Friday, August 28, 2015

China : Crash of Economic Power and Status

When I was in the IAF I had visited the Indo- Chinese border in NEFA. As I stood on the border I could see the People’s Liberation Army soldiers digging trenches. Next day there was a flag meet between the Indian their Chinese counterparts. This meet was an eye opener as I found the Chinese officers staring blankly at the chocolates and sweets being dished out. It was something new for them as these were not part of the Chinese army rations. We gave them large helpings of these’ goodies’ which are routine for Indian soldiers and quietly they took them stuffing their pockets. While leaving their senior most officers whispered (he was the only chap who knew English) “Don’t tell the Commissar”. Later I came to know that the Commissar was a Chinese Communist official.

This incident had a profound effect on me and I realized that the Chinese were cutting the stomachs of their own people to try and match the world.China has always been a violent society. Now it is known that the Cultural Revolution and the policy of Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom were in reality a ploy to weed out dissidents. These were promptly arrested and either executed or confined to concentration camps for‘re-education’. I wonder whether people are aware as to the cost of these campaigns. Now it is estimated that 25 million Chinese died during this period, a large number due to starvation because of these hair brained schemes of Mao Tse Tung. Hitler’s crimes fade into oblivion before these deaths.

Mao passed away and the Chinese had a new leadership. This leadership took the cover of Capitalism for economic progress, but at the same time unleashed a police state, where the workers had no rights. Imagine in a communist country paying lip service to Karl Marx, the workers have no rights. They cannot go on strike which is a legitimate part of Workers ethos. Any worker going on strike is simply arrested as ‘anti-national’ and carted away to a concentration camp. Poor Karl Marx must be turning in his grave at the plight of the workers in China.

To talk that China is making great progress in the economic field is thus something that cannot be accepted. These are the people who are not aware of the ground realities. The suppression of the Intelligentsia, the destruction of Tibet Culture, the attacks and executions of the Muslims in Sinkiang are stark reminders that China is a barbaric society.

Chinese have been churning out goods for the international market, but at what cost? I am happy to have less progress but at least have freedom to travel and go anywhere and eat and say anything. How many know that though Hong Kong is a part of China now, a Chinese needs a permit to go there. I can’t think of a permit to go to Chicago or Mumbai.

The progress by China is on the back of its workers who are almost like slaves. This can’t go on and as Newton said in his 3rd Law “To every action there is a reaction” may come true in China. The Soviet Union collapsed and nobody foresaw it. Can China be far behind? The recent economic crash where $ one trillion is written off is a pointer


OROP : What Next, No Sanction Likely till COAS Acts

There is an old saying that one can see how he looks only in a mirror. Sitting far away from India I am able to see the agitation unfolding a little better. I have had a bird’s eye view of the OROP agitation.  I had stated months back that Modi and the government will NOT sanction OROP in the classical sense. No amount of debates and speeches on TV and at Janta Mantar can hide the fact that GOI is not going to sanction OROP as approved. Yet there are many who have fond hopes that Modi will do the needful as he has said that OROP is approved in principle.

Yes, approved in principle! But this neither here nor there and could very well carry on for another couple of years. The fact is the agitation is working on the wrong premise of not politicizing the agitation and also  fondly hoping the government led by Modi will agree for OROP by statements like “ I have full faith in Modi and he will sanction OROP”.. I am afraid there are many among the leaders of OROP who are suggesting toning down of the demand. How silly!

The agitation seems to be on the wrong footing. Firstly there is the fallacies hope that by not politicizing the agitation the Modi government will be pleased and come around to sanction OROP. Secondly some of the men in the OROP say silly things. I read that “we should not criticize Mohan Panicker, the defense Minister, as he is on the side of the ex-servicemen” or words to that effect.   Panicker is only on the side of the BJP and RSS and nothing else.

 A point which I had made earlier in my post     that the enemy is within holds true more than ever today. The COAS is the culprit and all the chiefs who sat in the chair for 4 decades must hang their head in shame. How could these men have allowed the OROP to be abolished and then sit on the demand for 4 decades without pressurizing the government?

 To blame the civil services is a favorite of all.  I have my friends in the MOF and they are my class mates. They tell me that in case the armed are devalued or OROP has not come the blame is on the 3 service chiefs who NEVER put their foot down and allowed things to meander. I am afraid this is true. Now we have the case of General Suhag acting as a mediator. I could die laughing on a bed of mails. Meditator? He is supposed to be the first soldier and should be representing the soldiers. He is not a mediator between the GOI and ex-servicemen.

 The armed forces lack bite. The chiefs are like pussy cats. Alistair Maclean wrote “fear is the Key”. This is what dictates these so called Chiefs of Staff led by COAS. No amount of fasting or other means will bring OROP till the chief acts. We must remember what Guru Gobind Sing wrote “If all else fails its righteous to draw the sword”. The serving men in uniform must be asked to support the demand, because there is an umbilical cord that joins them with us.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Doctrine of Necessity": Pernicious theory to Justify Military Dictatorship in Pakistan

Doctrine of Necessity was used to Justify Military Rule

The doctrine of necessity is a legal term that seeks to justify an action carried out by extra constitutional authority to restore order. This doctrine is based on the writings of the jurist Henry de Bracton (1210-68) and later 

William Blackstone (1773-68) an English Jurist. Both jurists stated that an act to restore order could come under the purview of the ‘Doctrine of Necessity. This doctrine has never been used in England or for that matter in the Anglo Saxon world, but it has been liberally interpreted in Pakistan. Out of all the major nations of the world Pakistan is one nation that has repeatedly upheld changes in Pakistan’s political environment under this doctrine.


The first time this doctrine appeared on the scene in Pakistan was in 1954. At that time the Governor General of Pakistan Ghulam Mohammed dismissed the constituent assembly on the ground that the assembly did not represent the people of Pakistan. An appeal against theGovernor General's order was filed in the Sind High court by the President of the Constituent Assemby Maulvi Tamizzuddin.

The Sind high court ruled in favor of the petition filed by Maulvi Tamizzuddin. But in an appeal which was heard in the Chief Court of Pakistan (later designated as the Supreme Court), Justice Muhammed Munir set aside the verdict of the Sind High Court and ruled in favor of the Governor General. The court relied on the doctrine of necessity as enunciated in Roman law and articulated by Ivor Jennings which stated that the well being of the people was the supreme law.

This decision of Justice Munir was to have far reaching effect on Pakistan politics and on a number of occasions the Supreme Court of Pakistan justified Military Coups. The court justified the military coup by general Zia ul Haq which overthrew the elected civilian Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. This had a nefarious fall out and ultimately led to Bhutto being hanged as a common criminal for a crime for which no legal evidence was available. In the hanging of Bhuttothe Pakistan Supreme court which had earlier upheld the rule of Zia under the doctrine of necessity also acquiesced in the hanging of Bhutto.


The judgment of Justice Munir thus had a deleterious effect on Pakistan politics. Later he expressed his regret that he had invoked the doctrine of necessity in 1954, but the judgment of Justice Munir continued to haunt Pakistan. In 1998 when General Pervez Mushraff in a coup overthrew the elected government of Nawab Sharif the Pakistan Supreme Court again justified the coup on the grounds of the law of necessity. The law of necessity thus became a convenient way out to justify military take over’s.


The wheel has now turned full circle and the new Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftekar Choudhry in 2009 has come out with a far reaching observation. He has announced that the doctrine of necessity needs to be buried and never used in Pakistan. The million dollar question is , will it happen? I don't think so

What Next in the OROP ? *

The Modi government is under siege and one  cant help feeling that its it own creation. The agitation of teh ex servicemen for a legitimates demand has been stalled by Modi, but now the birds have come home to roost with the agitation of the Patels in Gujarat  for reservation. This demand in contrast to the Es servicemen's demand is unholy as the Patels   are the dominant community in Gujarat and among all Gujaratis. Yet the Modi government is held to  ransom by lumpen elements of the Patel community. Till last reports the army is called out and about 7 or 8 Patels and their ilk have died.

The Modi government by sanctioning a legitimate demand for OROP, could have faced the Patel agitation squarely. But a short sighted approach and failure to recognise  the reality has brought the Modi government face to face with a monster. The ex servicemen and the army were his best bet , but he scorned them and now his own vote bank has rebelled against him. Mind you this is just  the beginning  but a precursor to many more agitations of a similar nature. It should not appear to onlookers that Modi government only talks and acts at the point a gun. The Patels have unleashed the gun and now Modi is reacting.

What a contrast to the agitation of the ex servicemen, so dignified and sans violence, yet Modi sat tight on the demand. This shows that in reality the Indian PM is a hollow man, more adept at rhetoric than substance. If modi has some sense he will sanction OROP and build his credibility. He must not show that he acts only when a bayonet is thrust into him, This calls for statesmanship. Is Modi up to it ? In another a day or two we will see where Modi stands.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

John Wayne: Eternal Cowboy Star *

was a small boy when John Wayne died in 1979. But even at that age I loved the films of John Wayne and watched them in cinema halls with my friends while playing truant from school. Later, I built up a collection of his films and have now over 90 of his films on my hard disk. For me there is no bigger star ofcowboy films than John Wayne. Maybe Clint Eastwood would come a close second, but Wayne was the original macho star.
I saw his movie in a morning show in 1985 or 86 titled "True Grit". In this movie he plays an aging one eyed Marshal and the best scene is when he goes at the outlaws with the horses reins clenched in his mouth and bothguns firing at the outlaws. It was a great shot and I am so glad thatJohn Wayne won an Oscar as the best actor for this role in 1973.
A Great Star
Wayne was the original macho movie star. He had strong views about negroes. In one of his interviews in Playboymagazine he was asked what he thought of black rights. His reply was succinct and lucid. He said "tell me in which country in the world does a black have a better life than in America?". How very true, as all over the world like in Africa, the black man is dying of hunger, malnutrition and internecine wars.
th 4
John Wayne was a tough star and he lived his roles. One can remember his roles in The Horse Soldiers, Big Jake, North to Alaska, the Longest day, True Grit and many more. I am told he acted in almost 170 films and never played a role as a supporting actor. I have almost 90 films of his on my computer and it gives me great pleasure to watch him action on a afternoon holiday with a glass of beer.
A Man to be Remembered
Wayne teamed up with all the top heroines of that era. In any case the career of John Wayne touched almost 40 years. He was honored posthumously with the President of the United states Freedom Medal in 1980.
John while filming close to the Nuclear test site suffered some radiation and later developed cancer of the stomach. I think he died prematurely in 1979. He lived a full life and married thrice with 7 children from 2 wives. But this is just an aside and one cannot forget his drawl and the cowboy hat and the blazing gun. Truly a Hollywood great.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Punjabi Chess, Rare Scotch Whiskey and Lots of Fun

Playing Chess  is popular all over the world. Its an  ancientgame and mention of this game is found in the Mahabharata , which was written in about 5000 BC. The Greeks also played chess and by all accounts it was a popular game.

The game  has not changed much over the last 7000 years, except for the addition of some rules and regulations. The game for long was the preserve of Royalty and the elite, but now its played by all and sundry.

The game is played on a  Chess board and consists of total of 32 pieces known as soldiers and knights. It also has a king and queen and the game involves making a plan to checkmate the king. Anyone who checkmates the king, is the winner.

I have been playing chess for ages. Earlier I used to play as a child with my maternal grandfather. The game has however been given a welcome twist by the Punjabi's. They are robust people with a penchant for the good life including good whiskey. The chess board has been transformed by some robust and energetic people from Punjab with various shades of Scot h whiskey replacing the traditional players on a chess board

Playing Chess the Punjabi way

On my visit to my village in Punjab near Hoshiarpur, I often play this "Whiskey Chess" as it is popularly called. The players on the chess board are replaced by delicate glasses containing Scotch whiskey. the pawns or soldiers are replaced by glasses containing ordinary scotch like 100 Pipers, Vat 69, Old Smuggler or similar brands.

The warriors like Knights and Horse and Castle are represented by glasses containing good whiskey like Johnny Walker Black label, Chivas Regal etc. The king and queen have glasses filled with a peg of rare scotch like  Royal Salute .

The game is played the normal way with the exception that when any player wins an opponent he get the chance to gulp the scotch peg. The winner who checkmates the king is awarded with the rare scotch. Its a wonderful game and not for anyone with a weak disposition. I will say its a real macho game and the host will also keep supplied with endless quantity of Chicken and meat kebabs.

Its great fun and one must play it to relish the flavor of " Punjabi Chess". I for one love it and whenever I go to my village in the Punjab at Hoshiarpur I make it a point to play Punjabi Chess with my friends. I don't think even Omar Khayyam can better THIS !

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How the Modi Government has Reduced India to a 5th Rate Power. Unpardonable historical sin

The Unpardonable historical sin

 Recently at the Singapore Club an interesting discussion emanated in the bar. A veteran RAF officer settled in Singapore mentioned to me that he was surprised at the approach of successive Indian government who never realised that a nation’s prestige and ability to throw its weight around the world depended on the army. He wanted to know, whether the Indian political leadership whether Congress or BJP were aware of this fact.
I was non- plussed for an answer, but the venerable soldier continued. He said the British ruled India on their military might through the Indian army and when they realised that the army was no longer loyal to them as earlier, they left in a hurry. The important point is that control of India pivoted around the army. Bose had realized this. It’s another matter that he sided with the Axis powers and lost.
A look at history will bear this out. The downfall of the Mauryan Empire started with the pacifist policies of Asoka. Many historians do not consider him “great” as he laid the foundation of military neglect which had disastrous consequences leading to the breakup of his empire and subsequent subjugation of India by the Muslims for 900 years.

After 1947 one hoped things would change but a man was foisted on the Indian people -  Jawaharlal Nehru who had no concept of military power and its role and allowed the finest fighting machine in India go to seed. The army had its perks and privileges withdrawn and a poorly equipped army lost a border war with China.  Nehru later realised his mistake, but the deed was done as India surrendered the leadership of Asia to China.

Over the next 50 years nothing much has changed. We have a man called Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. Let’s us accept the fact that this man has no vision of history or greatness of a nation. Otherwise he would not have allowed veterans to fast for 68 days for a legitimate demand.  The man is callous and na├»ve. When you add these two qualities together, a frightful image emerges of a man who has no vision except his personal grandeur. But so sad, this man does not realize that his personal grandeur in the world polity of nations rests on India military. Look at the USA. It is respected all over the world for its ability to strike surgical operations’ and not on chanting Ram Rajya( which the BJP is to intent on doing).

The veterans and the serving soldiers have an umbilical cord and what happens to the ex-servicemen is a matter of concern to the rank and file of the army. By treating the veterans with disdain and trying to back track on the approved definition of OROP, Modi has lit the fire of discontent in the army itself. Does Modi still think that he will get away by talking glibly? Dies this man realize the immense danger he has unleashed to damage the army morale for all time to come.

 China and Pakistan are happy and this was articulated by a Chinese origin army officer  in the club. He said what India needs is a Cromwell, who can line up and dissolve parliament. Unfortunately we have men like general Dalbir Singh Suhag who wear a hat and look tough, but failed to act for the benefit of the soldiers who helped him become the Chief. Why did not this bloody man not resign? I have no answer as the agitation goes on.

The damage is done by Modi and the present Chief and I wonder how if at all the old morale, dignity  and loyalty of the soldier can be restored. I am reminded of the Humpty Dumpty poem and it is applicable to Modi . " Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great Fall and all the Kings horses and all the Kings men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again"

Friday, August 21, 2015

How to lie on a bed of Nails: Famous Indian trick

Herbert Ponting took a photograph of a Hindu fakir or sadhu in 1907. This man was a yogi who had perfected the control of mind over body and as such could withstand pain to his body as a routine. The Fakir sat on a bed of nails completely oblivious to any pain the nails might cause him. The question that must be answered is whether the fakir was doing something extraordinary or it was something which could be done by others. The practice of lying on a bed of nails and meditating has perhaps originated from India. The practice however has a perfect scientific explanation and with a little bit of practice can be done by anyone. It is advisable to have a look at Newton's third law of motion and the principle of pressure in physics. Newton's third law states that to any action there is a reaction.

 Thus when a man lies on a bed of nails he exerts a pressure on the nails, which in turn exert a pressure back on the man. The principle of pressure brings out that nails exert a pressure proportional to the area. Thus a single nail when pressed by a foot is likely to pierce the skin and enter the body. This is because the pressure of the nail is concentrated at one point on the human body. But when there are a large number of nails and an entire body lies down on them, the pressure is distributed and the nails do not enter the body. There is a well known equation which is derived from Newton's laws which states that pressure is equal to force divided by area. 

If all the nails are uniformly placed the force will get distributed, but even if one nail is not synchronized than it will pierce the skin as the entire pressure of the body comes down on that one nail. The clue to sleeping or lying down on a bed of nails is to distribute the pressure evenly. In such a case the act of the Hindu sadhu will not` be an enigma. An interesting way is to check the pressure exerted by a nail. In case it can be wired to a gauge one can work out how much pressure a nail exerts. The trick is to press your finger on the nail up to point where it does not puncture your skin. In case the pressure exerted by one nail is one pound, then 200 nails will exert a pressure of 200 pounds. 

Thus for a man weighing 200 pounds, 200 nails evenly spread on a board will not pierce the skin and the man can safely lie on the board with the nails. The nails must however have a uniform surface and be similar to each other. No nail must protrude out as then the laws of physics will not apply. The clue to emulating the feat of the Hindu fakir is to ensure that a man's weight is evenly distributed on the bed of nails.

Neglect of Indian Armed Forces is nail in Indian Dream to be Power in Asia

Two quotations from two different leaders with diverse backgrounds are worth quoting. There is firstly, the famous quote by Mao tse Tung  that echoes around the world"Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun". The second is the more recent one and attributed to President Obama of the United States. he says" I, as President will never allow the US armed forces and our soldiers to weaken or be dissatisfied, as our power and ability to dominate the world depends  on our armed might".

The above two statements show the importance which the nations attach to their army. Air force and navy. In contrast in India we have a sorry spectacle right from the time of Nehru of having the soldier and the armed forces as the last priority. The thinking to say the least is warped. One can recollect the ludicrous statement by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, first president of India . He stated that India does not need an army and it should be disbanded and the border can be guarded by police.
The Congress party which came to power was allergic to military might and Nehru who always feared a military coup d'etat  decided the army deserved no importance. Thus,  latest weaponry was denied to the army and its strength greatly reduced. In addition perks and privileges of the armed force were gradually eroded away. This state of affairs continued even after Nehru died and one of the greatest blunders was reduction in pensionary benefits for the soldiers on the plea of  economy. 
This down grading of the army had its repercussion, India was thrashed in a war with China in 1962 and in addition, lost 30000 square miles of territory in Kashmir ( Aksai Chin) to China. On top of this 1/3rd of Kashmir was also lost to Pakistan. Grudgingly the army was increased in strength, but over all the priority of the soldier remained low. How short sighted were the rulers as they failed to learn from history. Neglect of the army by the Hindus resulted in a catastrophic defeat at the hands of the Muslims and ended with the Hindus becoming near slaves or serfs in their own land for close to 9 centuries. Can anything be more galling than this?
The Indian political leadership has learnt nothing. India is the one country in the world that has no war memorial. In addition the great history of the Indian army in battles from Boxer rebellion( 1900) and Saragrahi( 1897) to its contribution to Allied victory in two World wars is studiously ignored and hardly anybody in India among the masses is aware of it. A militant like Subhash Bose and the Indian National Army contribution to Indian freedom is studiously ignored. Can anything be more sadder than this?

The latest agitation by ex-servicemen for pensionary benefits as agreed by parliament is a case in point. Can any reader think of any other country in the world where soldiers have to agitate for a right?  India is one such country and it is shamed in the world as it does not look after men who have donned the uniform. As a nationalist , I am perturbed and this is a pointer that dire things are likely to happen in India.  A calamity may be around the corner as once the army loses morale the very unity of India will be threatened. Can the political leadership intent on increasing wages of members of parliament by 100%  not see the writing on the wall?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The New Frontier is Sinai against the Islamic State

Sinai is a small peninsula  which is part of Egypt. It is mostly a desert with a few nomadic settlements. But it is the only source of oil for Egypt and as such has great economic importance. This desert is the scene of a battle between the Islamic state Mujahadeen and the Egyptian army. The ISIL is clear that they would like to control the Suez Canal and choke it so that ships cannot ply through it.  This will shatter Egyptian economy.  The Egyptian army and air force is fighting the ISIL fighters, but despite greater fire power and numerical strength the Egyptian forces are unable to subdue the ISIL. as per reports the Islamic state has about 1000 fighters in Sinai.
The world is so engrossed with the fight against the ISIL in Iraq and Syria, that the battle in Sinai is not given coverage and importance. The ISIL are supporting the Muslim Brother Hood, which is banned in Egypt and the ousted President Morsi( now sentenced to death ). they hope to overthrow the government of General Sisi and re-establish islamic rule.
The battle has now escalated as the ISIL have introduced new weaponry in the conflict. They have got hold of some captured missiles from the Syrian theatre and used one of them with deadly effect in the coast adjoining Sinai. 
A few days back an Egyptian Navy patrol boat with a complement of about 70 sailors was policing the coast of Sinai. It had a one point task to keep the coast under surveillance and stop any help from reaching the ISIL fighters in Sinai. The ISIL reacted in a manner the Egyptian navy never expected.  They targeted the Naval warship with their rocket and hit the vessel. while it was afloat  in the Mediterranean Sea. The boat was hit and as per reports caught fire and sank in 2 minutes after an explosion. The entire crew of almost 70  sailors was killed.
The attack and firing of the rocket was filmed by the ISIL and distributed around the world. The Islamic State fighters  claimed victory and the Egyptians were left red faced and worried. They wondered how the Islamic state fighters had got hold of the missile and also as to how many missiles they had in all. The danger thus is real and and a cause of worry to the nations fighting the ISIL.
It appears the missile along with the firing mechanism fell into the hands of the ISIL during the battle in Syria and is of probable Russian origin. It is not known how many missiles are with the ISIL. More attacks cannot be ruled out and  in case the ISI fighters can reach the Suez Canal the fat will be in the fire and there may be no option, but for the USA to intervene in Sinai. One has to wait and watch. India needs to draw lessons from this war and there is every chance that the Jaish e Mohammed and   Kashmir Liberation front may also get hold of similar weapons and create a greater headache for India.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jwaharlal Nehru and his Blunders: Creation of Linguist States

Jawaharlal Nehru is like a holy cow in India and criticizing Nehru is akin to Blasphemy. But now after nearly 5 decades of his death there are many objective writers who are researching and the sad fact comes out that Nehru created insurmountable problems for the Indian state that bedevil it in the present age. Apart from his blunders on Kashmir and China Nehru at home also allowed his philosophical mind to dictate state policy, ignoring the harsh reality of power politics.

a) Creation of Linguistic States. Throughout history India had never been carved up as a linguistic entity. Neither was it ever carved up on a religious basis. The entire India sub continent was carved up in states and kingdoms that were geographical entities and language and religion played no part in these divisions.
This state of affairs continued for nearly 4000 years and even during the days of the British Raj, no division of India into states based on religion or language was ever contemplated. Thus India had states like Patiala, Hyderabad, Central provinces, United Provinces, North East frontier Agency and Madras and Bombay states. These were geographical entities and the people in these states spoke many languages. It should not be forgotten that India is home to some 15 major languages and 200 dialects.
When Nehru became Prime Minister, the philosopher took over and he ignored 40000 years of history by setting up a commission to reorganize the Indian state and divide it on linguistic basis. One cannot think as to why Nehru tinkered with something that was sure to catch fire. But his muddled mind thought that a division of India on the basis of language was a good thing.
Thus the States Reorganization Commission went to work and the centuries old Indian administrative regions were broken up into linguistic states with language as the basis of the state.
Nehru died in 1964, but the linguistic states he created led to the unity and integrity of India being questioned. People of one language joined hands and fissiparous tendencies developed with regional outfits like the Shiv Sena coming up, who demanded that people speaking another language be ousted from the state. The linguistic states hit at the very roots of India as a unitary country. The situation is now bad and many states have debarred people from other states from voting and owning property. This is a dangerous game and as brought out by the Chinese institute of Strategic Studies, India may well pay a dear price for the folly of Nehru.
b) Socialist Rhetoric. This was another pet idea of Nehru. He got a constitution framed that laid down that private enterprise would always be second to Public enterprise. In addition he formulated a policy that core industries like Coal, Steel .Aircraft etc would not be handed to private enterprise and would always be state owned. He thought to apply Marxist dogma to India without understanding what Marxism really was. Marx never talked of state ownership, which Nehru implemented.
The result of this socialistic policies had a disastrous effect, India became the laggard on the world scene and just as Nehru died famine stalked the land. It was only with the intervention of the USA with its PL 480 law that millions did not die of hunger, as the USA pumped in millions of tons of food grains.
The Indian state lost 4 precious decades till it finally decided that they had enough of Nehruvian socialistic policies and threw them overboard. But who will bring the 4 decades back when the Indian people suffered untold hardship.
Last word
Nehru is dead and gone, but it is the bane of India that a man who was more the philosopher ruled India. Chanakya that great political strategist has stated that people get the government they deserve. Is it the lot of the Indian people to have had Nehru at the helm of affairs? I do not believe it and its about time that the Indian state woke up and moved forward. I hope the observations of the Chinese Institute of Strategic Studies are negated in total.

Justice Katju on OROP. *


I simply cannot understand why the Union Govt. is not granting the entirely justified demand of ex servicemen of one rank one pension
If there is some difficulty in granting it the govt. should come out in the open, and mention the exact difficulty. But concealing this under a veil of bureaucratic secrecy, and beating up old servicemen on 14th August was surely not the method of dealing with the situation.

 The Govt. should realize that they are playing with fire, and a Cromwell may suddenly appear with his troops. After all, power grows out of the barrel of a gun. People must know what Cromwell did. He dissolved parliament and many MP's to the sword.

I will add that this man Modi does not know what an volcanic eruption can means. It devours everybody like the city of Pompeii in ancient Rome. At that time Modi will just be a small fry.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Red Light Rapist Bandit: Product of American Society

fe has many twists and turns and it affects all human beings. It is hard to imagine that a felon on death row, charged with 17 counts  of rape and robbery can turn into  a writer. It did happen and the man was Caryl Chessman who was also known as the Red Light bandit, by virtue of a red light that he displayed on his car roof and fooled many that he was a cop.

I heard about Chessman from an American friend when I was in the States last year. She gave me one of his books 'The Face of Justice' to read.I am told he wrote 4 books in all, before he was executed on 2 May 1960, after having been on death row for 12 years.I don't think his books are in print now, but perhaps one can get them at the local public library
Chessman was a product of American culture and the Mob, eulogised by James Hadley Chase in his books. He was arrested in beginning of 1948 on a charge of rape and kidnapping in California. Chessman had a simple Modus Operandi; he would follow a single girl in his car and pull up claiming he was a cop. The flashing red light, which he displayed on his car was his strength and  almost all girls took him to be a policeman. He would accost the girls and then drag them from the car to the nearby bushes and rape them. Sometimes he would insist the girls perform oral sex to satiate him.
The police finally arrested Chessman and brought him to trial. Out of many rape cases two were proved beyond doubt. These were concerning a 17 year old girl named Mary Alice Meza who was  forced to perform oral sex on Chessman and 22 year old Regina Johnson , who was pulled from her car and led screaming to the nearby clump of bushes and ferociously raped. Regina was dragged a total distance of 22 yards, but it was enough for the charge of kidnapping which is a federal offence to be added to his charge sheet. After all the evidence had been heard Chessman was found guilt  on 17 counts of rape and robbery. He was sentenced to death.

Many good samaritans took up Chessman's case  for commutation of his death sentence. They felt that Chessman had a troubled childhood and as such be given a chance to reform in life. Many times a date for execution was fixed only to be stayed by the courts. This continued for 12 years and  Chessman started to write books. Along with  Face of Justice, he also wrote, Trial by Ordeal and Cell 2455 Death Row. After his books were published many felt that Chessman did not deserve to go to the electric chair. However the officers who had prosecuted him were convinced that releasing Chessman would be a blunder as he was a psychopath and would rape girls again. His last reprieve arrived 15 minutes late and by that time Chessman had been executed on 2 May 1960, 12 years after he was sentenced to death. The curtain thus came down on the Red Light Bandit

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Non Approval of OROP : The Enemy is within, the General Staff

Most ex-servicemen were having fond hopes that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will announce sanction of OROP in his Independence Day address, except me. Even the doyen of the movement General Satbir Singh expressed the hope that he was "hopeful", that OROP would be sanctioned.

I was however sure that nothing like this was going to happen and months back I had stated the same. At that time I had recieved a email from a respected member of the Ex Servicemen's Office  bearers that he was sure that the OROP letter duly sanctioning the demand would be out soon.   I was sceptical and I have been proved right.

The non approval of OROP for close to 4 decades cannot just be pinned to the Political leadership or that favorite bashing boy the "Babus" or the IAS lobby.  Let us look inwards and we will find that the fault to a great degree lies within  us and the politicians  make hay of it. In other words they have exploited the weakness of presentation of the demand and  played on the divide of the services. To use a uncharitable word "lack of guts" among the general staff to forcefully present  the soldiers case.

The demand emanated from about 1973 when the COAS was general Bewoor. Under his stewardship the pensions of servicemen were REDUCED and this general accepted  it without a murmur. Probably he was eying an appointment after he left office and did not want to upset his chances. In any case this general shamed himself for posterity and when the history of this movement is written , he will be the man marked out as the person responsible  for  the downslide going.

After he left so many army Chiefs came and went and the the demand for OROP went no where as none of the Chiefs forcefully pressed the point. There is news now, that 4 ex Chiefs have sent a letter to the President of India pointing out the pitfalls of non approval of OROP. That is fine, but these worthies owe an explanation to the rank and file of soldiers and airmen as what did they do when they were in service and sitting in the Chair to further the soldiers cause on OROP. Obviously nothing, as the Chiefs were interested in taking some small steps to please the government like reducing the liquor entitlement by 2 bottles or something like that. These chiefs also allowed a concession of FORM D for travel to be restricted. It was always a down slide and nothing upward came as the Chiefs to use an uncharitable word "feathered their own nests". The soldier be  dammed.

The scenario has not changed. We have the sorry spectacle of the former COAS General VK Singh not showing his face  at the venue of the OROP agitation and there are other officers who are  just small fry and not worth naming here, who  are thinking they have a great political future with the BJP. But they must remember that man proposes and god disposes and the last word on the political aspirations of these turncoats has not been written as yet.

The present army chief  General Dalbir Singh is a case in point. He is sitting in his chair and he is silent like the Spinx. His words to ex servicemen that OROP will be approved and  sanctioned by 30 April are blown away like the small breeze, yet he sits wearing his hat and creating an aura that he is a tough man.  The general should have come to the venue of the site where the ex servicemen are fasting and shown his solidarity, but such great and benevolent things can't be  expected from men who have risen up the ladder by any means and having reached the apex are hoping for another lease of life after retirement.

I will add that undergoing fasts and signing petitions  in blood is not the hallmark of a military soldier, a warrior. These will lead no where and the only way OROP will come is if the 3 service chiefs and some PSO's resign.  Otherwise mark my words , all can live in the fond hope that OROP in the classical sense will ever come.  The enemy is thus within and the COAS is the main culprit down 40 years of the Indian army history.

Lastly people may wonder why I always mention the COAS and not the chiefs of the other 2 services? The fact is that it is only the army that is an organised force all over the country and  other 2 services are just appendages. Look around and you will see in all nations only the army calls the shots: Burma, Pakistan, China, Russia etc.

The present ongoing agitation is another example of the COAS playing a double game. I recently read that General DS Suhag was a mediator between the  government and the reps of the ex-servicemen. I was stumped, how can this man be a mediator , when he as the first soldier and is supposed to represent the soldiers in their  representations to the government. Thus one can see that with like General Suhag, OROP will not come.

Goa and the Bikini *

Goa brims with foreign tourists around the year and none other spot except Goa deals with such astronomical tourist-influx. Goa is indeed in oddity with all other tourist zones of India. And what that fixates one’s eyeballs upon and also heats up a debate among ministers of Goa is ‘bikini’.
Why is it that biknis still continue to be a matter of squeamishness among the ministries of Goa? Very recently, Goa PWD minister Sudin Dhavalika reportedly said that he would oppose a free bikini wear in Goa. He is reported to have said that if tourists come to Goa wearing bikinis, then I am against it. He added that “culture” was against wearing of the two-piece bathing garment. In contrast the Tourism minister Parulekar had commented that as a tourism minister, he had never said no to bikinis.
The tourism minister, however, added that bikinis could be worn on beaches as well as swimming pools but not in supermarkets or temples.
“My stance in favour of bikinis beyond the beach”
With no intention of inflicting my views on any body who is reading, I put forward my stand on the ‘bikini-issue’. Well, in my eyes, I don’t see any requisiteness of ban on bikinis outside the beach, that is, in swimming pools, markets, kiosks or any open-to-public section. One should not forget that the ancient Indian dresses as seen fro paintings and sculptures are far more revealing.
Most tourists who come to Goa do it to relax and let their hair down. Many come from extremely cold countries and Goa is heaven for them, with its sunshine and all weather beaches.
Donning bikini is one’s self choice and there should be no talk of culture and heritage etc. These can be self defeating.

India and Cow Slaughter: Is there a Hypocrisy in it ?

    There is politics in the air and the BJP made a hugh and cry by 'banning' the slaughter of cows and buffaloes for meat. The ban was enforced in Maharashtra and Haryana and in Haryana a prison term of 10 years was specified for selling beef.
    I have been wonder struck at these pronouncements and do not know what to believe. I often go to the supermarkets in the UAE and at all places there are placards prominently displayed " Indian Beef". There is also Pakistan Beef and Australian beef, but on inquiry I was told that Indian beef is the most popular.
    I do not know why we have to have double standards everywhere. Why can't we  be just honest about beef? I have now come to know that India has earned $ 38 million from beef exports last year and the state that exports the maximum beef is Utter Pradesh, which incidentally is the bastion of Hindutva. UP has 317 registered slaughter houses and in addition there are 24 export oriented units for exporting beef. Incidentally after UP the other 2 states that are at the top of beef exports are Punjab and Maharashtra. Is this not hypocrisy and fooling the masses?
    Earning money from exports of beef is a good thing. One reason is that India has the largest cattle population in the world and its a good idea to earn some hard foreign exchange by exporting meat of surplus and uneconomical cattle. But why can we not accept it and why we have to talk of ban on cow slaughter? In case beef is really banned in India then how come India is the now the largest exporter of beef having displaced Brazil recently?

    Exporting beef is nothing new and commenced in 1969. Over these 4 decades Indian beef has built up a reputation of supplying hygienic and healthy beef. China was not importing Indian beef, but last year a MOU is signed and very soon Indian beef will be exported to China.
    When India is the largest beef exporter in the world why are we so touchy on the subject?  Beef is after all meat and once one eats it, does it matter whether he eats goat meat or beef? I have eaten beef and there is no taboo on it. Its just another food and should be treated as such.

    Friday, August 14, 2015

    The OROP is on Wrong Track and Gen Satbir Singh Needs to be Removed: He has Demeaned Honourable Soldiers

    Sitting in Singapore, I am appalled at the approach of the ex-servicemens leadership headed by General Satbir Singh.It appears that when Rahul Gandhi visited Jantar Mantar, slogans were raised against him to go back and overall he was not allowed to address the agitating ex servicemen. Nothing could be more sillier than this.

    An retired officer from the Singapore Army asked me why this man was not wanting to politicise the agitation. Surely he commented  the demand cannot come by just fasting and " appealing" to the Government ?

    In addition I saw on TV, General Satbir announcing strongly that he would not allow Rahul to use the mike. I got the impression as tens of others that the general wanted to curry favour with the Modi government. The humiliation meted out to ex-servicemen by Modi government was forgotten as he towed the BJP line . Why? The reason he sees a glimmer of hope, that Modi may announce OROP on 15 Aug. Never the less he forgot that the first man who prodded Chidambaram to announce OROP was Rahul Gandhi.

    By his approach General Satbir Singh has demeaned the demand of ex-servicemen for OROP to a begging bowl. Is he happy with this approach? The general has shown a churlish attitude. One feels he is sitting with outstretched hands for OROP to fall into his lap. This approach is dangerous as Modi may announce OROP, but there could be many a rider. General Satbir is not the right man to lead this agitation and whether OROP comes or not, he needs to be shown the door.

    Thursday, August 13, 2015

    Han Suyin: Chinese Author to be Remembered

      Han Suyin was a famous writer of Chinese origin. This was her pen name. Her real name was Rosalie Matilda Kuanghu Chow.She was  probably born in 1916 or 1917 and passed away on 2 November, 2012 in Lausanne, Switzerland. She was a Eurasian as her mother was from Europe and father Chinese. She studied medicine in Europe and married twice. Unfortunately two earlier husbands died, one in the civil war in China in 1947 and the second in the Korean war in 1952.
      In between she took to writing  and wrote 5 novels. Her novel "  Love is a many splendored thing" is her most  famous novel. Her novel "The mountain is young"  is my favorite. Its a little torrid book with explicit love scenes. It was one of the favourite books of Pandit Nehru.
      Han Suyin was invited to attend the coronation of the King of Nepal in 1956. She spent a fair amount of time in Nepal and met an Indian army officer named Colonel Vincent Ratnaswamy. They fell in love and her novel "The Mountain is young " has a autobiographical streak in it.
      The novel is set in Nepal and has the backdrop of the coronation of the king. In the novel the main character is one Unni Menon who loves  a Eurasian girl. Its a lovely love story and once it was published  it became a best seller. The novel firmly put Han Suyin as one of the top writers of the English language. The novel has been reprinted many times and the last reprint was in 1999 by Rupa and Co from Delhi.
      The love between Han Suyin and Colonel Vincent  resulted in marriage. The couple for sometime shifted to Bangalore and then shifted to Hongkong. They shifted after a few years to Switzerland and Han Suyin spent the rest of her life there.  Colonel Vincent pased away in 2003. They were married till the end, though Colonel Ratnaswamy and Han Suyin lived the last few years apart.
      Han Suyin was a wonderful writer and I love her novels. She will be remembered as a novelist as well as a crusader for women.  She was also respected by the Communist government of China and had an open visa issued to her. She visited China every year and was always welcomed there. By marrying an Indian army Colonel, she has an India connection as well. She deserves her place in the sun as one of the great writers of the 20th century.

      Wednesday, August 12, 2015

      Blunders on Kashmir: How India Lost the Plot in Kashmir

      Legally Kashmir acceded to India when the ruler of Kashmir Maharajah Hari Singh signed the option to accede to India in 1947. Unfortunately misplaced zeal by the then Indian prime minister Jwaharlal Nehru saw India refer the case to the UNO. The matter came up before the security council which passed a resolution calling for a cease fire in the valley and another resolution for a plebiscite in the Kashmir state to ascertain the wishes of the people.  In one stroke India lost 1/3rd of Kashmir to Pakistan after the cease fire. This was at a time when the Pak army and tribal soldiers were retreating.
      Matters were further clouded by the Indian leader and Congress party when Nehru in 2 significant public speeches ,one of which was in Srinagar accepted that he would hold a plebiscite in Kashmir to ascertain the wishes of the people. He also promised Kashmir a " Special Status". For this he got the Indian parliament to amend the constitution and incorporate Article 370 in the constitution. This article had some significant provisions
      a) Kashmir would have its own constitution and any law passed by Indian parliament would not apply to Kashmir until it was passed by the Kashmir assembly.
      b) Kashmir would be insulated from the rest of the country and no Indian  citizen could buy land or settle in Kashmir.
      c) The state would have its own flag.
      This was passed in the teeth of opposition of the Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who unfortunately at the critical moment suffered a heart attack.
      The situation was stabilised to a great extent by the Russians who sided with India. On almost two dozen cases when the Security Council wanted to enforce a plebiscite, the Russian as permanent members of the Security Council used their power of Veto to bail out India.
      From 1989 onwards the situation has changed. The Kashmir state is witness to ethnic cleansing and the Hindus were attacked and forced to flee the Valley which soon became  100% Muslim. the Indian government sat and watched teh exodus of hIndus from the valley and did precious little to stop the carnage. In addition an armed insurrection commenced , headed by organizations based in Pakistan like the Jaish-e- Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen and the Kashmir liberation front.
      The Indian government in its misplaced zeal also gave legitimacy to a group of politicians who favored joining Pakistan called the Hurriet. This group of pro Pak politicians was also given security cover and looked after by the Indian government. This is cited by by many nations as acceptance by India that Kashmir issue is not solved..
      The geopolitical situation has also changed and all the 65 Muslim countries have sided with Pakistan  Russia that used its veto so many times earlier, may not use it again and now  we also have the factor of China which has recognised POK as part of Pakistan and is busy proposing a $46 billion corridor through the POK and stretching to Karachi.
      The Indian government is thus hemmed in and I am told that the USA also will not forsake Pakistan and is pressing India to discuss kashmir. The Indian PM Indira Gandhi committed a monumental blunder by incorporating a clause in the Simla agreement( (1972) that India would discuss the Kashmir issue with Pakistan. If Kashmir is a part of India , then what are we discussing?
      The situation is fraught with great risk. India has also not built up its military might to be able to act alone.  A Professor from Nehru University has asked a pertinent question, what happens if the Security Council passes a resolution to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir ? what will India do without military muscle?  These are dangerous thoughts and India must once again befriend Russia in this geopolitical game. The USA will never forsake Pakistan and an example is that India is completely cut off from the  peace initiative in Afghanistan . The future requires a great statesman and one wonders whether Modi has that mettle. There is also a need to immediately integrate Kashmir with India and get ready to face the world with a fait accompli. But I don't think it will happen.

      Baba Nanak and his Visit to Istanbul: Fact or Fiction?

       Guru Nanak the founder of the Sikh faith lived from 1469-1539. Most of the time of his life he spent in the Punjab (the area now under control of Pakistan). From 1498 onwards the Guru started his travels  which continued for about 15 years. During this time it is recorded that he visited Mecca and Baghdad and also travelled East to Dacca and South to Rameshwaram. These travels puts Nanak in the bracket of the great travelers  of that era , on par with Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta.
      The most talked about visit of Nanak is to Mecca. Many Muslims claim he went there for Haj as only Muslims are allowed to enter Mecca and worship at the Kaaba. Nanak also is referred to in Islam as Hazrat Rab Majid Baba Nanak Faqir. Nanak did go to Mecca, but in all likelihood as he traveled with a caravan with a choga as worn by ascetics of that age, he passed off as a Faqir. That enabled him to gain entry into Mecca, but there is no record that he offered prayers at the Kaaba.
      Nanak left Mecca for Baghdad where a gurudwara  ( Now destroyed by the IS) commemorates his visit there( 1511 AD). From Baghdad his movements are hazy, but a  an inscription on a tablet at Istanbul discovered in 1994 has raised the interest of scholars. Nanak is assumed to have come back to Punjab via Persia and Afghanistan and a gurudwara in Tehran testifies to his having passed from there. But the tablet at Istanbul is off great interest.
      The tablet was discovered by a Sikh scholar who visited Istanbul in 1994. The tablet it appears was erected around 1550 when the Ottoman Empire was at its peak and faces the strait of Bosphorus. The tablet has inscriptions in a language he could not decipher, but he could make out the word Al Majid Nanak. He decided to carry out further research and two men from Pakistan Punjab worked hard to decipher the script, which was in ancient Turkish and Arabic. The 2 Muslim scholars who helped to interpret teh script are Iqbal Kaiser  and Syed Afzal Haider.
      The script is now deciphered and reads that a great Pir from Hindustan named Al Majid Nanak came here to bestow good to the people of Turkey.This is in real terms a great revelation. But I must add that apart from this inscription on this tablet, there is no other evidence that Guru Nanak may have visited Turkey and Istanbul.
      Lastly we can conclude that perhaps Nanak did visit Istanbul. There is every likelihood that he went to the seat of Muslim power at that time , Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire. Perhaps greater research in this field is  called for. All in all this tablet is exciting news

      Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan *

      Afghanistan is more in the news with activities of the Taliban and al Qaeda and one is apt to overlook that this ancient land has a strong architectural history of monuments and forts. At one time the entire North Indian plains and Afghanistan was part of one region ruled by the Emperors from Delhi.   The rulers of Delhi often visited Afghanistan and spent quality time there.

      At that time Afghanistan was a peaceful nation and was not party to internecine warfare that has over taken the nation now. It is a matter of relief that despite the on going insurrection some monuments of great historical value have survived destruction.
      One of the monuments is the Minaret of Jam. One look at it will show that it is inspired by the Kutab Minar, which was erected by Kutabdin Aibak a member of the slave dynasty that ruled Delhi between the 11th and 13th century AD.

      The minaret is 62 meters in height and compared to the Kutab Minar which stands 72.5 meters high is shorter by over 10 meters. It is one of the many minarets built between the 12th and 13thcentury all over central Asia. The principle of building these minarets was to glorify Islam and bring out the fact that no other religion or faith could match it. The minarets also reached upwards to the sky as it was felt that the higher the minaret the closer a believer is to Allah while praying. Many historians led by Ralph-Pindar Wilson are of the opinion that the Minar was built by Mohammed Ghuri to commemorate his victory over Prithviraj Chauhan at the battle of Tarain in 1138.

      The minaret is surrounded by mountains that reach a height of 2400 meters and is close to  a small secluded vale through which a river flows. That is one of the reasons this minaret has escaped the ravages of wars . The minaret is made of roasted bricks and is an engineering feat. It has verses engraved on its walls and the surprise is that the some of the verses eulogies   Mary the mother of Jesus Christ.

      The minaret is recognized as a world heritage site in 2002 by UNESCO. It is a matter of delight that this minaret has survived wars and pillage. However the minaret is in danger from nature and erosion. It is also tilting and world heritage experts are trying to restore the monument.
      Minaret of Jam

      Tuesday, August 11, 2015

      The Fabian Society: Dead and Gone?

      Idealistic Society

      Not many would have heard of the Fabian society. I have met so many people even from England who had never heard about it. So I thought it a good idea to let readers in wikinut know about this society.

      It was a society set up in 1884 to promote the establishment of a socialist state in , not by revolution but by a gradual process. This society was set up by intellectuals, who believed that all men are born equal and only man has created divisions in society. The Fabian society thus felt that a socialist state by a gradual process in England was the best way forward.Another professed faith of the society was equality for Britain’s colonies. It wanted the colonies to be freed and made part of a great commonwealth with England. These were laudable ideas and drove the members with zeal and enthusiasm.

      Later the Labor Party drew inspiration from the Fabian Society and was formed in England. . Thus it is not surprising that when Labour was in power, they granted Freedom to India in 1947. Perhaps if the Conservatives had retained power, India would not have been freed.

      The society was named after Fabius Maximus a Roman general. Fabius Maximus is remembered as a general who employed special tactics to defeat his opponents.

      The Fabian Society has always had a string of intellectuals as its members like George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb. The labour party which was formed in 1906 was set up by members of the Fabian Society. The labour party has for long been espousing the socialist concepts of the Fabian society. The Fabian society is still alive and has over 6000 intellectuals as members, but is no longer a political force, in fact it never was and in a way failed to realize its potential.