatically calls “disproportionate”, has been to defend Israel’s right to respond to rocket attacks that, while rightly condemned, are mere pinpricks in comparison to the horrific consequences of Israeli bombardment and of the ongoing blockade on Gaza.

Does this mean that on the long way to the White House you have trimmed your sails and, for the sake of securing the power you will soon assume, fear now to speak truth to power? Does this mean that, unlike Dr. King, your sense of justice is adjustable for the sake of political expedience? Those who supported you from the early days of your primary campaign did so not on account of your response to economic crisis, but because they believed in your sense of justice and your commitment to put an end to business-as-usual in Washington, and because they believed in your genuine desire to shape a new and different world order.

In 1981, while you were an undergraduate at Occidental College, you were among the first of a courageous group of students and faculty who, while the cause was still unpopular or unheard of, spoke out for divestment from the apartheid regime in South Africa. You knew then that it was imperative to place pressure on a racist regime which shamefully oppressed a black and coloured population that was discriminated against, subject to pass laws and control of its every movement, parceled into Bantustans, and subject to detention, torture and extra-judicial execution. When the black population protested, like the school children of Soweto, they could be summarily shot down by police or army. The ANC, under Nelson Mandela, was proscribed as a terrorist movement, its leaders were imprisoned, tortured or killed, its guerrillas faced the overwhelming power of the South African army, equipped and trained in part by the United States and its European allies. A regime that was so unafraid to use violence in the defense of its discriminatory and racist regime, and so unashamed to do so in the face of international condemnation, could only understand the language of force. The divestment movement in which you so actively participated understood that the euphemistically and cynically named policy of “constructive engagement” was a moral and practical failure and that only the non-violent force of a financial boycott on the South African regime had any hope of bringing an end to apartheid without an horrific bloodbath.

Public figures as diverse as Bishop Desmond Tutu and President Jimmy Carter have recognized that Israel too maintains an apartheid regime, in practice if not in name. South Africa, now a functioning multi-racial democracy, was a white state for a white people. Israel is a Jewish state for a Jewish people. Its non-Jewish, mostly Palestinian Arab citizens are discriminated against in numerous ways, economically and civilly. The dispossessed and ethnically cleansed Palestinian populations, dispersed in the diaspora and in the refugee camps of Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon, are denied the internationally recognized right of return. They have had their lands and homes taken from them by armed and “legal” force, are subject to collective punishment, prolonged states of siege, the absolute and deliberately destructive control of their daily movements. Where South Africa instituted the pass laws, the checkpoints that have proliferated all over the West Bank and at the exits from Gaza prevent students from reaching their schools and hospitals, workers from reaching their places or work, keep farmers from their fields, the sick from the few hospitals that survive to serve them. The illegal settlements, that in contravention of all international laws regarding occupation have proliferated across the West Bank, are designed to be permanent “facts on the ground” and have divided recognized Palestinian territory into segmented islets, into besieged Bantustans, with the intent of preventing a contiguous Palestinian state. A so-called security wall, illegally built, as even the Israeli Supreme Court recognized, on Palestinian territory, has cut farmers from their lands and turned formerly prosperous villages into isolated prisons. Regular Israeli military incursions into Palestinian cities and refugee camps, and bombings from the air, have killed innumerable civilians, many of them children. Since the election of Hamas, in fair and open elections, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to a prolonged state of siege, designed to suffocate them into submission, depriving them at will of water and power, medical supplies and food, and of access to the outside world. The most recent, all-out assault on Gaza, the disproportionate and bloody use of excessive force, is no act of self-defense, but the dramatic extension of an insidious policy of extermination of a people that refuses to disappear.

Every one of these acts is a crime against humanity. In their ensemble, they constitute one of the most massive, ethnocidal atrocities of modern times. Almost alone among nations, Israel acts in flagrant violation of international law and UN resolutions and does so with impunity. That it can do so is in large part the consequence of the uncritical support offered to Israel by a succession of American administrations. Without the military and economic aid of the United States, which amounts to more than a third of all US foreign aid, Israel could not have mounted its violent offensives against the Palestinians or Lebanon, could not maintain its security apparatus, could not afford the illegal settlements that seek to expand Israel into what remains of Palestinian territory. The United States has supplied the F-16s that are bombarding the Palestinians, their schools, police stations and mosques, and the cluster bombs that continue to kill and maim children and farmers in southern Lebanon. America continues to support Israel to the tune of billions every year at the expense of US taxpayers and at the expense of its moral standing in the world.

You will continue to do so, according to your own web page, because “our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America's strongest ally in the region.” You and your Vice-President, Joe Biden, not only “defend and support the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel”, but moreover “have advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met.” In doing so, you lend your support, in the name of the United States, to a regime no less criminal in its acts and in its policies towards its own minority population and its dispossessed Palestinian neighbors than South Africa was in the 1980s. Then, it was argued, South Africa was our strongest ally in the region, a bulwark in the war against communism, a crucial supplier of uranium and other minerals, a prosperous Western-style democracy, if not the only democracy on the continent. To bring down the South African apartheid regime, it was argued, would be to create chaos in southern Africa, unleash a bloodbath in which whites and blacks alike would suffer, and pave the way for a communist or dictatorial post colonial regime. The divestment movement, a non-violent coalition of students and academics, union members and churches, came together in the spirit of the Civil Rights movement to challenge those self-serving assumptions. It changed the direction of US foreign policy, disgracing its support of a racist regime, and placed effective pressure on the apartheid regime to begin serious negotiations with the ANC. Through a combination of diplomacy and divestment, we did end apartheid, making way for a functioning multi-racial democracy that confronts its challenges, indeed, but has not dissolved into chaos or tyranny.

It is time for the United States to place a similar pressure on Israel. That Israel has been America’s beneficiary, unchallenged in its war crimes and in its acts of terror, uncontested for its racist civil constitution and illegal occupations, has not been to the United States’ advantage. On the contrary, such unquestioning support of Israel has fuelled the legitimate anger of the Islamic world, supplied the justification for terrorism, and continually tarnished the United States’ reputation among the democracies of the world. That the United States has stood so often alone in defending Israel before the court of world opinion in the United Nations is not a sign of its virtue, but of the obstinacy and arrogance of its stance.

But it is not for the sake of the reputation or advantage of the United States that you should take a new path in relation to Israel. It is in the name of justice. It is not just to support the territorial ambitions, realized settlement by settlement, of a Zionist minority in the region. It is not just to continue to supply Israel with the most advanced weapons and the most deadly arms in order that it may murder civilians, children and policemen. It is not just that we should support Israel with all our diplomatic force and financial aid, while leaving Israel’s victims to die slowly for lack of food, medicine, water and power. It is not just that we should sacrifice a dispossessed people for the security of a state that discriminates and expropriates, continually and violently ignores UN resolutions and international appeals, collectively punishes those whose right to resist occupation is recognized in international law. There is no road to peace through such injustice.

It may be that the compromise in the end will be the establishment and security of two separate states. Almost certainly, the only hope of a lasting solution is a single state in Israel/Palestine, committed to the civil and human rights of all peoples within its boundaries, irrespective of religion or ethnicity. That is, after all, the standard to which we hold all other states in the world, Israel alone excepted. But no solution at all will be possible until we hold Israel accountable for its criminal violence and its illegal acts, until we cease to supply it with the means to pursue a course of domination and expansion, with arms and warplanes, with finance and diplomatic support. In wake of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, your recent expression of "deep concern" is not enough. It is time for constructive disengagement from Israel, financial, diplomatic, military. What worked in the case of South Africa, divestment and pressure, may finally work in the Middle East.

Without such justice, there will be no peace.

David Lloyd
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, January 1, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pre emptive strike....Killing Children to prevent them becoming ''Terrorists''

The massacre of Gaza continues with over 150 children killed out of a total of around 700 Palestinian deaths. Israel believes in the doctrine of preemptive strike
Preemptive strike....Killing Children to prevent them becoming ''Terrorists''
[The pictures of the dead and injured children of Gaza has been deleted from this post on 12th January as it may hurt the sentiments of viewers.You can view the pictures and blogs from Palestine at this site]

MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES [MSF] the International Medical Aid Agency in a statement said

"Today, 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip — almost half of them children — are the victims of incessant shooting and bombing," said Franck Joncret, MSF's head of mission. "How can anyone believe that such a steamroller attack would spare civilians, who are prevented from fleeing, and are crowded in a densely-populated enclave?"

A report of the scene in Gaza Hospital from Sydney Morning Herald
Salah Samouni banged his head in grief against a wall inside the hospital morgue where the bodies of his three little nephews lay on the floor.
His relatives screamed at exhausted doctors, begging them to find people still buried under rubble.
After 10 days of a relentless Israeli assault, Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest, is overwhelmed. Bodies are now crowded two to a morgue drawer, and some - like those of the Samouni children - are on the floor.
Many of the wounded are treated in hallways because rooms are full. Harried doctors and nurses run on little sleep, and the hospital is powered by emergency generators after shelling damaged power cables.
"Who ever comes with a head, we check his pulse. If there's no pulse, he's straight to the morgue. If there's no head, well, goodbye," said hospital official Raid Arini on Monday.
The hospital scenes have only worsened since Israel began a ground offensive on Saturday.
Most of the dead and wounded now arriving at Shifa are civilians, as Israel's offensive shifts from airstrikes to artillery shelling and ground fighting close to densely populated areas.

Israel it seems wants Palestinians to die with stomach full of food.That's why they agreed 2 days ago for a 3 hour truce every day to bring in convoy of trucks with relief materials.

But from now on Palestinians will have to die on empty stomach as United Nations [UN] have from today suspended Aid work in Gaza because 'four of its staff have been killed by Israeli army,'U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.


The Red Cross has slammed Israel for breaching international humanitarian law after relief workers found four starving children clinging to their mothers' corpses in a bombed house in Gaza.
The ICRC accused Israel of delaying ambulance access to the hit area and demanded it grant safe access for Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to return to evacuate more wounded.
'This is a shocking incident,' said Pierre Wettach, ICRC chief for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

To know more about the situation in Gaza before the massacre read this New york Times Op Ed article

While the killings were relentlessly continuing the Britain's high profile Middle-East peace envoy the former Prime Minister Tony Blair was not seen anywhere.In a weekend interview, Gordon Brown the current Prime Minister was asked if he had talked to his predecessor since the crisis began. He replied: 'Tony's on holiday at the moment.'

The leaders of US [the main ally of Israel in this cold blooded murders] were seen in a party in the White House as more and more toddler 'terrorists' were getting killed.

What will Israel achieve other than killing of thousands of Palestinians?

It will help in increasing the support for Hamas among Palestinians.

It will strengthen the Islamist fundamentalists all over the World.

It will increase terrorist strikes all over the World ensuring more innocent lives will be lost.

It will weaken the peace loving and moderate leaders in the Arab World

It will put to increased risk all Israelis and Americans travelling abroad.

more and this.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Should we play in to the hands of the terrorist?

More than 6 weeks have passed after the Mumbai attacks. It seems that the Pakistani Government is still in the self denial mode. Press reports say that the investigations by Indian and American agencies have unearthed enough proof of the involvement of Pakistani based terrorist organisations.Pakistan Government know all this.
Then why it is still in the self denial mode?
Can Pakistan keep its house in order by destroying all the terror network present there?

Indians are impatient.There are calls for surgical strikes[meaning all out War], economic blockade and cultural blockade. Indian Government is urged by hawkish experts and pseudo-patriots to do an 'Israel'.

The Indian Government it seems is in two minds.Statements taunting Pakistan and proclaiming all options are open are coming daily from the External Affairs Ministry.The Cricket tour is cancelled and also most of the cultural contacts.Though Prime Minister said war is not an option, top level meeting with Military Chiefs lasting for hours are given good publicity.

Which is the best way forward for India so as to ensure there are no more Mumbai style attacks?
How can we ensure that our neighbour is stable, democratic and devoid of terror networks?

Let me go into little bit of history here.This is essential for better understanding of what is happening in Pakistan.
Partition and formation of Pakistan
Since its birth in 1947 Pakistan had an acute sense of insecurity and identity crisis.
Insecurity was there because the basis of formation of Pakistan is the premise that under Indian National Congress rule [which was the main force in the freedom struggle] Muslims in undivided free India will face severe hardships.
Pakistan was born as a Nation with the primary aim of protecting Islam from 'Hindu' Congress. Thus Pakistan could be easily turned in to a security state in which Army monopolised power and defined National interest as keeping 'Hindu' India at bay.
Identity crisis was there because the supposed to be unifying factor of the different provinces of Pakistan,Islam failed to unify it. This was evident from the breaking up of Pakistan with the formation of Bangladesh.In contrast Muslims in India could live the same way as their brethren in Pakistan while India survived and prospered as a secular Republic.
Islamisation of Pakistan
To overcome this identity crisis the army under Zia ul Haq in 1979 tried to Islamise the country even more with radical Islamist ideology. An ideological Islamic State was imposed on Pakistanis. To cement his rule he used Islam. He banned political Parties, censored Media, imposed laws targeting minorities and Women.He Islamised the legal system and Education.

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 made Zia USA's major ally.Zia allowed Americans to use the Inter Services Intelligence Agency[ISI] to act as a conduit for the arms and funds the CIA wanted to supply to the Afghan Mujahedin. In few years the CIA were able to build up the ISI into a formidable Agency. ISI managed to run the Afghan war.the Kashmir militancy and also the political process in Pakistan. Between 1982 and 1990 the CIA working with ISI and Saudi intelligence service funded the training,arrival and arming of some 35000 Islamic militants from 43 Muslim countries in Pakistan madrassas to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.This global jihad launched by Zia and Reagan administration was to sow the seeds of al Qaeda and turn Pakistan in to world centre of jihadism.
Pakistan and 9/11
With 9/11 attack carried out by al Qaeda, World's attention turned to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The US asked Pakistan army to switch sides and to join the battle against Taliban and al Qaeda.Pakistan army and the army controlled Government agreed in public.But that was only a show.The ISI continued to help Taliban and Islamist terrorists both in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir.The Islamists in turn conducted big anti-US rallies but supported Musharraf's army rule.Musharraf was successful in making the US Government believe that only he and the army rule can prevent Talibanisation of Pakistan. Generous support by US helped Musharraf to consolidate his power and systematically weaken the Opposition political parties
Present situation in Pakistan
The Elections conducted in February 2008 was considered fair by Pakistani standards [with out much army interference]even though the ruling Musharaf's Party PML-Q had some unfair advantage. The Islamic Parties were trounced in the election with the relatively secular PPP becoming the single largest Party. This was a big setback for both the Islamists and the army.The election of Asif Ali Zardari as president of Pakistan has--at least theoretically--ushered in a new era in Pakistan's development. But can it control the army/ISI?

Monopoly of influence the Army enjoys in Pakistan continues today.It is estimated that the Military-Industrial Complex is worth around 20 billion dollars.The 3 armed services is running malls,insurance companies,banks,farms and industries.Army owned factories make cornflakes,bread,cement,textiles and sugar.Two army run conglomerates,Fauji foundation and Army welfare trust controls a third of entire heavy manufacturing in Pakistan.Army owns about 12 million acres of Land.Almost all retired Generals are working in the Government under various capacities.At one point all the vice chancellors of Universities in Pakistan were retired Army officers.

The new civilian Government under Zardari is weak due to many reasons.PPP do not have absolute majority in National Assembly.It is having an uneasy relationship with Nawas Sherif's Party.Zardari lacks the following and reverence that Benazir Bhutto carried. In addition, Zardari does not have the political or army connections, which his major opponent Nawaz Sharif has.At the same time there is a feeling of aversion towards terrorists, Islamic extremist philosophy and the army among Pakistani public. They believe that it was the army/ISI in league with Islamist terrorists that killed Benazir Bhutto,the most popular leader of Pakistan.There is also a strong sentiment that only a strong civilian Government can reduce the terror attacks that is happening so regularly in Pakistani provinces.
What should be the Indian response?
India should try to utilise this anti-terror sentiment of Pakistani public by strongly supporting the Civilian Government's effort to control its non-State actors. Any taunting or war mongering on India's part will only help the Islamic Parties to whip up anti-India hysteria and unify the public sentiment in Pakistan against India,there by weakening the civilian Government and strengthening the army and Islamists.

It is in best interest of Indian people that we utilise this opportunity in a matured way, as an emerging World power and not as a bickering and taunting neighbour giving tit for tat statements to get some applause from the gallery. India's role should not be as a Teacher trying to discipline rogue students,but as a Neighbourhood friend helping the neighbour to set its house in order. India should not behave in such a way as to increase Pakistan's inferiority feeling

More and more evidences laid on the table of Pakistan in full view of the World will help Zardari Government to come out of its self denial mode. Hard evidences and diplomacy in all fronts will make it easy for the civilian Goverment to create a consensus to act against jehadi elements in the army and the terror networks.Instead of cutting off Trade,Sports and Cultural contacts, using such contacts judiciously to soak in Indian point of view on liberal section of Pakistan Civil society is very important in isolating the jehadis.

The terrorists wanted an increase in hostility between India and Pakistan.That's why so much evidences were left behind. Increasing tension between India and Pakistan and even an all out War will mean more support for ISI/army and for the Islamists in Pakistan. That will mean the weakening of Civilian Government and even an army take over.That will mean less democracy and less freedom for media in both countries.That will also result in more money and men in Terror networks.
Let us not play in to the hands of the terrorist.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Why the New Indian Express is speaking in two Voices?

You may remember my criticism of New Indian Express[NIE] in the post titled Mr.Editor Why are you so blood thirsty?
Now the Newspaper has written an editorial about the Gaza massacre. Here are some excerpts.

"The brutal massacre of innocent Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli military needs to be condemned. It is an assault that has no justification, despite the efforts by Israeli government leaders to insist that the military attack was in response to rockets being launched by the Hamas.. . ......
. . .The UPA government has left it to the Congress to criticise the action, with some sections even drawing parallels between the situation in Israel and India.
This is absurd, to say the least, as there is just no comparison between the two countries. Israel is the aggressor against a proud people who have been turned out of their homeland, and have been struggling to regain a life of dignity and justice.

The world has turned away from the Palestinians struggle, including friends like India, leaving Israel with a virtually free playing field.
. . .India must recall its days as a leader of the non-aligned movement, a voice for the developing world, and take the lead now to condemn Israel and urge the United Nations to broker immediate peace. Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to burn and peace will remain elusive until the Palestinian issue is resolved.. . .

Oooh...... I rechecked to see whether I am reading the New Indian Express or The Hindu. Yes it is New Indian Express. The same newspaper which headlined [on first page of December 28 issue] Israel strikes as India dithers, there by implying Israel and India are in similar position and that India should attack Pakistan....!
Why this sudden change of mind on the part of NIE?
There was another report about Indian response to Gaza strike in the same newspaper. This was in line with the hawkish headline of December 28.
Most of the headlines and Op-ed articles in NIE after 26/11 was hawkish, anti-minority and baying for blood and war[see 1 2 3 4].
As far as I can make out, Indian Express editorials speaks in a different voice than most of its headlines and Op-ed articles.
Are they sure that the people they want to incite will only read the headlines and not the editorials?
Do they feel that by writing a more sober viewpoint in editorials NIE can escape criticism of war mongering?