Monday, November 05, 2007

R.I.P: The British Raj

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgement Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!
- The Ballad of East and West, Rudyard Kipling.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the Sepoy Mutiny or the Rebellion of 1857 against the British, whose subsequent defeat by the British led to them assuming direct possession over her jewel in the crown from the East India Company.

While i certainly don't care much for the British, i care even less for those *cough* pseudo seculars *cough* who are planning on portraying the rebellion with great hype and politically motivated propaganda in the coming weeks as a historic nationalist uprising against British imperialism that supposedly united Hindus and Muslims under a common cause. In fact had i been alive at the time, i would have gladly sided with the British and helped crush the uprising if only for no other reason than the mutineers plan to restore the rule of the enfeebled Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar whose authority at that time barely extended beyond the walls of the red fort.

While its true that the reasons (some im sympathetic too, some very suspect) that motivated those who fought in the uprisings are many, i'll be damned if the end result is the mere replacement one set of foreign rulers by bringing back the previously infinitely worse bunch. While some Mughal Emperors like Akbar and in particular Shah Jehan's son and chosen heir Prince Dara Shikoh were indeed enlightened and could have perhaps dramatically altered India's history had he won the crucial battle of succession, nonetheless with the triumph of fanatic tyrannical rulers like Aurangzeb in wrestling control of the throne every so often in an otherwise generally oppressive rule, clearly the Mughal empire or what was left of it had to be put to the sword.

Todays its difficult to imagine what India would be like if the uprising had succeeded (probably fragmented into hundreds of feuding princely states interspersed with a handful of large regional empires). In the end the uprising though coming fairly close to forcing the British from India eventually failed and the British retook Delhi with vengeance by exiling the Mughal and executing his sons, thus striking the final blow to muslim rule in India.
Though British rule was far from pleasant, one should see the British period as a means to an end. For almost a thousand years Indic civilisation had been in a state of more or less utter decay and demoralisation under the brutal thumb of numerous Islamic invasions and rule.
The Poet Iqbal once mockingly but nonetheless very precisely said about the struggle for political supremacy between the Congress party and the Muslim League ahead of India's anticipated independence from the British that "we (muslims) have only been slaves for 200 years, while you Hindu's have been slaves for a thousand years.

To paraphrase V.S Naipaul, "India from the very moment it became British colony, in many ways began to be regenerated, the muslims wounded by their loss of power, prestige and entitlement remained backward and self segrated much as they are today, while Hindus eagerly embraced the new opportunities and freedoms while increasing their relative wealth, education and power exponentially".
"They were also able to receive the new learning of Europe and its enlightenment, to get the institutions that went with that learning, heralding the arrival of great social reformers and later Indian independence leaders who enshrined those virtues in our constitution as a modern democracy", while many other similar nations entered the 20th century in a state of upheaval and with more revolutions than a carousel.

While one may rightly criticize British imperialism that more or less robbed India of much of its wealth and helped to a substantial extent fuel Britain's Industrial Revolution, in the process every so often leading to the mass starvation of tens of millions of Indians, through the imposition of their grossly distorted agricultural and trade policies, one can say that to a certain extent much of this shift in global power and wealth would have happened in any case with or without colonialism as Europe by the 15th century had already started its rapid ascension in comparison to other regions of the world.
Besides economic devastation can be overcome in a matter of decades as shown by post war Japan, a populated nation with almost no resources bar her own people, as well as by the progress China and India itself are making today. So if one is going to blame the British, much more so of the blame must also be laid at the feet of that moron Nehru and his version of Fabian Socialism that dreadfully wasted a further 50 years.

In perspective, the British Raj, while also generally oppressive was also fairly benign in many respects especially in comparison to other European colonial powers like Portugal or the Spanish. The East India Company activities certainly started out innocuously enough as a purely commercial relationship but gradually changed with territorial expansion.

In the inital phase when British military superiority was far from assured, it is often noted that the adventurous men of the East India Company learned local languages, and being far away from the conservative environment of England for long periods of time kept numerous local mistresses as an accepted and common practice in addition to the brothels stretching from Darjeeling to Dalhousie. It is said that some 90% of British officers stationed in India by the mid-eighteenth century had marriages from such liaisons, the offspring of which played a vital role in building up the strength of the East India Company Army, and its further subsequent territorial expansion.

But with technological developments such as the railways and steam ships as well as the opening of the Suez Canal, Christian Evangelicals and the Memsahibs (English women) increasingly began to come to India in relatively large numbers. The role of both the these groups was to maintain civilised standards, which in practice led to an unparalleled social divide between the British Raj and its Indian subjects.

By the 19th century an increasingly arrogant and imperialistic British in possession of India, a huge expanse of territory, with a relatively small army, saw the inevitable happen with the rebellion of 1857. Although the British were very slow to react, they gradually gained the upper hand with the help of allied Indian forces and reinforcements from abroad, though by that time they had been given a rightly deserved bloody nose.

While it would take a further 90 years before India achieved its independence through Mahatma Gandhi's non violent civil disobedience campaign, this one can say was infinitely preferable to the ill conceived armed uprisings of 1857 that India clearly wasn't ready for and if it had succeeded would have brought about more chaos than any good.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Man is a Civilised Animal

Man is a tame or civilized animal; never the less, he requires proper instruction and a fortunate nature, and then of all animals he becomes the most divine and most civilized; but if he be insufficiently or ill- educated he is the most savage of earthly creatures.
- Plato.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pricecheck for Jackass!!!.... and Lameass???

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Presidential Passage to India

After reading endless articles about President George W. Bush's maiden three day visit to India starting today with many important agreements to be signed, not least our strategic civil nuclear cooperation deal with the United States, one obviously cannot help being impressed by the massive turnaround in our bilateral relationship since our nuclear tests in 1998, when the Americans were publically threatening to bury us in the grave we supposedly were digging for ourselves. though as Jaswant Singh our foreign minister at the time amusingly pointed out, Indians dont bury rather cremate their dead.
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Monday, February 27, 2006

Once on a time, Ganges said to Himalaya

Once on a time, laying hold of the skirt of the mountain,
Ganges said to Himalaya:
"O thou mantled in snow since the morn of creation,
Thou whose form is girdled with streams,
God made thee a partner in the secrets of heaven.
But deprived thy foot of graceful gait.
He took away from thee the power to walk,
What avails this sublimity and stateliness?
Life springs from perpetual movement,
Motion constitutes the wave's whole existence,"
When the mountain heard this taunt from the river,
He puffed angrily like a sea of fire,
And answered: "Thy wide waters are my looking-glass,
Within my bosom are a hundred rivers like thee.
This graceful gait of thine is an instrument of death,
Whoso goeth from Self is meet to die.
Thou hast no knowledge of thine own case,
Thou exultest in thy misfortune: thou art a fool!
O born of the womb of the revolving sky,
A fallen-in bank is better than thou!
Thou hast made thine existence an offering to the ocean,
Thou hast thrown the rich purse of thy life to the highway man.
Be self-contained like the rose in the garden,
Do not 'go to the florist in order to spread thy perfume!
To live is to grow in thyself
And gather roses from thine own flower bed.
Ages have gone by and my foot is fast on earth,
Dost thou fancy that I am far from my goal?
My being grew and reached the sky,
The Pleads sank to rest under my skirts.
Thy being vanishes in the ocean,
But on my crest the stars bow their heads.
Mine eye sees the mysteries of heaven,
Mine ear is familiar with angels wings.
Since I glowed with the heat of unceasing toil,
I amassed rubies, diamonds, and other gems.
I am stone within, and in the stone is fire,
Water cannot pass over my fire".
Art thou a drop, of water? Do not break at. thine own feet,
But endeavor to surge and wrestle with the sea.
Desire the water of a jewel, become a jewel!
Be an ear-drop, adorn a beauty
Oh, expand thyself! Move swiftly!
Be a cloud that shoots lightning and sheds a flood of rain!
Let the ocean sue for thy storms as a beggar,
Let it complain of the straightness of its skirts
Let it deem itself less -than a wave 
And glide along at thy feet!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Relation between Superiors and Inferiors

Ji Kang Zi asked the master (Confucius) about government, saying, "What do you say to killing those who are unprincipled and immoral for the good of those who are principled?" Confucius replied, "Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your obvious desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass: the grass is bound to bend when the wind blows across it."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Freedom from Tyranny

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannise them will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious or otherwise, to put shackles on sleeping men.
- Voltaire.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thus Spoke Natwar

After three long decades of international nuclear slumber India has finally awoken to sign a historic and unprecedented nuclear deal with America that would make India a potential and rightful exception to existing laws that prohibit civilian nuclear cooperation with a non-signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
While most Indians are eager to see the deal come to full fruition, our foreign minister Nutwar Natwar Singh on the other hand appears to be doing his best to jeopardise the bills long and tedious passage through the U.S congress (already in considerable danger) by needlessly stirring up his American hosts during a trip to Washington with needless idiotic remarks about the growing confrontation between them and Iran's nuclear program.

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Maha-Bharat: The Wheel of Dharma

The world is the wheel of God, turning round
And round with all living creatures upon its rim
The world is the river of God ,
Flowing from him and flowing back to him.
On this ever-revolving wheel of being
The individual self goes round and round
Through life after life, believing itself
To be a separate creature, until
It sees its identity with the Lord of Love
And attains immortality in the indivisible whole."
- Shvetashvatara Upanishad 1.4-6.
Farther India, Indochina, East Indies. The great story of India and the Indic civilisational legacy in Southeast Asia is perhaps most remarkable in terms of the differing levels of cultural diffusion achieved in comparison to Southeast Asia's other giant neighbour - China.

Whilst Chinese culture spread primarily in the regions that were military occupied by it or were vassal states like Vietnam, Indian civilisation on the other hand, with its process of peaceful penetration rather than military conquest (much like with the great Buddhist Emporer Ashoka centuries later) was able to leave a far greater and more enduring imprint on the region, providing the basis and inspiration for the great Hindu empires that flourished like that of the Angkor-Khmer empire in Cambodia, the Chams in Vietnam, as well as Mataram, Majapahit and Sri Vijaya empires in Indonesia and Malaysia among many others including Buddhist kingdoms in Thailand and Burma.

To paraphrase George Coedes in his work 'The Indianized states of Southeast Asia' - The expansion of Indian culture was a very broad process, the results of which differ in various countries. The speed and ease with which the Indian immigrants propagated their more advanced culture is in no doubt due to many common underlying traits beneath the Indian veneer already shared with monsoon Asia.
The sacred scholarly Sanskrit language of India was instrumental in transmitting parts of our culture or at least a copy of it, including aspects of its customs and laws, holy scriptures and alphabet as well as social and religious establishment into the region. Indeed the most ancient Sanskrit inscriptions in Southeast Asia are not much less older than the first Sanskrit inscriptions in India itself.

Even so, Indianised civilisations in Southeast Asia were more so the civilisation of the elite. The Hindu concept of Deva-Raja (God-King) gave the local king divine status, effectively being an intermediary between heaven and earth, maintaining the balance between the two worlds and ensuring the protection and prosperity of his people. As per the Indian concept of Mandala, at the center was where Indianisation was strongest with concentric circles spreading out from that point and gradually diminishing in influence at edges of kingdom and empire.

Apart from lucrative trade relations, it is not clear what exactly prompted the Indian expansion especially considering that crossing the seaswas thought of as polluting by the Brahmans atleast. Nonetheless over time Brahman advisors came to hold enormous sway over the local royal rulers in their courts. Indeed according to one Cambodian legend as to the origin of their people, they believe they are descended from the union of an Indian Brahman named Kaundinya who married a local mythical Cambodian princess, thereby establishing the foundation for the first Indianised state of Funan and of classical Cambodian civilisation.

After thousands of years of glorious civilisation and its great achievements, Theravada Buddhism began to slowly displace both Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism in mainland Indochina. In Indonesia the coming of Islam (ironically brought moslty by Indian seafarers from the Coromandel coast and Gujarat) and the rise of coastal muslim sultanates saw the gradual disintegration of the last great inland Hindu empire of Majapahit and the forced exile of the royalty along with a large number of its retainers eastward to the Hindu Island of Bali.

Today Indonesia is the world largest muslim nation, but beneath the surface some of the former local Hindu culture still endures. The great Indian epics of the Mahabharat and Ramayana, though no longer with their same previous religious significance are still quite popular throughout the archipelago especially Java and obviously also Bali. Indeed to this day, a Ramayana ballet is apparently still being performed by a muslim troupe of artists in the shadow of the Prambanan temple near Yogyakarta.

With the recent re-articulation of India's "Look East Policy", there will hopefully at long last be a concerted effort to shift some of our attention away from our immediate west and instead focus it on Southeast Asia with which we have equally long and deep historical, cultural and civilisational ties. This is even more pertinent in consideration of the so called "peaceful" rise of Chinese power in the region. Once again Southeast Asia has assumed its historical role as a commercial trading hub and a important source of resources in the middle of the India-China trade route, therefore it is vital for India to get its act together and present itself as a friendly counterbalance of sorts to South East Asian nations wary of the Chinese juggernaut.

Monday, March 28, 2005

India vs Pakistan. "Dosti Series"

Shall i hear the lament of the nightingale,
submissively lending my ear
am i the rose to suffer its cry in silence
year after year?
The fire of verse gives me courage
and bids me no more to be faint
with dust in my mouth, I am abject
to God i make my complaint.
Sometimes you favour our rivals
then sometimes with us,
You are free
I am sorry to say it so boldly,
You are no less fickle than we.
- Iqbal.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Graceful Shades

Calmly and gracefully
thou movest along the path of life,
tearless and smileless,
and scarce a heedless glance of indifferent attention
ruffles thy calm.
Thou art good and wise
and all things are remote from thee,
and of no one hast thou need.
Thou art fair,
and no one can say,
whether thou prizest thy beauty or not.
No sympathy hast thou to give;
none dost thou desire.
Thy glance is deep,
and no thought is in it;
in that clear depth is emptiness.
So in the Elysian field,
to the solemn strains of Gluck's melodies,
move without grief or bliss thy graceful shades.
- Ivan Turgenev.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Freedom of Action

One day, Mughal Emperor Akbar and his minister Raja Birbal were walking in the palace gardens. Suddenly, Akbar turned to his wise minister and asked, 'Birbal, who is more powerful -- God or Emperor?' Birbal thought for a moment and said with all seriousness, 'Emperor, you are more powerful than God.'

Akbar was astounded. He thought Birbal was indulging in flattery and proceeded to banish him from the empire. Birbal replied that the punishment itself was proof that what he had said was true.

Birbal then reasoned, 'Emperor, if you want to banish me, you can send me out of your empire and I shall have to go. But if God wanted to banish me, is he powerful enough to do that? Where would he send me, for all the universe is his empire.'

Akbar laughed heartily and praised his clever minister and gifted Birbal one more palace beauty!.

Moral of the story: the lesser guy has more choice and freedom of action than the one at the top.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Fire (Aag)

With the blow of wind she flares up,
And dies as soon as she drinks water;
Even though she is a pretty woman,
She’s not a woman, though she’s feminine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

2008: An Indian Space Odyssey

He is a sacrificial fire
in which the gods are constantly putting fuel
when darkness spreads its vast sheet
even then
he is the untiring life flaming in the background
Dyaus, o ancient father
it is you who has made these wonderful seasons
you the wrinkles on the face
the blood of the shoots
the drying up of wounds
you are love
like a beehive full of honey
warm and sweet
present in our souls
you are
the agitation that turns the earth upside down.
- Hymn to Dyaus Pitr (Sky Father), Rig veda.

Less than 3 years to go! In late 2007 or early 2008, India's first unmanned mission to the moon "Chandrayan 1" (moon-voyage 1) will blast off on top of a four stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for a 2 year orbit of the moon, carrying out a 3D mapping of the moon as well as the most detailed analysis of the moons mineral and chemical composition ever conducted.Apart from a lunar impacter that will permanently place India's flag on the moon's surface, the mission will carry out scientific experiments on behalf of the US, ESA and Bulgaria.

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Clash of Monotheisms

Recently i decided to read the book "The Clash of Civilisations" by Samuel P. Huntington, which i had previously heard a lot about especially from those who criticised it. I found it to be an interesting read for anyone interested in geopolitics.

The world has also fundamentally changed since the book was written and though much has gone according to Huntingtons paradigm from the events of 9/11 to the recent Ukraine elections, there still are many areas that could be further added upon, especially in relation to India.

Speaking of Clash of the Civilisations, the pope looks like he's going to kick to bucket any day now. Thus the question on everyones lips is could an African become the next pope. With Christianity locked into a head on contest with Islam in Africa, a black brother in the Vatican could give xtians that strategic advantage over Islam in the battle for souls and market share in Africa. I've always thought it interesting watching Africans take so enthusiastically to the religions of their oppressive former slave trading masters, whether Arab or European. As always they like others are essentially being treated as little more than a commodity, a people deemed incapable of having a coherent religion of their own so they must be given one to civilise them as per the British colonialist David Livingstone's famous formulation of "Civilization, Commerce and Christianity".

Anyways would a black pope be able to stem let alone reverse the steady decline of Christianity in Europe since the enlightenment. Hell no.
What's for sure though is that in the 21st century there will be huge gains made by Chrisitianity in Asia. The current pope John Paul while always talking about interfaith harmony n other gibberish has revealed many times that he wants to reap a rich harvest in Asia.
With Christianity struggling to maintain its market leader status due to its low birth rate as compared to the exploding birth rates in the muslim world, atheist China will represent the last great virgin territory for Christian proselytizing to fuck over.

Apart the local confucian traditions and also Buddhism there is really very little to conceivably stop the march of Christianity there. One of things that has always impressed me about the Chinese is their general indifference towards organised religion, but increasingly this no longer looks to be the the case especially in light of the almost complete hollowing out of China's Communist state ideology. Already there are estimates of 50-250 million christian converts in China. Much is often made about China emerging as a potential threat to the US in the future. But I think this is somewhat overstated, the Americans are not just going to sit there and do nothing, they know they can use and indeed are using Christian missionaries (a force greater than even the US military or Hollywood) as a powerful foreign policy tool to decisively change future geopolitical equations. Once the Chinese are a predominantly Christian nation, which they one day very well could be just like South Korea is now, China will more of less have been recruited on the side of the west or Christendom in any future civilisational battle against Islam - not that this is necessarily a bad thing.

So what about Hinduism and the future prospects of the world's 885 million Hindu's. Well naturally one wishes we could be immune from the plague of such aggressive, arrogant and obnoxious religions but unfortunately they are already in our midst. Christian missionaries have longed eyed India as a huge potential source for converts and are actively targeting economically and socially weaker sections of our society. Already many if not most of the tribals and ethnic groups in the northeast have been won over to Christianity. So called "Lower castes" and those in South India are next on the chopping block. Unless like in muslim countries a credible threat of violence is employed to warn such missionary groups, they will most likely continue their activities unfettered and succeed to an certain extent in their mission. To what extent exactly remains to be seen and will depend on our vigilance as well as our assertiveness in reinforcing our unique identity. Thus if Hinduism wants to withstand the onslaught, it will once again have to adapt to the changing times as it has done throughout the millenia and work to overcome sources of weakness such as the caste system that keeps us divided.

Of all people, Hindu's should know better than most the historical consequences of failing to provide a united front to external threats. Our only consolation in this fight is that though many battles will be and already have been lost the war can never be won in an age of reason amongst a people whose spiritual tradition has always accepted and respected intellectual openness and plurality as opposed to dogma, falsehood and infallibility. 

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Bookworm

A moth ate words.
I thought that was quite curious,
that a mere worm,
a thief in the dark, ate what a man wrote,
his brilliant language and its strong foundation.
The thief got no wiser for all that he fattened himself on words.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Criticisms for the Beloved Parivar

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Now dont get me wrong, i consider myself a committed long distance armchair supporter of the Sangh Parivar. I have much sympathy and admiration for them and their cause of Hindutva.
But i must say that much of of my worldview and opinions has been shaped not as much by the right wing, but rather infact more by reading and seeing the utter failure and hypocrisy of the leftist pseudo-secular "intelligensia" of India, who not satisfied with doing their best to run India into the ground over the last fifty years, take great pride at every turn in continually denigrating our ancient religion and culture.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Difference Between a Dog and a Man

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
- Mark Twain.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Kashmir Conflict

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It is said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will eventually start to believe it. This is certainly the case in regards to Pakistan and its obsession with Kashmir. As a regular reader of Paki newspapers, im always surprised by the amount of lies and conspiracy theories that go unchallenged and are basically accepted as the gospel there.

I cant go into all of them otherwise this column will go on forever, but things like the so called "forgery" of the document of accession signed by the Maharaja unifying Jammu & Kashmir with India and ratified in the Kashmiri parliament by "Sher-e-Kashmir" Sheikh Abdullah, the popularly elected leader of Kashmir.

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India's Energy Diplomacy

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe PR machine of union oil minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has been in overdrive in recent weeks with news of all sorts of mega deals.
I developed an extreme dislike of him from his days as the leading Congress party/Gandhi family sycophant at the Indian Express newpaper. Just looking at the smug half psychotic smile plastered on his face makes me sick. Little did i know then that his unashamedly biased views as a self-proclaimed "secular fundamentalist" columnist would eventually land him to a plum job within the new government.
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Monday, February 07, 2005

Bark of Wisdom

Even if thou art the worst of sinners thou shalt cross the ocean of sin by the bark of wisdom
- Bhagavad Gita, 4.36.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Hindutva Rate of Growth"

Great is the sword and mighty is the pen,
But over all the labouring ploughman's blade
For on its oxen and its husbandmen
An Empire's strength is laid.
- Rudyard Kipling.

For over 5,500 years India has been a pre-eminent civilization.

Throughout history there has seldom been a land of such great wealth and richness, thus one of the reasons for it being so attractive for plunder and conquest by some of the more war-likeraces beyond (Yes, you, Afghan man, look at me when im talking to you and wipe that smirk off your face).

When the Persian Nadir Shah sacked Delhi in 1739, massacring some 30,000-150,000 inhabitants, it is said that so much loot was plundered (a vast wagon train of 10,000 heavily laden elephants, 7,000 horses and 10,000 camels filled, including the famous Kohinoor diamond and Peacock Throne), that the people of Persia were exempt from tax for four years.

Unfortunately Europe knew of this wealth also, thus they set sail to reach India, in the process finding a completely unknown new continent. When they finally made it to the real India, they realised that they had the good fortune to arrive at a point in time when India was once again ripe for conquest. There was a power vacuum, the mighty Mughal empire had collapsed after Aurangzeb's vainglorious Islamic fanaticism and relentless attacks in response by the Sikhs in the North, the Rajput confederacy in the west, the Maratha Peshwa's in the southwest, and the rebellious muslim sultanates in the south.

In 1750, India produced 24.5% of the world's economic output (Huntington, 1997:86), while Great Britain had a little over 2%. India also had the world's largest textile industry, which was a crucial first step for Industrialisation. By 1947, the British imperialists had completely distorted the Indian economy and destroyed the textile industry to fuel their own Industrial revolution,thus reducing India "the Jewel of the British Empire" to the status of a pauper with less than 3% of global output, while Great Britain rose to 21%.

This leprous daybreak, dawn nights fangs have mangled
This is not that long-looked for break of day.
Not that clear dawn in quest of which those comrades
Set out, believing that in heavens wide void
Somewhere must be the stars last halting place
Somewhere the verge of nights slow washing tide,
Somewhere an anchorage for the ship of heartache.
- Faiz.

Thanks to the disastrous economic policies of the congress party, India's Independence in 1947 was essentially a false dawn as it wasted its first 40 years of freedom wallowing in poverty, chasing the mythical socialist utopia, while its share of world output declined further relative to other nations.

Under Jawaharlal Nehru's brand of fabian socialism, India became inward orientated, the government controlled the commanding heights of the economy, discouraged foreign trade and trampled on the spirit of entrepreneurship, but was too busy riding its bureaucratic pony to notice the damage to the very moral fiber of India.

With the policy of Import Substitution Industrialisation (ISI), we went about achieving our aim of self-sufficiency. The problem was that we started at the wrong end. Nehru believed in using machines to make machines. Thus while the ISI policies of nations in East Asia focused on the replacement of consumer goods, India had a disproportionate focus on capital goods. Because this didn’t leverage India's abundant factors of production (ie: cheap labour) and due to the fact that there was only a small market for these goods, they were an enormously inefficient waste of scarce resources.
The other mistake was the fact that we held on to the policy of ISI for far too long while nations of East Asia initially built up their industries then let them trade and compete with the world.

By the mid 1970's when the economy stubbornly refused to grow faster than 3%, which is disastrously slow for a developing country with a burgeoning population, rather then admitting the failure of their borrowed socialist ideology, they instead termed it the "Nehru rate of Growth" "Hindu rate of growth" and put the blame on the supposedly static and backward nature of Hindu society.
For them the solution to the mess they created was not a free market with Indian characteristics, but rather more socialism, thus India was condemned for another decade or so of abysmal growth, till a balance of payments crisis in 1991 finally put a end to the madness and forced the Indian government to begin dismantling its socialist legacy and transition towards a market economy.

Since breaking free from the shackles of socialism and unleashing her people's creative energies,India has marched ahead with rapid economic growth of over 7% year on year, which should rightly be called the Hindutva rate of growth.
But even with the impressive economic achievements attained since 1991, there still are many pseudo-secular socialists who constantly decry the reforms as being anti-poor or pro rich. What they always fail to ever mention, is how or why the poverty level has come down from 40% to 23% in the last decade. What the never explain, is how a bloated inefficient government and bureaucracy that institutionalised corruption on a massive scale, helps the poor, how loss making public sectors enterprises that are propped up by they taxes pay is good for the poor. As India prospers and makes the 21st century hers, I’m sure these traitorous Indians and their disastrous borrowed ideas will eventually die a natural death.

Last year the 8.5% growth rate was the highest ever since the reforms. The demise of the Hindu nationalist BJP government in the elections though was a enormous setback, especially in light of the privatisation plans, that had already started paying dividends and would have gone an enormous way in restructuring India's finances and economy.

To keep the momentum going, India must obviously continue reforms and attract nvestment especially in key infrastructure bottlenecks.
Like many economists i also believe that India currently is at an inflection point and ready to take off. China, which started its reforms over a decade earlier, was at a similar point to where India is now in 1992, with FDI at around $11 billion, when its economy took off and never looked back. Today its attracting well over $55 billion in FDI, which is impressive considering India and China were roughly even in most statistics in 1980.
A chinese proverb says "may you live in interesting times", in the 21st century for India and China alike, im sure it will be.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Story of the Zen Master.

In a village, a little boy is given a gift of a horse. The villagers all say, "Isn't that fabulous? Isn't that wonderful? What a wonderful gift."

The Zen master says, "We'll see."

A couple years later the boy falls off the horse and breaks his leg. The villagers all say, "Isn't that terrible? The horse is cursed! That's horrible!"

The Zen master says, "We'll see."

A few years later the country goes to war and the government conscripts all the males into the army, but the boy's leg is so badly messed up, he doesn't have to go. The villagers all say, "Isn't that fabulous? Isn't that wonderful?"

The Zen master says, "We'll see."

Thursday, February 03, 2005


"The Great Seven-fold River
The singer, O ye waters
shall tell your grandeur forth that is beyond compare.
The rivers have come forward triply, seven and seven,
Sindhu in might surpasses all the streams that floweth.
Thou speedest o'er precipitous ridges of the earth,
when thou art Lord and Leader of these moving floods.
His roar is lifted up to heaven above the earth,
he puts forth endless vigour with a flash of light,
like floods of rain that fall in thunder from the cloud,
so Sindhu rushes on bellowing like a bull.
Like mothers to their calves,
Like milch kine with their milk,
so, Sindhu, unto thee the roaring rivers run.
Thou leadest as a warrior king thine army's wings
what time thou comest in the van of those swift streams.
And again,
unable to resolve if this mighty flowing torrent
the colour of liquid graphite is a masculine or feminine being.
Flashing and whitely-gleaming in her mightiness,
she moves along her ample volumes through the realms,
most active of the active,
Sindhu unrestrained,
like to a dappled mare,
beautiful, fair to see
- Hymn to Maha Sapta Sindhu, Rig Veda.
Great India, Bharat Mata, Hindustan, the ancient homeland of the Hindu's for 5,500 years spanning from the river Sindhu where our civilisation all began with the great cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa to the abode of our god's in the high Himalaya's of the north, bounded along its peninsula by the Indian ocean and finally to its heart and soul on the River Ganges, India surely is one the most geographically well defined regions on earth.

Today this civilisational lebensraum has been reduced to within the
borders of modern India, as Pakistan in the west and Bangladesh in the east have been carved out in the name of Islam. Since they have systematically tried of wipe out all remnants of their collective Hindu past and are blissfully high on the opiate of Islam, it seems that the only way to create a greater India once again and reclaim our historical territory would be to develop a missile defence shield (which we are hoping to do) and then literally nuke the bastards. Obviously this is little more than wishful thinking and not a serious prosposal, besides the area would be contaminated and of little use, lol.
With any such modern day equivalent of the Spanish reconquista unlikely, perhaps then it is our fate for our past mistakes and weakness that we should have to uneasily live side by side with them, hopefully in a future that is more amicable than at present.

Nonetheless we should still be immensly proud from the fact that even after a thousand years of some of the most tyrannical Islamic rule imaginable, during in which we suffered enormous losses (from the 17 raids by Ghazni on Somnath to the massacre and destruction at the great international Buddhist universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila by Khilji to the ruins of Vijayanagar among innumerable other atrocities perpetrated), our people and culture still somehow endured and our resilient civilisation still managed to emerge largely intact. We could very well have all become muslims today, not knowing what had happened to our ancestors and how we came to be what we are, not caring, only ready to serve the cause of the newly adopted faith, perhaps even dying for it, fighting against those very "infidels" who our forefathers once belonged to.
Thus while from Morocco to Malaysia other civilistisations that once lay claim to greatness, most notably Persia, were quickly decapitated by the sword of Islam and are today little more than minions of Arab culture. It is only the great Indian civilisation that withstood the onslaught and now we must begin the process of rejuvenation.

While this rejuvenation will naturally take many different forms, i am still sceptical that India can ever realise its ambitions be a world power so long as we are divided, only when we Hindu's are able to fully unite and defeat the pseudo-secular socialist forces and drive out the followers of the arab religion can India achieve its full potential.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Smiling Buddha

"If the radiance of a thousand suns were to suddenly burst forth at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one". "Now I am become death, shatterer of worlds, annihilating all things". Robert Oppenheimer misquoting Lord Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita.

After our first so called "Smiling Buddha" "peaceful nuclear experiment" at the Pokhran test range in the Rajasthani desert in 1974, we took another 24 years before we fully came out of the closet with our badly kept secret and declared ourselves a nuclear power by conducting five more underground nuclear tests as part of the Pokhran II Shakti series.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Path of Righteoussness

With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my crooked arm for a pillow - is not joy to be found therein? Riches and honors acquired through unrighteousness are to me as the floating clouds - Confucious.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Hail Queen Sonia, Empress of India.

Image Hosted by The result in the national election last year was one of the worst days in the history of India. Not only was the BJP voted out of office, but a foreigner whose only qualification is the surname of the family she married into, was on her way to reclaim the family throne.

What was even more pathetic was watching the behavior of the eunuchs who surround the queen bee like they did around Indira Gandhi, begging her to become Prime minister. Have we as Indians truly progressed from the days of the Maharaja's or when Queen Victoria announced herself "Empress of India". The once great congress party has today been reduced to little more than a pathetic shell of former itself due to decades of shameless nepotism by the Nehru/Gandhi family.
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The Foolish Wolf

A hungry wolf comes upon a horse mired in the mud. The wolf prepares for a feast, but the horse asks him whether he shouldn't pull his meal out of the mud first. So the wolf performs this chore and prepares, once again, to eat.

But shouldn't the wolf first clean his food? the horse argues. The wolf acknowledges that this might be a good idea and licks the mud off the horse. The wolf is finally ready to dig in when the horse says, "Hey, there's some writing on the hoof of my hind leg. Before you eat me, read that, please." The curious wolf walks around the horse, who lifts one of his hind legs and easily bashes in the wolf's skull with a single kick.

The wolf, alone and dying in the mud, howls to himself "I was a fool.... Am I the owner that I should have pulled the horse from the mud? Am I the mother who should have licked and cleaned the horse's body? When did I learn to read and write? I was stupid and now I am dying."
- Mongolian folktale.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
the ceremony of innocence is drowned.
the best lack all conviction, while the worst
are full of passionate intensity".
- WB Yeats, The Second Coming.

When the UPA government came to power, the stock markets went into a tailspin and foreign investors headed for the hills because of the communist support the new alliance needed to hold power. While i was and still am nervous about the progress of the next generation economic reforms, i knew that India had come to far down the road of liberalization to accept any major rollbacks forced upon it by the communists thus returning to the bad old days of the license Raj.

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Yudisthira at Heavens Gate

The great king Yudhisthira had ruled over the Pandava people for many years, and, among his many achievements had waged a successful war against the forces of evil. It was time for him to withdraw from the world, and to enter the Celestial City of the Immortals.

King Yudhisthira set off on the long journey into the northern mountains, along with his four brothers and his beloved wife Drapaudi. They were soon joined on their journey by a small, ill-kempt stray dog.

The journey was hard. They tired. And in the course of the journey first one brother and then another, then the third and then the fourth, fell, exhausted, and died. Unable to do anything for them, Yudhisthira and Drapaudi continued on the journey, followed by the dog. Eventually Drapaudi, too, fell by the wayside and died.

With utmost sadness, Yudhisthira turned and continued, the dog faithfully keeping pace.
At last Yudhisthira and the dog reached the gates of the Celestial City, home of the Immortals. Yudhisthira bowed humbly and asked to be admitted. The great sky God Indra arrived to meet Yudhisthira and to welcome him to heaven.

But then Yudhisthira said that without his beloved wife and his four brothers, he did not have the heart to enter. Indra replied that these loved ones were already in Heaven, they had come before him.

This lifted Yudhisthira's heart, but he had one more request.
"This dog has faithfully accompanied me on this long journey, never left my side. I cannot leave him now outside heaven's gate. My heart is full of love for him."
Indra shook his head. The earth quaked.

"You, Yudhisthira, through your goodness and courage, and by enduring this long and difficult journey, have earned your way into heaven. But you cannot bring a dog into heaven. A dog would pollute the Celestial City. Leave the dog behind Yudhisthira. It is no sin."

"But where would he go? He has given up the pleasures of the earth to be my companion. I cannot desert him now." Yudhisthira turned to leave.

Indra asked, astonished, "You would abandon heaven just for the sake of a dog?"
Yudhisthira declared that long ago he had vowed never to turn his back on anyone needing his protection and help. "And so," he concluded, "I will not abandon my loyal friend."
Yudisthira turned from heaven's gate and began to walk away.

At that moment a remarkable thing happened. The faithful dog was transformed into the god Dharma, the god of righteousness and justice.

And Indra declared, "You are a good man, Yudhisthira. You have shown loyalty and love to a small, faithful dog and compassion for all creatures, ready to renounce for yourself all the rewards of heaven for this humble dog's sake. You shall be honored in heaven!"

And so Yudhisthira entered heaven and was reunited with his wife and with brothers to enjoy eternal happiness.


"Then was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.
What covered in, and where? And what gave shelter? Was water there, of unfathomed depth?
Death was not then, nor was there immortality: no sign was there, the divider of day and night.
That one thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness, this all was indiscriminated chaos.
All that existed then was void and formless: by the great power of warmth was born that singularity.
Thereafter rose desire in the beginning, desire the primal seed and germ of spirit.
Sages, who searched with their hearts, discovered the existent’s kinship in the non-existent.
Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it?
There were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder.
Who verily knows and who can declare it, when was it born and whence comes this creation?
The gods are later than this world’s production. Who knows then when it first came into being?
He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows it not" - Rig-Veda 10.129.7

As a Hindu i am occasionally asked by other people and even often ask myself whether i believe in Hinduism. After giving it much thought, i always end up finding this question perhaps somewhat of a misunderstanding of such a vast, diverse religion and to me personally irrelevant.
But to answer the question in a round about way i usually like to say that the core aim of Hinduism and therefore a Hindu is to acquire the truth and since Hindu's believe there are many paths to the truth, there's no need for one to have blind faith or devotion in any particular one, not that one necessarily cant or shouldn't.
An invocation in the Upanishad says...

"Truth alone triumphs, not untruth.
Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness to Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality".

What make Hinduism so unique among world religions is this intrinsic philosophical realisation that there are many paths to the Truth / God, which can be summed up in its central motto "let noble truths come from all directions".

If you happen to deny the existence of God, that's fine too, Hinduism has always accommodated if not necessarily accepted such alternate views (Nastika) as exemplified by Buddhism and Jainism. In fact, within Hinduism and Ancient India there have been many atheist schools of thought such as Charvakanism that strongly advocated materialism and rational thought as can be seen in their following exhortation...

"While life is yours, live joyously;
None can escape death's searching eye:
When once this frame of ours they burn,
How shall it ever again return".

Unlike the 3 major monotheistic Abrahamic religions, Hinduism is unique in that it doesnt claim to have a monopoly on the Truth / God.
Like other Eastern religions, Hinduism is a philosophical religion that is the sum of Indian religious thought, practice and tradition for over that last 5,500 years and as such is the worlds oldest continually existing religion.
It has no founder, no one supreme holy texts but rather several of them and no set definition of what it means to be a Hindu. At the same time, Hinduism is much more than just merely a religion, it is also synonymous with Indian culture and civilisation.

Hindu scriptures and most Hindus generally agree on the existence of one supreme impersonal divine being (Brahman) that can be worshipped in many forms, thus explaining the proliferation of the numerous personal deities (devas) that most non-Hindu's are familiar with when they think about our religion. To Hindu's it matters not how many or to which God one prays to, God can be reached through whichever way is endearing to the believer so long as its sincere.
A popular Hindu invocation says...
"O Lord, please forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations:
Thou art everywhere, but I worship you here;
Thou art without form, but I worship you in these forms;
Thou needest no praise, yet I offer you these prayers and salutations.
Lord, please forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations".

Nevertheless there are still four principle orthodox ways of achieving union (Yoga) of the soul (Atman) which is the body's immortal nectar (Amrit) with God (Brahman) and therefore liberation (Moksha / Nirvana for Buddhists) from the cycle of death and rebirth (Samsara) and thus the illusion (Maya) of our perceived reality as opposed to our supreme cosmic reality. These ways are Bhakti Yoga (the path of love and devotion), Karma Yoga (the path of right action), Raja Yoga (the path of meditation) and Jnana Yoga (the path of knowledge and wisdom).

These are complemented by the four stages of human life: Brahmacharya (Student Life) where one acquires knowledge, self discipline at the feet of a Guru (Spiritual Teacher) and learns to live a life of Dharma (Righteousness) , Grihastha (Household Life) where one fufils ones duty to family and society, Vanaprastha (Retired Life) where one gradually withdraws from the world and freely shares wisdom with others, Sannyasa (Renounced Life) where one completely renounces the world and dedicates themselves to spiritual pursuits.

While one is free to follow any path they choose in Hinduism, this sometimes can lead to a problem Tagore observerd in a conversation with H.G. Wells, namely that there is too much religious tolerance in India, so much so that any sort of injustice can be perpetrated in the name of religion, whether it is the ridiculous rules and practices of the Brahmin caste system or the brutalities inflicted by a particularly nasty foreign arab religion that continues to this day, without the majority hardly stopping to bat an eyelid.

Though Hinduism much like India itself has always at its own pace changed with the times as is indeed happening today, nonetheless some purposeful housecleaning is obviously in order and gradual reforms brought about through greater social consciousness/activism and community outreach are what is needed to keep our great Hindu tradition strong.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The National Anthem Controversy

Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan;
we are its nightingales, and it is our garden abode
Though in foreign lands we may reside, with our homeland our hearts abide,
Regard us also to be there, where exist our hearts
That mountain most high, neighbor to the skies;
it is our sentinel; it is our protector
In the lap of whose, play thousands of rivers;
gardens they sustain; the envy-of-the-heavens of ours
O waters of the Ganga mighty, do you recall the day
when on your banks, did land the caravan of ours
Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among us
We are Indians; India is our homeland.
While Greece, Egypt, Rome have all been wiped out
till now yet remains, this civilization of ours
Something there is that keeps us,our entity from being eroded
For ages has been our enemy, the way of the world.
- Saare jehan se aachaa Hindustan humaara.

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The Gods Must be Crazy

Look not above, there is no answer there
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer
Near is as near to God as any Far
And here is just the same deceit as there.
- Omar Khayyam.

After the tsunami that hit Asia, it amazed me that so many of those who managed to survive were thanking god they were spared by his/her? supposedly infinite compassion, grace, mercy, what have you, while all around them tens of thousand lay dead. Many even pointed to the fact that "some" temples, mosques, & churches still remained standing, Solid foundations? (im not talking about the spiritual foundations either) while everything else was washed away, therefore being a sign from god.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Republic Day Parade

My first post ever.
Today is Australia day and for whatever
reason i've decided to start a blog.
oincidentally today is also India's Republic Day.
most Aussies just invite over their mates for a few beers and throw some snags on the BBQ, India a normally pacifist nation likes to showcase its military might.

If our enemies wanted to attack us, today would be the day to do it. With so much military personnel & hardware on display you'd wonder whether anyone's still left guarding our borders. With all those sitting ducks, it's a Pearl Harbour waiting to happen.
But who doesn't love the spectacle, its the one day of the year where our nation can beat its chest and say to the rest of the world.... you want a piece of this, biyatch!!!
My favourite part is when they bring out the nuclear capable missiles mounted on the back of those trucks that look like they could star in the next terminator movie. It is sometimes said that missiles are like a nations penis, the longer they are the better, but they don't count for much if you haven't got the balls to ever use them.

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Meanwhile, at the border...