Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Jaipur Carnage: Search for Answers Will Take Time

I wish to start by offering my condolences to the families of the people who suffered in the recent blasts in Jaipur.

A police investigation is underway, and from available media reports on the investigation - it appears that perpetrators shifted some elements of the modus operandi. It is not clear to me if this was simply a ruse to throw off investigators or if this is an actual shift in the network of groups that form "Terror Inc."

Establishing the actual chain of responsibility for such events is always difficult at best and it will take time - I urge people to be patient.

I wish to remind people that if this terror is perpetrated from Pakistan - the overall aim will be to polarise the Indian public opinion. There is very well established Hindu-Muslim divide in India and there is an industry of sorts dedicated to exploiting that. Old timers may recall that during the 1993 blasts in Mumbai - the objective of the Pakistani participation was the same - to exploit the Hindu-Muslim divide to secure a more positive disposition towards Pakistan among India's Muslims. If one is serious about defeating the perpetrators of Pakistani sponsorred terrorism - then one has to remove religious animosity and hatred from one's heart.

Let also put it in a more practical way - targetting India's Muslims does not make the police's job easier. It only create more mistrust and breeds animosty - on the whole it does not help us fight this problem.

I note that people in their rush to discuss things are forgetting that press coverage is the oxygen that most terrorist groups thrive on. There is talk of devising "comprehensive strategies" to deal with the "problem of terrorism" and deal with things on a "war" footing. Perhaps a media silencing strategy should form a part of the comprehensive solution. I think CM Raje's idea of setting up mechanisms to enchance the communication between State and Central counter terrorism resources is a reasonable one. It may be worthwhile for the IT gurus to think about that.

Aside of that there are a few more serious questions that I feel need to be asked at this point -

1) Has the degradation of the Pakistani Army-Mullah relationship after Lal Masjid - led to a decline in the ability of the Pakistani Army to control the Jihadi groups? and

2) Is the declining political stature of the Pakistan Army inside Pakistan being interpreted by as incentive for independent acts by terrorist groups?

The two questions sound similar but there is a subtle difference between them and I leave it my readers to debate this aspect.

23 Comments:

At 8:26 PM, Blogger maverick said...

An interesting article by Praveen Swami.

http://www.hindu.com/2008/05/17/stories/2008051754761100.htm

My comments -

The Jihad inside Pakistan has metastasized. The ability of the Pakistan Army and its "pocket" mullahs to control it is declining and new breed of Jihadi leaders are emerging that are speaking directly to economically marginalised segments of Pakistani society and advocating a Jihad which may or may not play to the Pakistan Army's advantage. Most of the Pak Army and its pocket Jihadi leaders are too busy shoring up their own precarious positions to be willing to interface on India's behalf (or America's for that matter).

It is likely that these groups in Pakistan will be keen to push for recruiting into India - it is quite simply a number game, there are more muslims in India, so there are more potential recruits. From the perspective of containing terrorism in India - the engagement with the Pakistan Army - though not damaging - will prove less than effective.

I wonder that the Pakistan Army and their pocket Jihadis will be keen to assist India (and others) in ensuring that these neo Jihadis do not achieve levels of success they themselves could not aspire for. At the very least sub-sectarian loyalties are likely to emerge. We saw this in Kashmir - we will see it here.

There is no Muslim middle class in India. There is very little upward mobility for Muslims in the socio-economically depressed sections of Indian Muslim society. This lack of upward mobility is likely to legitimise the language of violence among the poor.

Jihadist philosophy are likely to find a receptive audience among the poor for a short while - perhaps a decade or so before the levels of violence escalate to the point where a sense of futility kicks in even among the poor.

The creation of new contact points and communication nodes with the poor Muslims in India could provide a way to dull the sting here. At the very least - this will ensure that affirmative action program put into place by the Sachar Committee's recommendations can be fine tuned without unnecessary flareups.

A modern Indian muslim narrative will act as an antidote to a major mess right now.

 
At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>There is no Muslim middle class in India. There is very little upward mobility for Muslims in the socio-economically depressed sections of Indian Muslim society. This lack of upward mobility is likely to legitimize the language of violence among the poor.



In a scenario where showing mercy to Muslims is interpreted as Dhimmitude and a real piece of work like Mu-Moo strides like a colossus, something like the Sachar Report would have as much appeal as a road accident. 'specially when the popular perception is that the fault lies solely with the innate nature of the Muzlim (sic) and the dinosaur of his holy text.

To an extent this perception is true. Social structure of Muslims, especially in the small-town and urban areas, drives them to eschew integration and makes them adopt symbols and quirks that mark their "uniqueness". With creeping Wahabism and foreign machinations this system directly leads to the volatile elements adopting violence.
But whenever someone asks me why use their hard earned money to pave the way for some smelly Muslim from the ghetto, to save him from the very system the latter swears by, I point to the tidal wave of resources spend to do the same with the depressed Hindu classes and the peasants/lower classes of newly independent India. I ask them why India nearly went bankrupt in the late 60s to the extent we had rolling plans and were prey to the tender mercies of the Americans. If the Govt can swindle so much money to do away with evils of Hindu religious system and socio-political and economic ills of Hindu societies{Oh, I forgot! This caste system we are familiar with was invented and perpetuated by the British! Sorry onlee.}, why not do the same for Muslims now that we are better off?
"But those policies were not directed at Hindus alone. Those Muslims also could have taken advantage of the...." goes the other guy and I interrupt and ask them what the demographic pattern of Muslim societies was (and is) in *India*. I ask them which sections where the greatest beneficiaries of the agricultural, land and tenancy reforms. I ask them what were the professions of most Muslims who stayed back in Indian Territory... and where they lived. I ask them who exactly were targeted by those great governmental and private programs like Sulabh/Corporations Initiative etc. And then, which sections were the greatest beneficiaries of the Green and White Revolutions in India? And what were the true nature of those programs and who could make best use of it... kinda explains why it worked in 4-5 states and fizzled elsewhere.
{PS: Thought/counterpoints on this are welcome; I got a few questions on this and there are a cpl of black holes I have encountered....}

I am not saying Muslims were intentionally screwed by a newly independent India.... no way! We ain't a US or China. Uplifting the Muslim sections require a different, scaled approach and back then we frankly didn't have the time, money and capability to embark on those programs. There were also other things going on with respect to heart land Muslim communities and certain Muslim leaders that made things a bit more difficult. Reams of insightful material have been ALREADY written by our sociologists, but that profession seems to be under the cross hairs of the brave new jingoworld. *All* sociologists are apparently funded by EJs and are their minds are shackled by Macaulay's Ghost.

Anyway, this negative attitude of the DCH is reminiscent of all those Zamindar/Banker types who filed case after case in the courts and screamed hoarse in their watering holes about how their life's work is being taken away for some wretches who became that way only because of their own Karma. I still remember with distaste a thread which showed by means of anecdotal evidence, safety-in-numbers and plain innuendo that Muslims were "not so behind Hindus on the average". Oh well....

BTW, I personally don't lavv these Sachar/Mandal thingies. I am someone who had been repeatedly screwed by such affirmative action stuff, in both academic and professional life. But then no gain without pain, eh? And maybe all this will wither away down another generation or two...
JMT.

-Anand K.

 
At 11:26 PM, Blogger sudeep said...

>> I point to the tidal wave of resources spend to do the same with the depressed Hindu classes and the peasants/lower classes of newly independent India. I ask them why India nearly went bankrupt in the late 60s to the extent we had rolling plans and were prey to the tender mercies of the Americans.

Can you point out some references/sources that substantiate your thesis ? [India went nearly bankrupt because a tidal wave of resources was spent on the emancipation of 'Hindu depressed classes'].

>> But whenever someone asks me why use their hard earned money to pave the way for some smelly Muslim from the ghetto, to save him from the very system the latter swears by

Any govt. sponsored program that is exclusively for the benefit of only one religion, especially Islam, is a non-starter in India. Like it or not, this is the fact of the matter.

Long term poverty alleviation programs will probably result in a reduction of terrorist activity, to the extent its caused by economic malaise, whether its naxalites or Jehadis. But assuming economics to be the complete explanation for all Jehadi terrorism is surely a stretch. After all, such terrorist activities are hardly the preserve of poor countries or poor people.

>> BTW, I personally don't lavv these Sachar/Mandal thingies. I am someone who had been repeatedly screwed by such affirmative action stuff, in both academic and professional life. But then no gain without pain, eh? And maybe all this will wither away down another generation or two...

Somehow, the idea of communal justice is accepted in India without any serious examination of the premise. Plainly stated, this is the argument, that an injustice to a large number of people who have some common demographic trait - they belong to a particular caste, gender or religion - can be addressed by loading the balance against the demographic that is judged to have committed the injustice, even though that may have happened in a different place and time.

Anyone, who has been at the sharp end of this brand of justice can appreciate that there is no justice in such ideas, only injustice twice over, perhaps to be addressed by similar ideas in reverse in future ? There is no gain in such ideas, only pain.

 
At 4:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

-About 30-40% of the total outlay in the first plans was devoted to the agriculture+irrigation+rural developmental welfare initiative. The GoI even encouraged movements like Bhoodan and other smaller land gift programs and went out of their way to get things done, sometimes in the face of judicial ire.
Now, how many Muslim farmers does one hear of? An overwhelming majority of IM (I.e. the ones who stayed behind) are urban and rely on art & craft and services. There are historic reasons starting from the state controlled economy of the crown lands of the Mughal Sultanate (and it's breakaway states) to the different revenue settlements and the zamindari profiles instituted by the British after Buxar etc. to why Muslims in present day Indian Territory are not so involved in agriculture... and this is despite more than an half of them living in the Gangetic plain. It was precisely to control and exploit those Muslims involved in large scale agriculture under the old feudal systems (and their lands), that this Pakistan was created.
This emancipation was bulwarked by the abolition of discrimination (strongly instituted in Hindu society... perhaps to greater degrees than in Xtian and Muslim ones) and sops to SC/ST. It looks simple when you say it in black and white- “Abolish discrimination! Off with their heads!”.... But to get it done on the ground it takes a lot of time, resources and the muscle power of the state. Many folks don't know this but back then in parts of Maharashtra and MP there were riots with villages raising their own “national flags” when faced with the prospect of the “old ways” being pulled down and consequent paramilitary ops. Why go that far back.... don't we see the same stuff every other day in the news channels now? The *social welfare* thingie (even without the economic aspect of it) has cost us much more than what most folk thinks it to be.

The reason why *newly* independent India went agriculture-social welfare heavy (despite the publicized din on Industry) are obvious.... and Muslims were largely left out of the benefits and the effects of GoI efforts in this regard. I mean, if the GoI had stressed private capital, industry, craft, trade and gone urban-development heavy instead, right after '47, things could have been very very very different... :)


-Hindu society was also under the strangle-hold of “age-old traditions” and well-entrenched gasbags (like the Mullahs and small-town Syeds/Sahibs/Hajis in the IM community today). Their power was broken by the loss of control over the systems which made them powerful, viz. Temples, agricultural land, private granaries, rigged hatta markets, de-facto status as instituters of social legality/traditions and the direct link to the Gora Sahib. This started to disintegrate in a major way after of the Mahatma entered the INM scene. One can imagine the boost this gave to Hindus and how this offset helped us once we were free.
Finding out why exactly this initial breakaway didn't happen with Muslims can be very illuminating. Explanations like “Oh, they are just Muslims... whaddya expect?!” and “Fossilized Koran” is IMO trivial.


-The early efforts to improve sanitation in India have not had public health as their MAIN objective. Instead, it has been liberation of LARGE sections of Hindu untouchables from the "degrading" occupation of cleaning dry toilets and carrying away buckets of excreta on their heads as well as general sanitation/undertaking. The massive GoI projects (before the brilliantly conceived and executed Sulabh program) largely failed but still an ungodly amount of money was spent and infrastructure set up. It was only after the reforms in the municipal corporation and the arrival of wet latrines that the objective was met.


-There are other examples..... NOT including those Syed Shahabuddin arguments like “Oh, you evil Hindus replaced Urdu and Arabic with Angrezi and educated Muslims were screwed!”


Large sections of Indian Muslims kinda fell by the wayside in our country's bumpy ride to stardom; it was party their own fault but a significant responsibility lies in the choices “we” took in that ride too. Again, one thing must be clear.... it was not because the Govt was inherently pro-X or anti-Y, 'twas just...... collateral damage.
What's required now is to wean off the IM from his Haji-daddies with truly national political organizations (I don't see why even the BJP could have a lot more of showboys from the IM) stepping in as the new sugar-daddies..... and see to it that there ain't no horizontal largesses/power distribution this time. We don't want a repeat of the post-Mandal re-alignments in the executive and legislature..... it's simply more trouble than it's worth. There are ways to reach to the masses directly rather than go through the old Nawab/Haji/Syed channels... I suspect that's what they are ultimately trying to do with the new program. But there's still the problem of control of Muslim holy places/waqf/madrassa curriculum etc that still ties a lot of aam IM to the old wormwood; is that the last item in the list once the junta is awakened and weaned away or is there something else we don't see?


BTW, it's true that economics ain't the sole reason behind terrorism; there are enough rich/educated folks who want to “change” the world to fit his beliefs..... or even see it burn. However adoption of violent jihad as THE way by whole swathes of the population is simply due to economic reasons (with a dash of indoctrination). The more radical mullahs have these sheeple under their thumb not just by the virtue of their interpretation of Jihad, it's by promising them that old pie-in-the-sky that would naturally follow after the “wicked rulers of the earth are swept away and Allah's laws are set in place”. Yeah right, when did we hear this the last time? Hitler controlled the Germans (already high on notions of Manifest Destiny, Teutonic Knight imagery and Drang Nacht Osten since the unification.... you won't believe the sh1t the daddies and mumies of the WW2 generation smoked) with a heady dose of lebensraum, plentiful food and raw material, cheap servants and captive markets.


Strictly J.M.Informed.T onlee.

-Anand K

{PS: On a related note let me reiterate what Maverick has mentioned many times here.... leaving tribals and the rural poor of India will feed movements like Naxalism and criminal bands. Copper-Bottomed “mainstream” bharataputras who got here first (prolly due to reasons mentioned here and by virtue of birth) must make some space for their stories too.}

 
At 7:59 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi,

I apologise for making that first comment in a bit of haste.

In my rush to post the Praveen Swami article, I forgot to cite a conversation that I had with Chappandaz over the weekend.

In the conversation, Chappandaz pointed out that there is virtually *NO* programming on Zee TV directed at Indian Muslims.

Per Chappandaz's (IMO accurate) observations the entire lineup of serials on Zee TV treats Indian Muslims as very elaborate showpieces - little ornaments that are trinkled over serials on Zee.

There is just no human interest story featuring a young Indian Muslim protagonist. The Muslims on Indian TV are always displayed in extremes - either as well adjusted i.e. "chote bhai/khan chacha" roles, or as bottomless malcontents i.e. "terrorists" bent on murdering innocent men women and children to achieve their Islamist aims.

Wherever possible on our TV -references to Muslims are exaggerated - bizarre ripoffs of Kamal Amrohi's own surreal interpretations of the opulence of the late Mughal courts where a thinly disguised air of growing irrelevance hangs.

That last line in my post

"A modern Indian muslim narrative will act as an antidote to a major mess right now."

is a summary of my reaction to Chappandaz's comments in this regard.

Again - I have no problems with populism on TV and I can understand if this kind of Punjabi/Gujurati centric programming sells.

Also I laud Zee TV's stellar role in bringing womens' issues to the fore through "Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi" and also the brillant work done by Sri. C. P. Dwivedi with political drama.

However I find the absence of a modern Indian Muslim drama on Zee perplexing.

I agree Zee's programming demonstrates the tolerant nature of Indian society. It presents a "great society" with equal rights and privileges for men and women that the average Indian Muslim can aspire to seamlessly integrate into.

I ask people here the following questions:

However how precisely is the average Indian Muslim to do this?

How is he/she to wend through a gauntlet of poverty and religious orthodoxy to get to this goal?

Who is he/she to take as an example - who is he/she to look up to?

By not fostering an "adjustment" story - essentially a modern muslim narrative - are we leaving the place uncontested for Pakistan's nefarious designs and plots?

An alternative way of looking at this is - if we can develop a story that the modern Indian Muslim can relate to and use as a guide to navigate the challenges imposed by changing economy of our times, perhaps we can offer something that cools the fires inside Pakistan.

So bearing in mind India's extended cultural reach - are we failing our responsibility by trying address this?

Again - ofcourse - these are just my views and not those of anyone I may or may not know.

 
At 8:09 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear AnandK,

Lately my response to the proponents of the "Dhimmitude is Bad" philosophy is the following.

Ultimately if a repeat of the partition is to be avoided, we must all learn to live like brothers and sisters.

If a Muslim is to be *your* younger brother/sister - you can't treat them like an unwanted slave. Be mindful of their needs, respectful of their culture and take into account their social handicaps.

At the end of the day - the partition demonstrates the perils of using religion as a tool for social consolidation. What little consolidation and unity is achieved comes at a high cost in blood, toil and tears of its innocent victims.

Turning the "Hindu masses" into a "Muslim style" votebank isn't going to make this problem of socio-economic gaps any easier to deal with.

It is important to recognise this divergence between the needs of society and the needs of politics.

 
At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@@ Anand K

You lay down an interesting and plausible thesis - that Indian development has largely bypassed Indian muslims - but it needs to be substantiated by facts.

Having said that, you'll notice that even if what you claim is correct, i.e. irrigation projects/land reform etc. were defacto Hindu reforms, they were never dejure Hindu specific programs. De'jure muslim population specific programs will not go anywhere in India. There will never be enough of a political will to constitute these, and if there is, there will be sufficient mistrust in the muslim community to thwart the purpose of these programs.

Bottom line is, while economic programs may work in the long run, we need mechanisms to deal with the issue in the medium/short term.

---

If you go through the Pravin Swamy article and his description of the email, you see that the grievances and the political agenda outlined is not related to economics at all. Its a much more ambitious agenda, - of opposing the US, violently furthering the cause of the ummah (whatever that cause may be), destroying the faith of Hindus in "dirty mud", slowing down the economic progress of India.

Thats the agenda, and the grievances are Babri masjid and Godhra riots.

The revenge motive is outlined in : "a single [Muslim] home is attacked by thousands of [Hindu] terrorists, [a] single woman is raped by hundreds of men,".

Curiously, Kashmir is not mentioned at all. Its only a matter of time though.

Incoherent though it may be, this is the manifesto and the propaganda, and it needs to be countered at several different levels.
1) Sensationalist portrayals of Communal Riots must be dealt with an iron hand.
2) The idea of communal justice in India must be repudiated, and the individual must be made the center of all our freedoms and justice. Ideas in this line of thought such as the Sachar committee report must be thrown out.
3) A general economic program that uplifts all must be instituted.
4) Jehadi propaganda from across the border *must* be muted. To do this, we must take this subliminal war to the doorstep of our neighbors.

Sudeep

 
At 9:13 PM, Anonymous alok_n said...

Boss log,

This will come out as callous ... probably even insensitive ...

However, IMO, India has perfected the Ultimate Weapon against terrorism ...

and that weapon is INDIFFERENCE ...

If some Jehadi out fit kills 100,000 people and society says "Ho-Hum", what did the jehadi gain?

 
At 1:34 AM, Anonymous Ananya said...

Alok_n:

Actually you are not the first person to suggest this. Many moons ago, a variant the same thinking was packaged as the "monkey hand in the bottle" theory by Kgoan. AT the time I refused to believe it, but now...

Mavericks post is an excellent example of the GoI baboo$e attitude: take no particular action, sit on their musharraf and sing paeans to patience etc. All this, while countless die. If someone does protest, use the classical tactics of:

1. Gag the press or discussion by throwing the national security card , or it helps terrorists designs. Baboo$e seems to have learnt this one from their masters in USA.

2. Discredit whoever is initiating the said discussion by denigrating them as fundamentalist, DCH or whatever the flavour of the month it is.

Meanwhile, there are no creative solutions from them, nor implementation of suggestions by others.

Mav, the chai biscoot sessions seem to be working. You are now talking like them.

Please dont respond by saying how terrorists want press, how full scale wars are not possible, how covert action is not possible, how any action by us plays into the hands of terrorists, how this alienates the muslims, how this plays into hands of hindu fundies, how this will cause partition and some other variant of "Oh, the noes! sky is falling, cats are fornicating with dogs" BS. While some of the points may be valid, Baboo$e in India use them as a visa to have chai biscoot and do precisely nothing.

 
At 2:01 AM, Anonymous Ananya said...

Added later:

Actually doing nothing or indifference serves many goals:

1. It shields the baboo$e from the consequences of their action since none is taken in the first place

2. It allows the baboo$e to squelch people from asking unnecessary and inconvenient questions

3. It allows the baboo$e to devote time to pursuits such as discussing the finer differences between the 2 points that Maverick mentioned at the end of his post. Such discussions do absolutely zilch, nada to solve the problem and serve as red herrings, but allow the baboo$e to distract others from the actual problem. Even if something came out of discussing said nuances, the net effect is zero, since the baboo$e dont do anything in the first place. See point 1 above. :)

 
At 7:05 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Ananya,

It does not seem smart to me - for anyone even remotely associated with the GoI to discuss our options publicly.

I know India has a high threshold of pain but I doubt the GoI can afford to be as indifferent or cavalier about this as the general public. There are simply too many suraksha karmacharis with their lives on the line to ignore this.

At the end of the day, the general public will go through the usual cycles of grief and I imagine the Rakshaks will rant for a day or two, but the men and women of the GoI with will remain on the frontlines long after the Rakshaks have gone to bed.

Perhaps the Rakshaks do not appreciate the *YEARS* it takes to seed people inside these groups and loss that occurs when an asset of this nature is compromised. I doubt that the Rakshaks would be particularly sensitive to that kind of detail oriented thinking. I simply don't think they get that every time you pull an Israeli style stunt you risk physically closing high value information channels.

If the Jihadi beast is out of control in Pakistan, as Praveen Swami's article suggests (note the part about *existing* organisations distancing themselves from various parts of the email) - then one has to talk about what we can do to stop this problem from metastasizing on our side.

It would appear to me that JEM's old comment about "fissiparous tendencies" inside Pakistani Islam is becoming truer by the minute.

The direct criticism of Deoband voiced in the email is novel. Such criticism has always been privately voiced but thus far we have never seen anything emerging in print in this fashion.

Any criticism in print of Deobandi leaders has always emerged from well established sources within the Barelvi and Ahl-e-Hadith communities.

It may be worth recalling here that the confrontation between the Lal Masjid leadership and the Pakistan Army was essentially a conflict between Pakistani Deobandi clerics and the Pakistan Army.

By contrast - the LeT/Ahl-e-Hadith factions have remained detached from this. Their utterances at the Jihad conference held at the Masjid days before the storming were very muted compared to the usual fire and brimstone stuff we have seen them pull.

I attributed this to a regime of cohabitation that emerged between the Pakistan Army and the Ahl-e-Haddith in the aftermath of the betrayal of the predominantly deobandi and mostly Pashtun-Punjabi Taliban. I think a close bond was formed between the LeT and the ISI after Sept 11 because the ISI's old deobandi allies reacted extremely poorly to Gen. Musharraf's policy shift in Afghanistan.

I see two scenarios here which may have precipitated after Lal Masjid-

1) As implicitly suggested in the IMAN article, a faction of Deobandis unhappy with the way in which their leadership has been compromised by the Pak Army is trying to provoke a confrontation between India and Pakistan that forces the PA to become more Deobandi friendly in its outlook or

2) LeT/Ahl-e-Haddith has been asked by ISI to build channels to muslims in India outside of the traditional Deobandi/ Barevli/Muslim Underworld channels. This recruitment process has to be conducted in a subversive fashion inside Deobandi and Barevli led congregations and the process is generating a fresh and unaudited crop of radicals/sociopaths.

I do not wish to speculate on how one would distinguish between these scenarios based on available intelligence but I feel this would influence any course of action that GoI may or may not take.

Also I wish to clarify - I am not saying that this had anything to do with the Jaipur blasts. I feel we have to await the full results of the investigation. All my comments are about the problem of growing radicalism among India's marginalised Muslims.

As far as I can tell - the only thing I can safely comment about publicly is the lack of a voice among India's marginalised Muslims.

No... I am not talking about the guys in Jamia Nagar that Mayank Austen Soofi photographs eating pizza and who pine about the loss of the Mughal era opulence. You might see these folks in random places.

I am talking about the beggars, prostitutes, drug addicts and their families who sit on the sides of the Jama Masjid that Mayank Austen Soofi dedicates one measly article to on his website.

While the Imam Sahab speaks of compassion and kindness to his congregation, it appears the poor get to see very little of this. You could walk past these people and not see them.

Yet I feel - the scene outside the Jama Masjid is merely an anachronism - these streets and gutters, this is where the bulk of India lived no less than 40 years ago. Hell... the bulk of todays newly empowered lower tier OBCs were this way in the late 70s.

Just as we aimed policy to uplift the bulk of these people then so must we aim national policy again - toward the bottom most segments and this time we cannot afford to ignore sectarian aspects of the economic divide (just as we could not ignore the caste aspects earlier), the line is simply too obvious.

 
At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>BTW, I personally don't lavv these Sachar/Mandal thingies. I am someone who had been repeatedly screwed by such affirmative action stuff, in both academic and professional life. But then no gain without pain, eh? And maybe all this will wither away down another generation or two...
JMT.

-Anand K.
______________________

Lost your bearings friend. You have reams and reams of data and information, yet, you question the stance and positions of your self acclaimed political leanings. What gives?

I will suggest that you go back and look at the debates of the original sin, reservations for SC/ST - articles 15(4) and 16(4) and 330/332, what was Nehru's stance then on these, what were his expectations, Who were the people who made the constitution a social amelioration document and couple this with the minority appeasements that started with articles 29 and 30.

Then track these original sins, with SC judgments making a mockery of the original intent of the framers and the principle of "merit" in governance and providing a free reign to the politicians.

If you have read, all there is to read and still believe that the British had no role to play in this "race to the bottom" then, I guess, we do live in different worlds with different facts or maybe our worldviews do not allow us to look at these facts the same way.

Do look at in detail at what the 7 point formula of Mandal is seeking to achieve? Based on what census is Mandal itself based upon? What is the economic weight given in Mandal with in the 7 point classification scheme?

Coming to Sachar - just one point, did it even attempt to look at the reality of what you yourself know of the majority of Muslims in the country, their trade craft and how they report their income to the authorities to come to a determination on their economic status in the country?

What needs to be done here is to dismantle the original sins. Repeal articles 15(4) and 16(4) and provide reservations/affirmative action, only on the economic criteria.
(Please do not tell me this cannot be done, if ration cards can be issued on an economic basis).

Articles 29 and 30, need to be repealed and will serve in the dismantling of the ghettos. Why should any Indian be opposed to policies that promote more integration?

The choice is yours my friend, to speak for protection of these vote banks or to support policies, which will promote a more egalitarian and socially cohesive society.

The 22.5% for SC/ST, supposed to be for only 10 years, keeps on getting extensions and we are 60 now. The SC "limit" of 50% is being challenged and violated in states. While everyone is at it, the Muslims, Christians and even the Sikhs want to jump on this government run largess band wagon.

If you truly want to help the average Muslim, and a majority of them do live in urban areas, all this Muslim youth has to do is step out of the ghetto and the opportunities are there.

Do not think it is a generation or two thingie, the cancer of the original sin has to be thrown out or it will completely consume us - in this race to the bottom, in the only country in the world.

- The constitution rambler

 
At 1:09 PM, Anonymous alok_n said...

Ananya,

You conveniently took my words to mean that Babus are indifferent ... I had written that all of India is indifferent ... that includes you and I ...

typing stuff on the internet is not "action" ... it is just venting ... for example, even on DF such blasts used to be worth about 4 to 5 iterations of a thread ... this one is fizzling out after about 2 pages on 2nd volume of the thread ...

folks have gotten indifferent even to the venting ...

 
At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So its now suggested that post-independence India went almost bankrupt due to the Pro-Hindu, Screw-muslim policies of GoI!
Its right up there with the best of the jholawallahs' - "Hindu rate of growth" abominations.

Even going down the path where the majority might need to endure much more pain and be a lot more accomodating in the interest of harmony is IMHO an aceptable line of thought/discussion. But the above is down-right pathetic.

Pradeep

 
At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rambler,

Right to Equality is pretty useless unless there are systems which guarantee that once can make use of that right..... and only if there exists in the targeted sections an ability to do so. Some people like to claim there is no correlation b/w poverty and caste AND upward mobility and caste in these times.... but this exists despite the best efforts of the govt and some genuine private parties.
After a lifetime of stories on “higher poverty levels of forward castes” and other similar mostly urban narratives I had a chance to see a LOT of India in my old job. The katta panchayats and Kangaroo Courts, whole districts where casteism still turns the wheel, dust bowls and lands that rather belong to the Medieval Age. Being poor is bad enough, but being poor and low-caste is hell. In most parts of rural India there are apparently “additional support systems/social backups and old-boy networks” for the needy among the forward castes in times of calamity or dire need. Such support systems/social norms don't exist for rural and small-town Low Castes, at least not on significant levels. Not even with a hyperventilating Mayavati or a bloated Mulayam Singh or random Low Caste CM s from INC/BJP could low-castes and OBCs build up such systems (and how can they in such a short period of like 40-50 yrs?). And it's not just Panchayat Institutions, things run deeper and broader than that.... and in these current times too!
There is still the need for a caste-based reservations system, with a creamy-layer clause (to filter out leeches and avoid unnecessary conflict), even after two generations down Independence.

On that note I must say the Mandal method (which led to certain caste groups hogging power) and the DMK shenanigans of the 60s-70s (which led to the Nadar/Vanniyar domination and reverse discrimination) have weaknesses, that is why we are seeing this horizontal largesses instead of a desirable vertical consolidation and true upward mobility. Folks who swear by Ambedkar and Anna claim that the first task is to build a top heavy layer who can later push for more sops/benefits for their aam aadmi. Yeah, right! Irresponsible, cynical, narrow-minded wank3rs....
As I see it this whole reservations thing seeks to do away with the very classification thing, which is tied to economic standing emanating from like 15 centuries of “tradition”, by a few generations. A generation or two down the descendant of the (possibly) undeserving low-caste guy who beat you out will be socially on the same socio-economic and maybe political level (in every sense) as your descendant. And for those who speak of “this means impending caste conflict” down the road, I would rather have people fighting on the top (i.e. at the same level) rather than groups entrenched at the top fighting groups at the bottom and those groups trying to get to the top. Note that due to extremely skewed power-structure, insensitive state/provincial governments and executives dominated by High Castes (and side-effects of Hindi Language agitations) vis-a-vis actual demographics led to the Tam Brahm exodus from TN once the Munnetra Kazhagam stormed in. This was despite the legacy of the old Valamkai-Edamkai structures and curious localized pecking order/local systems of Tamil Nadu, which was kinda much better than the Cow Belt Czars and the British Jajmans and Mahals. So Imagine what could very well might happen in places like “BIMARU”.
Some kind of conflict on these fault lines is inevitable methinks.... what we can try to do is do away with the skewing and the pecking-order that could make this conflict more violent and bitter. And wait, I don't think the “Hindus all” or Vanvasi Kalyan type models of the BJP/Sangh can really solve this problem... at least not in the current way they are conceptualized.

And BTW, I haven't lost my bearing. I do think it's hard luck *for me* that I was born into this reservations system and I might occasional rail against the undeserving fu(kers who beat me simply 'coz of virtue of birth, but ultimately I have learned to accept it as a bitter-pill (or a painkiller/topical irritant when you think of that) in the larger scheme of things. I'm such a nice, "broadminded" SLIME pinko, no?



PPS: I don't see why reservations for the poor (“poverty” in this case has to be defined... there are many grades and types of poverty) can't be made in the General Category allotments. You can even exclude the non-General Category folks from this reservations. Okay, if not as an entirely new reservations system (due the SC ruling on 50% total reservations), financial standing can made be a deciding factor when churning out rank lists and cycle charts in the General Category. We have a creamy layer in the OBC reservations that takes care of the leeches latched to the generous mammaries of our welfare state, why not have this explicitly codified parameter in the General Category? The poorest of the smartest can get to the top spots and we all will be happy, eh?! :)

PPPS: You stumbled on the “dastardly origins of reservations” theory, eh? And I see the old tangential implications on “ resulting minority appeasements” and slippery-slope too. Well..... :)

IMVHO, JMT, JM2c, Caveat Empor, Pinkos rule, All votes for the evil Hand and all that.....


-Anand K

 
At 2:16 AM, Anonymous kg said...

Anand dude, yer know I'm starting to enjoy the cutting edge of your posts as much as I do Alok's.

One day in the near future (whatever "near" is), all us maverick chamchas are gonna have to meet some where and have an honest-to-gawd gupshup session.

Course, we'll havta include maverick as well, coz he's gonna supply the bread-omlette . . . right Mav?

kg.

 
At 7:51 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello,

I think it is pretty specious to argue that Hindus were not the benificiaries of post-Independence government largesse.

I count social upliftment of numerous backward/oppressed castes as sign of how much progress we have made.

And I would be lying to you if I said that those backward castes were not predominantly Hindu.

I count the Green Revolution as a sign of our success and I would be lying to you if I said Hindus did not dominate the benifit from accrued from this. From a simple numbers point of view - the Hindus benifited more.

I would also be lying to your face if I told you that most of the women who benifited from post independence reforms were not Hindus.

I can't forget how GoI failed Muslim women spectacularly in the Shah Bano case - and after that we complain when Muslim women despite their cloistered state - don't willingly come to police officers and rat out their terrorist sympathizing husbands?

I do not subscribe to the idea that Hindus benifited from post-independence GoI largesse purely because of their "natural" sense of industriousness. I think to great measure GoI and its allies in industry carefully tailored policies to suit the Hindus.

The Muslims weren't discriminated against - they were simply left behind.

It is time to change that and Sachar is a step in the right direction.

Kg and Anand,

Count me in.

BTW I will be out on family errands the next few days so please excuse my tardiness in replying.

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger sudeep said...

>>>> I think it is pretty specious to argue that Hindus were not the benificiaries of post-Independence government largesse.

And its honest to indulge in a truth-by-assertion argument ?

You and Anand K are yet to produce a single convincing argument, that the green revolution/white revolution has bypassed muslims. Its an interesting hypothesis and perhaps even plausible at first sight, but a single argument that adds weight to the thesis has not been presented yet.

>>> I can't forget how GoI failed Muslim women spectacularly in the Shah Bano case..

So is your recipe for bringing up the Indian muslim community via legislative and judicial reform ? A very convincing argument can be made that the actions in this case were by secular wallahs who wanted the 'muslim vote bank' by way of appeasing the more hardline muslim elements.

>> I think to great measure GoI and its allies in industry carefully tailored policies to suit the Hindus. The Muslims weren't discriminated against - they were simply left behind.

These are loaded statements, even if you step back from the brink just one sentence later. Were these policies a zero sum game ?

>>> It is time to change that and Sachar is a step in the right direction.

Sachar is simply more of the same old, same old way of doling out communal justice. Its not going to result in anything but more bitterness and a cementing of the hindu muslim divide by way of legislation. Ensuring greater political representation for muslims, and a greater presence at policy making levels in govt. bureaucracy is one thing, whole sale discrimination against hindus in all areas of economic life of the nation is something quite another.

You can argue for it by your specious means all you want, but its never going to be enacted by any govt that hopes to be reelected.

Your energies are better spent in figuring out how to uplift the muslim community without engendering a backlash among the hindus at the same time.

 
At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude forget it...these idiots were the same types who created our present mess via their "oh those poor moooslims" BS and they will continue doing so..
none of these chaps are in india or plan to stay there for long i bet, so they can continue yapping about secoolarism..three cheers for our armchair nehrus.

 
At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mav,

If trying to engineer a green revolution for food independence is tailoring something for one section of the community, can infrastructure, energy and other related items escape the wrath of such follow on assertions.

Screw the nuke deal, how sure are we that the "promised" energy independence doesnt benefit one section in a lopsided manner.

I see another interesting post on the nuke deal paralleling the discussion on the forum. Will follow that with interest.

rgds
Pradeep.

 
At 6:51 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Sudeep,

I think if you look up which states benefited directly from the Green Revolution and count up the numbers of Hindus and Muslims in those states, then you will see the truth in the statement I made.

W.r.t. the Shah Bano case, the needs of the political system were served. The secularist were able to claim that the freedom of religion was protected, the Hindu right was able to go to town screaming about Muslim appeasement and the Muslims right wing was able to go home shouting God's Will had been preserved.

However in the bigger picture, the Government of India, failed Muslim women - at a time when they applied to the GoI for help - they were refused help. I think it is fair to say that they have a legitimate grievance.

I feel it is not GoI's primary responsibility simply to produce political trinkets for the amusement of various factions in the polity.

Any policy in a resource poor country is effectively a zero sum game. I think we need to recognise this and correct imbalances where they occur.

I agree with you that this is not going to happen without troubles. Similar opposition existed to the Mandal commission, and it took time to convince people that this was necessary.

A backlash among Muslims would be profitable to people pursuing Muslim votebanks, and a backlash among Hindus will be profitable for political parties that seek to exploit a Hindu votebank. So that does not bother me much.

All I care about is that we keep our eyes on the goal - the goal of bringing Indian's marginalised Muslims into the national mainstream.


Hi Pradeep,

The Left front has already made the precise criticism that you are implying.

The entire nuclear deal is being dismissed by the left as something suited only to India's industrial and urban centres.

One of the criticisms I have placed at the DAE's door is that they have not done enough to develop power resources for rural India. This has its origin in something the Left has been saying for a while now.

 
At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mav,
I was just trying to point out the silly arguments that can be made if the original assertion that the green revolution was tailored to benefit just one section is allowed to stand.

You wish to see marginalized muslims brought into the mainstream. I support that as much as I wish to see more of our poor brought into the middle class. My issue is with the justification being given. Unless backed up by actual data (stressing intent to marginalize), that IMVHO is a very dangerous assertion.


rgds
Pradeep.

thx
Pradeep

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Pradeep,

Okay how about I word it like this?

All marginalised groups need to be brought into the mainstream, but poor muslims require special tools/techniques.

Sachar (Comm. recommendations) is that tool.

 

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