OPINION

Why Do We Criticize Our Nations?

October 17, 2006
Sujai

Most people in the world grow up with prejudices and preset notions ingrained into them by the schools, parents and the media.

This is no different for people of India. For example, an Indian talking to Pakistani is confronted with 'gross distortion' of history- it baffles him to know what they learn is completely 'untrue'. That's because we are taught history in different ways. Most Indians grow up knowing the map of India to be such (which includes the beautiful head shape of Jammu and Kashmir). We do not question its authenticity. Therefore, when someone depicts the reality (which shows PoK, Northern regions and Aksai Chin outside India) we become very angry and resort to protest.

Most Indians do not know their constitution either- hence an unnecessary debate arises when some groups resist mandatory singing of a 'patriotic' song. The state, the media and the system participate in distorted education and after awhile it becomes unchallenged - even blatant lies pass on as absolute truths. And in countries like India where people lean more towards authoritarian setup compared to libertarian, questioning authority is tantamount to being traitorous or unpatriotic, and therefore all kinds of critical introspection is condemned as sacrilegious.

This unquestioning faith and loyalty in the system is extreme in matters of nation (all army actions are absolved) and its enemies (targeting certain alien religions within), but is completely renounced when it comes to matter of adhering to law and order (here it becomes very subjective).

The incidents and events of Kashmir are portrayed to Indian masses in a deliberate and intended light that perpetuate certain myths. Most Indians grow up knowing 'Indianized' history; they know only the atrocities committed against Hindu Pandits; they are aware of mass killings carried out by terrorists, who happen to be 'foreign mercenaries enjoying Pakistan support', but are unaware of all other popular movements in that region. Most Indians do not get the same exposure to the role of Indian politics in Kashmir, role of Indian Army, and the nature of local and indigenous freedom movements. Even if they hear it, they dismiss it as mass propaganda of Pakistan, Islamists, or of vested interests that want to see India fail.

Such continued prejudices, misinformation campaigns and selected hearing result in a mass hypnosis and soon the actual facts and data are out of the door to be replaced with ideology. We soon have a breed of young fanatic Indians who believe they can lay down their life to defend Kashmir. Against whom?

Every nation that has to hide its mistakes has to create a bogeyman, someone who can take blame for all the incidents and events that seem to question the legitimacy of the nation's mistakes and misadventures. Pakistan has always been our bogeyman and now the new entrant is Islamic fundamentalism. You can explain away almost every incident and event that takes place in Kashmir by blaming these two culprits.

A terrorist action against Army barracks: it was done by Pakistani infiltrators. A mass protest against Indian rule: it was instigated and funded by Pakistan. A suicide killer blew up a bridge: the innocent Kashmiri youth are brainwashed by Islamic groups in Pakistan. Kashmiri do not turn up to vote for local elections: they were threatened by Pakistani and Islamic terrorists. So on so forth. This argument is used again and again, so much so that nobody questions it anymore because the lie has been repeated so many times it has now become truth.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it"- Adolf Hitler

Questioning our government's stance and oneself is only the first step towards rational thought. Most of us, the critics, want to ask questions. You don't have to believe what we say. But you may want to listen to what we say because it presents the other side of the story. You may already know THE truth but what we present is the OTHER truth. In our attempt to present the other side of the story, we may not repeat certain true stories that you have already heard.

Most of us who criticize Indian rule in Kashmir, American aggression, Israel occupation, are not Islamists nor do we believe in radical Islam as practiced in certain nations or as promoted by some terrorist outfits. Even if we were given a choice we would not go live in those theocratic nations. That's why you find Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore living in US although they are its biggest critics.

Most of us who criticize our nations are ensconced in democratic and free institutions in which we take pride. The reason why we take pride in our nations is because it allows and accepts that criticism- of its actions and symbols, however bizarre that voice may sound. We believe this criticism is necessary to provide the necessary checks and balances to otherwise a strong and autocratic government that feeds on fascistic, nationalistic or religious jingoistic majorities.

Many people who do not like my writings berate me and tell me to shut up. They say, "How can you criticize your own nation and talk against it? How can you be not proud of the very nation that gave you shelter, food, etc? Aren't you grateful to the nation which has given you this freedom? You must be an Islamist or a communist!"

Some of us run into a paradox when we encounter such people- these first-generation immigrants and those redneck Americans who have never understood the greatness of their own nation; these urban educated Indians who have not understood the greatness of their own nation. Why do they want me to stop criticizing my nation that I take pride in, when the very reason I take pride in it is because it allows that criticism?

Overzealous people in an obsessive effort to combat their enemy become just like their enemy - the other side of the coin. The Hindus who fight Islam want to portray Hinduism as monotheistic and rigid just like Islam but on the opposite side (which according to them is a good side). The Indians who fight Pakistan want to curb all voices of dissidence within its nations just the way Pakistan does. The Americans who fight terrorism want their citizens to be grateful of their nations to become just like their enemies- dogmatic and authoritarian, curbing people's freedom on the name of Patriotic Act. The biggest success of terrorists of 9/11 and the biggest defeat of US is the loss of that American freedom. The Indian side of the story has TADA, POTA, Section 144, Emergency, banning of books, movies, and art shows.

We, the miniscule few critics of India, consider ourselves different kind of champions of India and its institutions. For us, the greatness is not found in ancient texts or Akhand Bharat. We don't see glory in the remote past or in expansion of our boundaries. We are not proud of our nation when it rules certain people at gunpoint with a belief that it is actually giving it better facilities and freedom.

We believe the greatness of this nation is its institutions, though half-built, but still working- which promote modern and universal values. We believe the greatness comes when minorities, backward classes, the poor and downtrodden of this country get the same opportunities, enjoy access to basic amenities (like education, food, water, shelter) and avail the same values which we take pride in.

We believe in looking inward to build institutions that give fair trial, equal opportunity, and guarantee for fundamental rights. However, we do not believe in forcing those values down the throats of others- then it becomes an ideology.

Though India has quickly embraced tools of modernity, like cell phones, cars, internet, etc, it has not completely embraced the values of modernity- equality, tolerance, liberty, and modern science. In an effort to combat its enemies, it is fast eroding all its half-built institutions, to become exactly like its enemies- intolerant of diversity, shunning of modern science, curbing of people's freedom and aspirations, etc.

India, which has been the champion of independence and freedom movements elsewhere, has now become the same aggressor it abhorred. It is slowly becoming exactly like its enemy. And we critics do not want that to happen.

I maintain most of my blogs at sujai blog. E=mc^2.
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#1
Atlantean
URL
October 17, 2006
11:19 AM

Many people who do not like my writings berate me and tell me to shut up. They say, "How can you criticize your own nation and talk against it? How can you be not proud of the very nation that gave you shelter, food, etc? Aren't you grateful to the nation which has given you this freedom? You must be an Islamist or a communist!"

Some of us run into a paradox when we encounter such people- these first-generation immigrants and those redneck Americans who have never understood the greatness of their own nation; these urban educated Indians who have not understood the greatness of their own nation. Why do they want me to stop criticizing my nation that I take pride in, when the very reason I take pride in it is because it allows that criticism?


Some people who do not like our reasoned-backed-by-solid-evidence comments berate us with replies insinuating us to grow up. "How can you criticize me, disagree with me and talk against me?! How can you not be proud of me, who has used the liberties that this nation provides to speak blatant lies?! Arent you grateful to me, who has asked you to accept the Second Partition of our nation (Kashmir) based on COMMUNAL lines?! You must be an idiot, a fool, a child. All that you know is how to indulge in puerile oneupmanship!"

MANY of us run into a paradox when we encounter such people. Why do they want us to stop criticizing them, when our nation gives a RIGHT to criticize? Such people mix up disagreement with intolerance of opposing viewpoints. They produce opinions which are extremely harsh on the Hindus of this country (like asking Kashmiri Pandits to leave their homeland and asking them to move into other regions of India just because a bunch of FOOLS and TERRORISTS dont want to live with them) and when they are attacked by equally harsh criticism and vehement disagreement of their opinions, they go about crying like kids.

We call such people COMMUNALISTS dressed up as SECULARISTS because all they do is support the division of this country on COMMUNAL LINES (Kashmir.)

We feel such people are INTOLERANT OF DISAGREEMENT because all that they do is cry like babies when they are faced with harsh criticism and vehement disagreement in return to their harsh opinions. It's like "You wont understand anyway. Time out! I'm exhausted!" or "I generally dont reply to your comments" or "Hatred, spite, venom spewing forth from two innocent kids!" And they go on blabbering and lecturing us about the right to expression, the freedoms in this country, it's institutions etc. as if we all are a bunch of illiterates from deep in the Amazon rain forest who have just come out and encountered some civilisation.

We would like to ask such people to grow up, stop behaving like KIDS and engage even those viewpoints which completely oppose their viewpoints. If they cant or dont, we would like to ask them to STOP COMPLAINING atleast.

We also suggest, out of brotherly love, to stop speaking blatant lies like:

Though India has quickly embraced tools of modernity, like cell phones, cars, internet, etc, it has not completely embraced the values of modernity- equality, tolerance, liberty, and modern science. In an effort to combat its enemies, it is fast eroding all its half-built institutions, to become exactly like its enemies- intolerant of diversity, shunning of modern science, curbing of people's freedom and aspirations, etc.

Lying is one of the greatest SINs. Looks like they themselves are living by this quote:

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it"- Adolf Hitler

How sad.

#2
Kannan
October 17, 2006
12:33 PM

Guess the author is just trying to aggravate people with his line up of articles.
Keep verbalising all your thoughts , respected sir.
Just that if the opposition starts verbalising its views, do not get defensive.
This article already is defensive.. written from the trenches.
Be brave, stand up and take the comments.

#3
Sujai
URL
October 17, 2006
01:50 PM

I do not reply nor respond to the comments that are demeaning, abusive and insulting. If you include your arguments, evidences and questions embedded in such language, it will not be responded. That's sad. You should not quickly conclude that I do not have a counter-argument or an explanation. I do not respond because I chose not to. This is my way of saying, "I do not condone such bad manners. Responding to your article is tantamount to encouraging it." Maturity doesn't mean one has to put up with insults and ridicule. Our parents could be mature but they will not put up with abusive language at home.

If you want to be heard or read, you have to be polite and nice.

It's like some countries that have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists- because they believe such negotiations will condone terrorists' actions and in turn encourage such means and methods in future.

Atlantean, I have painfully answered your questions at my blog, but you kept continuing to demean and ridicule me with your language. That's when I stopped responding to your comments.

I think we have discussed this before.
There are many ways of expressing disagreement- criticize, insult, rebuke, ridicule, scandalize, protest, non-cooperate, strike, revolt, rebel, attack, kidnap, rape, kill and terrorize.

And according to you they all mean the same, and you include them under the big banner of criticism. I do not define it that way. I believe there's a big difference between Osama Bin Laden and Noam Chomsky though they might be both expressing disagreement with a super power.

#4
temporal
URL
October 17, 2006
03:16 PM

sujai:

We believe the greatness of this nation is its institutions, though half-built, but still working- which promote modern and universal values.

every indian equal!

your jihad for dismantling the inequities are laudable...more power to you and your friends in this mission

and one more thing while am here: i like the dignified way you handle comments...good parenting, i guess! it is easy to shout and hurl insults, any bigot or idiot can indulge in it ... and more difficult to ignore such comments and be restrained...more power to you

#5
Sujai
URL
October 17, 2006
04:00 PM

Temporal:
Thanks for the support.

I try my best to restrain myself but there are times I may get into the same heat and resort to the same or equivalent language. Realizing that I have stooped to those levels a few times in the recent past, I started to practise complete restraint. One of the ways to accomplish it is not to respond, however tempting it might be. Hope I can manage that forever :)

#6
Durgesh
October 18, 2006
02:57 AM

Consider Case 1:

Mr. Screwnut comes visiting. I offer him tea, biscuits and other mouth watering delights. Now screwnut, as he is having his snack, starts first by trashing the street where i live. I reply patiently. He then moves further up and trashes my building and the people who he sees all around. I reply patiently.

He then trashes my neighbours. I keep my
cool and reply patiently. He now ups the ante and trashes my house. I am now about to go up in flames, but keep my cool and reply. Patiently.
Then Mr. Screwnut, as a kind of test, starts trashing my family. Making derogatory remarks about my parents and partner. I now get up, thrash him and throw him out of my house.

But wait. Mr. Screwnut is not done. He goes to the neighbourhood bazaar and starts screaming "Durgesh Singh of Flat no. 292 is the worst
IMPOLITE Bastard he has ever met in his life". He screams for two full hours. About how extremist lunatic i am. About how scared he is of becoming ME. About how people of my kind are a threat to this planet and other miscellaneous insults.

Well, ask me if i care??? I care a Rats Arse.

Now Consider Case 2:

Mr. Screwnut enters a party. He entertains some big notions about himself. Like providing a "solutions" to kashmir, ending islamic terrorism {by giving in to all the demands that comes from cave no. 100002589} and other sundry little ideas. Screwnut also has a thing for carrying around charts with all kinds of graphics to convince [read dupe] my fellow brothers.

He thinks that he will have a free run duping innocents. Make a killing out of innocents as he has dressed up all his "ideas" patiently and very painstakingly. But there is a catch. There are PEOPLE LIKE ME and few others who are also attending the party. We are, for Mr. Screwnut, what bunker buster bombs are for the gent from cave no. 1456328546. Needless to say, we poop his party bigtime.

But Mr. Screwnut is not done. He has a nice little strategy up his undies, the little "tricks" the marx-mullah brotherhood has taught him and other "liberal" gangsters. Screwnut, when challenged, replies "if you want an answer, you have to be polite" [how bloody cute].

His other miscellaneous replies include "i dont want to use that language" or "i wont stoop to that level" or "i will exercise restraint" or "i dont reply to such comments". The answers to difficult questions he never provides. When exposed of his lies repeatedly, he has no shame but QUOTES HITLER BACK AT US.

Ladies and Gentlemen, can you now get up and acknowledge the crazy genius Mr. Screwnut is by giving him a standing ovation.

Thank you very much.

#7
Kartik
URL
October 18, 2006
05:43 AM

Mr. Sujai please get your facts right before posting such worthless and ridiculous articles. Your remark that people of POK enjoy more freedom than J&K made me laugh. Judging by your columns, it looks like your are a hardcore communist who does not hesitate to sell his honour in exchange for a few dollars. It the people like you masquerading as liberals who are more dangerous to unity of India and world peace than mass murderers like Bin Laden. Your comments on Kashmir are totally ignorant and devoid of the facts and looks more like a propaganda of the Pakistan government machinery rather than from a person claiming to have "Liberal, Secular" upbringing.

#8
Sujai
URL
October 18, 2006
07:43 AM

Kartik:
I said:
"The uprising is seen only in the Kashmir Valley under Indian Administration while POK (Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir- also called as Azad Kashmir) is relatively calm, and I can dare say it is peaceful. "

I DID NOT SAY THAT POK ENJOYS MORE FREEDOM THAN J&K.

#9
kanjisheik
URL
October 18, 2006
09:59 AM

We believe the greatness of this nation is its institutions, though half-built, but still working- which promote modern and universal values.

Beautifully put, Sujai. We are young as a nation, we have to "grow up", so to speak!

#10
Sanjeev
URL
October 18, 2006
10:00 AM

Sujai,

L K Advani once said in Parliament that if Kashmir goes, India goes. I don't intend to embark on a long drawn-out discussion here. But I don't see on what basis do you advocate a separate, independent sovereign state for the Kashmiris. Hasn't the experience of Pakistan shown that nations created on the basis of religion are doomed to fail?

Jinnah's two-nation theory was based on the premise that Hindus and Muslims are two different civilizations; the Muslims in an undivided India would forever be beholden to the Hindus. What has happened? The "Muslim" state of Pakistan got further vivisected on the basis of language in 1971! And look at the "condition" of Muslims in India. The first citizen of our country happens to be a Muslim!

If culture and ethnicity are the criteria for carving out separate states, then why not grant those Chinese-looking Assamese "freedom" from India? What about turban-wearing Sikhs: aren't they entitled to Khalistan? The US has never had a black president; still we haven't seen Negros crying out for secession from America because they aren't treated like the whites.

India perhaps is the only country where both the first citizen of India, the President, and the executive head of the country, the Prime Minister, happen to be belonging to minority communities, and different ones at that! How can anyone have a grouse of partiality against the Indian state?

I don't deny the excesses of the Indian security forces in Kashmir. Someday I do hope that things would turn around, and neither the security forces nor the armed Kashmiris would kill each other. I live in Punjab. In the mid-eighties we lived in tumultuous times; many Hindus (including my family) were seriously thinking of relocating; the creation of Khalistan looked certain. A large percentage of the Sikh population was totally alienated. It seemed there was no way out except secession of Punjab from India.

But things took a turn. In 1992, elections were held. Only 10% of the electorate turned out to vote (I did too!); the remaining 90% were either too alienated to vote, or too scared to come out for fear of annoying the boys with guns. Still a democratic process was set in motion. An elected government set to work in right earnest to restore peace in the state.

Fake encounter killings can not be denied; many innocent Sikhs got killed in the fight against militancy. But in just one and a half years' time, terrorism that had plagued the state from mid-80s to early 90s just disappeared from the state. The Sikhs, totally alienated from the mainstream India, were totally integrated once again. Today, of course, a Sikh leads a nation of one billion people!

http://www.kashmir.co.uk/summary.htm

The link I give above discusses a survey conducted "by an independent polling organization". It says that despite feelings of alienation, as many as 61% Kashmiris want to remain with the Indian Union. I don't know the credibility and authenticity of this survey. But reading it does give me a feeling that what happened in Punjab can be replicated in Kashmir as well.

Regards.

Sanjeev

#11
Sujai
URL
October 18, 2006
10:51 AM

L K Advani once said in Parliament that if Kashmir goes, India goes.
Respectfully, I do not agree with Mr. LK Advani. I think he is a great man, in his own respect, but I don't think India's fate is tied down to Kashmir so tightly. We may be attributing too much importance to this issue than it actually deserves by tying it down to the fate of this country. If there is any thing that deserves attention in that region, it is the killings, of people, of Kashmiri Muslims, the Hindus, and the security personnel. I believe India will remain India and continue to prosper even without Kashmir Valley in its map.

Hasn't the experience of Pakistan shown that nations created on the basis of religion are doomed to fail?
What is failure and what is success is very relative. To you and me, Pakistan might be a failure. But when I talk to my Pakistani friend, it is a great success story. They believe their fate would have been worse off with India. How much ever I argue and present my case, just as you did below, I am not able to convince him otherwise. I realized, after a very long time (he was my roommate for two years in US), that the very definition of success and failure, the freedom and independence are very subjective. They are defined by oneself for oneself. Its similar to what is success in our professional lives. Some think that becoming a project manager or director by certain age, having a home and a swanky car are measures of success. I, on the other hand, define it for myself differently and pursue a dream of an entrepreneur, where I sell off everything including the assets of my family to pursue a wild dream. I believe I am successful in my own way, the fact that I got started off, and the fact that I am able to lead my life the way I want to. That is how I define MY success and freedom. I may be a failure in some people's eyes but not in my own eyes.

Pakistan may be a failure to us. Not to them. The day we realize that each of us wants to define the freedom and success the way we want to, we will be able to appreciate other's efforts and respect and value them.

I have an article on Desicritics titled "Is 'What Is Good For India' Good for Kashmir?". This discusses some of these issues.

And look at the "condition" of Muslims in India. The first citizen of our country happens to be a Muslim!
I beg to differ with you on this. I believe we, as majority, need to do much more than putting one or two people on the top positions to bring the Muslim population of Indian into mainstream. When I look around, I do not see much representation in the new world. In Bangalore, where I work, I don't see their representation more than 1% in the industry. When I went to college in India, there was one Muslim in a total of 360 students. Making Indira Gandhi our prime minister hasn't improved the lives of women in India. Making one Dalit our Vice-President hasn't improved the lives of SC/STs in India. In addition to putting one or two people in top positions, we need to work on grass root levels. I believe that Muslims in India are better off (compared to whom, is a big question!) but that's not good enough to thrust my belief onto others. I believe Kashmiri Muslim will be better off with India, but unfortunately, they don't seem to believe it- at least their actions seem to reflect that.

If culture and ethnicity are the criteria for carving out separate states, then why not grant those Chinese-looking Assamese "freedom" from India?
I don't believe one should go about granting nations based on ethnicity, culture, religion, language, etc. But I do believe that those affiliations have been a uniting factor for people to form nations in the past, present, and will continue in future. Denying people nations, because they have chosen one of those affiliations, is something I do not subscribe to. Because I ask for independence to Kashmir does not mean I ask for breaking up of India based on language, religion, ethnicity or culture. (I hope to write one article on this.)

India perhaps is the only country where both the first citizen of India, the President, and the executive head of the country, the Prime Minister, happen to be belonging to minority communities, and different ones at that! How can anyone have a grouse of partiality against the Indian state?
I think that is the greatness of India. I am a very proud Indian because we have a Sikh for Prime Minister and a Muslim for President. Not many nations, including those who routinely resort to preaching others on human rights and equality, can boast such an achievement. However, that is not a good enough reason to bask in glory of such individual achievements equating them to group-level achievements. What I mean by that is, Kashmiri Muslim does not identify with Abdul Kalam. And I don't think we can force them into it.

I completely agree with your example of Punjab. I wish we could do the same with Kashmir. However, I see glaring differences in the issues of Punjab toying with the idea of Khalistan and that of Kashmir. I will not be going into the details here, but I guess, that is a topic in itself for another article.

Also, please understand that I do not think independence for Kashmir should be the only solution. If there is an alternative that is acceptable to both Kashmiri Muslim and India, it should be explored. But their participation is extremely important. With my limited experience and exposure to this issue which spans nearly sixteen years of my life, having known both Kashmiri Pandits as family friends, and Kashmiri Muslims as friends, I believe independence is a good alternative. However, I will not hold onto this as the only decision. In face of a better and alternate solution which does not involve heavy army presence for such a prolonged period, alienation of a community for such a long time, killing of so many people, I shall concede and change my opinion.

I haven't got a chance to look at the website you have forwarded. But I definitely will look at it. Thank you.

as many as 61% Kashmiris want to remain with the Indian Union.
If that is credible information and is confined to Kashmiri Valley (not including other regions which lie outside), I would gladly conclude that there is hope. If it indeed is true, resorting to Independence of that region need not be an option.

#12
kanjisheik
URL
October 18, 2006
10:52 AM

Sanjeev, well said!!! I'm an incurable optimist, and I really want to believe that Kashmiris will proud to be a part of India one day...

#13
Sujai
URL
October 18, 2006
02:39 PM

I picked this nice quote from a commenter at Indiapad.
James A. Baldwin once said, "I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."

#14
ronie
URL
October 18, 2006
05:15 PM

The author seems to be a pakistani..

#15
temporal
URL
October 18, 2006
06:03 PM

and reading my tea leaves---his real name is sanjay

;)

#16
sighsighsigh
URL
October 18, 2006
06:22 PM

PoK is "relatively calm" just as parts of Iraq are "relatively calm" or much of Afghanistan "lived in peace" under the Taliban.
As usual, opinions without any grounding in fact continue being spouted - if the author were really interested in India and democracy, he would learn the basic lessons of intellectual integrity (that means RESEARCH) and civic responsiblity.
As for the Kashmiris - watch this space as Indian economy and political influence grows. They will all want to be part of the success story. Along with Nepal, Sri Lanka and the rest of the "oppressed by India" lot.

#17
Ramya Kumaraswamy
URL
October 18, 2006
08:50 PM

I am sorry, but do you have any "facts" not "ramblings" to support your own statement? You talk about misinforming and clouding people with wrong information, and do a great job yourself. You can take an extreme stand just to make a statement, but making so many frivolous statements with big words strung together, do not and will not make a case that has no basis in facts.

#18
The Buddha Smiled
URL
October 19, 2006
11:27 AM

Can all the people who have their cudgels out to bash Sujai around the head PLEASE stop for a moment and help educate me on the following:

If Sujai is expressing an opinion, does he necessarily need to be labelled a "Pakistani"?! The last time I checked, we were STILL a democratic setup...

And while I'm at it, can I help provide evidence for the following statment?

"Though India has quickly embraced tools of modernity, like cell phones, cars, internet, etc, it has not completely embraced the values of modernity- equality, tolerance, liberty, and modern science."

Let's do this one by one - it will help ensure all the facts are out there to be verified.

Equality - how about the fact that even today, under the hotch potch of "personal laws" that exist for different communities, women do not have a right to an equal share of the parent's inheritance (Hindu Personal Law was recently amended, but other communities are still pending). Oh yeah - don't even GET me started on alimony payments (remember Shah Bano everyone?)

Modern science - did anyone here notice that polio has come back with a vengeance because people in UP refuse to immunise their kids on the grounds that it is said to cause impotence? Oh yeah, I forgot about idols of Ganesh drinking milk. How many people here will also marry a Manglik without being one themselves?

Wait wait - I'm being unfair here. We've been fantastic at adopting modern science - by using gender determination tests to abort female foetuses - its so much less jhanjhat than killing the child once its born...

Liberty - let's see...oh yeah, you know all those gay people in India? They're actually all criminals because under Indian law whatever occurs between two consenting adults is still subject to the purview of the authorities in India.

Jesus Christ - get off your high horses please. It is as much my country (and Sujai's country) as it is yours. And everyone has a right to express a view.

We're a big country, and in a global context an increasingly significant one, but let's not forget that we're not quite there yet. There's a lot that's right with us, but a HELL of a lot stuff still needs fixing. So unless people here just want to form a "Shining India" club, and try to stifle any voices of opposition by trying to shout him/her down, please do try to keep it civil. (And if your forming that club of yours, please change the title of this forum to something more appropriate)

#19
temporal
URL
October 19, 2006
01:04 PM

TBS:

where are you located?...hurry get some protective armour for yourself...maybe a new domicile and ID...

just for saying what you did you will be labelled green, pinko, commie, liberal (and those are the good words) by the enlightened literarti here;)...(am refraining from the other baser words - or this post will violate the guidleines - but you get the idea!)

#20
Durgesh
October 19, 2006
02:22 PM

It seems that some fools have dubious cheerleaders. Someone just gave us a sneak peak of his red-green thong.

#21
grim sunshine
URL
October 20, 2006
03:36 AM

Very astute TBS, except Sujai has not shown the ability to reason nearly as far in his articles. It is not his freedom to speak his mind that is under question - that is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. It is his responsibility to make sense that is under doubt. Let us not be required to pretend that a bazaar-style rant about life in India is an intellectual position.
When facile comparisons lump Jammu and Kashmir along with Israeli occupation of Palestine, his reasoning comes under doubt (NOT his freedom of speech, simply the quality of logic!). When he equates off Kashmiri Pundits who are being systematically ethnically cleansed in J&K to "killings by Indian forces" one wonders if he understands the meaning of the word genocide - for the record, AT no time has the Indian state tried to ethnically cleanse Kashmiri Sunnis or Muslims in general from the country (earlier rants on Kashmir).
So lets rationally go back and compare the facile analogy between Kashmir and Israel in that throwaway sentence above: how does the comparison with Israel hold? Do we have checkpoints around the Valley? Or a wall to hold the Valley Sunnis in? Do we then pen them in and bomb them with impunity, or ensure abortions by high intensity sound waves played on end for weeks? Do we carry out "targetted assassinations" of Valley Sunni political leaders and destroy entire housing complexes? Do we divide farmers from their fields because "Hindu Indians" need heavily guarded settlements? Do we even build settlements to alter the demographics of the Valley? Do we drop millions of cluster bombs in civilian areas of neighbouring countries? It is reasonable as an Indian to want to hear HOW Israeli occupation of Palestine is lumped together with J&K because those are very serious charges against the nation and the government.
No problems with Sujai criticizing the government, state of affairs, or even the country as a whole. But if he chooses to express himself in public he should expect to be called up on the OBVIOUS lack of reasoning or facts in his pieces.

#22
Desh
URL
October 20, 2006
08:12 AM

Har ek baat par kehte ho tum ke tu kya hai;
Tum hi kaho ki yeh andaaz-e guftagoo kya hai?

A few reasons why Kashmir cannot be independent:

1. It is geographically strategic - wedge between Central and South Asia.

2. It was to start off with until Pakistan Army came in dressed as Kabbaalis. There is no reason to believe if Indian forces withdraw (given the Kargil experience) the same would not happen!

3. Another division along religious lines is not only disastrous but foolish.

4. The plebiscite would not happen now because the demography in PoK and J&K has changed dramatically.. bring it back to the 1952 stage and then start talking of it.

5. The answer to EVERY DAMN ISSUE in the world is never PARTITION!

I am convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that no matter how many Gujrals or Kuldips come, how many Lahore trips our PMs make.... until the Army and ISI is in charge of that country, India will remain a Holy target. Forgetting this and arguing for peace is foolish. Given that as it may that the Pakistanis dont have it in them to challenge and throw out their damned institutions... the ONLY way out of the mess with Pakistan now in my personal opinion is to break it into as many pieces as possible .... so that the Army and ISI can keep busy fighting with each other. Short of that, as the last few years incidents have shown clearly (Daniel Pearl, ISI chief wiring money to Mohd. Atta etc) that these two institutions are a threat to the world itself.

Finally, I know what makes you write these articles, Sujai, but, dear mate.. borders are no longer drawn based on hearts.. (Gandhi is long dead so no one there to blackmail the masses).... but onhard Geopolitical Requirements. For folks like you who dont understand what is good for their family (or their neighbors).. too bad!!

CHeers,
Desh
Drishtikone.com

#23
Durgesh
October 20, 2006
08:26 AM

Deshbhai,

Kahan the aap bhaisahab. Khair koi baat nahin. Der hi aaye lekin Durust aaye.

Apni baat yahaan zahir karne ka sabak sabko maloom ho gaya hai. Banda kahega, be polite, or, I wont reply to such comments, or, I am being very patient.

Aap ko bhi ab gaaliyon ka saamna karna padega.

#24
Desh
URL
October 20, 2006
10:45 AM

Durgesh:

Thanks! Well there will always be people like Gujral and Sujai. And they make life exciting. Otherwise, it would one boring walk on a one lane road.

I believe that there is a reason why despite the parade of Deve Gowda/VP SIngh/Gujral etc. we are still surviving.. indeed thriving! And it has to do with the many intertwined levels of one-ness. A Punjabi Christian feels one with a Punjabi Hindu at the level of his language.. but one with a Mallu Christian at the level of his religion. This kind of matrix is very difficult to break.

And such a matrix is ONLY POSSIBLE in a society that was formed not on the basis of religion but on the basis of secularism. Such distinctions become basis for violence elsewhere. Even the linguistic differences as I will elaborate on below.

As for those who argue for Muslims having to decide where they want to live .. should first get up and Define "WHICH MUSLIM"?? Ahmediyas? Shias? Aga Khanis? Sunnis - err.. Urdu speaking or Punjabi speaking or Gujarati speaking or Bengali Speaking?

If you think this is a meaningless question.. please look at the number of Shias who are regularly killed.... not out on street.. but IN THEIR MOSQUES in Sindh Province.. and you will know what I mean! of course, I havent yet discussed the Ahmediyas.. their religious cleasnsing is practiced at the level of State Policy by the Pakistani Govt!!

And of course the Bengalis! All the Pakistanis provide the figure of 70,000 (no basis) of the people (Muslims) killed by the Indian forces over the last 20-30 years.. but remain silent on hundreds and thousands (literally!) of Bengalis killed in pre-Bangladesh years (within 5 years) by the leaders of THESE VERY PAKISTANI Institutions!!

And did I mention the Mohajirs yet?

Just because one prays to "Allah" does not make him a "Universal" Muslim voice. He can be (and is) butchered in the holy confines of his Masjid too! At that time, I would like to discuss with the Sujais and Kuldips and Arundhatis of the world as to what happened to the RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS of the "Muslims"???

Har ek Baat par wo gina to dete hain hamare Aib-o-hunar;
Khud Apne Gunahon ka hisaab kaun de?

There is always a sound reason to argue FOR an alternative that is decidedly better... but to argue for an alternative where YOU well know from past history (Demonstrably repeated ad-nauseum) that all those who "DECIDED" to Join that "Nation" were not only discriminated Against but Ethnically CLeansed as a matter of STATE POLICY.. then, Sujai, to expect that I have any regard for your analytical ability or the "righteousness" of your claims or arguments is a little too much and an insult to my basic intelligence!!

Cheers,
Desh
Drishtikone.com

#25
Durgesh
October 20, 2006
01:43 PM

Wishing Everyone A GREAT DIWALI.

#26
The Buddha Smiled
URL
October 20, 2006
03:58 PM

Hello all from the cheerleader (By the way, Durgesh - thongs aren't my style. They chafe too much. I prefer going commando instead...)

Grim Sunshine (cheerful name, by the way) thanks for your comments. I appreciate the coherence with which you set them out, while choosing NOT to resort to personal attacks.

Let me first clarify my position - by choosing to defend Sujai from the more vituperous commentary on this forum, I am not necessarily agreeing with his argument.

My own viewpoint is not in question here. I have taken a conscious decision to avoid debating politics on this, or other, forums, because I find that you end up having the same argument a million times. As someone with a fairly busy professional life, I have better things to do than to have that same debate over & over again, and most of my online time is spent on books, arts & cinema. My decision to step into this argument is simply because I see people ganging up to attack a writer at a personal level - which isn't kosher at all.

So, my stand is more on the way this discussion has progressed - to criticise someone by calling him a "Pakistani", "Screwnut" and god knows what other words the forum moderators have had to delete out, isn't quite conducive to productive debate.

I have personally seen coherent, rational and well argued comments, which have been responded to by Sujai on this forum - take a look at comments #10 & 11 on this article. It seems apparent to me that if people can have a calm & civilised debate, the results can be both constructive & informative. However, to expect ANYONE to respond to pejorative slurs isn't being realistic.

So my point is this - by all means, let's have a well thought out argument - but to descend into name calling does nobody any favours. It also paints the name callers in a really bad light.

Let's be honest - this is a voluntary forum here, so I don't see why anyone would choose to respond to slurs, insults and harsh comments.

Sujai - at the risk of sounding patronising, I'd also counsel you to provide more coherent arguments, with supporting evidence, especially if you're going to choose to write articles on the topics you do. This is recurring feedback from several participants, so you would probably protect yourself from a lot of the animosity seen here if you could argue your articles out more thoroughly. It is also your responsibility to do so when you write on something that is a sensitive topic for many. Make sure you have enough data & evidence to support your stance - that's what separates good writers from excellent ones. My boss always talks about "back-up" analysis - something you always keep ready to whip out and wave under people's noses when they don't seem convinced.

Perhaps you could choose to explain why you feel the Kashmir issue is akin to the Israli occupation of Palestine - this is obviously an issue that is serious enough to warrant a more thorough exposition.

Temporal - don't worry about the need for armour, a new domicile & ID - I'll enjoy seeing what else they can come up with. In any case, being called a liberal for me is a compliment.

By the way, I notice nobody chose to respond to my evidence on the equality, liberty & adoption of modern science in India - do I win?!

Happy Diwali all - and if you're lighting crackers, please don't light them on the street, don't light them too late at night, and avoid lighting too many - doesn't do the environment any good!

#27
grim sunshine
URL
October 20, 2006
07:52 PM

Happy Diwali all. And TBS, I didn't realise this was a win or lose game. I appreciated your argument on Indians and modernity, perhaps more so than the author's rather opinionated inchoate rant that started the discussion. On the other hand, the Gupta period - ie 300 BC - saw women as warriors, business leaders etc. Arthashastra is a good source for explaining that the inner most circle of security of a king was made up by armed women for example. That Hindu women had rights to divorce AND remarriage upon widowhood as well as specifics of inheritance. Killing of elephants was a crime punishable by death (something we could apply for poachers today, not to mention the J&K politicians who are pushing for the legalization of Shahtoosh, never mind that the Chiru is going extinct). So perhaps we should consider that India in 300 BC was socially more "modern" that in 2006?
:-)
Happy Diwali again.

#28
doubting thomas
October 20, 2006
11:44 PM

Interesting article.
Your comment is provocative but sadly true'Though India has quickly embraced tools of modernity, like cell phones, cars, internet, etc, it has not completely embraced the values of modernity- equality, tolerance, liberty, and modern science.'

We have embraced the tools of modernism but not its values.Dissent is viewed with extreme prejudice and civilised discourse is replaced by abusive personal attacks.The westoxicated Indian class swears by material prosperity but is deaf to social issues.In the words of O.W. Holmes 'The mind of a bigot is like a pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.'

#29
Anindo
October 21, 2006
01:08 AM

DT,

'The mind of a bigot is like a pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.'

Did you not uniwittingly describe your group with this statement? Are you guys - Sujai and you, not bigots? As far as I know, this is the meaning of a bigot from Websters:

"a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group ..."

At least, try to think before you write something.

As far as childish name calling is concerned, you and Sujai are in the same league as the others. Sorry, you guys have no base to take the moral high ground.

Regards,

#30
The Buddha Smiled
URL
October 21, 2006
03:20 AM

Grim Sunshine,

Happy Diwali to you too. And yes, what's the point of playing if you're not going to try to win?!

I take your point about the Arthashastra, and the fact that it documents the fact that Hindu women of the time were operating in a more egalitarian environment than has been prevalent for some time. I will however, draw your attention to one fact - that egalitarianism, as well as a lot of the freedoms you describe, was restricted to women of caste. I will admit that its been some time since I read the Arthashastra, so my memory may be a bit rusty here. But maybe that great liberal ancient India wasn't that rosy for a lot of (non-caste) Indians...

Cheers all,

#31
Atlantean
URL
October 21, 2006
03:53 AM

As far as childish name calling is concerned, you and Sujai are in the same league as the others. Sorry, you guys have no base to take the moral high ground.

Thanks Anindo. I wanted to make the same point. Sujai wants comments to be "nice and polite." I wanted to ask Sujai to go through his own articles and comments and see if he has been "nice and polite." People living in glass houses shouldnt throw stones.

One can still be impolite and rude using sophisticated language. Use of "decent language" doesnt, in any way, guarantee nicety and politeness.

Sujai himself has written comments like:

THINK, THINK before you type! Looks like you type faster than you think! What a GROSS waste of intelligence!

OR

Pipe Down. Relax. Take a deep breath. AND THINK!

However, I dont take such comments as offensive or impolite or rude. After all, blogs are informal places. Desicritics.org is not the Parliament. And I cant help but laugh when someone cant cop up some insult but goes on to freely insult or ridicule others. Sujai himself ridicules Hindus for following Astrology or Vedic Science. He ridicules Indians for sanctifying the national symbols and songs. He accuses them, unfairly, of "shunning modern science" and being "intolerant of diversity" and when he's ridiculed in return, he says "you must be nice and polite."

Asking a whole community to vacate their homelands is not only being extremely rude but amounts to caving in to communal forces and narrow religious/ideological considerations. At a time when multiculturalism and secularism are the buzzwords, it is really sad to see a section of people condoning the further division of this nation on religious lines, even while they are aware that:

In an effort to separate conjoined twins, Partition has performed a surgical procedure and it resulted in death of more than half a million people and migrations of 15 million.

Such people are HARDLY liberals or secularists and what they advocate is completely at crosspurpose with liberalism and secularism. Do they realize, when they advocate that Kashmiri Panidts should leave their homelands, that they are advocating something that may engender a grave humanitarian crisis?

Moreover, the right to expression applies to everyone. I ask people, please STOP lecturing us. The right to expression doesnt come with limiting clauses like

1. Speak only in decent language.
2. Be nice.
3. Be polite etc.

If a person has the audacity to play with my emotions, I reserve the right to be as rude and impolite as possible and I WILL use the CHOICEST language to get my feelings across, and I emphasize, I have a RIGHT to do so and no comment policy or lecture on "civilized debate" can take that away from me.

Criticism is WELCOME. PLEASE criticize but when it comes packed with full of lies or halftruths like "Indians are shunning modern science", one shouldnt expect people to sit quiet or be polite and nice. Expect others to criticize, and criticize hard, as well. As responsible members of a democratic society, it is our job to provide CHECKS where they are required - that's how a democracy works. And as long as we dont harm anyone, our use of harsh language is justified.

Here's hoping that this day will shine LIGHT into peoples' minds and conquer darkness. HAPPY DIWALI!

#32
Sparsh
URL
October 21, 2006
08:44 AM

Great Article!
Very inspiring.
After reading the comments, I felt that people did not comprehend author's analysis. I feel some readers are taking very personally.
I feel that you made many assumptions. It's difficult to understand for some readers. A reason for being bogged on with offending remarks. I understand your problem for not coming with evidences (Adding evidences would make a book).
I feel some readers are prejudiced or arrogant of their knowledge.

Atlantean - I don't see any impoliteness in what Sujai said.

A word of encouragement for Sujai: keep up the good work.

#33
grim sunshine
URL
October 21, 2006
08:28 PM

Hello TBS, hope you enjoy the fireworks. The reason I referred to Arthashastra rather than other classical texts was because its a text dealing with law, political implementation of the same, and practical matters. Strange as it may sound to you, none of the laws - civil, criminal or fiscal - detailed in the text are caste-based. So no, there is no reason to assume that women's rights were caste-based or limited by birth.
May I also remind you that Chandragupta Maurya (Chanakya's protege and king) would be classified as "lower caste" according to the British Schedule of Castes and Tribes and therefore by us today?
May I also point out that Hindu society went back and forth in terms of mobility between "castes" and the term wasn't even applied until the Europeans arrived. This does not mean jati, varna, gotra etc did not exist. Simply that the crystalized heirarchical structure is a legacy of 17th century onwards. In fact the rigid stratification does not happen until the Schedule is drawn up and "castes" classified as martial, upper, lower, peaceful, criminal, etc. Do note that I do not mean to deny that there were social distinctions or even untouchables - just that these categories were far more fluid in times of Chanakya. We have ample documentation to show this. So curiously enough, no, none of Chanakya's rules are determined by "caste" factors, and neither are the rewards, punishments or criteria for power. In fact, there is very little mention of "caste" in his text. Just goes to show - doesn't it?
In fact, I wish we could structure our fiscal system on his recommendations. Much smarter than our current taxation structure.
Hope you had a nice Diwali.

#34
Atlantean
URL
October 22, 2006
02:38 AM

"However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him" - Nicholas Boileau.

#35
Durgesh
October 22, 2006
06:42 AM

Grim Sunshine,

You have made an important point. Its sad that you have not received any gushing invitations to be a desicritic. I would love to read you.

#36
balaji
URL
October 22, 2006
12:17 PM

i guess it can be a free for all except for 'hurting' comments.

and after all sujai offered a counter view however unacceptable to many. isn't debate all about offering differing perspectives?

and when people say 'facts' - truly, how much of facts can any one muster? especially in history.

if there is no written word - there is no history. or some verbal account.

rarely do dead people write history :)

i had an opportunity to be in a meeting where a kashmiri journalist working an Indian, english newspaper was also particpating - i get a sense that the average kashmiri does not like the predominant presence of army/security personnel.

and if one is looking for long lasting solutions to a very tricky problem - one could explore alternatives. sometimes against the grain. or accepted wisdom.

anyways a lively debate.

#37
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
02:27 PM

#17,
Ramya:
You ask, "I am sorry, but do you have any "facts" not "ramblings" to support your own statement?

1. Indians grow up knowing an Indian map which includes the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, but not a single Indian soldier nor an administrator ever set foot in the regions that are now occupied by Pakistan and China. However, most Indians are not aware of this. There is a constant attempt by India to depict the 'false' map and protest against all those who show those occupied regions as 'occupied'.
2. Most Indians when asked 'what is our national language or rashtra baasha?' blurt out the answer as 'Hindi'. Most of them believe that this is stated either in legal or constitutional parlance. However, this is a 'generally agreed' national symbol and is not constitutionally or legally provisioned. Indian constitution holds only two constitutional symbols- National Flag and National Anthem. All other symbols, including National Song, Language, etc, are generally agreed symbols that do not have legal or constitutional sanctity.
3. Many Indian believe that Hindus do not eat beef. They do not know that this is a very recent phenomenon going back few hundred years. Most low-caste Hindus were meat eaters including beef-eaters.
4. Most Pakistanis look at Balochistan as an integral and inalienable part of Pakistan. However, the inclusion of this region into Pakistan came about from a treaty between British and Afghanistan that allows British to rule this region for a certain period of time following which it has to be handed over to Afghanistan.

I can go on writing many such examples. But I do not intend to write a book here on this site. If you are keen on finding some of these, you can look up Wikipedia or google it.

People believe or they do not. My attempt is not to change those who have decided not to believe. My writings are aimed at those who want to know more, and if given a choice, know the OTHER story. I realize I will never be able to convince those who have made up their minds on these topics and do not wish to open themselves to counter-opinions.

There are many on this planet who believe that Man never landed on Moon and that its all a hoax, that aliens have built Pyramids, that Subhas Chandra Bose and Elvis Presley continue to live, etc. No matter what evidence is given to them, they refute it. For example, if you show the picture of Moon landing, they label it as good movie effects in action.

How many Indians know that Naga insurgency existed since time of Independence, that Sikkim's inclusion into India was a controversial move that involved claims from China, that Tibet was never assigned to any country and hence was ready for grabs, that certain regions of Arunachal Pradesh were picked up by India in 1962 war, that Burma could easily have been with India if not for 1935 act that assigned that region to a different head not linked to India, etc.

How many Indians know their role in WWII and that it was responsible for the biggest defeat of Japanese Army (till then) and led to one of the biggest upsets in WWII?

#38
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
02:43 PM

#21,
grim sunshine:
You write, When facile comparisons lump Jammu and Kashmir along with Israeli occupation of Palestine,
I do not compare them. In my earlier article "Adolf Hitler and Indians', when I used the word correlate, many took it as comparison.

Kashmir is one of the regions where Muslims of the world show sympathy. Other regions are Chechnya, Palestine, etc. The history and roots of these regions are different. What is common is this- there is a huge presence of Army ruling a people who do not like that Army. What is common is this- they are people who do not identify with their rulers and believe they need to have their own voice, own rule and freedom.

The details are very different. I do not compare them on their histories, style of administration, mix-up of people, language, or the complexity of the issue.

Who defines genocide? Who defines ethnic cleansing? Is a rebellion against minority rulers ethnic cleansing? Is suppression of ethnically different majority in a region genocide? What happened during Razakar movement in Hyderabad state during Independence of India? Is the killing of Hindus with protection from Nizam ethnic cleansing? If so, what is the word for killing of Muslims with support and aid from Indian forces? One can go on talking about it. Even if we do agree that there was ethnic cleansing, what is the solution? Punishment by suppression and more number of such killings?

"AT no time has the Indian state tried to ethnically cleanse Kashmiri Sunnis or Muslims in general from the country (earlier rants on Kashmir).
I never said that India "tried to ethnically cleanse Kashmiris Sunnis or Muslims in general from the country".

Please do not ascribe certain statements that I did not make.

#39
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
02:48 PM

#22,
Desh:
1. It is geographically strategic - wedge between Central and South Asia.

Is that a good reason why a region cannot be independent? Look at the geography and see how many such nations exist.

3. Another division along religious lines is not only disastrous but foolish.

Why? How many nations form on religious lines? When did we stop making nations on religious lines?

4. The plebiscite would not happen now because the demography in PoK and J&K has changed dramatically.. bring it back to the 1952 stage and then start talking of it.

I believe the same. That plebiscite as defined by UN referendum of 1948 cannot be held.

5. The answer to EVERY DAMN ISSUE in the world is never PARTITION!

True. I don't think either.

#40
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
02:52 PM

#24
Desh:
I do not say that all those who "DECIDED" to Join that "Nation" were not only discriminated Against but Ethnically CLeansed as a matter of STATE POLICY

.. then, Sujai, to expect that I have any regard for your analytical ability or the "righteousness" of your claims or arguments is a little too much and an insult to my basic intelligence!!

First you ascribe something to me that I don't believe in. Nor did I say something like that. Then you challenge your own intelligence. I am not sure how I should respond to that.

#41
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
02:59 PM

#26,
The Buddha Smiled:
Perhaps you could choose to explain why you feel the Kashmir issue is akin to the Israli occupation of Palestine - this is obviously an issue that is serious enough to warrant a more thorough exposition.

I do not believe that they are similar in their modus operandi. However I do believe these three issues (plus few others)- Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine are three sore points for the Islamic World. These regions are ruled by people who belong to other nations or religions. The rulers are not liked by the people of these regions and are vehemently opposed. The rulers tend to use armed forces to keep the suppression in check (in various proportions in different regions). They are freedom movements in their own right.

When someone says that Burma, India, Vietnam, Bolivia were under colonial powers but later got independence movements, it does not mean they are all similar in their independence movements. What is common between them is this- that they are ruled by certain European power comprising minority ruling over regions who are ethnically different.

#42
temporal
URL
October 22, 2006
03:05 PM

sujai:

speaking of israel perhaps you can submit a post on this:

http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1160914974/

#43
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
03:23 PM

#31,
Atlantean:

Please look at comment #5 above.

I say:
I try my best to restrain myself but there are times I may get into the same heat and resort to the same or equivalent language. Realizing that I have stooped to those levels a few times in the recent past, I started to practise complete restraint. One of the ways to accomplish it is not to respond, however tempting it might be. Hope I can manage that forever :)

Yes, I have resorted to similar or equivalent language. Now, I do not.

However, you continue to bait me- not my ideas not my writings, but me, as a person. Even the above exercise is once again an exercise attacking me as a person.

You write:
Sujai himself ridicules Hindus for following Astrology or Vedic Science. He ridicules Indians for sanctifying the national symbols and songs.

There is difference between criticism of a group of people or a nation and attacking an identified individual personally and verbally. When I criticize a group I am not necessarily targeting you as a person.

You write:
Asking a whole community to vacate their homelands is not only being extremely rude but amounts to caving in to communal forces and narrow religious/ideological considerations.

I DO NOT ask a community to vacate their homeland nor advocate that. I am not sure where you are going with this. Many Kashmir Pandits are my family friends. They have left their homes in 1989. They live in cities of Jammu, New Delhi and other places of India. They are very nostalgic about their homelands and miss them. However, they do not think it is realistic to go back to those lands given the conditions in those regions. Their homes have been looted and burnt, their fields occupied. I do not condone the actions of Kashmiri Muslims, Jagmohan and Indian Administration who have led Kashmir Pandits to flee and migrate.

You write:
I reserve the right to be as rude and impolite as possible and I WILL use the CHOICEST language to get my feelings across

And, I reserve the right to respond or not.

You write:
And as long as we dont harm anyone, our use of harsh language is justified.

I don't identify myself with that.

#44
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
03:25 PM

#32,
Sparsh:
Thank you.

You are right. Explaining all evidences turns this into a book. I am already seeing that. My notes are turning into big set of documents.

#45
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
03:49 PM

#28,
doubting thomas:
Thanks.

#46
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
04:20 PM

#18,
The Buddha Smiled:
Thanks for providing some examples.

I did not provide examples for that statement-
"Though India has quickly embraced tools of modernity, like cell phones, cars, internet, etc, it has not completely embraced the values of modernity- equality, tolerance, liberty, and modern science."

Because, I did not think it was the essence of my message of the above article (though the editor at Desicritics chose to use it as summary - which I didn't mind). I was focusing only on 'why do we criticize our nations?' and not on what are the different things wrong with the nation. Each of those clarifications can run into a chapter.

Let's take one issue- decline of science. Addressing the increase in belief systems like astrology, vaastu, numerology, etc, is a big topic in itself. Such topics are dealt in length by many authors. For example, Meera Nanda has book on this.
One can read the gist here.
I have lot of data on decline of science in India which I am compiling. But for now, here is one news article.
and another one.


#47
Sujai
URL
October 22, 2006
05:33 PM

#29,
Anindo:
You write:
"Are you guys - Sujai and you, not bigots?"

In comment #11 above, I write:
"Also, please understand that I do not think independence for Kashmir should be the only solution. If there is an alternative that is acceptable to both Kashmiri Muslim and India, it should be explored. But their participation is extremely important..."

And then I add:
"I believe independence is a good alternative. However, I will not hold onto this as the only decision. In face of a better and alternate solution ... I shall concede and change my opinion."

Anindo, I am not sure if the above statements qualify someone to be a bigot. However, you are entitled to your opinions- and I wouldn't mind being called a 'bigot' if that makes your judgement of my article easy.

#48
grim sunshine
URL
October 23, 2006
03:43 AM

"However I do believe these three issues (plus few others)- Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine are three sore points for the Islamic World. These regions are ruled by people who belong to other nations or religions. The rulers are not liked by the people of these regions and are vehemently opposed."

This is precisely the facility of eliding separate issues that I objected to earlier. Chechnya and Palestine have specific racial, ethnic AND colonial aspects to them that are tenuous at best in case of Kashmir. Moreover, neither Chechnya nor Palestine have any democratic structures or rights for the citizens - or perhaps you believe that NO election process has occurred in Kashmir, despite the observations of the various international groups? Furthermore, in Kashmir - you have in earlier posts and articles privileged Sunni Valley Muslims over all others. Now you extend that to all Kashmiris. Slightly suspect reasoning there.
So we come to the core of your argument: These are sore points in the Islamic World. Who in the ISLAMIC world decides? Pakistan - which is a dictatorship and oppresses its own regions and minorities? Or Saudi? If you read accounts even from Afghanistan, they don't care about Kashmir except when proposed (in Taliban years) to jihadis as mercenary projects. Most of Islamic world has no voice in its own governance so how do you decide what it thinks of Kashmir?
Regarding Palestine - since you have been so fond of reminding us all of history - in your post above, do you remember what all the rest of the ISLAMIC world has done for that people? Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt can barely tolerate the Palestinian refugees. Jordan won't allow access to state services like health care and education to refugees who have lived there for over three generation. One reason that you may want to know what the Palestinians call themselves - Usman's shirt - it is blood stained, taken out and waved whenever needed but no one cares about it. Kashmir - is a similar case for the "Islamic" world - something to divert the people and rally extremists like LeT and Al Qaeda (I see there is no mention of Pakistan's loving treatment of LeT founder on this website - perhaps too much to ask?).
Your idea of how no "Indian" had ever been to parts of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan and later sold to China is really clutching at straws. In 1962, most Indian soldiers had never been that far up the Himalayas. In 1947, most Punjabis had never seen the south. In fact, even today, MOST Indians have never seen many corners of the country. Few "Indians" - according your rather racist logic, because all it does is posit the heartland as a national identity at the expense of all other regions - have been to Arunachal. Who are the people living in Arunachal then? The level of travel or trans-regional consciousness is hardly is a logical reason to assume that the national territory is somehow falsely designed.
By all means do hold opinions, but then be able to defend by rational means and facts. That isn't a curtailment of your basic democratic rights but a suggestion if you plan to air your thoughts in public. Without firm grounding in fact and logic, your writings are open to the kind of criticisms you have been facing. And in some cases to personal attacks. That too is a consequence of choosing to go public with your ideas.
Finally - not every aspect of a democracy has to be enshrined in the constitution. The idea of "generally agreed" is an important one precisely because we live in a democracy. The basic consensus that is reached in including certain symbols, ideas etc have equal validity once they have been established by general consensus over time. Hindi - for good or bad - has been given the special status of a national language. It doesn't need a special paragraph in the Constitution. There is ample parliamentary and policy documentary evidence to prove it in a legal sense. To offer a rather simplistic analogy - A similar case can be made for extraneous evidence presented to prove marriages in the absense of a "marriage certificate." So I suggest you rethink the value of "generally agreed upon" - especially since that is EXACTLY what a democracy is.

#49
Durgesh
October 23, 2006
06:54 AM

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I looked up the marx-mullah brotherhood manual to find out what trick from the holy book the gentleman is using. And surprise, surprise!!!!! look what i have found.

The responses on 38, 39, 40, 43 and 47 is TRICK NO. 2 and 3 or a slight variation from it. It goes like this

NO. 1 use different meanings of your opponent's words to refute his argument.

Example: Person A says, "You do not understand the mysteries of Kant's philosophy."

Person B replies, "Of, if it's mysteries you're talking about, I'll have nothing to do with them."


NO. 2 Ignore your opponent's proposition, which was intended to refer to some particular thing.

Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than what was asserted.


Though some nice little variations have been introduced. These are the two tricks most commonly used in the responses. Download the brotherhood manual from this link:

http://www.searchlores.org/schopeng.htm

Thank You.

#50
Durgesh
October 23, 2006
08:54 AM

The responses made to Desh in particular has some variations. It goes like this:

a] Isolate few points made by the respondent.

b] trick no a] helps you in two ways. One> you have taken it out of context and background, ie, the larger and the basic point the respondent was making. and two> you have done it because trick a] helps you to launch an attack on the isolated point.

c] the combination of trick a] and trick b] helps all charlatans to look good in the eyes of the others. The writer comes out as intelligent and straightforward. While the respondents are made to look foolish and uninformed. The respondents, due to trick a] and trick b] appear as the ones mis-interpreting the gentleman and "putting words into his mouth".

It seems that the only person this gentleman can fool is the great Buddha himself.

Guys, you have no idea whom you are dealing with. This gentleman is a genius. Accept My Kind Salutations Sir.

#51
Sujai
URL
October 23, 2006
09:26 AM

#48:
Grim Sunshine:
I said in the above article:
Most of us who criticize Indian rule in Kashmir, American aggression, Israel occupation, are not Islamists nor do we believe in radical Islam as practiced in certain nations or as promoted by some terrorist outfits.

That does not mean I think those issues are all the same. I could have easily added many other topics to the list without diluting the purport of the above statement, like targeting Muslims based on religion in certain European nations, installing puppet governments in Islamic nations, and so on. Does that mean, I think they are all same in their modus operandi?

If someone writes the following:
Michael Moore criticizes US invasion of Iraq, US policies towards environment, Patriotic Act and anti-abortion policies.

A reader X may quickly assume that the writer is equating these four topics. This X may conclude that the writer is suggesting that the way US suppresses and kills people in Iraq, it is also suppressing and killing pro-abortion (pro-choice) campaigners within US. This X gets infuriated and agitated for this comparison and baits the author. However, another reader Y may conclude quite differently. He infers that Micheal Moore is criticizing the common element in all these topics- George Bush and his executive team supported by his conservatives in Republican Party who seem to be responsible for these issues.

Just because these three regions come in one sentence, it does not equate them. Readers like Y will have no problem in seeing this. I gave an example above in the comment # 41. You seem to be stuck on this and do NOT want to infer. Readers like X will continue to make false assumptions, wrong correlations and get frustrated. They beleaguer the author with such wrong interpretations. This is one of those cases.

I am not comparing the ethnic composition, histories, types of governments, and other complexities of these regions. You are unnecessarily involving yourself in that exercise- trying to teach how they are different when I do not equate them at all. What I am saying is- just because we criticize certain nations and their actions (citing three examples) it does not make us Islamists.

You write:
So we come to the core of your argument:

You can look up the core of my argument which comes out in some of my articles at Desicritics. Most of it is available at my blog.

You write:
Your idea of how no "Indian" had ever been to parts of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan and later sold to China is really clutching at straws... In fact, even today, MOST Indians have never seen many corners of the country.

I am not sure where you are going with this. I stated few examples to say how we Indians do not know the whole story.

(There is a difference between MOST Indians not seeing many corners of the country and NO Indian soldier or administrator ever putting a foot in a certain regions of the country which we think belongs to us. And I am NOT talking of just unpopulated regions here. Indian administrators or soldiers never set foot in Gilgit or Muzaffarabad which is populated.)

My idea of bringing up this example is not to cite reasons as to 'why' Indians did not set foot there, but to say that Indians did not set foot there, and that we do not know this.

You write:
Few "Indians" - according your rather racist logic, because all it does is posit the heartland as a national identity at the expense of all other regions - have been to Arunachal. Who are the people living in Arunachal then? The level of travel or trans-regional consciousness is hardly is a logical reason to assume that the national territory is somehow falsely designed.

I am not sure how or why my logic is racist here. I do not say whether it is right or wrong. I do not take a stand on whether Arunachal should be with India or not. I am not taking a moral or ethical stand on this issue- I am just saying that we do not write about the 'regions occupied by India', and hence most Indians do not know about it. That's all. It's like Indians not writing about Indian participation in WWII.

By all means do hold opinions, but then be able to defend by rational means and facts.

These are opinions. Some are defended by facts. Some are not. If my opinion is that 'there should be justice' in our country, a reader like you might point out 101 examples where the justice does not prevail in this country. There is no end to such argument- because its an opinion.

It's a futile exercise when readers participate in nitpicking my article, take certain statements out of context, ascribe new meanings and then ask me to defend my 'supposed' argument that came straight out of their false and assumed interpretation.

Finally - not every aspect of a democracy has to be enshrined in the constitution.

Agreed. But when it is not, to assume it is, can lead to problems, as seen by reaction of Tamil people against enforcement of Hindi, or supposed mandatory singing of a National Song. When I give these examples in this article, I do not say whether it is right or wrong. I am just saying that knowing what is legally and constitutionally sanctioned helps understanding the issues and hopefully avoids misconceptions which rise up to become trouble spots. It may be 'generally agreed' that homosexuality is bad (because most Indians do not accept it), but unless it is known whether it is legal or illegal, one cannot deal with it, as a state [In India, it is illegal]. Hence, a need arises to either outlaw it or embrace certain notions. Keeping such option open for 'generally agreed' opinions is too dangerous.
However, my intention of this article is not say whether those laws are right or not, but the ability to criticize nation's actions.

Almost every fact, opinion and argument is arguable. One should come to a maturity to either agree or disagree. One does not have to win. There is room for all kinds of opinions. Its called diversity. When one opinion has to prevail over the others- you should know what it is.

There is ample parliamentary and policy documentary evidence to prove it in a legal sense.

Where is this ample evidence which makes it legal?

Sorry, but you, like some others on this forum, tend to deviate from the topic under discussion, nitpick trivialities that do not have bearing on the original purport and meaning of the article, run on a wild goose chase on arguments that do not have any relevance to the topic under discussion, and ask for evidences while you do not provide any. It becomes exhaustive after some time and that's why I resort to 'Time out!'

A discussion of point vs. counter-point need not go forever. That's why most discussion programs on TV are limited by time, and most opinions in newspapers and magazines have limited responses from readers. The authors of such columns do not go about corroborating every sentence they write. The discussion stops with one response from a reader and if needed, a follow-up response from the writer. That's all. A column in a newspaper assumes certain knowledge from the readers- they do not address every layman (unfortunately). On the other hand, a book may go into details corroborating many assumptions and other 'generally known' facts. This is not a book. The readers of Opinions are entitled to their interpretations. They can discard the article or care to read it, but such a prolonged discussion providing statements and counter-statements that have no bearing on the artilce, but only to prove who is 'smarter', is futile and exhausting.

#52
A
October 24, 2006
02:15 AM

Hi,

I think that all nations have their foreign and domestic policy guided by real politik. I think it is reprehensible and I think it is our duty as human beings to stop worshiping this new deity called the nation state. We must recognize that there is infinitely more to a culture and a civilization than a mere nation state.

The Indian civilization predates the concept of a nation state by a long long time. The Indian civilization will continue to exist for a long long time even if the number of nation states existing in the same geographical area increases or decreases. I fail to see why so much sanctity is afforded to the idea of a nation state. I do not see how the glory of the Indian civilization will be diminished in any way from the balkanization of the Indian nation state.

Perhaps someone can explain why everybody is terrified of 'giving' the sikhs and the assamese or the Nagas the right to self determination. Firstly this right is not anybodys to give. Secondly, It is quite patronizing to think that such small nation states will not be capable of functioning by themselves.

I do not see why the people of the Indian civilization should necessarily live under a unified political rule. It might be in their best interest to form a political union but ultimately is should be the decision of the people involved.

Isn't individual Liberty (and self-determination of communities) the cornerstone of modern civilization, where unlike the communist or monarchist societies or Religious states like Iran/Saudi, the individual is not sacrificed at the alter of some kind of greater good( though in reality it is typically the interest of the ruling class or person(s) disguised as a greater good).

For instance:

I see absolutely no reason why Andaman and Nicobar is a part of the Indian Union. The tribals in these islands had no conception of european concept of nationhood. Whether they consented to join the Indian Union is not even a meaningful question to ask.

I see no reason why Nagaland is a part of the Indian Union. The Nagas actually declared their independence a day before India did. They have been fighting the Indian and the Burmese government for over 50 years now.

What about sikkim?

At this point I would like to point out that I haven't yet compared the foreign and domestic policy performance of the Indian government with that of any other. I would like to point out that the records of most governments which have any power or influence is decidedly worse or atleast as bad.

(China: tibet
US:south ameria,vietnam, middle east etc,
pakistan:Balochistan,bangladesh,kashmir,
erstwhie USSR: eastern europe, central asia,
Russia: chechnya, CIS,
France: algeria,Rawanda
UK: middle east, India, Ireland
Iran: LEbanon)

The list is long but I only mention a few names. If asked, I can explain what I am talking about by providing a huge list of reprehensible foreign and domestic policy actions of the above countries. I would like to explicitly say that I do not think that the actions of the Indian government are decededly worse or better than those of most governments.

I think institutions are created by man to serve man. To help organize society and create support networks for people to leave together peacefully. But when the power of such institutions (such as the nation state or a church) grows beyond a certain thresh hold level and the right mechanisms for checks and balances are not there then these institutions take a life of their own. Then man serves the institution to perpetuate its existence. I think nationalism is one such beast. This really has nothing to do with India or Indians. It is the case everywhere. People need to realize that cultures will survive and flourish without the aid of some patron nation state and people need to the realize that a country and its government is created to serve the people and not the other way around.

#53
Sujai
URL
October 24, 2006
05:06 AM

#52,
A:
Very nicely put. We do not know why there is such abhorrence to handle the issues of freedoms, and why we attach the existence of our civilization to a certain map and its shape. Each kingdom, empire, nation state has been changing its shape, increasing and decreasing through time- they were never inviolable.

People belong to an entity called a nation because they want to, not because they are forced into it. The day they are forced into it, they no longer enjoy the freedoms (that are supposedly guaranteed).

#54
grim sunshine
URL
October 24, 2006
06:06 AM

I dont expect this post to make much of a difference to the mindset of the author. However, in any case: Sujai, media columnists function under constraints which bloggers like you don't. That means journalists ARE internally edited and vetted before their columns go out to the public. When they reach a senior enough position, they do the same for others as well as for themselves. There is a measure of responsibility and restraint that they exercise in their opinion, even when they may appear radical. For example, advocating dissolution of the nation state is sedition under the law. And most journalists would be aware of the fine line between free speech and sedition. You - as most bloggers - obviously have no such restraint or sense of internal responsibility. So when you choose to publish your views, you face a greater challenge than most columnists do - simply because that internal control has not been exercised. Also isn't it slightly presumptuous for a blogger to claim - however implicitly - the privileges of journalists when even this site has been happy slamming them and supporting bloggers?
TWO - I have no problems with your ideological position about nation-states being artificial entities. However your leap from a philosophical position to a series of practical steps is incomprehensible.
You enthusiastically hang to the support of the earlier poster A - whose own logic is tenuous. He manages to posit the following ridiculous statement that he doesn't understand how "the glory of Indian civilization will be diminished by the balkanization of the Indian state." Like many bloggers - use of political terms seems to be random if not mistaken. Balkanization is accompanied by ethnic cleansing, genocide, mass rapes - all war crimes which diminish ALL civilizations.
No one in politics assumes that Indian nation-state shall retain its current boundaries forever. Strange however that "thinkers" like you never entertain the idea of enlarging the boundaries of the Indian state without yelling blue murder, while gleefully anticipating its diminishment. If in principle you can stomach the dissolution of the Indian state as it currently stands, why can't you cope with the idea of an "greater" India including Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka - even at a point in future, Pakistan and Bangladesh or even Afghanistan? After all regional expansion is part and parcel of economic and political growth. (Do note that the above question is purely THEORETICAL)
The poster you were so enthusiastic about begins his post talking of "REALPOLITIK" - If you support the idea of realpolitik, your posture on Kashmir is automatically undermined. He - like you - then goes off on an ideological position regarding nation-states and free speech, which is OBVIOUSLY not about realpolitik.
I have no issues with your right to free speech. I do challenge your inability to retain a clear line of thought. Either your reasoning is based on "realpolitik" in which case your argument on Kashmir above does not hold. OR you take an ideological stand where facts are coloured incessantly by ideology and mean very little and open yourself to criticisms from the "realists" who find your ideological stand untenable.
I dont expect you to answer this post. This is not meant to be a contest. However, since you obviously love writing and sharing your opinion in public, it would be more constructive for you to actually READ and think about some of the responses (not obviously the personal attacks) before coming up with a knee-jerk reaction. It might help clarify your own thought process as well as your writing.
Just remember - your reader does not have to agree with you. He/she simply has to be impressed by a compelling case that you construct. And one major component for that is actually taking criticism and using it!

#55
Sujai
URL
October 24, 2006
09:35 AM

Using threats words like 'sedition', calling names like 'traitor', 'ISI agent', 'Pakistani', saying that you will go for my jugular, etc, do not show maturity on your part. It actually reflects badly on this great nation which was formed on the principles of freedom of speech and expression and tolerance of diversity.

It only emphasizes how intolerant we have become.

It doesn't mean I am not aware of the consequences of my words and actions. My father, along with other leaders of Telangana have been packed off to jail on similar charges in 1969 when they protested and launched agitation for a separate Telangana state within confines of Indian nation. Some of these leaders came out and later hijacked the movement to become the chief ministers of AP. In our region, every agitation for justice and welfare of downtrodden and backward people is crushed and people are put in jail under various Acts of India. We had Emergency in this nation; people protested and were jailed under similar laws. Mahatma Gandhi was tried under sedition and convicted during British rule. (BTW, many leaders of Great Britain suggested independence to India much before 1947)

This country wasn't made possible by weak-hearted people like you. Please, stay in your safe cocoons, and let us face the consequences of our actions and words. Your advice, note of caution, insults and threats are NOT welcome! More than anything, they are irksome and act as irritants obstructing a good debate, and most often a distraction while we are building this nation!

#56
Sujai
URL
October 24, 2006
10:03 AM

#51:
Since you did not provide the 'ample evidence'. Here are some notes which point the arrow the other direction.

Wiki writes:
Neither the constitution nor the laws of India accord the status of "National Language" to any language in India. There is a law which basically says no language will be made the National Language unless and until all the constituent states of the Union of India accept it. Out of the 28 states and 7 union territories, only 10 states and 3 union territories have Hindi as the principal official language. (emphasis mine)

On official languages:

India has a list of 24 official languages (including Hindi and English). These languages are entitled to representation on the Official Language Commission, and a candidate in an examination conducted for national government service may opt to take the exam in any of these languages. (emphasis mine)

Article 343 of the India Constitution states that the official language of the Union (India) shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. As drafted in the constitution in 1950, English ceased to exist as an official language (on par with Hindi) in 1965, after which it was intended to continue as an "associate additional official language" until such time that a duly appointed committee can decide on a full-scale transition to Hindi, based on a periodic review. However, due to protests from South Indian states where there is low Hindi penetration, the "twin language" system is still in vogue. (emphasis mine)

#57
Sujai
URL
October 24, 2006
10:19 AM
#58
Durgesh
October 24, 2006
10:29 AM

Hello again,

Now comment 55 is a gem. it is a combination of tricks used by the brotherhood.

1] Make claims that your opponents never made. Constantly misinterpret and de-contextualize what your opponent says. In the end, toss in a nice, liberal sounding lament to brew up the coffee and look pink oneself:

Do Read this [from 55]:
[quote] Using threats words like 'sedition', calling names like 'traitor', 'ISI agent', 'Pakistani', saying that you will go for my jugular, etc, do not show maturity on your part.
[unquote]

and then, the lament:
[quote] It only emphasizes how intolerant we have become.[unquote]

Thank you.

#59
Durgesh
October 24, 2006
10:34 AM

I missed the last para of comment 55:

[quote]
This country wasn't made possible by weak-hearted people like you. Please, stay in your safe cocoons, and let us face the consequences of our actions and words. Your advice, note of caution, insults and threats are NOT welcome! More than anything, they are irksome and act as irritants obstructing a good debate, and most often a distraction while we are building this nation![unquote]

This guy seems to surpass himself at every turn. Talk about being polite and all the rest of the bull. And no, paranoia is not the word.

#60
Durgesh
October 24, 2006
10:39 AM

Kind Sir,

Please write out a list about those who are welcome and those who are NOT WELCOME while "we" build this great nation of ours.

Your inputs will be very precious in eliminating those who are NOT WELCOME. Please oblige. [i am as polite as i can get].
_________

Note to publisher:

Please sir, remove the media, culture politics and all the other blah blah between the title tags. it should be replaced with:

Desicritics: where the entertainment never ends.

Thank you.

#61
Durgesh
October 24, 2006
10:49 AM

Grim Reaper,

Suppose you are having coffee with a friend in silence and the other person barks out suddenly "how dare you call me a Fu##nut". Now i would say its a bad idea to hang around with such characters. Because when the going gets tough, these characters use words like "why did you insult me" "dont abuse me" or the gem "i wont stoop to your LEVEL".

Its a difficult job to carry on a discourse with a guy who imagines insults and threats where none are made. Words are deliberately twisted to be used against you. You should read the manual of the brotherhood i referred to in comment 49 to understand this silly parlour game.

Thanks.

#62
A
October 24, 2006
12:07 PM

Dear Grim Sunshine:

You make a lot of valid points and I will comment on them one by one. There are also several aspects of my post that you have misunderstood or misread and I will clarify those as well.

You're right about journalism maintaining certain standards which bloggers are not required to meet and they seldom meet them. A better comparison will be with articles or papers written for academic journals, since print journalism standards are much lower than one would imagine. Academic papers go through two to three years of refereeing by the top academics in the profession are are typically very rigorous, the arguments are presented within a framework( even if the purpose of the article is to depart from the framework)and usually the arguments made in the article are treated on their own merit.

YOU WROTE:"There is a measure of responsibility and restraint that they exercise in their opinion, even when they may appear radical."


I agree with you that atricles must be written with responsibility but I disagree when you mention restraint. The purpose of an article is not to be nice but to illustrate a point of view.

You're absolutely right when you mention that advocating the dissolution of a nation state is sedition and is illegal in all countries. Perhaps I wasn't explicit in my writing but I never suggested that the Indian Union SHOULD be dissolved. I was saying that there is no inherent logic or natural law which defines the geographical boundaries of most nation states. Within most sufficiently heterogenous nation states there will be competing claims for political power and there is nothing obvious or optimal or natural about the shape and size of countries. My purose in talking about the balkanization of India was not to posit it as a practical or meaningful or desirable solution to the problem of political representation. My purpose was to make the very important distinction between culture, civilization and a nation state. My point was to highlight that cultures and civilizations are important and worth preserving and developing, not arbitrary boundaries.


YOU WROTE: "isn't it slightly presumptuous for a blogger to claim - however implicitly - the privileges of journalists when even this site has been happy slamming them and supporting bloggers?"

If you're talking about Freedom of Press then I would like to remind you that article 19 of the Constitution of India actually only mentions a citizen's right to freedom of speech and expression. There is no mention of freedom of press and one needn't have to be employed by a news agency to be able to freely express ones ideas. IF you're talking about something else then please do explain.


YOU WROTE : " I have no problems with your ideological position about nation-states being artificial entities. However your leap from a philosophical position to a series of practical steps is incomprehensible."

Ok, so we're on the same page here. I am not sure where in my post did I suggest that I was talking about balkanizations as a practical solution to the problems of competing claims? The whole point I was trying to make was to remove from a nation state this god-like or parent-like status that we are brainwashed to give because of our schooling. Instead we should look at it as a very useful but potentially dangerous institution which needs to be nurtured and developed but also kept in check to make sure that it serves its purpose, that it serves us.


YOU WROTE: "You enthusiastically hang to the support of the earlier poster A - whose own logic is tenuous. He manages to posit the following ridiculous statement that he doesn't understand how "the glory of Indian civilization will be diminished by the balkanization of the Indian state." Like many bloggers - use of political terms seems to be random if not mistaken. Balkanization is accompanied by ethnic cleansing, genocide, mass rapes - all war crimes which diminish ALL civilizations."


You need a historical perspective here. The Indian subcontinent, for thousands of years, has seen empires build up and then break apart. The process has been violent both ways. The process (of consolidation and dissolution) and the accompanying disruption in the lives of people has been costly in every sense. But Indian civilization, though shaped and shaken by these internal power stuggles or outside invasions has a much much longer half-life than any of the political entities or empires that formed in the past several thousand years. The genius of the Indian civilization, amongst other things, lies in its ability to abide.. to imbibe .. to assimilate and to improve. Most of all, it is the ability to co-operate, to live together. Our culture which has continuously evolved for thousands of years( though perhaps at varying rates) has been more influenced by outside forces than any other cutlure. The Iranians had a great culutre before Islam arrived and completely replaced it. Indian culture has seen the arrivals of the greeks, turks, europeans, several religions.. all of which have shaped us but we have learnt and evolved from them.. made them our own without being colonized and abandoning all that was ours before the arrival of a new Idea or force. This is the genius. This is much bigger than any nation state. So yes, a balkanization or consolidation, if it happens, will be disruptive and costly but in historical time, it will be little more than a corner turned by the Indian civilization.. another chapter, though painful, but not something that it hasn't seen before.


YOU WROTE:" Strange however that "thinkers" like you never entertain the idea of enlarging the boundaries of the Indian state without yelling blue murder, while gleefully anticipating its diminishment."


You're absolutely right here. I have noted this as well. If you'd read carefully, you would've seen that I wrote: "The Indian civilization will continue to exist for a long long time even if the number of nation states existing in the same geographical area increases or decreases."

Increases or decreases.

Yes I see absolutely no reason why ,if say the Nepalese consent to join the Indian union and if the Indians do not object to it, India and Nepal should not become one country. Or India and Nepal and Srilanka and Pakistan and China. I absolutely agree and was pointing out that self-determination is what is important. Not the direction in which the process takes us.


YOU WROTE : "The poster you were so enthusiastic about begins his post talking of "REALPOLITIK" - If you support the idea of realpolitik, your posture on Kashmir is automatically undermined."

Umm... I had said that all nations are guided by real politik and then in the next sentence I proceeded to call it reprehensible. So clearly I am not enthusiastic about real politik. So if Sujai entusiastically supported me then how does he support the idea of real politik? I'm afraid I do not follow your logic here. Perhaps you read my post in a hurry and thought that I was supporting real politik. Please do clarify.


YOU WROTE:" He - like you - then goes off on an ideological position regarding nation-states and free speech, which is OBVIOUSLY not about realpolitik."

Yes very obviously. I think you just skipped the second line where I called real politik reprehensible. thats why you got so confused.


YOU WROTE: "I have no issues with your right to free speech. I do challenge your inability to retain a clear line of thought. Either your reasoning is based on "realpolitik" in which case your argument on Kashmir above does not hold."

It seems the problem is not my ability to retain a clear line of though but your inability to speed read without skipping whole lines. Clearly, my argument was NOT based on real politik.



YOU WROTE: " OR you take an ideological stand where facts are coloured incessantly by ideology and mean very little and open yourself to criticisms from the "realists" who find your ideological stand untenable."

This I agree with. YEs, there is an ideological stand which the realists can find untenable. I acceopt. But my point was not to suggest a practical solution to Kashmir. My point was about something which I think is more important. My point was about the difference between a culture, a civilization and a administrative unit we call the nation state.


YOU WROTE: "I dont expect you to answer this post. This is not meant to be a contest. However, since you obviously love writing and sharing your opinion in public, it would be more constructive for you to actually READ and think about some of the responses (not obviously the personal attacks) before coming up with a knee-jerk reaction."

WEll, I have been honest and serious about reading your post carefully and line by line. I have tried not be frivolous by just being (too)
rude and attacking you rather than your arguments. OK I am sorry I challenged your speed reading skills but it is really tiring to be mis read. I mean, I called real politik reprehensible ! How can you say that I am spporting it. anyway. Please do tell me if I have failed to understand what you were talking about or if I have failed to make my point clear to you.

Dear Sujai:

Thank you for your support. Sorry you family was jailed but I think that would've happened in any country. A genuine federal structure to me seems like the way to go.

Also, perhaps you and grim sunshine have a history. I did not see his mentioning sedition as a veiled threat. Perhaps it was but based on just his last post, I did not see it as a threat.

#63
Sujai
URL
October 24, 2006
01:24 PM

Hello A:
I think I have overreacted. There has been mention of 'treason', 'sedition' and comparison with the terrorists of US by different readers. Usually, I practice restraint. I brush off many remarks. But sometimes it gets to me. Especially when it comes from someone whom I have taken up seriously to answer the queries/questions.

Look at the some of the comments that I received at some of my previous articles. You will get the picture.

#64
A
October 24, 2006
01:42 PM

Hey Sujai,

Yeah, some of the other comments seem to be a bit over the top and completely frivolous. The problem with most discussions and most discussants( and here I am talking about most people, people from the left, right, religious people, liberals, conservatives, nationalists, nihilists,anarchists, libertarians, etc, myself included, everyone basically) is that they sometimes think that they have a monopoly on the truth(especially when they have put considerable thought on the matter). When their arguments are attacked they take it personally. When they are personally attacked then a discussion degenerates into a debate. Opinions which were possibly flexible become rigid and the objective becomes the defence of our opinion instead of us learning from each other, which should be the point of a constructive discussion.

I like your article and I agree with what you say. But more importantly, we need to be able to figure out a way to discuss things and learn from each others experiences. somehow that never happens. I suspect that most of us put insufficient effort as far as trying put ourselves into the other persons shoes.

Again, please don't take this personally. I am making general comments here. Perhaps I am the only one in the world stuggling with this.. perhaps I am the only one who finds it hard to consistently be sensitive to another persons perspective and history while at the same time trying to get my perspective across to them. Ultimately I think it is our unique sets of experiences which will shape our thinking. It is hard to learn from other peoples experiences but it is worth trying.

#65
Sujai
URL
October 24, 2006
02:00 PM

I guess, I will take the cue from A, get inspiration to restrain myself and answer the following:

Grim Sunshine:

For example, advocating dissolution of the nation state is sedition under the law.

I do not advocate dissolution of nation state (here, India). However, I ask for better treatment of its people, I ask for freedoms to certain peoples, I ask for end to killings of people and security personnel. I do recommend, suggest and believe one of the ways to solve Kashmir problem is granting independence to it. While I ask this, I expect this to happen within legal framework of India, where in India will take the necessary steps towards this step. Some leaders in Great Britain, prior to Indian independence, supported and suggested giving independence and freedom to India. Their voice was feeble in the beginning but then gathered momentum to become a practical reality.

I want to say that I am aware of the consequences of writing and suggesting such a solution and that I am prepared for it.

And most journalists would be aware of the fine line between free speech and sedition.

I will not discard this argument but I am not sure if the journalists are more worried about their jobs than being tried for sedition. In India, the people, the mobs and gangs react faster than the law.

While writing about A, you write:
He manages to posit the following ridiculous statement that he doesn't understand how "the glory of Indian civilization will be diminished by the balkanization of the Indian state."

I don't find this ridiculous at all. In fact, I believe the same. I don't think Indian civilization will lose its sheen or glory by losing small tracts of lands and small populations. On the other hand, I believe that it is the greatness of a nation and civilization to let go of certain people if they want freedom from us so badly.

Balkanization is accompanied by ethnic cleansing, genocide, mass rapes - all war crimes which diminish ALL civilizations.

Yes, balkanization has a negative connotation attached to it. But I think when A referred to it, he was overlooking that negative connotation to generally refer to break up of a big empire or a big nation. The breakup of Soviet Union is referred to as balkanization. It did not result in the same bloodbath that Yugoslavia did.

Strange however that "thinkers" like you never entertain the idea of enlarging the boundaries of the Indian state without yelling blue murder, while gleefully anticipating its diminishment.

I would be happy to know if Bhutan or Nepal or Sri Lanka would like to join Indian Union. Will we annex them because they like it or because we want it? If increasing the borders involves aggression, war and rape, I am not for it. If it involves a peaceful coming together (with minor encumbrances, which are unavoidable) like in case of Germany, I am all for it. Which Indian will not be proud of such a scenario?

The poster you were so enthusiastic about begins his post talking of "REALPOLITIK"

I will let A answer this. I think he has answered some of your views above.

#66
temporal
URL
October 24, 2006
02:04 PM

A, grim sunshine, durgesh:

you guys would make for nice contributors here

please check THIS out, join and write posts instead of reacting to posts:)

#67
Sujai
URL
October 24, 2006
02:09 PM

Dear A:
Each of us go through learnings. Some of us become adults too soon - that means we stop learning after that. Some of us are avid learners for a lifetime. I try to learn. But when does the learning stop, when does the teaching start, is a difficult thing to know. While teaching, are your learning, is another difficult question to answer.

Having said that, I do not shy away from taking a stand. I would have doubts, but I am willing to make my opinion clear. That doesn't mean I wouldn't change my opinions. My favorite quote, which I live by, is:
"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality."- Alighieri Dante

I tell myself to stand up, take a stand on all moral crises. In the present scheme, I see Kashmir issue as one of those crises. I am all for solving it, not for keeping it with us while it is bleeding.

I invite you to read some of my thoughts at my blog. E=mc^2

#68
Atlantean
URL
October 24, 2006
03:47 PM

Sujai,

Strange. What's the big difference between ridiculing a group and a person? By ridiculing a group, you're effectively targetting the members of that group. That's so obvious. I dont have to explain further.

However, they do not think it is realistic to go back to those lands given the conditions in those regions.

Unfortunately, there are many who want to go back and even form a Kashmiri Homeland. Here's a website that talks about it: http://www.panunkashmir.org/resolution.html

Do take note of these lines in that resolution:

That all the seven hundred thousand Kashmiri Pandits, which includes those who have been driven out of Kashmir in the past and yearn to return to their homeland and those who were forced to leave on account of the terrorist violence in Kashmir, be settled in the homeland on equitable basis with dignity and honor.

Anyway, I think this is a fruitless debate. We often hit a deadend. I think it's better for us if we stop arguing and wasting our times. We have completely different ideas.

I stop. I agree to disagree with Sujai.

#69
Atlantean
URL
October 24, 2006
04:23 PM

Dear A,

I think we have finally met a person here who is openminded, one who wont involve in circular reasoning, sophistry, deviousness and keep on blabbering about personal attacks like kids, in you.

A warm welcome :)

Yes, the idea of a nation state is artificial. However, just because it is artificial, it doesnt mean it shouldnt exist. Most institutions, judiciary, municipalities, banking systems etc. are artificial. They're necessary. There are many plusses that come from a nation state.

They can be misused as well. I dont deny it. The world is full of examples. Everything can be misused, including religion. Religions are artificial - created by man himself (an exception may be Islam as Muslims believe their religion has been given by Allah.) That's no reason they should not exist.

Even I hope for the day when all human beings will eventually unite into a world spanning entity - when all boundaries, imagined or otherwise, of religion, culture, language, race etc. will be dissolved by love and mutual respect. However, that requires humans to rise above their animal instincts. Today, we have a world in which unspeakable crimes are committed daily by humans belonging to all religions, races, cultures etc. It's a world in which people belonging to one nation want to bleed others "through a thousand cuts." There are heads-of-state who speak and mean things like "Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth." There are nations which give false evidences to justify unwarranted invasions.

In such a world, it is important to form large and powerful entities to act as bulwarks against entities which intend to cause harm. If you notice, most foreign invasions in India took place during times when there was no single entity spanning the entire Indian subcontinent, from the Greek invasions to the British. And whenever there was a single entity (for ex. the Mauryan Empire under Ashoka The Great, the Gupta Empire under Samudragupta, the Mughal Empire under Akbar The Great and even British India), the subcontinent was far more immune to foreign invasions (which often resulted in unspeakable bloodshed. These were periods of stability in which the arts, sciences, humanities, religion etc. all flourished. Even in British India, western science made inroads and religious reform movements took place. Also note that India was safe during WWII from Japanese marauders because of the efforts of the BIArmy. But the periods in which there was no political unity were often marked by war, bloodshed, decadence of social and cultural institutions.

Coming to our era, nation states are the "in thing" in the world today. There are only a few kingdoms, the rest being nation states. I feel the unity of India and its identity as a nation state is of paramount importance and needs to be protected, NOT because I'm a slave to the idea of a nation state but because of practical reasons. I guess you understand why. Just give a thought about what the situation would be if the subcontinent is full of nation states with different religions and interests. The creation of Pakistan, Bangladesh out of India based on religious lines has already done immense harm to the people of all nations in the subcontinent. Wars have been fought. Money that should've been used to provide food to the starving masses has gone into buying arms and building nukes. And today, there's a threat of nuclear war in the region, which may result in the killing/debilitation of hundreds of millions of human beings, whose first concern everyday is to earn two square meals and a little water. Though it's a resource rich region, there has been little economic growth. A large majority of the people of all these countries remain poor.

This is the reason I am against an independant Kashmir or an independant Bodoland, Nagaland or Manipur. I dont want a patchwork of hostile (to each other) states in the subcontinent that build armies and want to go to war, which may ultimately end up as failed states. We're already facing huge problems with two of our neighbouring countries, they're such a drain on us and more Pakistans in the form of Independant Kashmir, Nagaland, Bodoland, Manipur etc. are detrimental to our strategic interests.

It all comes at a cost, yes, at times even individual freedom but that's the sad reality of today's world. As long as there are people in this world who want to kill and harm others (not because of some genuine problem but just because the "others" belong to a different religion, class or political system), we have little choice. It's a VERY hard choice. That doesnt mean I condone the violation of individual freedom. I choose, however, to be more practical. The parents of children involved in child labour have little choice but to resort to something illegal and as inhuman as child labour, not because they support the violation of the dignity of the child but because of practical reasons (which are obvious.)

#70
A = Anshuman
URL
October 24, 2006
09:34 PM

Dear Sujai:

I don't think the learning ever stops. Some of the top mathematicians I have had the opportunity to interact with seldom refer to themselves as masters of the subject. They mostly think of themselves as students of mathematics.

I think teaching and learning go on simultaneously. I think everybody brings something to the table.. if not their thoughts or analysis then their experiences. But I think it is not a simple matter to see a learning opportunity when it presents itself.

It is great that you do not shy away from taking a stand. One needs to have the courage of ones convictions. I will definitely check your blog out and I look forward to discussing things with you.

Dear Temporal:

Thank you. I will check out the article about becoming contributors.


Dear Atlantean:

Thank you for your welcome.

I am happy that you agree with me that a nation state is a man made institution whose purpose is to serve man. I agree with you that one shouldn't abandon an institution(all religions included) simply because the people who we gave the responsibility to run it are abusing their power. We should however either change the people or alter some features of the institution.

I understand the need for a government, an institution which protects its citizens from external and internal monsters, provides a forum for discussion, provides mediation and regulation etc. I certainly do not advocate abandoning the nation state. I just advocate more vigilance on the part of the citizens and a healthy mistrust of the people who are in a position of power. We should rely on efficient contracts and other institutions to provide the right incentives for those in power. We should never accept their (or anybodys) statements on face value and be very very critical of their actions.

Yes I agree that we need a politically stable environment for business to flourish and once business flourishes, the arts will find more partons and advances will be made in science and technology. I agree that we need political stability and economic growth to be able to develop our faculties both as individuals and also at a community level.

You mentioned the Gupta empire, the golden age of India. I would like to also mention the tremendous cultural advances were made by the Cholas, the golden age of tamil culture. Both of these empires were strong and stable while never encompassing the whole subcontinent.

I completely understand your concerns. It is bleeding both the Indian and Pakistani economies to fight this protracted war over kashmir. Young people are dying on cold barren mountains. Shopping malls and trains are being bombed. Kashmiris( hindus and muslims) have seen their heaven on earth transform into a hell. It is terrible and everyone agrees that something must be done about it.

So you suspect that initiating a secession of Kashmir will lead to a domino effect where most of north east will opt to secede, the maoists will demand one third of the country( bihar, orissa, andhra,chattisgarh, jharkhand and parts of maharashtra) The tamils will want to form a country around the palk strait and so on. And if this happens there will be forced migration of people from one place to another, there will be looting and theiving, the economy will basically collapse and it will take the region several years to recover from the chaos.And then there will be the subsequent wars, water disputes etc etc.

Certainly, if there is indeed such a domino effect then it would be disasterous for most Indians.

Perhaps you and sujoi and others could talk about why there may or may not be a domino effect. It would be great for all of us following this discussion.

But I suppose I disagree with you about the rights of groups of people to demand self-determination( if not in a nation-state, then in a true federal setup). I believe that a nation is a false god but I support your right to stop the break up of India( for reasons of political stability and peace)just as much as I support their right to create a Nagalim or Kashmir( for reasons of self-determination).

I don't think it is correct to dictate terms to people and make decisions on their behalf. I think a much more useful thing to attempt would be to create a consensus, to create grounds for reconciliation. Ofcourse it takes two to tango. But I belive it can be done, must be done.

I am not talking about the specifics of kashmir because I don't know too much about it.

I think individual liberty is too fundamental a right to be sacrificed even if your intentions and goals are honourable. Tell Atlantean, do you believe that ends justify the means?

#71
Anshuman
October 24, 2006
10:15 PM

Ofcourse when I talk of liberty, I mean at all times that the actions of individuals do not impinge on the liberty of others, do not cause physical harm to the person and property of other individuals. In that sense a hasty and ill thought out partition, like the one in 1947, is criminal and ruling something like that does not constitute suppression of an individual or groups liberty. A protracted, well planned and peaceful secession, if such a thing even exists, will be consistent with not violating any individuals liberty.

#72
grim sunshine
URL
October 25, 2006
08:46 AM

For some reason, my response for you cannot be posted on the site Anshuman. So my apologies that we are unable to continue our discussion. The adminstrators obviously feel that a reasoned debate is more dangerous than the insults traded on the forum.

#73
Aaman
URL
October 25, 2006
11:09 AM

Grim Sunshine, various spam words (used by spammers) are added to the stopwords list that can block larger words containing them - methinks you have the commie word (social...) in your comment - if so, please confirm, and the erectile drug will be removed from the stop list.

#74
A = Anshuman
URL
October 25, 2006
11:15 AM

Dear grim sunshine,

IS there some place else you can post it? or you can email me at anshumandc at gmail dot com. I created this just for desicritic five minutes back

#75
Aaman
URL
October 25, 2006
12:21 PM

Anshuman/Grim, if you'd like to be Desicritics, please email me

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