Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Identity and Generals

Thursday, August 17th, 2017


“I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.”

— Gen. U.S. Grant recalling Appomattox

In this day of virulent revisionism of history all over the world, we again hear of the greatness of the southern gentry (who fought to maintain and extend slavery) and how rosy was their nationalism. Comparisons to “TJ” and “The W” are bandied about, like so much candy at halloween. When the office of the presidency seeks to confer grace upon “southern culture”(read: slavery and it’s accoutrements), we stand in danger that quite a few citizens might start wondering about the history that they have been taught.

Let’s try to elucidate three key differences between the founding fathers and southern generals of the War for the Abolition of  Slavery (yes, the civil war was almost entirely about that).

For one thing, the former were fighting for freedom and against tyranny of a government who was giving the colonies no heed and treating them with barely concealed contempt. The latter had declared war on their own citizens whose only provocation was to have elected a candidate, Mr. Lincoln, who favored the gradual end of slavery.

The North did not start the fight. The South fired on Fort Sumter!

Secondly, these generals didn’t ever flinch from promulgating slavery. At every juncture in the war, when black people confronted the southern armies, they suffered untold calamities. The exchange of prisoners in the war was stopped because the south refused to countenance the black man as an active combatant. This directly led to Northern prisoners of war languishing in prison camps like Andersonville. These gentle Generals did nothing to recognize the humanity of the black man. The founding fathers, with all their faults, wrote a declaration beginning with the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Thirdly, and most importantly, unlike the founding fathers, our erstwhile gentlemen of the south, gave no thought before resorting to rebellion against their duly elected government. Gen. Lee’s declaration to Gen. Scott that he would not raise his sword against his own state smacks of nativism and lack of thought. There is no moral uprightness to what they did.

They were brave no doubt, but so were other military men who served odious regimes before and after them. Gen. Lee’s disbanding of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox rather than carry on a guerilla campaign is thought to be the act of a statesman. It was, rather, the recognition that the horrors of war would increase for the south in this war of attrition.

In conclusion, while we may remember the military campaigns as actions of distinction in war, much like Mongol cavalry tactics are considered very impressive, there is NO moral equivalence between the men of the south and the founding fathers. The former championed the worst government of their time, very much like the neo-nazis and the KKK propose to do today. Let us not forget that.

Gujarat: The unconvincing economic miracle

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014


We are being sold the notion that we should vote for Mr. Modi and become part of his cult because he has wrought miracles with growth in Gujarat. No matter if he likes killing Muslims in well-orchestrated pogroms and belongs to the same ideology that hero worships Hitler and his SA. At least, the rest of us will get richer.  So I think to myself, let’s try and analyze if the “economic development” card holds true.

Gujarat has the highest increase in GDP when comparing the fiscal years 2004-2005 (203,373 Cr.) to 2011-2012 (620,044 Cr), a whopping 304%. Looks great doesn’t it. It is! However, as an analyst , I know that one number rarely tells the whole story. Let’s scratch around a little more and see.

If we look at the top growing states in India, Gujarat at 304% is followed by Tamil Nadu at 290% growth, Maharashtra at 280%, Kerala at 273% and Karnataka sitting at 279% growth in nominal GDP. Is there a statistically significant difference in all these growth rates?

I don’t think so; particularly if you take into account the all india GDP growth is 278%. This is looks like the “India Shining” campaign all over again.

Well, let’s take a gander at GDP growth per capita. That should tell us how each state is performing taking into account the population. In this measure, Gujarat is the sixth highest. Not bad, but is it the best among the big boys? Bihar( yes! incredible Nitish), Haryana and Tamil Nadu outrank it there too.

Not bad but hardly the best. India GDP per capita grew by 227% whereas Gujarat grew by 238%. Is it statistically significant? I don’t think so. India Shining again!

Congress walahs tend to point at Gujarat and its debt growth over the same period as if that has not happened to all states. This is a national problem and not only a Gujarat issue. This increased burden of public debt that the governments at all levels are blithely adding to their balance sheets will bear watching and curbing eventually.

In the meanwhile, I refuse to sacrifice myself so that my brethren can get “pseudo-riche”. If it really was true, we could consider sending 20 crore Muslims to the gallows. However, on present evidence this mass murderer may not turn out to be the messiah for the rest of India too.

The Egyptians Rise up, Rise Up, RISE UP!!!

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

A great Interview by Riz Khan

Some more interesting articles on the Continuing Saga…

Hosni Before Bros: Tony Blair’s Unapologetic Policy of Wretchedness

Egypt rises up

The Burqa in Europe, Nien! NON! NO!… and other voices!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010


In defense of the burqa ban

This week, French lawmakers are expected to vote on a proposed law that would criminalize the burqa, bringing to a head more than a year of heated debate over the conservative Islamic veil in contemporary France. Although the full head and body covering is worn by fewer than 2,000 of the country’s 3.5 million Muslims, the movement to ban it has touched off a volatile discussion about issues of immigration, integration and the rights of women. Nonetheless, a recent poll showed that eight in 10 people in France support slapping a ban on the veil. [MORE]

Veiled Threats?

Let’s start with an assumption that is widely shared: that all human beings are equal bearers of human dignity.  It is widely agreed that government must treat that dignity with equal respect.   But what is it to treat people with equal respect in areas touching on religious belief and observance? [MORE]

Criminalising women behind the veil

So the French lower house has voted to ban the burka or niqab in a public place. It was by a massive majority: 355 to 1. The Greens and some of the Socialists abstained. There are still hurdles to be crossed, but France is heading to a moment when a woman wearing a full-face veil in public could be stopped by a police patrol and fined 150 euros (£125). If the police gather evidence that a woman is being forced to dress in a niqab, then the man faces a very heavy fine.[MORE]

Widespread Support for Banning Full Islamic Veil in Western Europe:Most Americans Disapprove

This is the result of a recent study by Pew Research Center (July 8,2010). It highlight a stark contrast in attitudes about the issue on both sides of the Atlantic. Does this come as a surprise? Not really. Western European democracies merely tout their secular values but repeatedly fail to put them into practice. The ban on the veil is not the sole contentious issue that continues to alienate the Muslim population residing in Europe. It is thus no small surprise that most of the controversial issues between the West and the Muslim world stem from Europe.[MORE]

French attempts to outlaw the burqa strike a blow for the rights of women.

The French legislators who seek to repudiate the wearing of the veil or the burqa—whether the garment covers “only” the face or the entire female body—are often described as seeking to impose a “ban.” To the contrary, they are attempting to lift a ban: a ban on the right of women to choose their own dress, a ban on the right of women to disagree with male and clerical authority, and a ban on the right of all citizens to look one another in the face. The proposed law is in the best traditions of the French republic, which declares all citizens equal before the law and—no less important—equal in the face of one another.[MORE]

Some Books to consider related to this issue:
The Veil And The Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation Of Women’s Rights In Islam

Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective