Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Mai Lai Massacre and Sgt Bates Killings in Afghanistan

The Mai Lai Massacre in Vietnam In 1970 is a case that shook America. A lieutenant William Calley of the US army lined up 175 Vietnamese villagers and shot them dead. The case was exposed by an intrepid reporter and the sordid facts of the war in Vietnam came out. It showed that the US army was scared of facing the Viet Cong fighters and many units avoided battle. There were cases of US soldiers shooting dead their own NCO’s. It was fratricide at its worst. It also divided America and a strong anti war lobby built up.
The result was inevitable; the US army withdrew after 10 years and heralded a massive defeat for US arms. Lieutenant Casey came back to the USA and was not immediately put on trial. He was treated with kid gloves and confined under house arrest. Finally he was brought to trial and faced a Court Martial. The court found the officer guilty of murdering 109 Vietnamese in cold blood and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The matter did not end there as the Lieutenant received a Presidential Pardon from Nixon and was released after 3 years. Small consolation for the 109 Vietnamese villagers shot in cold blood. It is worth pointing out that 26 US soldiers were charged with war crimes and only Calley was the sole conviction. All others were acquitted. Seen in this background the case of Sergeant Bates looks surprisingly similar. Lieutenant Calley was not tried in Vietnam, but in the USA. Similarly Sergeant Bates is also being tried in USA and not in Afghanistan; though US military law has a proviso of field trial and the court martial could have been conducted in Afghanistan. It is anybody’s guess whether the law will take its own course and the Sergeant will face any punishment. The US army is notoriously lax in action against its men and officers. Perhaps that is one reason the US is losing at most places in the world.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sex Tourism- A New Rage ** 80

The world has changed and it is easier to reach anywhere in the world faster and cheaper than it was a 100 years ago. This has led to a new form of tourism where a man or a woman specifically travels to another country for sexual gratification. In case it is with consenting adults it is not a crime, but in case children are involved it crosses the limits of law and is punishable.
Several countries have become preferred destinations for sex tourists. These are the nations where the women search for men partners. For many it becomes a livelihood and source of income. Organized gangs also operate who cater to the desires of men of all ages for an exotic companion. The preferred destinations for man are Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Kenya, Netherlands, The Philippines, Colombia and Thailand. This list is by no means exhaustive and there are many more destinations that can also cater to this form of tourism. Perhaps the exception is the rigid Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, where this sort of tourism is simply non existent. These tours are popular and serve a definite emotional and psychological purpose. They can be relaxing and a source of rejuvenation. This is in effect a re-jig of Vatsysana’s treatise of sexual rejuvenation and one path to the route to youth. There is no doubt that there is no bigger elixir than sex in this world. There is now reverse sex tourism in vogue as well, which did not exist earlier. With greater freedom and independence women from the developed world do take tours for sex. These are female sex tourists and they frequent places in Brazil, Portugal, The Caribbean, Indonesia, Thailand and Greece. Such tours are taken by women who are generally between the ages of 30-50. These are all women tour groups and escorts are arranged for the women. Many young men in these nations sustain themselves as escorts for these women. They can earn handsome money.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Hadiths and the Concept of 72 Virgins

The Koran is the word of god states in chapters 52-56 that the faithful will be rewarded with virgins for sensual pleasure in paradise. Along with the Koran the Hadiths amplify what the Koran says. The Hadiths are a collection of writings by renowned Islamic scholars which are attributed to Muhammad. They are the words of the prophet as heard by men around him. This is a sacroscent belief and cannot be questioned.
 The Hadiths originated about 200 years after the death of the prophet. The Hadiths in their present form were compiled between the 8th and 9th century. Islam recognizes six major Hadiths. The Hadiths are very important and traditional Islamic schools of jurisprudence consider them inviolable for interpreting Islam.

 The Hadiths are often referred to for clarification in all matters concerning Islam. The Hadiths add that the faithful will be rewarded with 72 virgins and a number of boys in paradise. Islam has 2 main sects. They are the Sunni and Shia sects and both of them have different Hadiths, but the theme is generally the same. The specific Hadith in which the number of virgins is specified is Hadith Al-Tirmidhi in the Book of Sunah. This is in chapter 21 under the heading the Features of Paradise.

 The Hadiths mention that the Prophet Muhammad was heard saying that the smallest reward for the people of paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives. These wives and servants reside in a place decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby. It is specified that this dome is as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyah (a Damascus suburb) to Sana'a (Capital of Modern Yemen). Muslim theologians such as al Ghazali who died in 1111 AD and Al-Ash'ari who died in 935 AD have agreed that the virgins provide sensual pleasures in paradise. Al-Suyuti a famous Quranic commentator who died in 1505 AD also confirms this. The Hadiths lay stress on the fact that the women are spotless virgins. Ayah 74 states that no man or Jinn has ever touched them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Should Anybody Fear an Iranian Nuclear Bomb

There is a hue and cry about Iran having a nuclear bomb. The International Atomic Energy commission has confirmed that Iran is going for a bomb. It should be understood that in case a country does have a bomb, it really has no meaning till it has a delivery system as well. An atomic bomb just cannot be loaded on a plane and thrown out manually. Thus even if Iran does perfect a bomb or two, it must have a delivery system in the form of a long range bomber or a missile. I am afraid Iran has nothing like it and to perfect a delivery system can easily take 10 years. Thus an atomic bomb in the hands of Iran is more likely to be a paper tiger. What then is the problem? It appears the fear is more political and whipped up hysteria. The problem is USA and Israel just want to beat the Iran bogey. After all they did nothing when Pakistan developed a nuclear bomb. So I guess the problem of Iran getting the bomb is something else.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Conduct of the US Army in Afghanistan

Two incidents have cast a pall over the conduct of the US army in Afghanistan. Both incidents show the US army in poor light. The first incident occurred when US servicemen in a routine and stupid manner burnt copies of the holy Koran. The Koran is revered in Islam and there was bound to be a backlash. The books were burnt at Bagran one of the biggest US base in this land locked country.
The second incident is again serious. One soldier took his service rifle and in a killing spree shot 16 Afghan civilians including 5 children dead. Such a killing can seriously affect the operations of the US army in its battles with the Jihad followers.
No army can win a war in case the common man does not support it. By these 2 acts the US army has lost much sympathy and many Afghans are wondering what the hell is happening. Are these troops fighting the Taliban and al Qaeds or simply killing innocent Afghans.
The US army in Afghanistan is doing all the wrong things. Soldiers are expected to behave and fight the enemy and not walk into houses and kill civilians. President Karzai is worried as he has put all his eggs in the US basket. He has condemned the incident, but that is small consolation for the Afghan civilians who have died.
Even the incident of the burning of the Koran could have been avoided. A cleric could have been called and asked to take away the books. I suppose the officer clas of the US army had woefully failed in providing leaderdship. This is a dangerous sign and does not auger well for the future and an american victory.

White Women and Indian Men * 77" target="_blank">

I would have not laid stress on the heading of this article, till my own 2 cousins married Danish girls and like the proverbial fairy tale ending ' lived happly ever aftet'. I can't comment on the ever after part part, but over the years they are a happy lot.
I am a globe trotter and I have seen that white European and American women do have liking for Indians as husbands. In a chat with an Danish psychologist , I raised this point. He had a very interesting answer. He was of the view that western society is so dominated by promiscuty that the European women look to a person who will be faithful. He was of the view that Indian men married to white women are invariably fathfull and rarely may have extra marital affairs.
The psychologist could not give me any data, though he agreed to mail me figures later. He claimed he had been studying this phenomena. The fact is that Indian marriages with white women rarely break down, but than this is the ethos also in India where marriages do not crash at the drop of a hat. Mostly they last a life time.
In England where half my village is settled, there is a subtle shift. Earlier the men imported brides from India as a rule. This has gone down and many Indian men are marrying English girls. These are all academic discussions and the fact is the chemistry between a man and a woman has as yet not been defined. Before I sign off, I must mention that the incidence of a black (negro) girl marrying an Indian in America or the UK is a rarity.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Mindset of the Indian Army vs China
  • Kautaliya that great philosopher stated that to beat an enemy confidence and belief is important. I have a feeling that this lacking in the Indian army. This is a thought hard to digest, but perhaps there is no escape from it. I will just talk of the Western border with China in Ladakh. Some of the facts that have emerged are 

  •  a) Failure to enter areas vacated by China , which they had occupied in 1962. 
  • b) Failure to operationalize the Chusul airfield close to the border. 
  • c) No plans for counter attack in Ladakh to enter Tibet and regain Indian territory occupied by China. Overall it appears the political leadership has a dread of China and this has rubbed off on the army. The result is that the Indian army is Pakistan centric and China features n where. Would it not have been so much better in case General VK Singh , instead of petitioning the Supreme Court on his age, had thought it fit to prod the political leadership to get cracking on China?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Secret Desires and Acharya Rajneesh

I have been wondering about the hidden desires of man. All of us have desires and for most they die a natural death. The ancient Hindu scriptures dealt with these desires in tantra. Most of these desires hover around sex. I suppose this inevitable and beautifully explained by Freud.
I have also been prey to such desires, but like most men kept them under wraps. It was my meeting with Rajneesh that relieved me from my guilt complex. More than two decades back a friend took me to the ashram of Rajneesh. As I bowed at the feet of the man an American girl also entered. This girl sat at the feet of the master, but as she sat I was enveloped by a strange desire to love that girl. I thought it was strange desire, perhaps morally wrong. But now I know it was something absolutely normal. there was a clash in my mind, because of the guilt complex. Rajneesh had an uncanny power of divination, or maybe he was a good face reader. All he said to me was " go and mate with her" and he just smiled as the girl left. That is the essence of Acharya Rajneesh, the fact he did away with the guilt complex in a simple relationship. This was the most enlightening moment of my life as I followed what Rajneesh told me. Its a pity that after this Rajneesh left for the USA and on his return died, as he had been poisoned by the FBI.

Rahul Gandhi does a Self Goal

The UP elections were important as they were supposed to be stepping stone to Rahul Gandhi's drive to the Prime Ministership of India. As I have earlier written a Wwin for Rahul would have cemented his position. But a defeat would have deep repurcussions. This has happened. Despite a strenous campaign Rahul has lost in UP. The Congress despite an alliance with the Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh has won a measly 37 seats. The writing is thus on the wall that Rahul does not have the charisma of his great grandfather and fathet. The fact that even in the Amethi constituency, the pocket burrough of the Gandhis.,theCongress has come a cropper. Rahul's dream of leading India I suppose would be in some jeopardy. The fact is that the Gandhi aura has diminshed. Perhaps he made some serious mistakes. The formost was his playing muslim card, by way of appeasement by promising a Muslim quota. He didnt learn from his fathers mistake, who to appease the Muslim vote bank overturned the Supreme Court judgement in the Shah Bano case with a constitutional amendment. Itdidnt help Rijiv who lost power. Rahul will have to do a lot of introspection now. But perhaps I have a gut feeling that this Gandhi may noybe prime minister of India, now or in the future.

Friday, March 2, 2012

China Army Connection With India

War is a dirty business, but it is something that affects all nations and people. The Second World War was one such war and it affected a lot of people. The power equations were also different. How many know that the Chinese army was trained in India by the Americans ?

It is a fact that nearly 40,000 Chinese soldiers were trained at the Regimental Training Center at Ramgarh in Chattisgarh state of India. They were trained by the US training command under General Stillwell of Ledo road fame. It is hard to reconcile that China  is our greatest opponent now, but during the war thousands of  Chinese soldiers trained in India . They were taught everything from changing a spare wheel of a Jeep  to handling guns and  rifles.

 This Chinese army later engaged the Japanese , but their performance is not something that set the rivers on fire. The Chinese army in China was also supplied by air by the USAF from bases in India at Chabua and Kumbhigram. This was the famous 'over the hump' route and hundreds of US airmen died on the Himalayan mountains as they flew over the Hump.

 Times have changed and now China is our adversary number one. Perhaps this is the power equation that Pandit Nehru never understood.

Bradman, The Best in the World ? No Way !
Donald Bradman played cricket for Australia. He played cricket at a time when the British empire reigned supreme all over the world. The Don has a test batting average of 99.94 and on the basis of this average many people consider him the greatest player ever in cricket. But a recent interpolation through the computers where all the innings of the Don were analyzed reveals that if the Don had played on all wickets in India ,South Africa and West Indies his batting average would have been considerably lower. For the Don played all his cricket only in England and Australia. Thus his experience was limited to playing on Australia and English wickets.
  Bradman and India
There are many people who opine that the Don had great love for India and he would have toured India if given the chance. but his attitude belies this claim. In 1948 while on the way to England his ship docked at Bombay( Mumbai). Many Indian cricketers including Vijay Merchant went up to the Don's cabin and requested him to come on deck to greet the many Indian's who were his admirers. But the sad part is the Don refused to come out of his cabin. A man who would not come out of his cabin to meet Indian is not expected to tour India even if given the chance.
  Limitations of the Don
The Don was a fair weather batsman and scored heavily on wickets conducive to batting. On the 1947 Indian tour of Australia Don Bradman failed on a rain soaked wicket in the second test. Though in the other tests on batting wickets he scored heavily.
The Don's average of 99.94 did not hold true when facing Douglas Jardine 'e team in the famous body line series when Harold Larwood ran into the Aussies as a tornado. He averaged just about 60 in that series and was effectively cut to size. At that time England had only one super fast bowler in Harold Larwood. I shudder to think what would have happened in case Bradman had to face a quartet of lethal fast bowlers like Marshall, Roberts, Holding and Garner. Wearing or not wearing a helmet is hypothetical as in that age and time nobody wore a helmet. Jim Laker in his autobiography has written that Bradman was suspect against high class spin. Jim laker took 19/90 against Australia( 1956) and this is the only record ever that will stand for all time. He claims that when Australia was racing to 404 for a win and Bradman made 173*, he was let of twice of his bowling. In any case Bradman never faced the likes of Ghulam Ahmed, Subhas Gupte and Mankad on rank turners, where the ball turned square like at Calcutta and Kanpur at that time. we have only the computer to rely on interpretations.
Bradman was a great player, but to label him the greatest is a misnomer. I would rate the West Indian Vivian Richards higher than him. He was the real king of cricket and his swagger and walk to the wicket itself intimidated the bowlers. Talking of helmets, he didn't wear one. More over he played all around the world and all types of wickets and everywhere he left an indelible mark. Bradman is no more. But most people are apt to hero worship, hence people forget about the Don's antics at Mumbai and his failure on rank turners. Not with standing this Don Bradman was perhaps the greatest Australian batsman, though not of the world.