Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Abbotabad Venture

I would like to start by stating plainly that India had absolutely nothing to do with this operation. The operation appears to have materialised solely on account of collaboration between the US and sections of the Pakistani establishment. The exact manner in which this operation was conducted reflects the complex and highly dynamic relationship that the US and Pakistan have. I also strongly suspect that there is a quid pro quo in place - and from a strategic perspective India should be mindful of such a possibility.

It comes as a surprise to most people that the Pakistani establishment, the pillar of the castle of Islam, would allow the Americans to kill the Jihadi leader, Osama Bin Laden on their soil. I am not too surprised. I tend to keep an open mind where the Pakistani establishment is concerned, after all we all know what happened in Amman on September 15th, 1970, and again in the Holy Harams on November 20th, 1979, and again in the July of 2007. Basically I would put nothing past the folks of Islamabad.

It is a well known fact that the US did not have sufficient evidence to link Osama Bin Laden to the Sept 11 attacks in a court of law. It did however have enough evidence to nail him in the case pertaining to the embassy bombings. It appears that a section of Pakistan's establishment accepted the evidence collected by the US as being genuine. It is very difficult to get the Pakistani establishment to do such a thing. There is a hope that Pakistan may have genuinely turned a new leaf on this and is open to examining the evidence obtained by foreign police services of criminal actions by persons residing on its soil. This kind of acceptance was impossible in the age when Jihadi fervour blinded the Pakistani establishment.

Here is why I think Jihad (and Jihadis) may have lost their shine in some sections of the Pakistani establishment:

  • Over the last three decades, the Pakistani establishment has watched the power of religious institutions grow to the point where it can visibly challenge the military.
  • There is visible criminalisation of most religious tanzeems, a fact that cannot escape anyone's notice in Pakistan.
  • In the last decade the Pakistan Army has fought a terrible civil war against various tanzeems in Pakistan and lost more men to Islamist violence than to any war with its so-called arch enemy - India.
  • The ability of the tanzeems to provide protection for key narcoeconomies is limited and the profitability of these economies is on the decline.

While this may be obvious to most in the Pakistani establishment, at least some within the establishment probably do not share a dim assessment of this situation. A good number in my opinion still cling to Hamid Gul/Aslam Beg era ideas of a wider collaboration with Islamist radicals that brings benefits to the Pakistani military. If Stephen Cohen is reading this, he may want to comment in greater detail on this aspect of things.

I do not know where the men of Miyan Company (a.k.a Musharraf's men) stand on this issue - I suspect they are probably not too keen to make their views known. Finding out their thinking on the issue is really important.

The mere presence of Gul/Beg era ideas in Pakistan is certainly good enough reason for the Americans to keep most Pakistanis out of the loop. I feel that is probably what guaranteed the success of the Abbotabad venture.

As Osama Bin Laden remains a cynosure in the eyes of many young Muslim men the world over, he sits today - even in death - at the center of an enormous "stand alone complex". The damaging potential of this "stand alone complex" should not be underestimated.

That being said, I feel any immediate repercussions of the Abbotabad venture will most likely visit upon the Pakistani establishment, the American outpost in Kabul and only then other parts of the world. I believe the Pakistani establishment will try to deny any role to play in this in front of the Jihadis, but at the same time seek credit where it can on the international media stage. In that environment, and it is likely that neither the Jihadis nor the international media will find the Pakistani statements on this issue very credible. And the Jihadis will do whatever they naturally do.

As always when the Pakistani establishment finds itself in hot water, it feels the need to splash some towards India's direction. They get off on the notion that making India suffer is a way to ease their own pain. I think the recent comments by ACM PV Naik on what lies in the realm of possibilities should be seen in this light. India seeks friendly relations with Pakistan and would really like to be left out of this sort of thing.

I feel the average Pakistani probably feels the same way that India does right now.

Unfortunately unlike India - the average Pakistani can't summon up squadrons of Su-30MKIs and legions of Para(SF) troops and Delhi Class guided missile destroyers to persuade the Pakistani establishment to pay heed to his concerns.


At 1:00 PM, Blogger Vishnoo said...

I just cant resist commenting on your blog after reading your thoughts on your profile. It seemed as if I myself had written them. In my case, I recently returned to my hometown, Pune.
btw.. i blogged as maverick few years back !!!!

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...


India may not have participated in the action but it certainly approved of it if one reads Indian newspapers.

At 4:38 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Vishnoo,

Welcome to the blog.

BTW. rumor has it - one of the original mavericks (see first post on blog) has retired and now lives in your hometown.

At 5:02 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

I think there are very mixed feelings in India about the Abbotabad venture.

As I am sure you are aware, OBL never attacked India so there is no direct animosity towards him. His views were never very popular among Indian Muslims. Indians shared American feelings of grief after Sept 11, but were quite uncomfortably surprised to learn that the American government didn't share India's sense of sorrow over Pakistani sponsored terrorism.

Now that OBL has been killed, on the one hand there is some joy and hope that finally the message "stop terrorism" has gone through in the USG and in Pakistan. Some people even feel that perhaps a new page has been turned.

Others are unsure, they feel the general rule is that the US does what it pleases in Pakistan and India is left to clean up the mess.

Some people feel a sense of disbelief - even going so far as to suggest that the whole thing is a gimmick. More realistic thinking suggests that there is a quid pro quo in place and the Pakistanis will be rewarded for their role in this. Still others feel a fear that the Pakistani Army will sponsor more terrorism against India to secure its failing stature in the eyes of the Jihadis or that the Pakistani Army and the Jihadis will enter into a final confrontation that will bring unbearable instability to the region.

As far as Indian Muslims are concerned, there is relief that OBL is dead, he was seen as one of those Arab folks who tend to tell everyone what Islam is about and completely ignore what other people have to say on the issue. Many Indian Muslims felt that between OBL's extremist antics and the American War on Terror, the global modernisation of Islamic people was suffering. They are glad this chapter is over. There is however among Muslims in India, there is a sense of wariness, because without overt proof of Pakistani approval, the operation itself is technically illegal under international law. Muslims in India have grown accustomed to seeing members of their community killed in targeted police operations (encounter squads) - the legality of those is highly questionable, and most Indian Muslims see the killing of OBL in Abbotabad as yet another "encounter killing".

As you might recall on one of the many threads here, I had spoke about the peculiar problems facing the prosecution of Osama Bin Laden for terrorist activities. One of the biggest problems is that evidence of his involvement in terrorism was always cloaked in a veil of secrecy. It has always been alleged that OBL was up to something bad - but nothing was ever proven in public or a court of law. Without public evidence of guilt, the legality of this operation will always remain questionable.

Perhaps the right thing for the USG to do now is to release any material that was to be used against OBL in the Embassy Bombings trial. I suspect once people see clear evidence of his involvement in terrorism, there doubts about legality will subside.

At 5:03 AM, Blogger maverick said...

BTW Ralphy, fwiw - I try not to read Indian newspapers unless absolutely necessary. They have a Julian Assange-ish quality about them that I find discomforting.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Again - India had no knowledge that the property was owned by HM or that OBL was in there.

There is absolutely no way for India to know which groups in Pakistan ISI's jihadi spectrum own what property. Benami deals are the rule in Pakistan and the military calls the shots on who gets what piece of land.

Any transaction of this nature it could not have happened without the Pakistani Army's knowledge/approval.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger amberG said...

From New York Times.

A Bin Laden Hunter on Four Legs


The identities of all 80 members of the Navy Seal team who thundered into
Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden are the subject of intense
speculation, but perhaps none more so than the only member with four legs.

Little is known about what may be the nation's most courageous dog. Even its breed is the subject of great interest, although it was most likely a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, military sources say. ..


At 1:03 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I would point out that any infantry platoon could have doone the same thing with the resources that the SEALs had, ie., full scale mockup to practice on, stealth helicopters, special explosives for the walls, etc.

At 1:06 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The Marines have a full scale mock up town that they practice on at 29 Palms, Ca. They spent like $200 million on it or better, IIRC.

At 5:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

I am personally cautiously optimistic about this event. As always my optimism comes with certain caveats.

I tend to not be fooled by stupid stuff so I'll speak plainly.

The unsustainable US Federal debt is actually about a million times more damaging to global security than Osama Bin Laden ever was.

Major reasons for this debt are

-the US is fighting to highly unprofitable and costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and

- it is sitting on the edge of an abyss in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Osama's death is relevant only to the extent that it might bring these wars to an end and stabilise US policy in sensitive places.

This should have a very dramatic effect in cutting US debt.

In order for this to strategy to work - the Muslim World in general will have to be convinced that killing Osama was the right thing to do. If this is not done, the atmosphere of hostility in Afghanistan and Iraq will not end and the US will not be able to leave these places. Also Pakistan, KSA and Iran will remain on the brink.

The evidence obtained in the embassy bombings case implicating Bin Laden should be made public. This evidence was obtain before Gitmo destroyed the visible integrity of the US legal system and will have greater credibility in the eyes of people everywhere.

At 5:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hmm... atleast CNN has jumped into the issue.


note the last part about the capture of Adolf Eichmann. That was believed to be legal because Eichmann was declared a criminal in an international court of law.

Osama Bin Laden is not wanted by any international court.

The Eichmann precedent does not apply.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger maverick said...

regarding the role of "Ghazi airbase" - this is a facility that proximate to Tarbela dam which was built up several decades ago. It has always been used to train special intervention units in Pakistan.

For example, iirc this facility was used to train snipers that were used to carry out targeted killings in Karachi when the PA went balls out against the MQM in the 80s. At that time the snipers were nominally tasked via the Pakistan IB though in reality I think they were actually serving military officers.

The Tarbela Ghazi airbase was the focus of much attention recently when Islamist groups led by the JeI claimed that the Govt. of Pakistan had handed the entire place over to the Americans to stage some sort of NEST.

At that time the Americans claimed that they had only deployed training staff there to help improve the abilities of Pakistan's SSG CT unit - the famed "STF" or "Spider" force or "Musa" Company as some bloggers called it.

I would not be surprised if either the Chaklala facility or the Tarbela Ghazi facility were used in this strike.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The potential for damage from the OBL based Stand Alone Complex should not be underestimated.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Oh this is getting really annoying!

The Rafale and Typhoon were shortlisted because the IAF wanted something new, reliable, capable and relatively interference free.

The Migs have reliability issues, the Gripen is a single engined airplane that isn't that much better than our LCA, and the F16,F18 are older airplanes with lots of anticipated interference issues.

We have a ton of Euros and a ton of Dollars, the return on investment in Euros is better than what we can get on the Dollars we have right now.

The US has indicated on several levels it is not comfortable selling India weapons it can use in ways the US may not anticipate.

The only solution right now is to use the dollars we earn from trade with the US to buy civilian technologies in the energy and health sectors.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger maverick said...


The bullshit is just flowing in an uninterrupted stream from idiots in the US.

Pakistan's establishment didn't shelter Osama because of India. Osama has never expressed any interest in attacking India. In any attack on India Osama Bin Laden served no useful purpose.

Again - as I said - India has NOTHING to do with this OBL situation.

The Pakistani establishment sheltered Osama Bin Laden because the Army is heavily invested in international terrorism as a tool of state policy.

The Pakistani got into this "international murder for hire" business during the Afghan War era. They also got mixed up in associated trade like Heroin trafficking, land grabbing, illegal banking etc...

The Pakistani establishment saw Osama in the same way it say Ramzi Bin Al Shibeh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed etc...- i.e. - as a bargaining chip with the US. When the price was right - OBL was sold out to the US.

Does Pakistan really need to shelter Osama Bin Laden to get something out of the US? Do they really have to be such complete assholes with the US? Must the always harbour such repressed hostility towards the US?

Apparently it does... As I once jokingly said

- Let Steve Cohen put on a shirt that says "I Love India" and I will put on a shirt with the words "I Love USA/Israel" and lets see who walks father down M.A. Jinnah Road in Karachi without getting shot in the back!.

Why are the Pakistanis like this?

- perhaps you should ask them that question instead of blaming India for their fucked up behaviour.

AGAIN - whatever this OBL issue is - why the Pakistanis sheltered him - why they gave him up - etc...

It is ALL about the US and PAKISTAN.

INDIA has nothing to do with this.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Aah... will the stupidity never end?

Osama Bin Laden could not be arrested and brought to trial before an international court.

Such a trial would have been a complete circus.

The US would have to present evidence from classified sources on the nature of Osama's involvement in the Sept 11 attacks. That could compromise active sources.

Also evidence from torture sessions at Gitmo and elsewhere would have to be presented - that stuff has very questionable legal standing. It is likely that information would not stand up in court.

Even after the US had presented its case - all the material pointing to a business relationship between the Bush and the Bin Laden families would be brought up in the media and the airwaves would fill up with questions about the whether that business relationship had any bearing on the Sept 11 attacks.

This would be a complete godawful mess that no one would be sort anything out of and the US would come out looking far worse than it does now.

It was not possible to arrest Bin Laden and bring him to trial for the embassy bombings because it would result in questions about why he wasn't being tried for Sept 11 instead.

So there was only one option left.

Anything else was simply not worth the trouble.

At 4:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Ramana says:

We have survived the connivance of all these parties under much worse circumstances, when we were much weaker. With the wisdom of our ancestors, the courage of our people, and the virtuous sword arm of Dharma on our side we shall continue to survive it until we prevail. Jai Hind!

That is a pretty fancy way of saying "what to do - we are like this onleee".

Jai Enqyoob.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Ah the famed Ghul Hassan (of Lashkar-e-Taiba in Iraq fame) connection is now public.

I wonder how long we will have to wait to hear of Mr. Ghul Hassan's PA-ISI connections.

I also see the "Bin Laden is still alive in US custody" theory.

Now that gets really interesting.

At 5:24 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...


I think that comment was from Rudradev.

It's at the bottom of this post:

At 5:24 AM, Blogger maverick said...

chai and biscuits anyone?


"The Saudis, the Turks and the Pakistanis have all concluded that President Barack Obama is most likely to be re-elected next year. That conclusion implies that a big investment in Obama is worth the effort.

Indeed, it would be even better if they can help him win re-election. The end of a decade-long hunt for Osama — in fact, a 15-year hunt, if Bill Clinton’s failed attempt to kill the Saudi terrorist is counted — with an order under Obama’s hand will be a highly favourable factor for the President in the re-election campaign which is getting well under way.

Obama will be beholden to the Saudis and the Pakistanis, and to a lesser extent to the Turks, for this huge political capital that they have enabled him to amass.

What the Saudis are seeking is to translate a broad convergence of their own survival instincts with US interests in an Arab world which is in ferment. That convergence cannot be achieved without a greater role for Pakistan in putting down the uprisings in countries like Bahrain and helping preserve the status quo in the Arab world, making way, perhaps, for nothing more than cosmetic changes."

"It is well known that Pakistanis serving in Bahrain’s police brutally put down the recent Egypt-style Shia protests in the island kingdom. The forces sent in by Saudi Arabia to reinforce Bahrain’s security forces were also reportedly made up of significant numbers of Pakistanis.

As the Arab world gets into deeper ferment, Riyadh is counting on Pakistan — both Islamabad’s regular forces and Pakistanis already employed by security forces in every Gulf country — to provide the last stand for Arab rulers in case the democracy movement in West Asia gets “out of hand” as the Saudis see it.

It is a role that Pakistan has historically engaged in. During “Black September” in 1970, when Palestinians nearly brought down King Hussein’s monarchy in Jordan, it was a unit of the Pakistani army led by none other than the late Gen. Zia-ul Haq that brutally put down the revolt and preserved Hashemite rule.

Similarly, elite units of Pakistan’s army protected the Saudi royal family for decades because the Saudi rulers did not fully trust their own citizens or even those from other Arab countries. "

Fits very closely with my notions of the transactional relationship between the Pakistan and the US.

It appears Bin Laden fetched a very high price.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Even if the Riyasat Aminat-e-Milli's agents knew of the presence of Osama Bin Laden in the Abbotabad compound, it does not mean they told India anything - it is however likely that this information may have been passed on to the US.

There was a lot of intelligence pointing to Osama Bin Laden taking shelter in Pak Army/ISI safehouses in the Manshera-Abbotabad area.

What was available in India was passed on to the US several years ago, along with sufficient advice that the Pakistanis were not to be trusted on the issue of catching Osama Bin Laden.

It appears that the US was working things out on its own and not really listening to what anyone else was saying. Again this is not unusual, because unless you come to a conclusion yourself there is no way to be certain that it is not a provocation.

What has happened now is simply a case of the Pakistanis deciding the price is right for OBL to be sold out.

I don't know if President Obama will derive a political benefit out of the OBL killing. It is too soon to say - a lot depends on how well the Stand Alone Complex is contained.

At present AQ seems to have acknowledged the loss of OBL.

Now I feel their response will be articulated.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hmm... Pakistan arrests 40 suspects in connection with OBL..

let see... the suspects probably are:

1) Doodhwala (milkman)
2) Postwala (postman)
3) Chaiwalla (the guy who brings Tea)
4) Pavwalla (the neighbourhood baker)
5) Panwalla (the guy who owns the paan stall)
6) Dhobi (the laundryman)
7) Mali (the gardener)
8) Bai (the domestic assistant)
9) Nai (the barber)
10) Kasai (the local butcher)
11) Darzi (the local tailor)
12) Mochi (the cobbler)
13) Dabba-batli-walla (the local recycling dude)
14) Sodawala (the local soda supplier)
15) Zhaduwala(the janitor/sweeper)
16) Chaprasi (the peon)
17) Soda-bottle-opener walla (the guys who sells the soda-bottle openers - they don't have screw top bottles in Pakistan)
18) Baniya (grocer)
19) Sabzi walla (the local vegetable vendor)
20) Bhikhari (local begger)
21) Lohar (local blacksmith)
22) Kumhar (local potter)
23) Sutar (local carpenter)
24) electricitywala (electric meter reader)
25) water meter reader
26) gaswalla (gas cylinder supplier)
27) telephonewalla (the technician that connected the phone line)
28) pharmacist (local clerk at the pharmacy - after all OBL had to get his dialysis supplies from somewhere)
29) carpetwalla (local carpet sellers - what else would OBL fly away on)
30) Mobilephonewalla (mobile phone and contract supplier)
31) the town idiot
32) electrician
33) plumber
34) painter
35) tambacuwalla (local tobacconist)
36) supariwala (local betel nut supplier)
37) garagewalla (local mechanic)
38) bail-gadiwalla (bullock cart driver - that is what Osama took to get to Abbotabad from Tora Bora)
39) camel-urine supplier (how on earth did this guy miss it was OBL - after all only OBL and Qazi Hussein drink camel piss in Pakistan!)
40) Gai-bakri wallah (local shepard/s)

That's all folks!!

Remember - Pakistan is Greater than Allah! and Pakistan Army is Greater than Pakistan!!!

At 8:39 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Of all these people I think only the town idiot is a special case - he probably realized that OBL was in there but because he was the town idiot the ISI dismissed his rantings and arrested him well before the raid.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger maverick said...

oh for heavens' sake!!!

Al Qaida isn't an organisation, it is a brand.

There is a bunch of guys around OBL who can do some real damage - but fundamentally, it not like we are dealing with a GiJoe v/s Cobra situation where Cobra Commander can be killed/captured and the enemy just falls apart.

We are dealing with a Stand Alone Complex that varies in intensity across the world. Low intensity zones are less likely to be affected than high intensity zones but there will be aftershocks.

Back when the IA carried out Bluestar and killed Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, there were huge aftershocks within India. The Pakistanis recently went through the same thing when they killed those kids at Lal Masjid.

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I must say that Rudradev's rant and your following comments present a fascinating perspective into the Indian psyche. Thank you for being so illuminating.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Concerning Pakistan:

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

"It will become all one thing or all another"

A. Lincoln

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

A network centric military?


Continuing the analogy of the submarine, the U.S. military was sending pings into the depths. But comparing it to a more modern kind of ping is also appropriate. What combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere allowed America to do was break into the network. The romantic and conspiratorial labyrinth of the Jihad obscured the fact that topologically it was nothing but a network, no different in the abstract from a telephone system or the Internet. Americans knew how to break into those, and once they knew how to think about the al-Qaeda problem, they would inevitably break into that too.

Al-Qaeda could not prevent Americans from pushing into multiple parts of the network and to begin what might be compared to traceroutes on the system.

Mapping A Network

By accepting combat, al-Qaeda was doing more than just feeding its combatants into a meat grinder. It was giving the United States access; providing them with starting point after starting point from which to run a traceroute. Nodes which might be disconnected or inaccessible from one point of access would suddenly become visible from another. It had always been a truism that one of the most important fruits of combat was information about the enemy, but that was never truer than after 9/11.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger ms said...

"wag the dog" 1997
"wag the dog 2" 2011

At 8:41 PM, Blogger ms said...

"the joint forces of the taliban and the "three-letter-organisation" have proven too much for the mighty americans. they ride into the sunset, leaving gaping wounds and confused people, unfinished business and a volatile region of surrounding nations who will now have to "girt their loins" and meet the enemy at their gates while being consumed by the enemies within. thank you, uncle sam! come again, but not so often!"

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Hi ms-ji,

This entire OBL tamasha has not passed the laugh test of a 6 year old. Yet, American public has bought the nonsense hook, line and sinker. Just like the "WMD in Iraq ready to be deployed" nonsense of Powell.

The point is to not to question the shoddy "evidence". The point to ponder is what does the administration plan to gain by fooling the easily fooled?

Is it just votes, or is there another agenda to this silliness?

At 12:50 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:53 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger maverick said...

The Guardian says Miyan himself brokered the deal in 2001.

Now the only question is - did Miyan want them to do this right now or not?


The deal was struck between the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.

Under its terms, Pakistan would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaida No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion.

"There was an agreement between Bush and Musharraf that if we knew where Osama was, we were going to come and get him," said a former senior US official with knowledge of counterterrorism operations. "The Pakistanis would put up a hue and cry, but they wouldn't stop us."

The deal puts a new complexion on the political storm triggered by Bin Laden's death in Abbottabad, 35 miles north of Islamabad, where a team of US navy Seals assaulted his safe house in the early hours of 2 May.

Pakistani officials have insisted they knew nothing of the raid, with military and civilian leaders issuing a strong rebuke to the US. If the US conducts another such assault, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani warned parliament on Monday, "Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force."

At 12:39 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

All Indian psychology can be summarized in a Channel V slogan... "what to do - V are like this only!"

IIRC slogan first aired in early 90s, accompanied by a highly popular advertising campaign using the character "Quick Gun Murugan" - a pastiche of several South Indian movie heroes.

I think this was all an absolutely brilliant campaign conceived by Shashank Ghosh at Channel V.

He also came up with spectacular oneliners like:

"oru whiskey, oru masala dosa ... mind it"

and "my loweve has been wasted on a cold kettle of fish".

or "first the sambhar, then you..."
(said to the villain of the piece).

Rudradev/Ramana have a very long winded way of saying it.

Enqyoob put in its most concise and accurate form with the "we are like this onleee..." (which IMHO is true to its Shashank Ghosh/Channel V roots).

Unfortunately Enqyoob's insight on India became the clarion call for the whiners. Note how they laud Rudradev or Ramana for saying the same thing but decry Enqyoob's musing.

To paraphrase Quick Gun Murugan,

"Enqyoob's logic is washing off these people like milk on my shoe."

At 12:43 PM, Blogger maverick said...

The Indian approach to Pakistan is very different from the US approach.

To the US - Pakistan was only sheltering Osama Bin Laden - to India - Pakistan is in the business of sheltering terrorists.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger maverick said...


It is curious you should say that.

Miyan himself gave an interview to Ikram Sehgal where he compared himself to Lincoln.

Ofcourse no human being in their right mind would ever want to be in a position where Lincoln found himself in.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Regarding this "Mark Carlton" saga - it seems the ISI is saying to the CIA, "Come after ISI and ISI will throw your people in Islamabad to the dogs."

At 6:16 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Cybersurg,

Yes the thread needs to be renamed.

"Terrorist Military Kabila of Pakistan"

- gets my vote.

"Kabila" is a word for the people who supported Islamic armies, all the cooks, the washer-men, the doctor, the barbers, the the whores and rent-boys, and ancillary support staff that traveled with the men-at-arms. These people made a living off the army's conquests, and often times with each conquest the Kabila grew.

At 8:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Japan has "abandoned" nuclear power only to the same extent that Pakistan "abandoned" the taliban or "agreed" to help the US hunt down Bin Laden.


At 9:14 AM, Blogger maverick said...

>>> OMFG --- Ilyas Kashmiri to head Al Qaida!!!

And I care ... why?

At 11:38 AM, Blogger maverick said...


"The statement said the family was asking why the leader of Al Qaeda “was not arrested and tried in a court of law so that truth is revealed to the people of the world.” Citing the trials of Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, the statement questioned “the propriety of such assassination where not only international law has been blatantly violated,” but the principles of presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial were ignored. "

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

If Japan abandons nukes what are they going to? Coal, oil, natural gas? I think it is just a PR ploy to get the public to calm down and realize what the real choices are, most of them unpalatable.

However, I do think it is wise to have Natural gas turbines as a back up plan. They are "relatively" clean and quick to set up and dare i say it, not that expensive?

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...


You care because the dude has a last name of Kashmiri and is just as likely to strike India as the US. Well get him too. It's just a matter of time. Hopefully it's in time enough.

At 8:25 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Ralphy,

I don't think they are going to go for natural gas. It isn't economical for anything but peak load.

The only base load solution that will work for them is nuclear. After a few months of rolling blackouts, the sensible folks will tell the anti-nuke pressure groups to go die somewhere.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Regarding Kashmiri - like I said - I was almost like - "whoa should I give a crap about this?" and then I was like "nope... moving on".

If Bin laden can be whacked in his own bedroom. Kashmiri can too. I am guessing he knows that.

I'll let the forum fret about him.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger maverick said...

SSS reports with more or less the same tone as K P. Nayar.


"Pakistan then demanded a fresh agreement with the US that would better serve its strategic gains; it is already a major recipient of US aid and arms sales - approximately US$20 billion over the past decade. The Americans in turn wanted the continued right to undertake strikes, but specifically against high-value targets such as Taliban leader Mullah Omar, Bin Laden, his deputy Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri and a leading figure in the Taliban resistance, Sirajuddin Haqqani.

The US sent four warning letters to the Pakistan army through diplomatic channels in which it expressed its reservations on Pakistan's cooperation in finding high-value sanctuaries. Pakistan responded by asking for better economic deals and a greater role in the Afghan end game.

The demands on both sides were such that international players were called in to mediate. These included top Saudi authorities and Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shi'ite Ismaili community. They played a pivotal role in fostering a new strategic agreement of which the Abbottabad operation was a part. That is, Pakistan was on board but was kept in the dark over the target on the explicit understanding that it would take ownership.

The Saudis included ex-ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who had been sidelined for some years through illness and palace intrigue. He had helped resolve the Davis case and set the parameters for joint surgical strikes inside Pakistan against defiant al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders to pave the way for an end game in Afghanistan.

In the first week of April, the White House released a terror report charging Pakistan with being hand-in-glove with militants. Soon after, the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, went to the US for a very short visit that according to the Associated Press centered on "intelligence cooperation". Security sources confirmed to Asia Times Online that the new security arrangement was high on the agenda.

Pasha, instead of returning directly to Pakistan, stopped over in Paris where he met the Aga Khan, and then proceeded to Turkey for talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who was in the country on an official visit, to appraise him of the new agreement.

In the last week of April, the US's top man in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, met with Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani and informed him of the US Navy Seals operation to catch a high-value target. The deal was done."

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Currently one in fifty US soldiers is a robot?

Real nice video on BRF:


It kinda supports my hypothesis that we are on the cusp of a robotic age and thus a new economy.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

"In the last week of April, the US's top man in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, met with Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani and informed him of the US Navy Seals operation to catch a high-value target. The deal was done."

if the above was true then OBL would have successfully fled the assault and the SEALs. The ISlamists have completely penetrated Pakistan and its army.

At 4:25 AM, Blogger maverick said...

If you like that - you should check out the Actroid F series that is doing the rounds in Japan.

At 5:42 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Now that is an example of US innovation.

At 5:44 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Tandoors made in Ohio. Who would have thunk it.

What next Magan Chula made on the banks of the Monongahela?

At 12:12 PM, Blogger maverick said...

SA to RM has spoken on National Technology Day.

The capability exists, it is simply not in our culture to do such things.

That ends any debate on this issue.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Everyone knows the ISI sheltered Osama - the denials fool no one - the only question is "why did they do it?".

If Pakistan only does nasty things because of fear of Hindu India - why did it shelter Osama Bin Laden?

Osama Bin Laden never inspired any violence against India.

So why keep him around all this time?

Clearly the Indian position on this issue is correct - Pakistan is the epicenter of global terrorism.

The Pakistan Army/ISI are in bed with all sorts of Islamist lunatics for reasons that have nothing to do with India.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger ms said...

mani-ji, why the OBL drama? because he had outlived his use-by-date. i mean, for how long would his hostnation tolerate american clean-up operations without generating global mirth and consternation? every drone attack seemed to have so much collateral damage that by now the area should be native-free. secondly, that OBL did not pose a direct threat to india is lame. his success spawned so many cluster groups and his presence in the country guaranteed unlimited funding by his followers, that there was no shortage of funds and manpower. i just want to know what was his ranking on india's 50 most wanted list. for the same reason, the other 49 cretins still remaining at large across the border will continue to exist unless they rub uncle sam the wrong way. now, only if there was a way we could tie the "D" company to 9/11......

At 2:03 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear MS,

If some idiots want to imitate Osama, that is hardly Osama's fault.

A lot of people have business dealings with D-company - if we use that criteria - then half of Mumbai will be in jail.

Osama never directed anyone to commit violent acts in India. So he was not on our most wanted list.

He did direct violence against the Americans so he was number one on their list.

FWIW Dawood is not No. 1 on our list, Tiger Memon is.

At 6:19 AM, Blogger maverick said...

This much is clear.

- Osama was in Abbotabad.

- The Americans knew it and killed him.

- The Pakistan Army did not stop the Americans.

The open questions are:

- Osama was not Anti-India - so why did the Pakistan Army shelter him?

- Who in the Pakistan Army will get the baksheesh for selling out Osama?

- Will the Pakistan Army be able to survive the combined consequences of visibly having betrayed Osama and America?

At 12:34 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Some questions that are doing the rounds and my answers

Will Pakistan use its nuclear weapons in retaliation for India carrying out an Abbotabad style raid on terrorists in Pakistani territory?

My Answer - NO IT WILL NOT. the life of Hafiz Saeed, or Masood Azhar, or ZakiurRehman Lakhwi - is not worth losing the ancestral land of some Pakistani General.

Will the Pakistani Army carry out a demonstration strike/test in response to India's Abbotabad style operation?

My Answer - YES IT MOST LIKELY WILL. This kind of nuclear prowess show will be key to restoring the Pakistan Army's manhood before the Jihadi community. Without the fear of death in a nuclear holocaust, the Jihadis will rip the Army to shreds. This test will only constitute a violation of the moratorium on testing. The Pakistan Army could also withdraw from the PTBT to test a fully weaponised configuration leaving absolutely no doubts about its nuclear capability.

Will India respond with a matching display

My Answer- No Comment.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Will this kind of display allow the Pakistan Army to retain its position of power inside Pakistan?

My Answer - NO IT WILL NOT. The Army is losing ground because it traditional patronage scheme of handing out land to people that serve its interests is reaching a limit. There is no more fertile land to hand out in Pakistan.

The army can only give out land if it provides guarentees of water and electricity/diesel supply with the land. Alternatively it can hand out position in Pakistan's military industrial complex but the viability of these units is highly linked to electricity availability. Or it can hand out investments in Pakistan's industrial sector, but that too is linked to electricity availability.

The Pakistani Army can also hand out flats in prime urban areas in Pakistan. But they can't hand out too many of these for fear of causing the real estate sector in Pakistan to collapse.

The old days when heroin distribution concessions could be handed out as baksheesh to the faithful are gone as Pakistan Army no longer has a monopoly on key heroin production resources. That trade is no longer profitable in Pakistan.

Regardless of what big show it puts on the Pakistan Army cannot save itself from the economic quicksand that it has created.

Will the Pakistan Army be able to exercise good judgment if the Army elite is backed into a corner

My Answer - will they exercise good judgment if the military elite is allowed to do whatever they please?

At 5:25 AM, Blogger maverick said...

A rubai by Atish Bagrodia comes to mind.

Khwaab yoon udte hai jyu ik manchala shahbaaz,
Jo dekhta hai aasmaanon se mustaqbil ke raaz,
Is jehaan mein hoga kaayam ik naya nizaam,
Nayi taaqat ki yalgaar hai aatish-e-parvaaz...

(Reaching for my biscuits)

At 7:36 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

didn't know you read Bagrodia-ji ...

Is that really "An ode to a drone"?

At 12:16 AM, Blogger ms said...

no mani-ji, it is not an ode to a drone (though the question itself has a strange lyrical quality! but, i digress...). i think, maverick is answering a "succession query".
the king is dead! long live the king! did not take long to replace OBL.
maverick: the 4th reactor across the border is up and running. the chinese are learning sanskrit and hindi. number 8 on india's most wanted list is loitering around in our backyard. these are portents but i can't connect the dots....
ps: why was the army protecting OBL? why do we guard our ATMs?

At 4:12 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

Atish used to write for BRM ages ago. That is when I was first introduced to his work. It is very good stuff.

IIRC, per Atish, the rubai was written to commemorate the Agni's operational status. The ability to operationalise a solid fuel rocket was a big step for India. This is the sort of thing that the first worshipers to enter the Church of Mary Magdalene would say novenas for.

I feel the poets words have taken on a wider meaning. Atish holds out an implicit suggestion that the new world order is forged by fire - that too fire from the sky.

I have fond memories of sitting in language class writing essays on the interpretations of poems during my school years. I can't think of anything I enjoyed more in school, then the interpretation and search for meaning in poetry.

Sadly, I was never skilled enough to pen any myself. I feel my soul lacked a certain something that people like Milton, or Nirala or Manohar Shankar Oak had.

At 4:33 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Aatish-e-parvaaz, the fire-aflight - that has many connotations,

- the first is obviously a play on the poet's name. A simple enough answer, but we know the poet and he is not so vain as to insert himself into the poem for pure visibility,

- the second possibility is the fire in the sky, which could be read as a reference to the light of the emerging dawn - signifying the start of a new day, new beginnings,

- the third possibility is - fire from the sky - referenced in many cultures as divine fire which destroys the wicked and cleanses the earth. In biblical traditions, this serves as a covert reference to the wrath of God.

My my... this is beginning to sound like Mrs. Mehta's tenth grade Hindi class.

Now if we could translate the Rubai into Chinese - that would be truly great.

Funnily enough I recently watched The Good Shepard, and I was not surprised to see a greater portion of the movie was dedicated to the analysis of poetry.

Actually, the sad fact is - it is easier for the Chinese to learn Hindi than it is for Indians to learn Chinese. I recall the Chinese military observer in Vijay Shakti.

We should all be learning Chinese!

At 4:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

we need the modern equivalent of Hsuan Tsang.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Hi Mav,

Thanks for the context. Here is how I read it:

1. words like shahbaaz were suggestive of the national bird of Pakistan.

2. aatish-e-parvaaz suggests something fired from the sky, but yes it could be ground launched as well.

3. But the line, "Jo dekhta hai aasmaanon se mustaqbil ke raaz" is dead ringer for a drone that "watches" as opposed to a missile that homes in on a target.

This is fun ... LOL. Time for a rejoinder :)

By the way, I am friends with Bagrodia on Facebook but haven't posted anything in ages.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

Maybe we should ask Atish what he feels the poem implies.

I never did that. He has a mention of it on his blog, but I don't know of any discussion on it.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Nah, I was just having some fun ...

By the way, in the days when I dabbled a bit in literary criticism (I was sucked in by Salman Rushdie, before he was famous), one of the most startling lines of thought that I came across was this: "The author is dead"

The proponents maintained that after a text was written, it had a life of its own and what the author was thing of at the time of writing it was irrelevant.

That whole business got a bit too unreal for me.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger maverick said...

From the HT article regarding the Wazhul Kamar Khan error.

"It was a genuine oversight and there will be some degree of human error. There is no calamitous consequence that you are trying to make out," he said.

Asked about BJP's attack that the goof up reflected the "optimum incompetence" of his Ministry, Chidambaram recalled a statement of LK Advani that as home minister he did not know that three terrorists in custody were taken out of jail in December 1999 and taken to Kandahar by the then foreign minister.

"Let me ask the BJP leaders if this (Khan episode) marks the level of maximum incompetence, then what was that. If this brought embarrassment to the country, did that statement not bring disgrace to the country?

"I think you should allow for some political exchanges on this and should not make an eight column story," he said.

I still recall the stand-off in Kot Bhalwal where the IG Prisons asked the visiting delegation from Delhi to give him some sort of task-order to release the three criminals being held there. He was looking for a letter from the then MHA, Sri. L. K. Advani.

Sri. Advani chose not to write such a letter, and the visiting delegation from Delhi had to explain to the IG Prisons in Kot Bhalwal, that the release of the prisoners was a secret operation and hence there could not be any documentation and that he would have to authorise the release purely on grounds of his faith and knowledge of the persons whose custody he was releasing them into.

I recall that the IG Prisons felt this left him in an unhappy position if the situation went south. He protested quite a bit and then there was number of phone calls that eventually led to a resolution of the situation.

Perhaps the IG had heard rumors that the visiting delegation from Delhi was under orders to eject the prisoners from an airplane if the entire deal showed any sign of going off the declared path.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


The time has come for India to mature as a democracy.

At 1:42 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Very interesting Foreign Policy article I got from reading BARF(BRF).


It lays out the incidental connections between al qaida, Packee taliban and the LeT type assholes.

At 7:29 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Bomb attack on US embassy vehicle.

Members of the KSA's consulate staff leaving Pakistan....Rats deserting the ship. Not even the children of the guardians of the holy harams are safe in Pakistan - the Qila of Islam.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I see Shashank Joshi of Harvard has written a piece for Current Intelligence.

I wish people in the US would find a way of making Pakistan feel better that does not involve lying to them about India's capabilities.

The Pakistanis *know* exactly what India's capabilities are. During the last decade, they have been at the receiving end of India's tender mercies. That is why every negotiation they turn up for starts with begging for a limitation on the use of heavy armaments along the LoC.

I don't think people in the US appreciate how the Indian policy of liquefying Pakistani Army units along the Neelum Valley or along the LoC in general deeply affects the Pakistan Army.

As Dr. Saraswat indicated, it is not India's way to punish the innocent. The culprit in terrorist attacks is the Pakistan Army - and the border strikes make it pain where it hurts the most. While the PA brags to its friends in Islamabad about the successes achieved against Kafir India - the list of PA Shuhada in the LoC garrisons grows ever longer and the grave diggers business booms in Rawalakot, Bhimber, etc...

That is why the Pakistanis come to the table at each Indo-Pak meeting begging to have a restriction on the use of weapons above a certain caliber along the LoC.

The Pakistanis are not blind. They know India is getting better at doing what it pleases. They know that in 1971 - several generations of Americans had assured them that there was no way a soviet equipped army could eject the brave army of American armed Pakistanis from Bangladesh.

There is a declining confidence in US reassurances that India can't do something.

I don't think the Pakistanis believe the US when it says something anymore.

It might be better if the US stops this blatant lying and speaks more truthfully on the issue of threats facing Pakistan. A stark appraisal of the situation from US sources may help the Pakistanis formulate policy much more responsively and at the very least make India less inclined to do something harsh just to prove a point.

At 4:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...

It appears that Headley has made a statement to the effect that the Lashkar leadership was keen to see the November 26 attacks on Bombay to maintain its credibility with its own jihadi cadre.

Does anyone know what exactly caused the LeT's cadre to question the credibility of the LeT leadership?

I am aware that there was intercine feuding in the LeT around 2004, specifically there was a split within the organisation where a number of people formed a separate entity called Khairun Naas.


The KN organisation was actually headed by Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi - the prime accused in the Bombay attacks.

Something brought these two groups back together and by November 2008, both these groups were working in sync with each other.

At the time that news of the split was released via Musharraf's mouthpieces in the Pakistani media, most Indian security analysts simply treated the news as an elaborate maskirovka/deception/provocation by the ISI.

It appears from Headley's testimoney and evidence collected in the Bombay attack investigations - that the Indian analysts were right on the money.

Which brings me back to the basic question - why did the LeT leadership feel the need to reinforce their credibility with the cadre?

At 4:39 AM, Blogger maverick said...

A relatively simple explanation is that the "split and re-merge" cost a lot of money and the LeT as a whole came up shy. The Pakistani Army was not able to make up the cost of this spilt-merge.

It without money to throw around, the LeT leadership felt their ability to continue reaping the benifits of the Jihadi business weaken.

It could be that the LeT leadership felt that taking a high risk contract like the one placed on Bombay would be a good way to make boatloads of cash and secure themselves against internal challenges.

This is just a wild guess I am making now and I would really like to know some specifics.

Putting my cunning hindu bania hat on.

It does not seem like they made a lot of money from this hit. What they made, I think the Pakistan Army effectively took away from them when it told Hafiz Saeed that they could not guarentee that his house in Samahini would not be pulverized by India. I suspect Hafiz Saeed now has to pay a lot more protection money to the Pakistan Army than he did prior to 26/11.

The Pakistan Army for its part does not appear to have made much money from this hit on Bombay either. They have only wedged themselves deeper in this terrorism mess and the only thing that has come out of this is that elements of the LeT are now openly hostile to the Pakistani Army. I think the Pakistan Army Generals are now spending more on personal security than they are on tending their lawns. After all this key ISI officials have been named in an affidavit in a US court for inciting terrorism in a foreign country.

Even if one assumes that the Pakistan General staff can somehow defray these higher costs via some sort of "investment scheme" - the entire economy of Pakistan is in a shambles. The only productive and profitable sector of Pakistani industry - the textile sector is sliding into ruin. Any investments made into Pakistan at this point will have a very low return as long as this atmosphere of escalating risk continues.

These signs clearly point to a declining profitability of the terrorism business and the pitfalls of a jihadised culture.

At 5:40 AM, Blogger maverick said...


one more thing... regarding Quick Gun Murugan.

Murugun is the son of Shiva.

In popular litturgy and Sangam era traditions, Murugan is the God of War. Akin to Mars in Greek culture - actually Murugan is more like Mars on crack.

In the Hindu religious calender his birth from divine fire is celebrated in the festival of Thaipusam.

The most famous of aspect of this festival is a dance ritual called the Kavadiattam. The Kavadiattam consists of men (and women) decorated with peacock feathers dancing in slow circular motions.

It seems pretty tame until you realise that the lyrics to which people dance contain graphic descriptions of the details of a mighty battle in which Murugan slayed millions of Asuras (Titans) - "the earth turned red from their blood" and "spurts of blood from the Asura bodies fell like a continous rain on earth".. etc.. etc...

Dude - this hymn is by far the most graphic piece of religious poetry I have come across. It basically describes a genocide.

I came across this as a child and I think I have always looked upon the Quick Gun Murugun campaign at Channel V with some wonder. I don't know if Shashank Ghosh knows about the full connotations of the name Murugan.

At 11:09 PM, Blogger ms said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger ms said...

chanakya niti #10: "Wise men should never go into a country where there are no means of earning one's livelihood, where the people have no dread of anybody, have no sense of shame, no intelligence, or a charitable disposition."
travel advisory to neighbouring nations?

At 8:11 AM, Blogger maverick said...

"Dressed like characters from Star Wars"...

.... hmmm....


I am not going to touch that one.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger maverick said...

There is a VIP squadron based there. I suspect that may have been the real target, and the PN Orions were most likely a target of opportunity/diversion.

At 5:30 AM, Blogger maverick said...

All this stuff about the Orions having a made-in-china "special package" option are interesting. It would certainly be a very unintended fallout of the famed EP3 incident.

I think a lot of Pakistani commentators have jumped on the possibility that the raid on PNS Mehran was the handiwork of Indian agents and the TTP was simply capitalizing on a bad situation.

However it is equally likely that the TTP is simply demonstrating to the Pakistan Army that whatever the Army hold dear - the TTP can hit.

If indeed the P3Cs were nuclear capable - the TTP just told the Pakistan Army that it can blunt its nuclear arrow.

What better way to bring the Pakistan Army to the negotiating table on the TTPs terms than to take their ability to deploy the ultimate weapon.

After all in a nation where might is right - a nuke-nude Pakistan Army is hardly likely to resist the TTP supermen.

At 5:32 AM, Blogger maverick said...

A battle for redemption has begun in Pakistan.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger quantum chaos said...

it may sound conspiratorial and speculative, but couldn't this attack be ISI's work. Unleash your Jihadi puppets to convince USA that Pakistan is fighting an existential battle with terrorism, while moulding attack in such a fashion that it looks like India's work, given that destruction of Orions is beneficial to India. And as far as loss of Orions is concerned, Pakis are convinced that US will re supply.
Just speculating.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger ducking for cover said...

Well, first the Lulu and then the B57 were indeed integrated with the P-3.

So yes the P-3 can have a nuclear role with the right kind of tactical weapon with a hydrostatic fuse.

At 5:31 AM, Blogger maverick said...

If the BBC report on a "new kind of militant" is to be believed, it appears that the SSG just carried out the raid on PNS Mehran.

I think the comment about the attackers being dressed like characters from "star wars" makes some sense. It seems Mr. Malik was saying that the attackers wore a combat battle dress with NVG laden headgear.

An Uzi does not have the range to hit accurately at 600 yards. That quote is nonsense.

It is more likely that the "Uzi" was actually a Norinco M320 carbine - the Uzi clone that is available in China.

It is also likely that the "M16" reported by the BBC is a CQ-5.56, an M16 clone produced by Norinco.

If the report of the Orions being made nuclear capable is true, then it seems more likely to me that this attack is not the work of the TTP at all.

I think it is plausible that a faction within the Pakistani Army is attempting to maintain its monopoly on the deployment of nuclear weapons.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger maverick said...


A ban was put on TJ gatherings within cantonments.

It appears that SSS now claims that Al Qaida had attempted to negotiate with the Pak Navy to get the Navy to stop harassing officials who were perceived as being close to Al Qaida. When the negotiations failed - the 313 Brigade was tasked to attack PNS Mehran.

It seems one of those arrested in the Pak Navy's dragnet was a NSSG commando.

This is the most back-ass-wards way of admitting to the fact that the entire Naval setup is compromised by Al Qaida sympathizers on the inside.

If these people can find out where suspects are being held for interrogations and hunt down the persons involved in the investigation - is there any point in pretending that the Pakistani Army has any relevance in matters at hand.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger maverick said...

It really looks like things are setting up for a no holds barred blue-on-blue within the Pakistani Military and I am at a loss to see how anyone can stop it.

This is a battle for redemption. One side feels that their Jihadi brothers have been wrong and the path set by Allah has been discarded. The other side feels that this business of using Islam as a cover for terror has reached a point of diminishing returns. Each side fights to impose its view on the other and to correct what it feels is a historic wrong.

There is no way to answer how long ones' beard has to be in order to be considered a true Tabhligi. The fools in the land of the pure are now about to meet the swords of the purer fools in the land of the pure.

This is going to going to raise a whole lot of questions about the security of Pakistan's nukes.

What on earth are we supposed to do if tomorrow half the garrison protecting a Pakistani nuclear weapon suddenly turns on the other half of the garrison? who gets the nuclear weapons then?

The TTP spokesman has said they are not interested in seizing Pakistan's nuclear weapons - but who on earth believes anything he says?

Factional squabbles are not terribly new in the PA. Usually they are sorted out when the ISI chief changes sides or assassinates one of the contenders in the fray.

In the old days when the blessed soul, Alampanah Jalaluddin Akbar ruled in Delhi, it was common for the troublemakers to be sent on permanent Hajj.

Now in Pakistan murder has been refined to the point of art, and people are routinely sent to Jehannum instead. Perhaps collectively the PA leadership has accepted that there is no place in Jannat for them - so what is the point of going to Hajj? Might as well send your opponent to Jehannum first so that he can enjoy its subtle pleasures before you are forced to join him.

This has become a truly cursed and wretched land.

At 5:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think the name of choice may be down to:

Arimardan, and

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Anand K said...

Heh Heh, anyone following the "Surviving 50-100 nuke bomb attack on India" thread?

"Sure, much of India would be livable, but somebody would have to pay for the land they helped irradiate - either the payment would be in kind, their cities too would be irradiated or in compensation with equal amount of land for those Indians whose lands were contaminated.

So either Chinese cities in the East Coast would burn one way or the other - either through attacks by Indian forces, or through Indian "non-state" actors. Or China would have to consider giving Tibet, Qinghai and Yunnan to India. That India is serious about the compensation, would have to be impressed upon China by taking one or two cities in China down. If there is going to be war, then there is going to be war. China cannot escape its responsibility for proliferation by trying to play invisible!

The second front India needs to open, it towards the Arabian Peninsula. We will be sending at least a 100 million Indians to the Arabian Peninsula over the next 6-7 years, and they will see to it that there is not a single Arab alive, and the whole landscape is dotted by Hindu temples, all the way to Jerusalem. It is not a question of whether somebody lets us in or not. We will barge in on shoulders of our numbers and military strength. We will turn the land green and the map saffron! The Arabs cannot escape the responsibility of sowing the seeds of the destruction of the Indian Subcontinent and hope to that the storm would pass them by!

Thirdly every Pakjabi man, woman and child regardless of where ever they may be living on the face of the earth or beyond, will be butchered till there is no trace of that qaum any more on this earth. They will be safe neither in Queenstan, nor in Amreeka, nor in Canada, nor in Norway, simply nowhere. India would be putting up killer commandos in all these lands, and their work would be of hunting down the Pakis, and cremating them alive. No Paki caught would ever end up in a grave or have his last rites read. They will simply be fed to the pigs!

Oh my! :D

Why isn't anyone concentrating on the panic, looting, rioting, hoarding, chaos, breakdown of rule of law (with locals militias type nightmares) aspects?
I think Doc's piskological experiment is showing some interesting results.....

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I find the prospect of P-3's being nuke deleivery weapons to be a bit beyond the pale. Surely Pakistan can come up with a better system than used propeller engined aircraft that cruises about 250 mph max? The P-3s were supplied to Pakistan so that they could have long duration cruising airplanes to monitor their coastline and stop infiltration by various terrorist elements. Are we supplying P-8s to India as nuclear delivery vehicles to bomb Pakistan? Of course not. We want help in monitoring the Indian ocean. We want help fronm Pakistan in monitoring the Arab sea and their coastline. Looks like that is a lost cause however, if they can't even keep terrorists off their bases. They are completely peneterated. Probably so are their nuke storage facilities. Which we are faced with a grim task. Clinton went to Packeeland under the cover story of "bettering relations". Quite frankly they are bought and paid for. She went on the nuclear issue. Pakistan is treading very dangerous ground now. If their radar isn't blipping right now it should be. I know my countrymen and how they think and right now they think they may have a Broken Arrow on their hands. They better be sweating their jobs about it too, buddy.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>>>> I know my countrymen and how they think and right now they think they may have a Broken Arrow on their hands.
Do you also know how the politicians think and how big oil interests think? That is the only thinking that counts ... john smith and jane doe are pointless.

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Do you mean the Supreme Court's unrestrestraining of corporate political contributions? Or are you talking about The Senate voting down a bill to knock off a paltry $2 billion of tax exemptions to the oil companies of which most pay no US federal tax? Or perhaps you are talking about hedge funds driving up the price of oil and other commodities as a device against what they see as a weak dollar? Especially when there really is no shortage of oil at the present moment? Please pick one.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

^^^ you, those guys. They see nothing wrong with Pakistan. After all, Pakistan is playing a game that they indulge in themselves.

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

sorry, that was meant to read "yup, those guys" ...

no freudian slip here :)

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Vladimir said...

Is anybody following the West Asia thread on pee arr eff? Poor shyamd is getting skewered by the likes of the gas giant and the vuvuzela, with the rest of the gang happily cheering them on.

To paraphrase the rhetoric used by these fine gentlemen, our West Asia policy should be based on a "Hindutva khatre mein hain" line of thought, and weighty issues like building temples in Saudi Arabia should be central to any discussions we have with the GCC. And of course, the government is full of fools who are willing to trade for money and oil for intangibles worth far more.

Go figure...

At 6:22 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

Okay - lets say the P3 being a nuclear delivery vehicle is wrong.

The P3s aren't a threat to India - the IAF kind of made its point with the Atlantique incident. India couldn't care less what they did with the P3s.

So what was the point of the attack on PNS Mehran?

There is a VIP flight that is based there. Was that a target?

Was there a rendition flight out of Pakistan that was intercepted by the people that stuck PNS Mehran?

Look - this is an awful lot of resources (intelligence sources, collaborators, assaulters, etc...)
to throw at a hard target. It takes time to train men to function effectively like that. The kept a few hundred NSSG folks tied down - so these weren't your garden variety people. It looks like the attackers were SSG too.

That is a resources that isn't wasted unless there is a point of some kind.

That is what this attack is missing - a point - an objective.

What were these people after?

And who is tasking these units?

Whose orders are they following?

At 6:27 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Ralphy,

Just to be clear.

It wasn't India and if it wasn't the US - So what was this at PNS Mehran?

SSG folks don't kill NSSG folks for fun - they need a very good reason to do this.

We can wait for SSS to come up with some elaborate yarn concocted by the angels of aabpara, but this looks like a blue on blue incident.

At 7:20 PM, Blogger dilbert said...

"... this looks like a blue on blue incident."


It's probably green on green, i.e. the "righteous beards" attacking the less righteous beards. It's funny, even Pakis now (judging from watching their TV shows) are not blaming India/Israel/America for this miserable state of affairs of their country, they are mostly blaming their own leaders. Of course there are exceptions like Shireen Mazari and Zaid Hamid who blame the usual suspects -- the axis of YYYvil.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The Packee navy has been infiltrated and the top echelon knows it. This strike was against the top ehelon's ability to monitor the infiltration and extraction of taliban and al qaida elements to and from Packeeland. The top echelon has imprisoned certain Navy taliban/al qaida elements and refuses to let them go. The strike was also in retaliation for this refusal. If you remember a number of years ago they also struck and killed some French "technicians" working on some Packee submarines. So their navy has a long history of infiltration and penetration.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Well so much for the reporter who wrote about the links between al qaida and the Packee navy. He was found dead after he went missing on Sunday. RIP.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I note with interest concerning the young damsel in distress over being thrown in the slammer in NY for suspicion of sending hate e-mail. Turns out the authorities had the wrong person. The young lady is suing. Good luck to her but I highly doubt she will be successful. In the US the authorities can throw you in the slammer for mere suspicion with charges filed for up to 48 hours. Usually public school systems are immune also unless physical harm can be proven.

The BARFites want to go and pick up a US "diplobrat" as they put it and thrown them into jail until the young lady in question gets paid in court. Now that's a novel thought. Unfortunaely most US "diplobrats" don't go to high school in ah, lesser developed countries. They stay in the US or Switzerland or some other understanding country to go to high school. They have had previous experience with kids getting into trouble. Now maybe the Indian authorities can pick up a couple of kids on vacation. Now that's possible. But then the SD will just issue a travel advisory and slow down processing H-1 work permits, etc, until the problem is straightened out.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>>> Unfortunaely most US "diplobrats" don't go to high school in ah, lesser developed countries.

There is the American Embassy School in New Delhi -- full of american kids.

My school played basketball against them when I was a kid -- the slickest gym in town.

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

After doing a google search I see there is an Oakridge International school in Hyderabad also.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger maverick said...

> SSS killed.


At 1:51 PM, Blogger maverick said...

This is not good.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Rangudu - can I please see the email?

At 2:00 PM, Blogger maverick said...

IIRC - SSS was protected by a faction within the ISI. He didn't have any credibility because of that - everyone felt he was simply a mouthpiece.

However, his death means one of two things - either his protection expired, or another faction is making a move on his protector's turf.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger maverick said...


The French engineers were hit because Agosta didn't pay out enough in bribes to certain retired PN officials.

The French suspected that the money was going places it should not - so they backed out of making the payment.

The attack happened because French suspicions about the money were correct - it was going into "Al Qaida" bank accounts - the Admiral responsible for taking the money organised a hit on the French engineers as retaliation.

So what/who organised the attack on PNS Mehran.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Sparsh said...


Any comments on Shahzad's killing? His articles on the PNS Mehran attack must have struck a raw nerve somewhere in Aabpara for them to hit out in such a fashion.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Sparsh said...


It looks like we clicked the submit button at the same time.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

The reports said that he was tortured. Aabpara wanted to find out the identity of who was leaking stuff to SSS.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Sparsh,

I have been going back and forth over this and I am having trouble making sense of it.

I wonder if the P3s disrupted an "Al Qaida" brand opiate shipment. And like all "Al Qaida" brand stuff - it was actually a covert PA/PN shipment that was nicked by international forces.

If that happened then I imagine whoever the shipment actually belonged to got mighty pissed.

SSS' appears to have fingered exactly who it was in the PN that was working with the "Al Qaida" brand. It had to be someone high up because they knew exactly where the lower level people were being held and interrogated and they knew exactly who was doing the interrogations.

My guess is that SSS thought that the person/s who was behind all this was Adnan Nazir (a PN aviator with P3 squadron) and his deputy (now CO PNS Mehran) Khalid Perviaz .

I would not be too surprised if a link emerges between this event at PNS Mehran and the killing of the French engineers. It may be that the PN personality running a protection racket on the "Al Qaida" brand drug trade was the same person who lost the most by the French denial of kickbacks.

At 4:32 AM, Blogger maverick said...

It was always suspected that SSS chose to work with a faction of the ISI to "highlight" the problems of extremism in Pakistan and his work often focused on problems within the establishment.

It is not uncommon for groups within any establishment to run reporters to help them tweak media coverage to their advantage. But the aggressive manner in which SSS was run suggests to me that he was a "director's case".

I do not know why SSS went along with this scheme. Most reporters have a weakness they want to be read and held in high regard. So they prostitute their content to the establishment in exchange for the appearance of high grade information.

This trend was very pronounced in SSS' writings and that is why anyone who read his articles felt someone was feeding him this stuff. Perhaps like so many others, he had a family connection to the establishment.

Unfortunately it seems somewhere in there SSS became identified with the source and thus like the source itself, SSS became enmeshed in a turf war within the establishment.

I think SSS' death signifies that the authority of his backers within the establishment is weakening. Perhaps the opposing faction felt that SSS' backers would use him to expose them.

The threat of exposure was too great to bear and that led to this situation where the opposing faction felt SSS had to die.

I would refrain from attaching labels like "Good ISI" and "Bad ISI" - there is no such thing - to the people that backed SSS.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger maverick said...


"SHAHZAD: Well, as far as my understanding is concerned, many of the military officers who had a religious inclination resigned or took their retirement soon after 9/11. Some of them silently sat at their home, but many joined forces with the different militant groups. I personally interacted with some of the officers who joined Commander Ilyas Kashmiri, who is now the member of al-Qaeda’s shura. And some of those retired army officers were also behind the Mumbai attack in 2008. And, of course, bin Laden’s killing is a big event for them. And they are also assessing the new situation after bin Laden’s killing, and that is a new collaboration between the Pakistani security forces
and the US military establishment. And as you can see in yesterday’s joint statement issued in Islamabad after John Kerry’s visit, that both countries have reiterated that they would launch joint operations against al-Qaeda, new targets. And the security forces–[an] Islamabad security forces official personally told me that it means that now
Pakistani forces and the Americans would jointly work to crack high-profile Afghan Taliban leaders and the Pakistani militants and as well as al-Qaeda leaders. So the thing is that now I can clearly see a disturbance within the Pakistani establishment. And I understand that many of those retired officials, army officials, who’d use their clout inside the Pakistan army and instigate the [incompr.] officers, tried to manipulate them to work with the jihadi forces and instigate the rebellion against the state apparatus."

"SHAHZAD: Well, as far as Osama bin Laden’s hiding cave is concerned, I don’t have any qualified opinion to share with you. But given my interaction and my exposure with some of the retired army officials who were hand-in-glove with the jihadi forces, I can safely guess that it is quite possible that some retired army officers, use their connections to keep Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, although I’m not sure that he was living over there for the last five years. I’m not sure about the time period which is mentioned by the Americans. But I think that if he was living in Abbottabad for several months, I think it was not possible without the help and connivance of some of the elements who were directly or indirectly connected with the military establishment."

"SHAHZAD: There were proofs, there were evidence of financial linkages between the Taliban and al-Qaeda and the Saudi royal family, and even within the Pakistani military establishment. But, actually, those linkages were presented larger than the life. Most of that financial assistance was meant for the NGOs which were operating in Afghanistan. And several royal family members donated the funds to those NGOs. But it was presented in a different light, in a different angle, as the royal family donated the money, royal family members donated the money to al-Qaeda for launching 9/11 operation. So that was–I don’t, you know, give much break to those evidences. Al-Qaeda is completely an anti-establishment and anti-state element. And this is the same for the whole world. Al-Qaeda is not loyal to any single state of the world. So I don’t subscribe, actually."

At 1:27 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Sadanand Dhume comes up with another good one..

But there is another, less obvious, reason for keeping the faith. Pakistan may be teetering but it's hardly a lost cause. Ten years ago the country was ruled by a general who had seized power in a coup, housed a largely tame and ill-informed media, and had spent the previous two decades welcoming jihadists from across the globe. Indeed, pre-9/11 Pakistan more or less openly backed terrorism as an instrument of policy, and helped create arguably the world's most brutal Islamist regime in history under the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Today things are less black and white. The army still wields far too much influence, but at least it has handed over the formal reins of power to elected politicians. President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ought to have used the crisis surrounding the bin Laden raid and last month's audacious terrorist attack on a naval base in Karachi to assert greater civilian control over the military. Nonetheless, as long as Pakistan perseveres with elections, next due in 2013, over time civilian politicians will likely assert control as they have in every other country in the subcontinent, including those with strong militaries such as Bangladesh and Nepal.

A glance at Pakistani society shows that its media is the gutsiest in South Asia. This is so despite the abundance of whack jobs such as the conspiracy theorist Zaid Hamid on local television and the gloom generated by this week's brutal murder of investigative reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad. More journalists die each year in Pakistan than in most countries, but only because they refuse to be cowed by either the mullahs or the generals. While brave Pakistanis deserve the credit, it's close ties with the United States that tends to help civil society in Muslim countries. Just compare pro-U.S. Egypt and Tunisia with the mullahcracy in Iran or the police state in Syria.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Regrettably it is not possible to resolve the Siachen issue at the present time.

The PA remains completely averse to actually demarcating the border in the area.

The Indian Army is suspicious of any Pakistani claims to respect any borders.

Given the PA's history in these matters, and the difficulty the Indian Army encountered in Kargil, the Indian Army's objections cannot be set aside.

By leaving the line undemarcated, the PA will be able to deflect public anger over the losses to the Indian Army. However in the long term - there is no real security that this will offer the PA.

Should the PA re-occupy any feature in there region, the Indian Army will respond with any means it deems necessary and I don't think the consideration shown towards Gultari in Kargil (and presently to Goma and Khaplu) will continue under those circumstances.

I am certain that the Pakistani Army understands the full implications of the purchase of Starlifter and Hercules airplanes in large numbers by the IAF. The PA knows that this completely alters the resupply situation in Leh and their position on the glacier is untenable.

The choice before the PA is grim. It can either take a loss of face right now by agreeing to the demarcation and putting into place cast iron guarantees (i.e. demilitarise all the way to Khaplu) against infiltration in the region - or save face now - and continue losing the Ridge now. Ofcourse if that continues, then the PA will get sucked into some idiotic escalation and get beaten by the Indian Army and then sign the exact same treaties that can be signed in now but under a cloud of national humiliation.

I wonder what choice the PA will make.

At 7:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think CRamS and Ramana are misreading the Sadanand Dhume piece.

Sadanand Dhume is not plugging the US line.

There is debate in the US on whether on not support to Pakistan should continue.

Sadanand Dhume is simply saying the US doesn't really have a choice but to continue supporting Pakistan.

I think what is implicit in his articles is that if the US wants to make Pakistan a stable place, it has keep up the pressure on "Terrorist Business Machine" of the Pakistan Army but somehow keep the rest of the place and its democratic institutions still intact.

Sadanand Dhume is simply reminding the US that it is not America's interests to see Pakistan collapse as a nation. It is in US interests to see Pakistan heal from the cancer of terrorism.

This is a realistic perspective on US-Pak relations. If the US attempts to control Jihadi terrorism in Pakistan actually cure the Pakistani Army of its addiction to Islamist terrorist groups - then that is an incalculable benefit for India.

Naturally this would not repair Indo-Pak relations overnight - but it would greatly diminish the unnecessary pain and suffering that any interaction with Pakistan brings to India.

It is not just India that wants to see the Pakistan Army cured of its addition to narcotrafficking and terrorism. The Pakistani public also wants the same thing. The Pakistan people want a strong leader that they can hold accountable for his actions, but they don't want to be terrorised by this leaders army. Right now every Pakistani seems to realise that the Army no longer has a monopoly on violence inside Pakistan and that this situation is going to produce a state of civil war. Even A Q Khan admits there is an actual law and order problem.

But no Pakistani is openly coming out and saying that this situation is happening because the Islamist groups that the Army created for its nefarious purposes are now demanding a greater degree of moral consistency from the Army than it is capable of.

This moral collapse of the Army's authority has created the grounds for declining public confidence in the Army's leadership and that is what is creating the law and order problem. Everyone knows that the Army has fucked up - but no one wants to come out and say it to their face for fear of retribution.

Either the moral vacuum created by the Army's failure must be filled with a democratically elected government with accountability and proper checks and balances - or a "ghairat brigade" composed rabble-rousers, general malcontents and assorted ZH-type assholes will move in and take over this psychological space in Pakistan. At that point anyone - even Musharraf can return and seize control in the chaos that will follow.

The Mullahs can be a part of either formulation. If the Mullahs can be convinced to give an accountable democracy a chance - then Pakistan will have some hope for a real future. If on the other hand the Mullahs are seduced by authoritarian forces and succumb to pressures to join the Ghairat Brigade, then Pakistan is finished. It will turn into another Afghanistan.

It is vital that the Mullahs remain invested in a strong central government that emphasises law and order.

Musharraf's unnecessarily provocative strategy at Lal Masjid has not yielded the desired results. IMO it has created a monster that no one can control.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Well, so much for Kashmiri. It was announced the drones got him in South Waziristan.

Which leads to my question how is this war going to end? Emdless drone hunts? Constant suspicion of terrorism? There has to be a culture change on the part of somebody to end a war.

In WWII, Japan and Germany was ground under the heel of the Allies and their institutions and cultural outlook were changed. How are we going to do this with the Islamists? Obviously, they're not going to change.

And I refuse to accept the BARF answer that Pakistan must be destroyed in order to effect an Islamist change.

There is a common thought among the Arabs that as long as there is no settlement with Israel and the US supports Israel then there will be endless struggle. Egypt is a good example. No more Mubarak and no more dealings with Israel. The Arab man on the street still supports the anti-Israel struggle and therefore the main perpetrator, America. They feel they have a right to continue this struggle. I have had numerous conversations with the Palestinians next door to me and believe me, they feel they have a right to struggle against Israel. I realize this is anecdotal evidence but I think this feeling is general among them. For all I know Pakistanis probaly feels the same way about Kashmir.

So endless terrorism and asassinations? I am afraid I am more than a bit gloomy here.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger dilbert said...

"They feel they have a right to continue this struggle. ... For all I know Pakistanis probably feels the same way about Kashmir."

They *absolutely* do. They may be losing hope now of defeating India by force of arms, but they believe in the rightness and nobility of their cause. There are *no* groups in Pakistan who believe that terrorism against India or any military attacks like Kargil etc. are wrong or morally illegitimate. They just hate to see their own terrorism turned against them. That is the only reason for all the weeping and wailing you see in TSP.

If all the booms and bangs that are happening in Pakistan now were happening in India instead, most Pakis would be chuckling with glee and heartily approving all this sh!t.

At 8:59 AM, Blogger dilbert said...

And another thing... India should never, under any circumstances, withdraw from its positions in Siachen. I don't care what agreements Pakistan signs, I don't care what the phukking UN or the "international community" says.

We know damned well that as soon as we withdraw, Pakistan will move right in and occupy those positions, with China's help and support. Of course India will cry "unfair", take the case to the UN etc. and nothing will happen. Where have we heard that song before?

Besides, who says that Pakistan is the only danger? Why wouldn't China move in and occupy the vacated Indian positions?

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

In memoriam to Mr. Kashmiri:

"Losing My Religion" on Youtube


Appropos given the circumstances. Enjoy!

At 2:27 PM, Blogger sdre said...

Hi there:

I see that AmberG has chosen to quote this blog, specifically moi, in the BRF nuke thread. IMHO she shouldn't, that is the sure way to invite admin wrath. Anyway, now that she has openly accused Ramana of favoritism, it is funny to see Ramana adopt an air of injured innocence. The nuke thread itself is the living proof of Ramana's game. The whole thread has been sankufied, repeatedly. Other EB's like Chaanakya and Theo are allowed to post after post that are completely content-free. Brihaspati even attempted to derail the thread with multi-part C&P from MV Ramana, of all people.

Yet, Ramana has chosen to threaten Amit, AmberG, Guruprabhu, and Somenath at various times, whenever it looked like Sanku was receiving a thorough beating at their hands. OTOH, Ramana has asked Sanku to only desist from replying to certain posters (the afore-mentioned four), to "keep the thread peaceful." You be the judge...

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

You aren't seriously expecting *fairness* are you? After all, Ramana pwns the forum.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


This is a video from Shoji Nagamiya, Director of J-PARC, describing the effects of the Eastern Japan Earthquake. They plan to finish the recovery and resume operations by December 2011.

More details are here:


At 2:05 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Picking on admins etc is not the right approach. even on Mav's blog here, there are flare-ups and garbage gets posted. Fortunately, folks here self-delete after one half-life of the cool-down period.

OTOH, there are dozens of threads on DF and Sanku-ji has no half-life in his inane musings. What can any admin do in the face of relentless absurdity?

At 3:58 PM, Blogger dilbert said...

"What can any admin do in the face of relentless absurdity?"

Ban him. Permanently.

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

>>> Ban him. Permanently.

I suppose that is one solution.

At 5:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...


FWIW I had no foreknowledge of any attack on Ilyas Kashmiri. My comment about it being possible to whack him in his bedroom was made in passing - I didn't know anything specific to suggest that he was going to be hit in the drone attack.

Also I really doubt anyone in India had anything to do with the drone attacks on Kashmiri, these attacks do not happen with inputs from India. If that were the case, GoI would not be carrying out this complicated legal proceeding, handing over lists of people etc... GoI would simply call up the correct lawyer in the USG and pass the target's name and address along and the matter of justice would be resolved.

As the drone attacks are carried out with intelligence inputs from the some ISI factions, I suspect that we are seeing an expansion of the internal strife in the ISI. If indeed as SSS claimed the Kashmiri group had backers high up in the Pakistani establishment - then his death could only be the result of the same forces that led to SSS's demise.

Specifically, the after Headley's testimony about a planned assassination attempt on the life of the Lockheed CEO, I think Mr. Kashmiri became a liability that could not be left out there.

These are the perils of an election year. You cannot pose a threat to the life of a major US CEO in an election year. Every political party needs money and no one can afford that kind of targeting to happen without visible consequence.

At 6:05 AM, Blogger maverick said...


A few comments about the recent police action against the leader of a religious cult in Ramlila grounds in New Delhi.

As you are aware, India supports a wide diversity of beliefs. It is common for cults to appear and disappear. It is also common for large cults to build up an international following among elements of the Indian diaspora.

The leaders of these cults are a highly variable lot. Some are actually dedicated to a system of beliefs and others are more political creatures seeking opportunities via exploitation of others' religious or spiritual sentiments.

Recently, the fight against corruption has becomes a major point in public debate. And as in any healthy society - all groups, religious, social, political etc... have attempted to contribute to it.

However, I feel it is not in anyone's interest to use the corruption issue to politically profiteer. A rational discourse is needed on the issue of corruption in society. There cannot be a rational discourse when one party in the discourse is only there to score bizarre random political brownie points.

A lot is being said about the unpleasantness of the police action, but honestly it was about as polite as it could have been. No one was killed - the midnight raid ensured that everyone was too sleepy to put up a fight. I think this alone kept the casualties to a minimum. The segregation of the women and children from the men folk - is a routine police procedure - it is followed everywhere in India and is not specific to the action at Ramlila grounds.

Yes - being roused out of sleep at midnight is terribly stressful, but I am sure you can perform some of yog-asana to relieve this stress.

As for it being undemocratic, yes all police actions are fundamentally undemocratic, but what is more undemocratic than a members of a televangelical cult occupying a public space and harassing the crap out of an elected government.

At 6:29 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Ah... hello... wtf is this?

India did not hold up the resolution of the Siachen dispute.

The Pakistan Army is adamant about demarcating the AGPL. They brought up all this BS about the Chinese occupation in Shaksgam valley and how China would have to be brought to the table. This is the same piece of land that Musharraf assured us that he could simply ask the Chinese to "give back" at any time.

The Pakistan Army is unwilling to let India have positions that protect its interests in Thoise and the Nubra Valley.

The Pakistan Army is unwilling to create a monitoring scheme that pulls troops as far back as Khaplu.

The Pakistan Army is unwilling to withdraw the dagger pointing at the Indian town of Chalunkha.

How the fuck is it India's fault that the discussions did not yield a resolution.

It seems more like the Pakistan Army is the biggest obstacle to peace in the region. A fact we have seen proven time and time again.

And have you people in Rawalpindi learned nothing from your previous fiasco in this affair?

On your mouthpiece websites you have accused Geoff Pyatt of making statements about "internal army corruption".


Geoff Pyatt has not made any statement to that effect.

How many more humiliations do you need to endure before you finally learn that this kind of behaviour doesn't earn any trust?

Do you want India to resume hostilities at Siachen?

Do you want India to bring up what sort of press coverage was being arranged for the Siachen dispute inside Pakistan during these sensitive talks?

Maybe it is best if you people in Rawalpindi go home and talk about it amongst yourselves and spare the rest of humanity the trouble of having to listen to your inane thoughts on this issue.

We are all anxiously waiting to see how you people at Rawalpindi climb down from this unsustainable height you have placed your ass at.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger maverick said...


"Ramdev has leveraged his media image to be the leader of a crusade. He has no prior experience or track record of such work. Having launched into it, he has played into the hands of the media. In the process, he has transformed an ongoing crusade against corruption founded on debate about legislation into a wishy-washy campaign that was predictably capitalised by political parties. "

"What the Anna Hazare, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal put together, he has messed up overnight. One wonders who benefited from that separate gathering at Delhi's Ram Lila ground, when there was already a civil society team addressing the issue of corruption?"

"Power of media space

Needless to say, the BJP drummed up Ramdev's detention into a national issue, proving once again that India's main Opposition party lacks imagination. In a world of unequal wealth, prominence in the media favours those who acquire media space by whatever means. Which is why our national debates are increasingly between those who manage to grab media space, and not those directly connected with issues. Baba Ramdev is a fine example of this syndrome. Worse, the Ramdev incident has exposed the BJP as incapable of escaping the saffron pool and forever risking engagement with fringe elements for political mileage. Its leaders may compare Ramdev's sacking to the days before Emergency— but who remembers the Emergency now? "

A very well written piece.

Actually despite my belief that the decision to send Baba Ramdev packing was sound, I also agree with Shyam Menon's conclusions

"These are the days of charges, counter charges and brinkmanship. What it does is add layers to perception, creating confusion. This is a tactic the UPA government will be remembered for. Consciously, and in seemingly unconscious ways, the government has distanced itself from the common man's India. The more this administration ignored the common man, the more it desisted from good old-fashioned communication with the electorate, the greater was the need of the voter to seek the support of larger-than-life actors. Visibility, not relevance, has become the name of the game. That's why in the final analysis, the responsibility for what happened at the Ram Lila ground, must lie with the government. "

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger maverick said...


This is exactly one douchebag.

The "we are legion" gave it away.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think everyone feels bad when unarmed protesters are subject to a police action, but that can't obscure the fact that Baba Ramdev is only in this for the publicity.

Baba Ramdev cares about as much for his supporters as the policemen who beat them up do.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Kammie Kamal said...

"Power of media space

Needless to say, the BJP drummed up Ramdev's detention into a national issue, proving once again that India's main Opposition party lacks imagination. In a world of unequal wealth, prominence in the media favours those who acquire media space by whatever means. Which is why our national debates are increasingly between those who manage to grab media space, and not those directly connected with issues. Baba Ramdev is a fine example of this syndrome. Worse, the Ramdev incident has exposed the BJP as incapable of escaping the saffron pool and forever risking engagement with fringe elements for political mileage. Its leaders may compare Ramdev's sacking to the days before Emergency— but who remembers the Emergency now? "

Before BJP drummed up support for Ramdev, it is Congress which assembled its ministers to receive him at the airport.

Whatever BJP does it is only for political mileage and Congress is above any criticism?

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Kammie Kamal said...

"A lot is being said about the unpleasantness of the police action, but honestly it was about as polite as it could have been. No one was killed - the midnight raid ensured that everyone was too sleepy to put up a fight. I think this alone kept the casualties to a minimum."

killing is impoliteness or a crime?

Strange to see justification of those incidents happened at that night as politeness.

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...


"I think everyone feels bad when unarmed protesters are subject to a police action, but that can't obscure the fact that Baba Ramdev is only in this for the publicity."

Fine. Just don't start insisting that India is the equal of the USA in freedom like the BARFites do.

Our protestors can invade a state capitol for weeks at a time and shout down state legislators from the galleries in the state capitol w/o the cops ever doing a thing about it. They can also set protest camps on the side of the highway near George Bush's ranch, etc., etc., etc. In fact, when our protestors march, the cops are there to *protect them* from an American public that quite frankly doesn't like protestors all that much in general.

There is a small bridge over the freeway that I use to get to work. When protestors use the bridge to hang banners from it and carry signs and walk back and forth across the bride, it backs traffic up the freeway for miles. In such circumstances I would like to stop and throw them from the bridge due to my road rage. However there are always a couple of cops there.


At 6:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal,

Regarding the BJP capitalizing on Baba Ramdev's antics - those comments are from Shyam Menon not mine.

The Congress simply treated Baba Ramdev as it would any religious leader. It gave him his due but when he seems more like a political provocation - the congress distanced itself from him.

The BJP seems to have had its finger in Baba Ramdev's pie for a very long time and now that investment is being raised on the notion that he is a useful political provocation.

All this is being done allegedly with an eye on the electoral prospects in UP. Apparently some caste combo is favourable to Baba Ramdev and might be swayed in its voting pattern by how he is treated.

I really doubt there is any truth in this. Baba Ramdev is not a credible political force. My own relatives have invested in his brand of thinking and their house is plastered with photos of themselves in his company.

As I am sure you can tell - I don't think so highly of him.

At 7:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal

Regarding the politeness of the "police action" - lets be honest with each other.

In the days of the emergency - anyone who raised inconvenient questions was summarily arrested with no trial. My own late relative drove around in an unmarked police jeep with specific instructions to shoot certain people at sight - regardless of whether they resisted arrest or not.

In the days of the Naxalbari uprising, anyone remotely connected with Charu Majumdar's brand of communist thinking was arrested in the middle of the night and brutally beaten to death in a police station.

In Punjab, after the Golden Temple was cleansed, anyone even conceptually associated with the Damdami Taksal was rounded up tortured in prison, and their families were killed in police encounters. Wherever possible pregnant women from families of suspected collaborators were mistreated in police stations just to humiliate the suspects.

After the Bombay Blasts of 1993, anyone who vaguely knew Tiger Memon was brought to a police station and everything from soda bottles to bulbs filled with acid were shoved up his arse. Whenever possible female relatives were mercilessly beaten in front of the accused to get him to divulge information like "where are the remaining explosives that landed in Raigad" etc...

I can give examples from Jammu and Kashmir and the North East of what is done when a security forces column is challenged - but that might be upset people.

For that very reason I will not go into what happens when a person of the wrong caste goes into a police station dominated by officers of a peer competitor caste.

In my opinion - that is police action.

Frankly - a single midnight lathi charge on Ramlila grounds in full view of press cameras - that is simply not police action.

Comparing the lathi charge at Ramlila grounds to the emergency is completely utter horseshit.

It is an insult to the people who endured a real denial of civil rights during difficult periods in the Republic's history.

If the followers of Baba Ramdev are having trouble understanding this fact - then I suggest they stop doing the head-inside-the-arse yoga posture and instead take a look in areas where there are real problems.

I always welcome informed commentary on problems of India - but I can't stand a bunch of people who insist on touching their toes merely to gaze at their own navels!

At 7:06 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

I think you may be misunderstanding the situation.

Ramdev had a permit for yoga camp - not a political protest.

If he had requested the correct permit - the police action would *not* have happened. The political protest permits are issued on a daily basis and there are about 2-3 major rallies in proximity to the parliament on a daily basis in New Delhi.

You can't take a permit for yoga meditation camp and then launch an anti-government agitation from that platform.

That amounts to lying on the permit application and occupying public space without the proper permit. The Delhi administration is well within its rights to act accordingly.

If you did that in DC, then the police would treat you no differently than the Delhi Police did.

In general the Indian police and government is quite a bit more tolerant than its US counterpart.

The GoI sent several ministers to try and talk to Ramdev, but he appears to have misled the ministers. If a Cabinet level officer or Secretary of the USG talks to you and you lie to their face on matters of public safety, the police will simply shoot you dead.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


your truly is getting more deeply involved.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Ramdev can fast all he wants - that is not against the law.

If there is a perceived security risk from his activities, the security forces are free to act in ways that minimize that.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger maverick said...

On the passing of M.F. Hussain - that is truly sad, and sadder still is that he died in a foreign land.

Give me one M F Hussain to 10 Baba Ramdev's any day.

At 5:35 AM, Blogger maverick said...

As Mr. Rana has been let off for his involvement in the Bombay terror attacks and the entire exercise of giving Mr. Headley immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony against other conspirators has come to no useful conclusion - an inaccurate message has been sent from the US to the Pakistan Army - that it is okay to keep killing Indians but not okay to even target an institution or individuals in the West.

This kind of message leaves India with few choices with regards to corrective action in Pakistan.

Given the disrespect shown towards the lives of Indians in the US court, it is difficult for me to imagine why anything India does in Pakistan needs to remain deeply sensitive to US interests.

This is very tragic, a number of Indians had great faith in the US courts to deliver justice on matters of terrorism. I would go so far as to say that some Indians had more faith in the US justice system than they did in the Indian courts.

It is tragic how this has narrowed the UPA's led government's options in Pakistan.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Kammie Kamal said...

Pujya Maverick Ji

Treading along your illustration & comparison of Police action, it could be argued that considering the monumental more than a Lakh crore rupees scandal in 2G Spectrum allocation, a hundred crore rupee Bofors scandal is petty and dismissible.

Even your examples are way off the mark for comparison, as the quoted incidents involving people were Criminals detrimental to the Country and society and no way comparable to the innocent people gathered at Delhi Ramlila ground. Reference to Emergency is for the suppression of Civil rights of innocent civilians rather than on the account of Police brutality.

It is trivial matter whether Ramdev is doing navel gazing or navel licking assanas. He gains significance for the Cause he is standing for. Again it is trivial whether he has political aspirations or profit seeking business man as he has shown spine to stand against the most powerful Corrupt Empire and speaks the language of the people, whereas typical business people like Infosys honcho can only talk of the sad state of greasing the palms to even move the files. The Cause to which he is standing for is more important to the welfare of this Country and its people rather than he is yoga guru or business man.

At 5:41 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal,

Yes, I think the 2G and the Bofors scams are nothing - when compared to the scam we call real estate pricing in India. I would crudely estimate the size of that real scam to be about 10% of the GDP. That is really scary.

All this 2G etc... is all chickenshit compared to that. And frankly if Dawood bhai wants to reinvest his drug money earnings back into the *Indian* economy (as opposed to the American/ Pakistani/ Chinese economy)... more power to him!

Being married to a suspected member of an extremist group or a political adversary organisation is not a crime. When you drag people into a police station and beat them to death just because you want to intimidate a suspect is real police brutality. Clearing a public space where someone has gathered without the proper permit and with malafide intentions is not police brutality.

I don't really care what cause Ramdev stands for - and I wager neither does anyone of substance in UP or anywhere else in India.
Yes the usual-frothing-at-the-mouth-brigade is out in force - but I ask you Sir, when are they not?

Yawn... as Inspector Sadhu Agashe (ab tak chappan) says to Constable Francis, "Coma mein hain? - Chai pila usko - hosh aa jayega.."

At 5:55 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal,

One more thing.

Yes - fighting corruption is important in India.

No - one does not need Ramdev's antics to do that.

Annasaheb was doing fine without Ramdev's "help".

This is the same kind of dynamics that took hold in Ayodhya in 87 and then again 92. There were too many opportunists that simply jumped on the bandwagon and the situation quickly bled out of control.

Social attitudes towards corruption may change due to all the fuss being made - but the economic realities driving corruption - i.e. the vastly inequitable distribution of wealth and the denial of economic opportunity to vast sections of the people of India - will not change on the timescale that the campaigners are anticipating. They will change very slowly.

Only someone of MMS' caliber has the ability to put in place measures that change those realities. If people want MMS to do that - then people should tell him that. I am certain if he is told in a concise fashion that this is big issue for ordinary people he will do whatever is in his power.

Right now "anti-corruption" has become an element of political fashion. That is why the usual band-baja-nautankia brigade is in full force. Kuch nahi hua toh some political advantage can be gained.

If you want only a baaton ka saudagar - then by all means go to the band-baja people.

If you want real work done - come to the bhai company with specific concerns. Only praji and his men can do anything meaningful on the corruption issue. Baki sab log timepass ke wastey hain...

That is why the words of the song are "Singh is Kinng, Singh is Kingg..."

Even if you don't know the words, hum along...

At 11:03 AM, Blogger powerslave said...

Strictly from 'arts' perspective may be M.F Hussian was a ginat; I don't know for I never had a taste for abstract art (I am kind of old school , love portriats and actual landscapes). But to say one would prefer 1 Hussain as against 10 Ramdevs ? Mav with all due respect do you even know how many people have benifitted from Ramdev's yoga sessions to be specific just kapalbhati and pranayaam ? He has brought yoga to the masses , prior to him yoga was percieved as something which elites indulged into. How many lives has MF Hussian touched by his work , hell ask anyone on street about his paintings I am sure more people know him for Gajagamini in India than his art.

At 8:32 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


I have to disagree with you on MFH. He was clearly disconnected.

I will not miss him. Close family of mine own some important MFH works ... I believe their net worth just shot up a million $$ or so cause he died. RIP.

At 4:55 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Powerslave,

I am not comparing Ramdev and MF on the basis of the number of people their art touched. I am comparing the quality of their work.

There is an element of innovation in MF's work that I find missing in Ramdev's work. I see Ramdev as essentially retelecasting ideas already recorded and studied at great length in traditional sources of the yogic knowledge. Most Indians are predisposed to accept ideas from vedic sources due to a mythological bias. The use of televangelical techniques simply allows Ramdev to access a wider base than others. I think his contribution to yoga is perhaps comparable to "Sri Sri Sri... (Sri) to the nth power" Ravi Shankar (who popularised kriya without the use of the mass media - via social networking - the traditional way).

Now I have been assured by many of SSSSSSSSSS Ravi Shankar's followers, that he is about to write a commentary on the Pitanjali Yoga Sutras, but I am still waiting for the publisher to come out with it.

Ofcourse, someone like you who is well informed may argue - "Sir, what is the point of reading a commentary on a commentary of an index of the philosophically condensed form of the ideas in Vedic literature"... and ofcourse that point would be very valid also - but still this kind of effort is so rare that one has to give some credit to people like Ramdev or SSSSSSSSSSS Ravi Shankar for attempting to keep traditions alive.

(contd in next post)

At 5:09 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Powerslave,

With regards to MF - we are seeing an innovator. The ideas draw up on various schools of abstract thinking (principally cubism) but fundamentally the product is unlike anything one has seen before in India.

The mere fact that his conception of ideas from an alien land have found some acceptance and indeed national acclaim in India - draws me to MF. It is very difficult to get people to accept new thinking on matters of art - and MF has achieved it in a very tradition dominated society like India.

If Ramdev or SSSSSS..SSSS Ravi Shankar had come up with a combination of Yoga and modern dance, or even scientifically reevaluated modern medical practices in the light of information in Vedic sources - I would see them as innovators - but they have not done that.

I think MF is the greatest Indian painter since Raja Ravi Verma. Ravi Verma brought key ideas of oil painting to India and used to represent Indian deities and myths. I think MF was trying to do the same thing.

Few can stare at Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, and not feel that they are in the presence of something spectacular. If MF had succeeded in transferring that sense of the spectacular to his depictions of Indian deities - we would see his paintings on the walls of temples, every depiction of the Goddess would be formed into his conception.

Unfortunately MF's depiction of naked Hindu deities has rattled some prudes in Indian society. It is very sad to see this rejected, I for one grew up on Raja Ravi Verma inspired religious imagery, of very voluptous Goddess depiction.

Sadly people seem to have forgotten that prior the medieval age, most of the temple art depected the Goddess form naked but without the breast and hip implants. This form of the Goddess was celebrated and revered without question.

MF was trying to take us back to that time - and we failed to follow him.

contd on next post.

At 5:17 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Powerslave,

To the followers of Shakti, our inability to face the primitive form of the Goddess is a sign of how decayed society and civilization has become.

It is an encrypted symbol of the staggering dominance of the male ego in the world - a neon sign that speaks to extent of misogyny in society. It is ahankara in its purest form when the Mother deity in any form is interpreted as sexually available.

To accuse MF of saying that about the Devi, is in my opinion - a sign that those thoughts exist in the mind of the accuser. Projecting them on to MF is a very cheap way of escaping blame.

I worry if this is what people think of the Holy Mother, what will they think of the ordinary woman?

And remember, it is still very much *Mother India*. That may change in the years to come - but we'll see about that.

Please read my response to Mani, that should hopefully clear up where I stand on this issue.

At 5:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

I only wish I had some of MF's work. I have attempted to lay out the reasons for why I think MF's work is important to me in my response to Powerslave's questions.

I never thought that I would agree with anything in the Pak Observer, but I do agree with the headline "Hypocritical India mourns MF Hussain". What days have come...

I am sad MF is dead and sadder still that the state machinery could not protect him.

I can understand when people lose access to civil rights in an enviroment where the state machinery is under a lot of pressure from rapidly unfolding events.

I also fully understand and accept the approach of the Hindu vote bank managers. If people are dumb enough to vote for a political party because it is against MF's painting - then it is their own damn fault. The political party is blameless in that transaction.

I can't understand how an artist can be subjected to such abuse or the state machinery can be subverted like this by motivated political groups. That part has me worried.

In the past - for example with the Hungryialist movement - the state machinery managed to protect them from cultural extremists and entrenched/vested interests.

When the machinery failed in the case of MF, it exposed a deeper problem.

In all honesty, the warrant against MF should have been voided and I fear that a higher court didn't move to do so because it simply did not have the time. The matter simply fell through the cracks.

I really become uneasy about things like that. We will be in deep deep shit - the day the state machinery cannot protect the expressions of artists.

I think MF's death in exile is a very sad event for GoI. I don't know how many people realise it.

At 5:56 AM, Blogger maverick said...

oh - one more thing.

In the maharashtrian vaishnava tradition, Pandharpur (MF's birth place) - holds a special place. It is the home of the local realisation of Vishnu - Vithoba. Vithoba is at the centre of the Warkari (old trans. "Travellers of the Path (to God)" - modern trans. Pilgrim) faith. This sect carries on the work of latter day advaitins like Saint Namdev and Saint Tukaram.

To see someone influential come from Pandharpur brings back visions of Namdev and Tukaram.

Incidentally, fwiw, MF's depictions of Goddess, are not too far off the imagery of Rakhumai (literally Rukmini Aai - or Mother Rukmini), the "consort" of Vishnu in the temple.

At 6:02 AM, Blogger maverick said...

St. Namdev and St. Tukaram along with St. Dynaneshwar were innovators of the Bhakti era. They translated Sanskrit documentation into the vulgar language of the time - a peculiar prakrit that has now come to be known as Marathi.

The poems of these saints form one of the pillars of Marathi literature - some see this as being the defining age of Marathi as a language. The poems survive in pristine form and are routinely set to song even today.

MF's hometown - Pandharpur has a long history of producing innovators.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger powerslave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger powerslave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger powerslave said...

Mav you are being too 'idealistic' or if I dare living in a utopia, despite being well aware of the fact that anything remotely related to ‘religion’ or people’s beliefs is likely to be blown into a big issue if someone claims that he/she would be able to hide behind the guise of ‘artistic freedom’ he is simply asking for trouble.

I for one have no sympathies for MF Hussain for he knew what he was stepping into when he drew the paintings in question; it was his choice. Didn’t he have an example of Salman Rushdie before him ? Why did the Govt. of secular republic of India ban his book in India ?
Why didn't Govt arrest those who threatened to kill a man for just because he scribbled something offensive on a piece of paper ?

I see clowns on facebook and elsewhere on social media putting up messages like ‘Ashamed of being an Indian for the way MF Hussian was treated’ , hey for the fck’s sake he was lucky had he drawn a cartoon of Allah/Muhammad he would not have been left with a place to hide .

Let me throw a gauntlet here; I am sure many of us have drawn Laxmi or some hindu god/goddess in school but can anyone here draw a clean and simple portrait of Allah/Muhhamad ? As for me hell I aint gonna do it for I don't believe in artistic freedom or whatever it means for when the lynch mob comes for me the gobermund of secular republic of India will offer my head on a platter :)

At 9:43 AM, Blogger achengar said...

Hi Mav,

I hope you are doing well.

I read your blog often but don't usually have much to say. In this instance, I am writing in response to your comparison of MF Hussain and Ramdev and your criticsm of Baba Ramdev as not being innovative. I just want to point out that a cornerstone for an artist is to be innovative and individual, whereas that of someone in Ramdev's position is to be effective. I personally don't know enough about Ramdev's yoga to judge how effective it is, but I hear he has popularized yoga a lot with his TV programs. In fact, one needs to only look at the "innovations" in yoga in the West and I dare say, in India too nowadays, to see its dangers. One of the reasons the yogic tradition has survived is because true practitioners stuck to the roots of the science, even as they adopted variations to make it effective for their audience. It was not meant to be appealing for its own sake, it was only meant to be acceptable so that its true benefits could be repead. So I don't think it is a fair comparison.


At 11:59 AM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...


Yes, in MFH we have lost an innovative son of India. I was a big fan of his until his moment of disconnect with the people -- artistic license is fine but then one should feel obliged to protect the state that protects you. He was playing with India's intergrity, warts and all.

Fortunately, there are many contemporary more artists in India. I am no expert, but names like Sayed Raza, Tyeb Mehta, Francis Souza, Ram Kumar, Manjit Bawa, Ganesh Pyne, etc are well known in galleries around the world.

By the way, here are a few of the 200 or so pieces of Indian contemporary owned by sister and BIL ... enjoy!


At 1:34 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Powerslave,

I think you are bringing up the same point that Satish Gujral brought up. I can only tell you what everyone told Satish Gujral when he cared to listen at the time.

There is no *depiction* of Allah. It is like asking to depict "Shiva" (not the deity with the trishul - but the advaitin formulation of that which cannot be concieved by the human mind).

There are depictions of Muhammed, the prophet in various miniature painting traditions. Why MF didn't paint Allah or Muhammed? - most probably because he didn't find it that interesting.

He was attempting the exact same thing Raja Ravi Verma did with greater success.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Contd from before..

And yes what was done to Salman Rushdie's work was also not good in my opinion.

Dear Anoop,

It is very good to hear from you again.

Yes - it does appear to be an unfair comparison - but one of the problems with the "vedic traditions" is that they have become a barrier in some peoples' mind to innovation.

It is almost like talking to some of the Haddithis - they too see innovation and knowledge as being opposed.

I don't value Ramdev or SSS..SS..SS Ravi Shankar's work very much. I feel it brings nothing new to the table.

By contrast MF brings a breath of fresh air that no number of pranayams can match.

Needless to say many of my own friends and relatives find that blasphemy.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

If MF is guilty of anything - it is self-publicity. I won't claim that he was above using his adversaries to his advantage.

What they needed all manner of contortions and flame for - he could deflect to his advantage with the flick of a brush.

An artist is at his/her peak which there is an element of provocation in the work.

You sir are fortunate to have such relatives. Contemporary Indian art is a very expensive commodity.

At 7:51 PM, Blogger maverick said...

This Amina Arraf thing sounds like a botched psyop.

At 10:10 PM, Blogger Kammie Kamal said...

"If people want MMS to do that - then people should tell him that. I am certain if he is told in a concise fashion that this is big issue for ordinary people he will do whatever is in his power. "

Pranam Maverick Ji,

When anti-corruption is talk of the nation and entire media is covering this aspect, does MMS needs to be told separately about this. Perhaps your are subtly indicating what MMS is accused of as a remote control switch who functions under the whip of Sonia Gandhi and not as PM of this country.

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Kammie Kamal said...

"To the followers of Shakti, our inability to face the primitive form of the Goddess is a sign of how decayed society and civilization has become.

It is an encrypted symbol of the staggering dominance of the male ego in the world - a neon sign that speaks to extent of misogyny in society. It is ahankara in its purest form when the Mother deity in any form is interpreted as sexually available.

To accuse MF of saying that about the Devi, is in my opinion - a sign that those thoughts exist in the mind of the accuser. Projecting them on to MF is a very cheap way of escaping blame.

I worry if this is what people think of the Holy Mother, what will they think of the ordinary woman?

And remember, it is still very much *Mother India*. That may change in the years to come - but we'll see about that."

I couldn't agree to none of your points or facts of your entire commentary. I feel compelled to share views to give a complete picture.

Throughout India what was considered as original Bharat, we can find numerous deities which are depicted in Primitive Form aka naked as in Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple in Southern tip of India, or Kalat mandir Kali in Baluchistan, western end of Bharat or Kamakhya temple in Assam, Eastern India. They are all sculptured and depicted in naked form. At the same time we can also find Goddesses in old and medieval temples "covered" and not as explicit as the above category. While one can think of any reasons as explanation to this phenomenon, most acceptable version is Goddesses are depicted in those forms in which they appeared in such bodily form and identified. To understand, while in medieval India, ladies in some section of the societies were modernized to wear garments to cover upper torso, other sections preferred to be without such luxuries. You can see such differences between the tribes living in forest and those in modern societies. Before Independence and even after, ladies were topless in the countryside of Southern India just as Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Goddess is depicted.

Bharat Mata is given a form by the modern India. She is identified in such form. What this has to to do with nakedness? And what meaning being naked tries to imply? As these modern picassos give meaning to every scribble they do, what kind of meaning Mr. M.F. tries to spread by depicting Bharat Mata in naked? What this has to do with Spiritualism as you trying to give a twist?

Apologies for being impolite, having grown seeing your own mother as a member of modern society, do you like to show her in Primitive Form ? The act of M.F. has the same vulgar meaning.

Innovative creations should be meaningful otherwise it becomes absurdity. Just to appear innovative, i can't eat mud and stones. Neither it would be good to breathe through anus instead.

At 3:46 AM, Blogger Kammie Kamal said...

Exhibit 1
Raja Ravi Verma and MF Husian.

Exhibit 2
Other religion & Hindu Goddess under MF Husain

At 5:15 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal,

The media can be made to cover anything. Just yesterday they were covering behaviour of a political personality whose party has never amounted to anything electorally but for some reason the media whore he was banging decided to give him some footage.

A few months ago we were treated to all sorts of media coverage of right wing extremists who were crawling up the nation's armpits. At that time most of the shouting brigade were up in arms about how the media was being manipulated.

Now suddenly they think the media has some conscience?

What should I watch on the media? Ramdev fasting? Sushma Swaraj dancing? or the artist formerly known as the "sexy" sanyasin?

At 5:28 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal,

"Bharat Mata" is not a modern invention.

The entire legend of "Bharat Mata" is based off the notions from the Shakti cult of pieces of the body of Shiva's consort falling to earth in various places (the Shaktipeetha). The notion that the spaces where the body parts fell defined a clear geographical zone is age old.

The identification of modern Indian nationalism as being tied to the hip mother India may have explicitly been made by Bankim Chandra, but it is not novel. These ideas were kicked around long before that - for example Shiva, the illustrious son of Shah, picked up his sword and dedicated his life to Aai Bhawani long before Ananda Math was every written.

The notion that a primitive form is degrading to "Hinduism" is a modern extremist invention. It is an absurd idea that only weird people adhere to.

The reason why this has kicked up a fuss is because MF Hussain, a "Muslim", has drawn the primitive form. That feeling is born from a deep seated animosity towards Muslims - there is no cure for that illness -sectarian animosity.

At 5:35 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal,

>> Apologies for being impolite, having grown seeing your own mother as a member of modern society, do you like to show her in Primitive Form ? The act of M.F. has the same vulgar meaning.

Why just my mother? - even if your mother was painted by M F Hussain in the primitive form - I would think that a great honour

>> Innovative creations should be meaningful otherwise it becomes absurdity. Just to appear innovative, i can't eat mud and stones. Neither it would be good to breathe through anus instead.

Art has value only in the eyes of the beholder. If the art of M F Hussain does not resonate with some people - it is their loss.

Whatever the age, when artistic criticism is voiced in a way that abuses the artist's freedoms - we take a step backwards into the abyss.

I don't see the point of supporting this kind of behaviour.

In the time of Jahapanah Akbar, the poet Faizi writes, the emperor saw the light of eternity, and sought to bring the masses into it.

But like moles in the dirt, their eyes were unaccustomed to the divine brilliance. Having lived their lives in darkness, they ran away from the light.

And so the age of ignorance dawned again.

At 6:25 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal,

In the link you have shown - I think I know exactly who put those images together.

The captions under M F Hussain's works are very interesting and say more about the mind of the person who wrote them.

For example, "Goddess Durga in sexual union with a Tiger" - umm I think that is just a cubist depiction of the traditional image of Durga riding a tiger, the sexual union part is something the caption author put in.

Then there is the depiction of the Goddess Sarawati on Ganesha's head. What is "wrong" about that. Ganesha and Saraswati are interinked deities. When we carry out Ganesha puja during chaturthi in our house, a Saraswati icon is routinely placed over the Ganesh idol. This is done to symbolize that Saraswati is the root of knowledge and Ganesha is the vector. I don't see anything wrong about the M F Hussain's depiction.

Lets move on to the Naked Saraswati - the caption by the author typifies the anti-primitve viewpoint - anything naked is automatically degrading.

And then there is the Naked Parvati, holding up the Ganesha... why is this offensive? every Parvati depiction I have seen in sculpture in temples in the south and east of India is nude. What is the exact problem here?

Moving on to the Naked Draupadi, umm... boss - Draupadi was stripped naked in presence of entire Kuru court. All the "brave" Pandava princes did jack to protect her... It was only Krishna who did anything - This event has been reenacted in every dramatisation of the MB in my recollection. So where is the problem here? btw when did Draupadi becomes a deity? what next people getting pissed over a naked Kunti depiction?

Then lets see the Naked Ravana, Naked Hanuman and Naked Sita. Again - somehow the same scene with form fitting clothes in a Raja Ravi Verma painting is okay but somehow a cubist depiction is not?

The fully clad Muslim with talwar and the naked brahmin with his shendi... what is wrong about that? after all even the most virulently anti Muslim people contend that Muslims came to India by sword and it was the naked will of the Brahmins to defy their swords that kept Hinduism alive? so why are people suddenly ashamed of the naked brahmin?

And then there is the Naked Bharat Mata, ooh - the angst that caused - err.. have the people that got worked up taken a walk down the poorer streets of India? how many of Bharat Mata's children have clothes to wear? Is the Mother not naked then? In the mid 80s, India today ran a caricature of Bharat Mata in rags holding a few dozen naked children close to her bosom. Now where was the righteous anger than? Or does being a friend of the right-wing get you a free pass on paining Bharat Mata naked?

At 6:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

That brings me to the last two sets of pieces in the collection.

The painting of Einstein, Gandhi, Mao and Hitler. The caption is a juvenile attempt to analyse this piece of art. The author of the caption should use the criticism of Guernica as a template rather than his bizarre world view.

Most of the pictures on the right on the right are actual portraits. They should be compared to the Madhuri Dixit series in MF's paintings.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think the painting comparisons that Kammie Kamal has put up say more about the poor quality of artistic analysis by the author of the captions than anything substantive about MF's art.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think Amb. Schaffer is behind the times. The Pakistani world view used to be dominated by the trauma of 1947.

The generation of people that endured partition are long gone and so is that memory. All that is ancient history now.

What shapes perceptions in Pakistan now is the struggle to survive. The dominant culture is not Indian, Arabian or Western - it is an opportunism which swings to whoever brings the biggest baksheesh.

Whether India, the US, China, Russia, UK, France or Afghanistan is seen as an existential threat to Pakistan is only a matter of random chance.

For decades now the West has told Pakistan it is okay to articulate its concerns against an adversary nation via cross border terrorism.

So today when the US finds itself sliding into Pakistan's "frenemy" - quite naturally - Pakistan feels compelled to spin its elaborate web of deceit and terrorism - because that is only thing the national security machinery there knows how to do.

The continued ignorance of people like T. Schaffer is part of the problem - not the solution.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Kammie Kamal said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Kammie Kamal said...

"A few months ago we were treated to all sorts of media coverage of right wing extremists who were crawling up the nation's armpits. At that time most of the shouting brigade were up in arms about how the media was being manipulated.

Now suddenly they think the media has some conscience?"

Dear Maverick Ji

It is a rare event for a media to shout at another media. I'm not much aware about that to comment. Here our talking point is not conscience of media but about our Prime Minister MMS's conscience.

So much talks shows are happening and Cong representatives are participating in that which revolves around Corruption and anti-corruption drive. CWG scam, 2G scam, attention from SC, CAG reports, letters from Anna Hazare and Subramanian Swamy to PM, still you believe PM needs to told separately about Corruption to take action on that? Funnily this is also the line of Cong. party that PM doesn't know anything which was successfully punctured by Subramanian Swamy.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

I am drawn to that painting by B. Prabha. I know very little about this artist - do you know anything about her? The wiki entry is very sparse.

I don't recall her paintings being at TIFR. I think most of HJB's collection is there. Have you seen her work elsewhere?

At 12:35 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Kammie Kamal,

If corruption is that much of a problem to you - then please go tell him yourself. That way you can be certain he has heard you and no middlemen are involved.

It may be all he sees the band-baja nautanki brigade in full force. You can't expect him to take these people seriously.

Until Anna started fasting - I myself thought this was all the usual bellyaching about corruption that I had seen after every major scam where the ruling party makes tons of money and the opposition feels jealous.

Right now the problem in the country is that internal capital (i.e. debt) structure is still very skewed. There are simply no tools to evaluate the risks inherent in any capital investment. A number of private money lending operations have kicked in shuffling money in and out of various warehousing schemes.

This flow is so fast it is difficult to track. God knows who and what is putting in money from where and what if any expectations there are from the debt.

That is what fighting corruption means at the national security level.

Most of the flows are collateralised by the real estate market. Kind of like what used to happen in East India Company times - where a maharajah could borrow money from the EIC by putting his throne in other end of the bargain.

The market is so fast moving that we cannot easily define control architectures. It is all mainly an information flow issue.

So now I ask you - do you have anything to add to this?

If you do - please speak now - for all ears are open and people are listening.

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

Hi Mav,

>>> I am drawn to that painting by B. Prabha. I know very little about this artist - do you know anything about her? The wiki entry is very sparse.

Bang on! You and I have similar taste. I have spent a long time nursing a drink and viewing that painting which is in the basement of the house.

I was told that some "art critic" who curated the show considered that work unimportant. Bah!

By the way, if you are ever in the NY/NJ area, let me know and I will arrange for you to visit the home -- it is delight for a fan of Indian contemporary art.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Mani,

Thank you for the offer. I will let you know if I am in the area.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I am reading an article in WaPo here about how Baba Ramdev appeals to Indian "middle class" people in level 2 cities in India. There is some case being made for Ramdev appealing less to the upper middle class people in level 1 cities.

I think this is b.s. - Ramdev has followers in level 1 cities. Most of my relatives who subscribe Ramdev's philosophies all live in level 1 cities. These people do not as the article suggests have a sense of overt religiosity and investment in faith related symbolism. They simply have an overwhelming desire to talk down to others on matters of a spiritual nature. I don't know why they do this - some of my relatives are really into clothes fashion fads- these Ramdev people are more into the latest faith-fashion fads.

I don't think Ramdev should stop talking about Yoga. When talking about stretching exercises, he may actually know a thing or two.

He has no idea about issues of corruption. He is talking through his hat.

The same applies on issues of spirituality. His comments on that are irrelevant.

At 3:24 PM, Blogger maverick said...

"India will never forget that night" - Ramdev (on NDTV)..

Kya timepass chal raha hain.

This fellow is a total scam.

At 6:24 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The Packeestanees are playing a very edgy game right now. They are openly defying America by arresting our spies who helped with bin Laden's death. If they force Congress's hand on this Obama may have to act due to the next election. This is the wrong time for the Packees to show their independence and backing of terrorism.

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Mani_Tripathi said...

^^^ Ralphy, you figure they are being egged on by China? Pakistanis have never had the nerve to openly cross America before.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

"Ralphy, you figure they are being egged on by China? Pakistanis have never had the nerve to openly cross America before."

No, it is from increasing anti Americanism from the rank and file and the sense that Pakistan has been been bought and sold. Islamism is very popular among the population and they generally hate America.

Eventually they will pay for this attitude and they know it. The US will drop them like used underwear when we are done with them and they realize they are in a sunk situation. There is no winning for Pakistan. If they even think of using their nukes they will most likely be horrendously punished. Pakistan is not a happy place right now and as such they are willing to do some very dangerous things. I pity them and what is about to happen to them.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...


Pakistan must be vey careful that they do not publicly threaten the US and become loathed objects by the American public. That is what happened to the Japanese during WWII. They were assigned a sub-human status somewhere on the level of snakes by the manner in which fought and the way they treated their prisoners. The Pakistanis must avoid similar comparisons at all costs but I fear they do not realize this. It could turn horrendous for them.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Someone has to take the blame for the presence of Osama and someone also has to take the blame for the Americans wandering in and killing him like that.
If the Pakistani's can't ditch the US and they can't really jump into bed with the US - that limits the choices in Islamabad.

That means - people will go after Kayani.

Can the US afford to lose Kayani in Islamabad?

At 7:57 AM, Blogger dilbert said...

"Can the US afford to lose Kayani in Islamabad?"

Sure they can. They may prefer not to lose him, but if he does go, the next vardi-wala will come in and take his place and continue the charade and do the Americans' bidding. Why should they care whether the guy holding the reins of power in Pakistan is Ashfaq This or Pervez That or Another Abdul? What goes of their father onlee?

At 1:29 PM, Blogger maverick said...


Man... this stuff is the best.

"Pakistan's powerful army is involved in domestic politics, foreign affairs and defending the nation's soil from attack. Now it can add a new stripe to its uniform: television production house.

The military is funding a TV action series aimed at showcasing its role in fighting Taliban militants. To keep costs down, the army employs soldiers as actors, with no extra pay for their services, and uses real military equipment. The army says the stories are based on real-life encounters on the battlefield.

The series, "Faseel-e-Jaan Se Aagay," or "Beyond the Call of Duty," is low-budget. The soldiers' acting is wooden. Each episode costs only $12,000, and the special effects look dated. Yet the Urdu-language series, which started in January and began a second season earlier this month on state-owned Pakistan Television Corp., has been a hit, especially among rural viewers."

At 1:30 PM, Blogger maverick said...

"In the recent season opener, two helicopter pilots who stormed a Taliban mountain redoubt in 2009 played themselves. In the show, as in real life, the pilots had lost a colleague during an operation earlier that year to clear militants from South Waziristan, a mountainous tribal region near the Afghan border. Against orders, they flew a retaliatory mission against the Taliban and captured an anti-aircraft gun that militants had used to shoot down their friend's helicopter. They are reprimanded but become heroes nevertheless.

The pilots are portrayed as sensitive family men and cool sunglass-wearing aviators. When they are about to fire their weapons, they break into English, saying things like "Going in. Going hot," and "The miscreants are engaged." The battle scenes are set to Western rock music.

"I am a soldier by my heart and mind. I only agreed [to] acting to pay homage to my fellow aviators and soldiers," said Maj. Zahid Bari, one of the two pilots.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger maverick said...

The director, Kashif Nisar, said he finds it easier to teach soldiers to act than actors to look like soldiers. Officers only need to be guided on acting skills, while professional actors need to be taught "action tactics, carrying of uniform, carrying of weapons, mannerisms and body language of a soldier," he said.

Mr. Nisar said Maj. Bari and his army colleagues prepared by watching professional actors on the set. Maj. Khalid Maooz, the other pilot, did well in scenes where he was soldiering but had to do a number of takes for a scene involving a double-date with a colleague and two girls, played by actors. "All of them got a little nervous while performing the romantic scenes," Mr. Nisar said.

One aim of the series is to put a human face on the army, which has suffered intense criticism since the secret U.S. raid in May on a Pakistani garrison town that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. Some in the army hope that the series will turn the focus back to the sacrifices soldiers are making in the war against the Taliban.

"Naturally, these are tough times. This could help," says Brig. Syed Azmat Ali, an officer who helped to develop the television show. "We're bringing the real happenings of the war front to people's homes. People will realize how difficult it is for soldiers to fight there and work there."

At 1:30 PM, Blogger maverick said...

U.S. officials say that Pakistan is not doing enough to fight Taliban militants who attack American soldiers across the border in Afghanistan. Some believe Pakistani officers harbor Islamist beliefs and may have been complicit in sheltering bin Laden. Pakistan's army says that it is doing all it can with limited resources and denies that bin Laden received safe haven.

Many Pakistanis have opposed the war, questioning why the military is battling fellow Muslims. The show has changed at least one viewer's mind. "Most people, including me, initially thought Pakistan was fighting a U.S. war," said 26-year-old Yasir Ali, who saw the show for the first time this month. "But when I watched the drama, I came to the conclusion that those guys are a cancer for the whole country and should be cut out."

A later episode will portray the life of a woman from the Swat Valley, who sets up a militia to push the militants out of her village. Ayesha Sana, a well-known Pakistani actress who plays her, said she normally portrays bored housewives in family dramas set in big mansions in Islamabad, the modern capital. "It's a turn in my career, doing this kind of meaningful role," she said.

Pakistan's military has directly ruled the nation for half of its 64-year history and today, despite a civilian government, remains the dominant political and economic power broker.

The army came up with the plots for the new series and hired a production company to write scripts and film the episodes. It had full control over the process, vetoing anything that it didn't like.

Analysts say that the new show is part of the army's long-running campaign to justify its powerful position in Pakistan society. "It's basically to create some kind of goodwill for the military," says Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a defense analyst based in Lahore. "It's a good time to show the military is also doing something positive."
—Rehmat Mehsud contributed to this article."

Boss - next we should have a "Real World" or "Jersey Shore" remake with Pakistan Army people as the actors.

I can think of a dozen places where the PA can install a camera so that everyone can see the action in real time.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger maverick said...

I think this failed state index is rubbish when applied to entire countries at once.

It may be better to simply compute this index on a small geographical basis.

If MHA applied this kind of indexing to the crime and intelligence data, we could image hotspots in India.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Dilbert,

As you well know - India is not invested in Kayani.

His intelligence chief is joke - the fellow did not even have the guts to come talk to Delhi and talk face to face - even his presence was requested by Sri. MMS.

India's message to Pakistan - to reign in the terrorists and put an end to cross border terror as an instrument of state policy is not resonating in the Pakistan Army ranks. They are too obsessed with the idea of attacking India to realise that the Islamist fire is burning their own arse.

If the Americans can do without Kayani - then that makes two that really don't give a shit about him.

Maybe it is time to move on.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger maverick said...


I just want to really clarify this issue.

Someone has to face the music in Pakistan,... either for failing to protect Osama or for failing to detect him.

There is a lot of anger within Pakistan's critical institutions, it is best if that is vented in a controlled fashion.

Clearly Pakistan can't leave America's side and Pakistan Army with its TFTA Islamist image can't jump into bed with America.

Uncontrolled actions are not appealing. The prospects laid out in Sri. Raman's opinion piece on SAAG are too stark to be ignored.

So if it is no skin of anyone's nose - which seems to be the case - let the person in charge face the music.

Everyone is invested in an accountable form of government in Pakistan, everyone wants to see democracy flower.

If someone is not critical to that process and belongs to an institution with a history of authoritarianism - let them take the fall for this mess in Abbotabad.

It offer Pakistanis a way to exorcise the demons of the past. It will allow an exercise in accountability.

We all know where the buck stops in Pakistan. It would natural if that person owned up for this and take one for Team Pakistan.

Ofcourse it is clear to me that we will never see a PA leader emerge who isn't overcome by penis envy vis-a-vis India - but it might be that overall quality of communication will improve.

Relations between India and Pakistan do not have to be adversarial.

At 7:19 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I feel if we see a breakthrough in Pakistan's battle against Islamist extremism - it will come via a major advance in social science.

I have a very hard time coming up with useful solutions in the Pakistani social context.

The forces of tribal identity and a militarised national persona combine to make all social issues intractable.

Some way has to be found to socially disincentivise that kind of behaviour. Right now being a giant super-massive asshole in Pakistan earns you a bigger dowry. If that changes - i.e. assholes are basically denied pussy - like in most civilized society - then Pakistan will return to the path of society.

This tendency for male egocentrism in Germany was erased by simply murdering or maiming all men of military age in the two wars. By completely humiliating the Prussian military castes, the core of asshole-ism in German society was wiped out and far more balanced, respectful and decent society emerged.

I would prefer it if that kind of reform is achieved in Pakistan society without mass murder. We have enough problems protecting constitutional law in the subcontinent and can really do without all the killing.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Rohbutt Firaust said...

indianexpress.com/news/politician-policeman-builder-bhai/806921/ Mav- article on the real estate nexusus in Mumbai

At 5:39 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Rohbutt Firaust,

It is good to see people like Maseeh writing.

Hopefully this will lead to an open discussion on this issue.

As I said earlier, the entire black economy is ballasted via the real estate market. The ballast is achieved via four key practices

- benami transactions which are routed via agents/front agencies
- black/white ratio payments which dodge taxes and provide an avenue to store black money in the true house value
- lack of transparency in the pricing structure (there is no Zillow equivalent) so Enforcement Directorate has to indulge in sting operations to find out the true price of the house,
- strange tenancy laws that make renting difficult for renter and landlord, in effect making it difficult for you to rent or rent out your property.

As long as demand for real estate is high - prices can be kept high and some of these rackets will pay for themselves.

However therein lies the rub.

If the prices are kept high, the black to white ratio ensures that only people with a lot of black *cash* can enter the market. This black cash can be as high as 40% of the price of the house. People will normally pay 30% down and 12% interest rate on any loan on the white portion of the price of the house in India.

There is an ever larger number of people entering the real estate market in India. These are people who have become rich in the last twenty years and want to have housing but don't have copious amounts of black money needed to get it.

The old practice of keeping the black white ratio high will simply lock the builders and banks out of a lucrative new market. They don't want this.

However if the black white ratio is removed, then a whole lot of people who use real estate as a way to launder black money will be unhappy.

Builders for their part can still participate in money laundering operations if they follow the practice of over-invoicing. This however will lead to poor quality construction that will not pass inspection unless a significant bribe is paid to the inspection agency. Also there will be an ever present prospect of a building collapse which will have serious consequences for the builder.


At 5:48 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Rohbutt Firaust,

As long as the Indian legal system is weak, builders can hope to dodge damaging lawsuits.

However, the average disaffected citizen does not need to courts to resolve his issues. There are sufficiently large numbers of people with money in India now and it does not take much money to sponsor a hit on anyone. A hitman can be hired for a very small amount of money and if someone has lost their family in a building collapse, it will take only a small fraction of the legal costs to pay a hitman to inflict vengeance on the builder.

The more demand for real estate there is, the greater is the chance that this will happen.

So this entire racket is unsustainable in the face of sufficient market pressures.

What I fear that like the American real estate sector and the global real estate sector where similar problems existed albeit in different garb - we will see a real estate collapse in India.

I know it sounds like a crazy idea now - but I don't see how it can be avoided. As with the rest of the world, this will have a very significant impact on the Indian banking system.

This happens in China also, as you know - in China - as the PLA controls the courts, the PLA brand of real estate corruption is simply legal.

Unfortunately for the builders in India - unlike the PLA, the GoI cannot use guns to protect their buildings from irate buyers.

In India, the same politician that takes a bribe from the builder will order the police protection detail to take the builder for one last ride in a Qualis.

There is something to be said about market forces - they spare no one.

At 5:56 AM, Blogger maverick said...

FWIW - regarding Maseeh's comments about Sri Karkare wanting to return to R&AW - I think Maseeh may be off.

I agree that the social environment in the Mumbai Police top echelons is not great and one keeps hearing about very feudal sounding exhanges between police top brass. Scarcely a day goes by without some person filing a case before the tribunal against his peers.

I believe it was this social environment that contributes to the desire for people to return to their parent organisation instead of staying on in Mumbai.

It is sad - but I don't think it is solely related to corruption - Mumbai is just a very competitive place.

There is a sense of camaraderie in the parent organisation that is sometimes absent in the Mumbai police top brass. And there is an intense tribalism in the Mumbai police that is absent in other organisations.

And yes - I feel it is a destructive influence on the unity of command and morale in the police department.

I wish and hope that things change for the better soon - otherwise Mumbai it will not be possible to police Mumbai at all.

One more failure and New Delhi will be forced by the paisewalle log to do something about the situation in the patherwali.

That day of reckoning is coming.


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