Comments on: Comparing Pakistan’s Islamists to India’s Maoists http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/ Perspectives on Pakistan Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:31:05 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: Azadkhayal http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27246 Wed, 06 Jan 2010 21:24:17 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27246 B.R.Ambedkar, in a speech in 1943 said:
“Some of you will take offence at what I have said about the demoralizing effect of the Hindu socio-religious ideal on Hindu Society. But what is the truth? Can the charge be denied? Is there any society in the world which has unapproachable,, unshadowables, and unseeables? is there any society which has got a population of Criminal Tribes? Is there a society in which there exist today primitive people, who live in jungles, who do not know even to clothe themselves? How many do they count in numbers? Is it a matter of hundreds, is it a matter of thousands? I wish they numbered a paltry few. The tragedy is that they have to be counted in millions, millions of Untouchables, millions of Criminal Tribes, millions of Primitive Tribes!! One wonders whether the Hindu civilization is civilization, or infamy.”
If you see the pictures in this article, Ambedkar’s words 66 years ago come to life. Maoists could be compared to Baluch in Pakistan but Taliban/al-qaeda are no indigenous expressions of tribal people. Peace.

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By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27210 Wed, 30 Dec 2009 21:36:03 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27210 Myra/Sanjeev:

I have one thing to say, which is not entirely relevant to this particular article but is relevant to in general to both India and Pakistan blogs. Btth of you and others have written on Kashmir/Jaswant Singh’s book/comments and discussion on the roles of leaders from India and Pakistan in 1947 partition, then one more blog on 1971 with discussion on Indian and Pakistan’s roles in the creation of Bangladesh. What we have not seen is a blog on the role of British in Indian independence and creation of Pakistan. This deserves a special blog. If not for me, please do that for millions dead and homeless during 1947. You know the best time to wrote this but I feel that with Indian and Pakistanis kicking each other, British are getting away with it too easily.

I am talking a bit out of context here, but it makes sense–at least to me. Let me know your thoughts.

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By: kEiThZ http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27188 Mon, 28 Dec 2009 20:04:22 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27188 I hosted a group of retired senior Pakistani and Indian military officers a year ago. And one of the points that emerged in the discussion was that Pakistan had a lot to learn from the Indian experience with the Naxals.

The Indians were more than forthcoming about the mistakes they made tackling the Naxalite problem in the past. But they did feel that they model had been tweaked and that they were now starting to see success. They cited the combination of law enforcement, the Black Cats/special forces, intelligence work, and socio-economic reforms as all vital to tackling the Naxalite insurgency.

And the Indians felt that the same model could be applied by the Pakistanis in the FATA. The Pakistanis were indeed curious about Indian methods and how they could be applied at home.

Also, everybody understood that the models are not perfectly transferable, because one has an overt religious dimension and the other has an equally strong secular political tinge to it.

There is a lot the two countries can share and learn from each other, if they can get past their animosity some day.

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By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27175 Thu, 24 Dec 2009 23:46:13 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27175 Myra:

@Much as it is risky to generalise, I’ve always had a sense that Punjabis are a bit like people from Glasgow and the west of Scotland (which is where I am from). The sectarian divisions there between Catholics and Protestants used to be extremely powerful, in part, but only in part, because of the Northern Ireland issue. That has changed only in the last few decades. But certainly when I was growing up Catholics and Protestants did not mix, went to different schools, supported different football teams (Rangers is protestant, Celtic is catholic) etc etc.”

Myra: One can draw some similarities. But as you noticed that the difference here is an international border between 2 Punjabs. People 1 Km on either side of the border are exposed to entirely new environment. It is so different and makes it different from Catholic/Protestant Scotland problem. It is not sectarian here, but the gulf is bigger (or is it?)–the religion. People on either side read different newspapers and their source of information is very different. The buffering does not take place. But sure they do not cut each other’s throat—but terrorism has been one sided from Pakistan Punjab towards Indian Punjab. The pleasant difference is Cricket fever raises passions in India and Pakistan but it brings India and Pakistan closer unlike football-celtic/rangers, THE PLACE for sectarian violence in Scotland.

@Obviously in the case of Indian and Pakistani Punjabis you have a division between two different countries, along with all the pain caused by partition that many people still carry.”
–The pain of partition is there–people who migrated have died or were very small when them came here and have no memories of that place (like my dad)—same is true for Pakistan. Events of 1947 partition in the region will make a Punjabi like me in India not to have any false perception and hope that India and Pakistan can be merged (we here this emotional line once in while from some one). I am in much better position to have friendship due to similarities I mentioned earlier. A respectable distance will be healthy for both sides. A line drawn in blood does not mean enmity for generations but the line cannot be erased. The pain of partition is not that dominant that sometimes media tends to present in flow of writing without pause. It is the later events that are affecting the bilateral relationship–the terrorism–the single most important issue on an Indian’s mind with repect to Pakistan and Punjabis have experienced it first hand from my Punjabi friends on the other side.

@But it’s definitely a subject worth looking at a bit more closely.”
–It will be worth the effort. I am trying to use holidays and read Vol 2 of Khushwant Singh;’s book.

happy holidays!

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By: DaraIndia http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27168 Thu, 24 Dec 2009 07:28:09 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27168 Myra, thank you for the suggestion regarding Sen’s book. I’ll try it soon. Incidentally, in my mind I refer to Amartya Sen as the ‘good doctor’!

As regards Chattisgarh, I think any investment there, foreign or otherwise would be most welcome. But right now who is willing to put fresh money there? As far as I know, other than BALCO, most industry there is in the Public Sector. I think unless the law and order situation is brought under some reasonable control, investors are going to be wary. Once that happens, there is hope of faster development work.

Rajeev,

I agree that agriculture is no longer viable because of the small land holdings brought about by constant redistribution of existing land into smaller and smaller holdings. It could perhaps be made lucrative, if and when the auxiliary tools that support agriculture such as storage facilities, food processing units etc are also locally available. Along with them communications are equally necessary. These ancillaries could then be tended to by other members of the family and leave fewer members to take care of the farming bit. That would perhaps ensure more income feeding fewer mouths.

As to jobs for locals, in mining or otherwise, I think that most industries actually prefer to recruit locals rather than import. In the long run it is cost effective and has lesser turn over. The problem really is that one is forced to look elsewhere because qualified man power is not available. If even basic education improves in these regions the locals have a better chance of doing better than in agriculture. I feel that using locals only as untrained, unskilled labour, is self defeating. If their lot is to substantially improve, they have to get on to jobs which offer prospects for the future. A labourer unfortunately will simply maintain basic sustainance level with no hope of the family improving its economic situation to any great degree. Mind you this is not to deny that most industries to-day do provide educational facilities for employees, yet their reach is restricted to their employees. The requirement is for something on a much larger scale.

At the end of the day we always come back to the basics….security, health, education, etc. We have let too much money just disappear into a black hole and no one is any better off.

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By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27165 Wed, 23 Dec 2009 20:29:46 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27165 Dara:
@Frankly I am at a loss to answer your question about Chattisgarh and marrying the economy to tribal progress.”
— I was trying to discuss the single issue of natural resources as a way of prosperity of tribals. This is the usual complaint by the likes of Roy and others so was handling just that. I was avoiding the obvious–“development” –a tall order as you said.

So can there be a mechanism where govt makes sure that big companies INCLUDE poor locals so that they enjoy a fraction of profits from minerals over which these poor locals walk? I do not know how but the suggestion is not to give free money to anyone. However, this problem of sharing the natural resources is not new and has given gives rise to rivalry at individual and state level– sharing water/and or minerals from Baluchistan to Punjab/Sind, Kashmir, Punjab, Karnataka/Tamil Nadu and now Chattisgarh and Jharkhand and other areas. So the question is would any policy in this region this set some precedence?

Even if some concrete steps in “development” are taken by govt—such as laying roads, schools, hospitals/dispensaries—the sources of livelihood is a different problem altogether.

I ruled out agriculture as a way to prosperity. Population explosion, limited land, already landless poor, Indian democratic system that does not have Mao in India (nor we need him) means those who till for others will keep on tilling for them and that’s no solution. Let us say even if the land is just enough today, it will not be so for next generation (most poor section of the society has higher number of kids) and will need to seek alternative employment avenues.

In addition, low wages for those who till the land in many parts of India is another issue because Biharis and others who do the same job in Punjab earn more. These Biharis who migrated to Punjab have tasted the profits of economy by working in highly industrialized Ludhiana. They earn enough to send some back home.

@……..vocational training designed to cater to their specific fields of occupation and expertise and improving communications and infrastructure.”
–This is important for the question of livelihood. Ensuring that the major beneficiary of the product is the business that produced not the middle men is very important. Mafias emerge with any industry.

I am not that optimistic of PC and his “Operation Green hunt”. Personally, I dislike this name and so will people there. Why not give a better name? It all matters in the end. US walks uninvited in foreign lands—Iraq and Afghanistan and calls the operations as “Operation Iraqi freedom”, “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Why not Indian govt give a positive name for a positive operation if it is about including majority of poor tribals by using force against gun-totting radical Maoists.

More later

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By: Myra MacDonald http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27164 Wed, 23 Dec 2009 19:29:18 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27164 @ Dara,

“I read Sen’s “The Argumentative Indian” and freely admit that very often had to read portions repeatedly to even understand the gist.”

I’m glad you said that. I picked up a copy of “The Argumentative Indian” recently and am finding it very hard to get through. Do read his book “Identity and Violence” if you haven’t already done so as it is much clearer.

One thing that did come across in “The Argumentative Indian” is Sen’s view that India suffers from western misconceptions of India. He does not say this, but I’ve been wondering whether the foreign investment view of India as BRIC economy belongs in that category? (I am going way off topic here, but it has been interesting to see that nobody who has commented on this post has recommended foreign investment as the solution to poverty in Chhattisgarh and other places.)

@ Rajeev,

You are right. I should read Khushwant Singh’s “A History of the Sikhs”. (I agree that Kashmir is not terribly relevant here, but it just happens to be the area I’ve read about since I’ve been studying 19th century Kashmir history for an entirely separate project.)

“I have personal experience. During my visit to Venice, standing at a bridge was an elderly couple who overheard us talk in Hindi/Punjabi and they were Punjabis from Lahore, settled in Vancouver. We talked for 20minutes and felt as if we know each other for a long time and departed with invitation next time we visit Canada BC. But my issue is discussing hate, the problem for which we need solution.”

Much as it is risky to generalise, I’ve always had a sense that Punjabis are a bit like people from Glasgow and the west of Scotland (which is where I am from). The sectarian divisions there between Catholics and Protestants used to be extremely powerful, in part, but only in part, because of the Northern Ireland issue. That has changed only in the last few decades. But certainly when I was growing up Catholics and Protestants did not mix, went to different schools, supported different football teams (Rangers is protestant, Celtic is catholic) etc etc.

Obviously in the case of Indian and Pakistani Punjabis you have a division between two different countries, along with all the pain caused by partition that many people still carry. But it’s definitely a subject worth looking at a bit more closely.

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By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27163 Wed, 23 Dec 2009 18:11:32 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27163 Myra:

@Yes agreed. But where would you suggest is the best place to start?

@“The two provinces split apart by partition were Punjab and Bengal so do we go back to 1947 (or in the case of Bengal, back to 71, again?)”

@ I’d be more inclined to go back to the Sikh kingdom, but I don’t know enough about how it started up (British history tends to focus on how it ended).

Myra: You are right about starting with Sikh Kingdom. The best work in this area is by Khushwant Singh–“A History of the Sikhs”, Volume 1 and Volume 2. Read this to know what happened in this area (today’s Pakistan and Indian Puunjab) over 6 centuries starting from 15th Century to 20th Century (post-1947 time). This is recognized to be the best work on what happened in this region during that time with emerging Sikh religion and Sikhs as the major players to fight against Mughal rule and British Armies. Khushwant Singh writes by using lots of references/huge bibliography, footnotes. For this blog, relevance is Sikh Kingdom with Lahore as the capital. Kashmir is a separate issue and can be left aside or up to you.
I cannot comment on Bengal and some of it has been discussed in 1971 blog, isn’t it? What has not been discussed are the happenings in Indian Punjab post-1971.

@ The only books I have read about Sikh rule have been about its impact in Kashmir — where Muslims were treated fairly badly.”
Myra: I again suggest you read the above Volumes to see relationship among religions, especially to see how Muslims were treated during Sikh Kingdom. I have read “A History of the Sikhs” Volume 1 and still reading Vol 2. Ranjeet Singh, the Sikh ruler is widely known NOT to discriminate based on religion—you will find references from British sources and other historians, newspapers and lot more on this. During those times when decapitation and execution were norm, Ranjeet Singh, who ruled for more than 4 decades and established Sikh Kingdom with British at door step, has been cited not to execute people except death through wars and he has been cited to include people of all religions—Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus–in his administration and army–his foreign minister was a Muslim and he was not just one cosmetic example. He even hired several able generals from many European countries, including Britain, to modernize his army. When Ranjeet Singh died, his last rites were performed according to all Sikh, Hindu, Muslim religions because that’s what all people from these communities wanted. So I do not have any idea of your comment about Muslims being treated badly (in Kashmir).

@“The two provinces split apart by partition were Punjab and Bengal so do we go back to 1947 (or in the case of Bengal, back to 71, again?)”
Myra: Although it is a good idea to go back in history to study the issue but you cannot and do not have to dig everything to write—like you did not write why tribals were left alone historically in India—but now being said marginalized/in-alienated. I commented briefly on that in one of my posts.

I agree with you what I suggested is complicated topic, but it is worth an effort due to the relevance—perhaps not relevant for US/NATO as yet, but why not media be a step ahead and try to understand the region and people.

The need to do so is what is happening today. As a Punjabi from India, I always thought in the middle of Khalistan movement that it is the govt/PA/ISI that is the problem but people on either side of Punjab border are not much different. Personally, I found that I was wrong because some Punjabis in Pakistan are so anti-India that they fall to Jihadi propaganda and ready to die for Allah by fighting against India. Others support the Jihadis by saying “Jihadis are acquaintance/cousins of people in govt and Army so hard to take an action against them”. We do not have this level of hate in Indian Punjab or someone can tell me if I am missing something. This is not to deny the existence of good people in Pakistan Punjab; I have personal experience. During my visit to Venice, standing at a bridge was an elderly couple who overheard us talk in Hindi/Punjabi and they were Punjabis from Lahore, settled in Vancouver. We talked for 20minutes and felt as if we know each other for a long time and departed with invitation next time we visit Canada BC. But my issue is discussing hate, the problem for which we need solution.

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By: DaraIndia http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27162 Wed, 23 Dec 2009 14:05:59 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27162 Myra,
” But there are two highly reputed South Asian economists who have done a lot of work on development economics – Muhammad Yunus and Amartya Sen (curiously enough both Bengalis) who never seem to get that much attention. Why is that?”

Your observation is correct. I think there are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, both are highly respected by ordinary people for their work, which people can identify with. However, speaking for myself, economy and economists are not readily understood by laymen. I read Sen’s “The Argumentative Indian” and freely admit that very often had to read portions repeatedly to even understand the gist. Sen is too philosophical for me in his writings. On the other hand, I have heard both separately on TV and there I find they talk at a very basic level and have the ability to explain things in a plain and easy to understand manner. So the short answer to your question is that their subject is more specialist than generic.

Arundhati on the other hand writes mainly to be controversial and raise tempers by her attacks on individuals. She is more personal and forces reactions from people. That is what accounts for her being discussed more by the ordinary Joe public.

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By: DaraIndia http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/12/16/comparing-pakistans-islamists-to-indias-maoists/comment-page-1/#comment-27161 Wed, 23 Dec 2009 13:53:51 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4370#comment-27161 Rajeev,

Frankly I am at a loss to answer your question about Chattisgarh and marrying the economy to tribal progress. However, generally I think the answers are well known to all. Decent governance, starting with health care, education, respect for tribal traditions and customs, vocational training designed to cater to their specific fields of occupation and expertise and improving communications and infrastructure. Tall order, but it is the only way to remove ages of neglect. Actually it is nothing but what one expects a good govt. to deliver on.

I also feel that right now with the naxals holding strong, it is going to be impossible to achieve. They will hinder all official attempts. There has to be a concerted action to neutralise them first, no wishy washy Shivraj Patil type half measures. Fortunately, if one man can deliver, I think it is Chidambaram, he needs the total backing of his cabinet.

Really there is nothing special to be done; first establish law and order and genuinely look after tribal welfare without behaving as if the govt. is doling out charity to them.

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