From Thuggees to fake WikiLeaks

December 17, 2010

lahore mosqueThe fall-out from the fake WikiLeaks cables in Pakistan continues to be far more interesting than the real WikiLeaks cables. To recap, several Pakistani newspapers retracted stories last week which quoted WikiLeaks cables ostensibly accusing India of stirring up trouble in Baluchistan and Waziristan, cited U.S. diplomats as ridiculing the Indian Army, and compared Kashmir to Bosnia in the 1990s.  Since the anti-India narrative presented in the stories chimed with the views of Pakistani intelligence agencies, the alleged cables were then dismissed as fakes and most likely an intelligence plant.

However, just to complicate matters, some of the information in the “fake cables” is also in the “real cables”.  For example, the real cables do contain allegations of Indian support for Baluch separatists, largely sourced to British intelligence, according to The Guardian. The British newspaper, which had advance access to the cables, also cited them as evidence that India practiced systematic torture in Kashmir.

So if the anti-India stories really were an intelligence plant, why did “the agencies” in Pakistan not use actual cables to bolster their allegations, rather than fake cables which could be easily discredited?

In a column in The Express Tribune headlined “Can’t they just be spies?”,  journalist Aamer Khan blamed it on an inability to manage the media. Recalling a news agency he said was set up by Pakistani intelligence to spread the word about the Kashmir revolt, he said that eventually, ”the spooks running the operation went haywire and lost all perspective on what they had set out to achieve. As more and more newspapers started accepting its copy, the agency started reporting a dramatic increase in the number of Indian casualties at the hands of our fearless jihadis.”

The daily death toll rose at such a furious pace that several years later one Western analyst said if that agency were to be believed, jihadis must have killed all the Indian Army posted in the Kashmir Valley twice over by then. He concluded that the fake WikiLeaks story suggested nothing had changed in the last 20 years.

This implied inefficiency is intriguing. The Western media narrative ascribes a great deal of power to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency in its influence over the Afghan war, based on its alleged support for the Taliban.  But bear in mind that an organisation sometimes believed capable of ending the Afghan war did not - if it was indeed responsible – manage to plant durably a WikiLeaks story even when it had real cables to back up its case.

 Nadeem Paracha at Dawn, however, argued it did not matter that some newspapers retracted the story since enough papers and television channels carried it for it to be believed. He ascribed the fake WikiLeaks cables to an over-enthusiastic pro-military media eager to deflect attention from real cables which highlighted the role played by the Pakistan Army in the country’s politics as well as other awkward revelations about Pakistan’s  ally Saudi Arabia.

“Is veteran journalist, author and media commentator, late Zamir Niazi’s fear and warnings about the Pakistani media becoming a chaotic hub of agency men who are amorally willing to lie and cheat to protect even the most atrocious ways of their patrons in the figurative establishment be true? Perhaps. But the deluge that was created by the Wikileaks around certain sacred cows who identify themselves to be the saviours of Pakistan’s internal and external religious and ideological identity – mainly the military, the political clergy and Saudi Arabia – was such that no attempt to deflect criticism from these gallant souls seemed to be working.

“So, off went many dailies and TV channels to try something else. First, certain specific leaks were selected to make the President (Asif Ali Zardari) seem like a Satan incarnate. Not much came out of this, and the gear was shifted and all of sudden one saw certain journalists claiming something about how the leaks were a conspiracy against Muslims. Obviously, this too made them seem even sillier, until the fake leaks – certainly a desperate last ditch effort.”

Dawn columnist Cyril Almeida went further, suggesting the fake WikiLeaks served to manipulate public opinion against U.S. demands that the Pakistan Army “do more” to tackle the Taliban and Islamist militants. 

“The fake WikiLeaks cables give the first public hint about how opinion is being shaped in this country right now. Unpatriotic, secular, godless liberals may sniff about such naked manipulation, but the smart money is on a population raised on a diet of conspiracy and paranoia swallowing it as yet more evidence of external plots against the country.”

Before anyone thinks this is a conspiracy theory too far, let’s go back to the oldest intelligence agency in British colonial India. Both the ISI and its Indian counterpart, the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW),  are – like the Pakistan and Indian armies – inheritors of a system that was designed to maintain British rule.  That system was not set up to promote democracy, and despite attempts at reform in India, neither have completely shaken off that legacy.   While the ISI remains powerful in Pakistan, in India the activities of R&AW are rarely questioned - I have yet to see for example any serious media investigations into its alleged role in Baluchistan.

According to academic reports I had collected on the  ISI and R&AW, the oldest intelligence agency in South Asia is the Intelligence Bureau (IB). It apparently dates back to the creation of a Central Special Branch by British colonial rulers in December 1887 to gather domestic intelligence in the context of the Anti-Thuggee Organisation. ”Thuggees” were highway robbers who strangled their victims and gave the world the word “thug”.

You can read whole books about the Thuggees, and there are frequent references to them in British colonial literature presenting them as a terrifying cult whose members worshipped the Hindu goddess Kali and indulged in ritual murder.

But then do also read historian Manan Ahmed at Chapati Mystery arguing that the British East India Company (which ran Britain’s India possessions until The Mutiny/First War of Independence in 1857) exaggerated the Thuggee threat in order to increase its own power. “… the argument was that the entirety of India was being menaced by these devotees of Kali and it was only the Company’s intervention that can provide security to the people of India.”

Sounds familiar? In a very dotted line, with much inefficiency on the way, we get from Thuggees to fake WikiLeaks.   The problem for all of us is to work out how much the real threat exists, and how much it is used to perform a useful function.  And that as any student of South Asia will tell you, is very hard to tell.

64 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Swat Crisis. Swat Crisis said: From Thuggees to fake WikiLeaks | Analysis & Opinion | http://reut.rs/ggHZJQ #swat [...]

The Pakistani army & the ISI have been feeding lies to the Pakistani people for ages, so none of this comes as a surprise. The only surprising part is that they thought that they could get away with it, in today’s internet & global media age. But as Pracha says, maybe it doesen’t even matter that they were busted since enough papers and television channels carried it for it to be believed. I just hope that the Pakistani people see the truth some day. I know it’s a longshot but I still hope. As far as RAW is concerned, either it’s one of the best kept secrets & most efficient state run institution in the world or it is what it seems i.e. an inert, hibernating & an obsolete outfit. Anybody who has the slightest idea about Indian state run institutions, would bet their house that it CAN NOT be the former.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Pakistan was formed on the lie that Muslims could not live with non-Muslims. Once Pakistan was formed, another lie had to be created – India as the enemy because it is “Hindu.” Ever since, one lie after another has been stacked on top of the heap, making Pakistan what it is today – a pack of lies. It has only liars and cheats. Their history book is filled with cooked up stories. They cheat even in cricket. Double dealing, duplicity and back stabbing have been the way of survival. One can see the unanimous bunch of lies being thrown at India here in this forum. We have tried hard to enlighten these closed minds about the reality that they are chewing themselves out, without realizing that it is only a rope and not a snake.

How does it matter if the wikileaks said anything true or not? Pakistan has once again twisted something out of it selectively to perpetuate its false vision about its neighbor and the world.

Things have become so bad there that their credibility has hit rock bottom.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

I think we are simply over analysing what is really a problem of a bloated, egoistic media that is recreating itself and well may end up calling itself the ‘new media’ or some such thing.

From what I can see, and my experience is limited predominantly to Indian media and a bit of Pakistani, British and the US media, it no longer believes in just ‘reporting’ news, it actually goes to great length to ‘create’ news. Manipulation rather than dissemination is the order of the day and if it can be spiced up and the truth becomes a victim, so be it, as long as the story sells. Some journalists with rather inflated egos have no compunction in crowning themselves judge, jury, executioner and appellate on every little tit bit that comes their way. To make matters worse some indulge in suppressing news that is actually relevant but is not sensational.

This explains to me why the press rushed headlong into publishing canards and lies without even one of them caring to recheck or corroborating their stories…..not one person bothered to do what is perhaps the first thing one is taught in journalism schools. It was sensational stuff, it was also what would appeal to their particular audience and that was all that mattered. The truth? Whats that? They are running a media business not a degree course in honesty.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

Myra
I do understand that sometimes from Pakistan’s point of view the Indian threat is exagerated to the point of paranoia. But keeping in view the events in 1971 war, it tells us that we lost half the country to an enemy. It can well happen again, who can guarantee it will not?
As for the ISI planted stories or the Army trying to manipulate the security and foreign policy, well that is the reality of Pakistan. With under developed civil institutions the Army takes the charge and fills the vaccum. Onus is on everyone to develop the country’s civil institutions, and lets be clear that current military leadership has again and again expressed its willingness to work with the civil govt. But unfortunately we have quite a few incompetent clowns in the govt who need to be kicked before any serious good governance can begin.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

> But keeping in view the events in 1971 war, it tells us that we lost half the country to an enemy.

The 1971 war happened about 40 years ago! What kind of people refuse to move on after 40 years?

40 years after WW II, France no longer lived in fear of a German invasion, nor did Japan live in fear of a US nuclear attack. Heck, just a few years after the fall of the Berlin wall, relations between the former Soviet Bloc and Western Europe became normal.

Please get over your paranoia. India is a “normal” country with imperfections and flaws, but it is not “evil” or bent on anyone’s destruction. It may come as an anticlimax for you to realise this.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Media is known to be the fourth pillar of state , therefore it has
equal responsibility as other pillars of state. Medias main role is
accountability, but there is very lucid difference between
accountability and propaganda campaign. Unfortunately in the name of
accountability our media is running vilifying campaigns against state
representatives and forgot its prime job. Perhaps Pakistan is the only
country where media is totally free but it is very depressing that our
media pundits totally made a wrong use of this freedom and indulged in
power game. There is no country , no single example where media went
against national interests but Pakistan is the only country where
media fulfilling the job of anti Pakistan elements.The role of world
media is an open test for us, the media of every country never went
againt its national interests except Pakistani media. The case of
Wikileak is a litmus test , in which our own media specially the Jang
and Geo played role of active agent Mosad, Raw and CIA in very
coordinated manner. Curse on such a media group. These are the
shameful intentions of our media, how long we could save our national
interests and preserve our national ideology when we have fifth
columns in our own society.

Posted by Sumaira | Report as abusive

>> But keeping in view the events in 1971 war, it tells us that we lost half the country to an enemy.

If “we” had shared the power with inferior Bengalis, instead of committing a genocide, “we” did not have to lost half of the country to the “enemy”

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

@Umairpk

The article has nothing to do with governance.

Nice try at deflecting the story and changing the topic.

The article exposes the incompetence of Pakistani journalists and their collusion with the Pakistani military in pushing forward the Pakmil agenda. How you can consider this the least bit defensible is beyond me. But then again, who cares about a truthful media when Pakistanis like you don’t even really care for democracy anyway? You only need honest media if you want to sustain democracy. If you don’t care for it, then what you really need is a propaganda machine that colludes with the state’s institutions.

Goebbels would approve of how well the Pakistani media work with the Pakistan Army to drive up Pakistani fervour against India, the West and minorities.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

@Umairpk

The article has nothing to do with governance.

Nice try at deflecting the story and changing the topic.

The article exposes the incompetence of Pakistani journalists and their collusion with the Pakistani military in pushing forward the Pakmil agenda. How you can consider this the least bit defensible is beyond me. But then again, who cares about a truthful media when Pakistanis like you don’t even really care for democracy anyway? You only need honest media if you want to sustain democracy. If you don’t care for it, then what you really need is a propaganda machine that colludes with the state’s institutions.

Goebbels would approve of how well the Pakistani media work with the Pakistan Army to drive up Pakistani fervour against India, the West and minorities.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

It seems that most of the Pakistani media (except a few credible outlets like Dawn) has a three-fold agenda on it’s plate: 1) Create/maintain a positive image of the army. 2) Create conspiracy theories against India. 3) Thrash their own civilian leaders, black & blue.

Although Myra has referenced it above, here’s a good piece in Dawn by Cyril Almeida that talks about the Pakistani army’s propaganda machinery. (The guy should be careful, he’s not only blowing the cover off the PA, he’s also a minority.)

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/17/massaging -public-opinion.html

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Pakistani media has lot more variety than most other countries. Dawn is heavy on Indian point of view and most people know it.
Going by the standards set by NYT and WaPo, on Iraq and overall war reporting, the Pakistani media is pretty good.

If India is a friend of Pakistan, it should be easy to make a case for that but I have not seen it. Show me the truth in this case.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive

A word regarding Pakistan’s civilian leaders. I started following the events in Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks & hence I’ve also closely followed Pakistan’s civilian Govt & it’s leaders. I have to say, that they are no different than the civilian leaders of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or any other developing country. The only difference, I see is that in Pakistan, each & every of their little misstep & miscue is magnified & greatly exaggerated by the pro-army media. The PA, via it’s propaganda machinery constantly manipulates public opinion against the civilian leaders. For instance, I remember during the Pakistani floods, there were many videos floating around which showed the PA rescuing people while Zardari “vacationed” abroad. I must say that 2 yrs back, I had absolutely NO respect for Zardari but now I empathize with him, to an extent. The guy has tried to do a lot of good things (at least vis-a-vis India), only to be over-ridden & beaten back by the PA every time. I hope that someday the Pakistanis realize that the institution which has/is doing most damage to their country, is their revered army.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

[...] here: From Thuggees to fake WikiLeaks | Analysis & Opinion | This entry was posted in Media and tagged ascribed-the-fake, awkward, cables-which, [...]

In 2003 during the Iraqi invasion, Fox News, CNN and other American media outlets repeated the propaganda and lies of US govt. and Military that Saddam had chemical weapons and is out to destroy the world. This was far from reality.
In cintrast one false story in Pakistani media and so much hue and cry for what?

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Mortal:” For instance, I remember during the Pakistani floods, there were many videos floating around which showed the PA rescuing people while Zardari “vacationed” abroad. I must say that 2 yrs back, I had absolutely NO respect for Zardari but now I empathize with him, to an extent. The guy has tried to do a lot of good things (at least vis-a-vis India), only to be over-ridden & beaten back by the PA every time.”

-Mortal, make no mistake Zardari is a big crook even by Pakistani standards, you simply don’t know his background. He was even named in the murder of Murtaza Bhutto the brother of Benazir Bhutto. The only reason this clown is in sitting in the Presidential palace is because of the Chairman of Joints Chief of Staff Gen. Tariq Majeed, who supported the civil govt. setup and wanted everything in place and no political instability. I bet you, this clown knows his limits and if he even tried to cross them the Army will kick his ass within no time. Go back from 2008 and see what Mr. Zardari’s background is, even senior PPP leaders and Benazir’s close associates are not happy with Zardari. In previous Benazir govt. Zardari was one reason of her downfall. Whether serving as privatization minister in Benazir’s govt. or some other capacity, most of the time he let down his wife, the former Prime minister.
These politicians treat Pakistan as their property and Pakistanis as their slaves.
In contrast the Army thinks it is the guardian of Pakistan and has a close relation with the public. A poor farmer’s son can join the Army, rise through the ranks and become a General. That is why the Army is respected and enjoys widespread public support.
I don’t blame you since you started following events in Pakistan after 2008, you dont know the background.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Not to mention the wealth which has been taken out of Pakistan and hidden in swiss bank accounts. Zardari is a thief .

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Umair,

I’m fully aware of Zardari’s history & I’ll be the last one to give him a character certficate. The point I was making is, that he does not deserve the harsh treatement meted out to him by the pro-army media. His swiss bank accounts are well publisized by the Pakistani media & so are Sharif’s, Gilani’s & those of other civilian leaders. But you know, who else has a lot of money in foreign banks, that you never hear of (from your media)? Pervez Musharraf & many other high ranking PA officials. I read a report a couple of yrs ago in a british paper (can’t remember which) that Musharraf is at least worth $500 mn. I’m sure you have also never heard about the wealth accumulated by Zia & other gGenerals. How did those guys amass that wealth? Cetainly not with their salary!
That’s the extreme pro-army bias that I’m talking about. I wouldn’t have a problem, if the thrashing was balanced, of the civiliam leaders as well as army leaders. But all I see, is the magnification of the mistakes & sins of the civilians and the concealment, distortion & even glorification of the mistakes & sins of the Generals.

@”In 2003 during the Iraqi invasion, Fox News, CNN and other American media outlets repeated the propaganda and lies of US govt. and Military that Saddam had chemical weapons and is out to destroy the world”

Did you watch CNN & FOX news coverage in 2003 in the US? I did. These chanels were merely reporting “news” and the news was that Bush admn officials believed that there were WMDs in Iraq. They provided names & titles of those officials/politicians and many of those people lost their shirts, in the elections which followed. So, there was accountibility. These chanels did NOT make up any news, which pro-army Pakistani media is being accused of here. I remember the coverage back in 2003 & also remember these & other chanels giving both sides of the story & also conducting various polls & repeatedly highligting the fact that half the country was against the Iraq war.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Umairpk: “Not to mention the wealth which has been taken out of Pakistan and hidden in swiss bank accounts. Zardari is a thief .”

Corruption in third world democracy is reality. No country is exception to it.
You have accepted one reality in Pakistan. Let me quote you here:

“As for the ISI planted stories or the Army trying to manipulate the security and foreign policy, well that is the reality of Pakistan.”

When that reality can be accepted, it should not be hard to accept the other reality of corruption in civilian rule. I don’t know if you have heard or not. In India, a minister swindled the country out of close to $40 billion through spectrum licensing for 2G cell phone bandwidth. Over the past 60 years, various ministers and governments at both center and state levels have swindled the country out of hundreds of billions of dollars. Their children live abroad, went to top schools and returned to continue their dynasties. This is a reality in almost all third world countries where democracy is a new thing.

The natural tendency in a poor, third world country is to lean towards autocrats. And it takes many shapes – military dictatorships, or iconic tyrants (North Korea), ideological leaders (Castro, Chavez), etc. If they have rivals, then such countries slip into civil wars. Look at many countries in Africa for example.

One reason why these third world leaders are so corrupt is because money gives them the power base that they need. They need “followers.” Most of these followers are goons and street thugs who will work only on a payroll. To exert their power, these “leaders” set up stone pelting, riots, massacres, agitation etc to rattle their people. If they sit in opposition, they surely will use their money power to shake up their opponents. When they get into power, they get busy piling up money to strengthen their power.

if you look at the entire South Asia, stretching from Afghanistan, all the way through Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, you will find the same trend. You see Americans concerned about corruption in Afghanistan under Karzai. But he is doing exactly what a member of parliament in India is doing. Every politician is basically a don. In Afghanistan, he is called a war lord. In India, he is called an MP or MLA. In the past, their counterparts were Zameendars and princes.

The only thing that has changed is the external fabric – democracy or feudal system like in Pakistan. Inside the body of the system is still in tact. It is difficult to break through this natural tendency that has evolved over eons in this region and elsewhere.

Masses have no value. They are expendable. Power remains at the hands of a few. Justice is only for the privileged. When that is the case, the masses simply resort to hero worship and flock to the most powerful guy for security and protection. In the past, such fellows became kings and land lords. Today they can become members of parliament and ministers.

How does one break out of this? It is is definitely possible. It is slow. But in the long run, things will change. Everything has to go through the process of evolution. Nothing can be changed overnight. Culture has very deep roots. Culture changes slowly with more interaction with other cultures and exposure to the outside world.

Until 1991, India was literally a closed society. Corruption was a way of life. Those in power could not be touched. But after opening up the economy and controls, people have had the needed exposure and interaction with other cultures. This is beginning to influence India. Both positive and negative influences happen. Media has emerged stronger. Politicians are not able to fool people like they were doing before. It will take another 50 or so years of steady growth and persistent assault on politicians to turn the tide. India used to be worse.

Now politicians are made to pander to what people are looking for. Religious bigotry, ethnic prejudice, linguistic chauvinism etc are slowly losing their grip on the people. As a result, politicians who used these differences to gain their power hold are finding their power bases shrinking. They still have their goons within their small territories. They will disappear in the future. One cannot expect them to vanish suddenly. Communism based politics was appealing in some regions. But people have realized that communists offered nothing for them.

Economic progress will slowly evaporate off backwardness. What is needed is immense patience. In India, culturally people have learned to be patient. And that has helped the system to evolve into a stronger nation in all aspects. What I find lacking in Pakistan and Afghanistan is patience. People are too reactive and emotional. The desire quick results. If not, they get agitated quickly. Religion is another aspect that has added to this nature. On top of that engagement in conflicts spanning over decades have made muscle power more appealing than public will. Under these circumstance, I can see why people in Pakistan prefer military to civilian rule. The former is quick, firm, disciplined and can launch quick actions. The latter is slow and relies on evolutionary process. Pakistanis have lost patience for it.

Reality can be changed. But it needs favorable conditions and a lot of patience.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Muslims, if the others here have not yet noticed it already, have a islamic world agenda. And surprisingly the popular concepts of secularism, democracy, freedom of speech and the freedom to practice religion as espoused by the western world and India are aiding them in this agenda. Though none of these concepts are recognised in the muslim countries they use these very concepts to push their agenda.

Unless the non muslims unite and fight this menace of Islam the future is bleak for non muslims.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

KPSingh:

You are right about patience and I agree with you, read the article below and it backs up your point;

Pakistan’s Army Flexes Its Muscles
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articl e/0,9171,2024229,00.html

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

rrdas:”Unless the non muslims unite and fight this menace of Islam the future is bleak for non muslims.”

-Islam is a light, there is no concept of attacking others and capturing territory in Islam. Where you see resistence is places where outsiders came in to occupy Muslim lands and impose their ideas on Muslims is where Muslims have resisted. Islam preaches peace, brotherhood, tolerance, moderation, there is no hidden agenda, everything is in open. There is a greater need for inter-faith dialogue and understanding so that fools like you can contribute in making this world a better way to live. But unfortunately, there will always be ignorant people around and I would not waste time arguing.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

rrdas,

You can’t paint all muslims with same brush. A vast mojority of muslims in the world are not extremists & believe in co-existing peacefully with people of other faiths. There are radicals & estremists in every religion, although the problem is more persistant & widespread amongst muslims. The way I see it, the real struggle is not between muslims & non-muslims but between moderate muslims & radical muslims.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

rrdas

-Read the book,
The Rise of the Islamic Empire and the Threat to the West
Author: Anthony J. Dennis

Though i have not yet read it, but here is a sentence from the very first page of the book:

“Islam is one of the great religions of the world. Its tenets of peace, mercy, charity toward those less fortunate, respect for life and longstanding tradition of tolerance toward those of other faiths are qualities to be universally admired. The world would indeed be a better place in many respects if more members of the world community used the Koran…as the touchstone for their public and private actions.”

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

rrdas: “Muslims, if the others here have not yet noticed it already, have a islamic world agenda. And surprisingly the popular concepts of secularism, democracy, freedom of speech and the freedom to practice religion as espoused by the western world and India are aiding them in this agenda. Though none of these concepts are recognised in the muslim countries they use these very concepts to push their agenda.”

I think you should not club all Muslims into one block. There are bad people in the Muslim community, just like bad people in other communities. Islam is a religion, but its followers belong to a multitude of ethnic and linguistic groups. I think we all should try to welcome them into the fold rather than isolate them and fight them. That is not this world is made for.

“Unless the non muslims unite and fight this menace of Islam the future is bleak for non muslims. ”

The moment militant methods are considered, it will add more to their side. Ordinary people who get bullied in the bargain, end up taking to arms and it simply cascades out of control. We have law and order system to take care of militant groups. Ordinary people should try to win over the moderates and work for togetherness. That is the only way out. Confrontation has never yielded desired results. Violence begets violence. And it leaves bitter memories in people which trigger more violence. One benefit of history is to learn from it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Keith:”Goebbels would approve of how well the Pakistani media work with the Pakistan Army to drive up Pakistani fervour against India.”

-Here is an article appeared today on Canadian The Star

Obama plays Indian wild card on Afghanistan
http://www.thestar.com/article/909121–si ddiqui-obama-plays-indian-wild-card-on-a fghanistan

-I quote: “Afghanistan reached the stage long ago when NATO’s, particularly America’s, presence itself became a principal cause of upheaval. That added to the problems of Pakistan, not the other way around. But Pakistan would not cooperate until we addressed its existentialist fear of India, squeezing it from the south or strangling it from the north by getting cozy with Kabul.

That’s what Obama discussed in New Delhi in confidence with Singh, I am told.

While the president was sending two public messages — one to Americans that he was increasing trade and jobs, and another to Indians that he wants India on the Security Council — he was lobbying Singh on the need to address India’s relations with Pakistan. Singh is already predisposed to doing so, if Pakistan would control cross-border terrorism.”

-I think Pakistan’s security concerns regarding India are even recognized by the US.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Umair,

Thanks for the link. Any system will turn corrupt if allowed absolute power. This is because tendency to become corrupt comes not from a system, but from the culture that seeks short cuts and easy ways out. In India no one will stand in a queue. It is a small step towards corruption. Things start at a very small level and build on from there. In our countries, charismatic and dedicated leaders are the only way out.

India lucked out by having Nehru at the start. He was not only charismatic, he was a visionary, well educated and wanted nothing but India’s future and welfare in his heart. He did turn a blind eye to a lot his corrupt colleagues. But then that is politics. He was focused on his mission and he knew that if progress happened, these negative tendencies will fall out.

Pakistan suffered a power vacuum right after its birth. Indians had almost three to four decades of experience in political structure under the British. Many were eminent lawyers and civil servants. Many had exposure to Western style education and outlook. It was easy to build a nation on this foundation. It is the cultural trait to respect merit and highly educated people in India. That outlook encouraged more to strive for academic excellence and be progressive. They were small in number. Corrupt political system surrounded them and overwhelmed the system after 1970. Yet the core infrastructure built by Nehru stayed like the root of the system.

Pakistan had no leaders, though there were people like Liaquat Ali Khan. But he was nowhere near the leaders India had. India had several selfless and dedicated politicians in addition to Nehru. Most were mature and put their nation first ahead of their personal ambitions. Some shifted to social work and uplift of the poor when they realized that they would have no chance to be on the hot seat. Pakistan’s power vacuum at the beginning resulted in it falling into the hands of global geo-politics.

In a democratic system, poll rigging, election violence etc can wipe out faith in its effectiveness. Until up to early 1980s, poll rigging, booth capturing etc were prevalent in India. Progress seems to have helped stem this rot. Democracy needs to go hand in hand with economic progress. If progress happens, people will automatically long for a democratic system. I won’t be surprised if Chinese begin demanding more freedom and democracy soon, now that they have progressed economically.

Dictators and tyrants hate that. They want power on their hands at all times. They do not mind progress. But if progress leads to demands for people’s rule, they will deliberately try to stem progress. For dictators the best course out is wars and conflicts. Or if they find that their rule has not delivered anything to the public, they again will seek wars and conflicts to deflect public ire. If Musharraf had continued further, he would have launched a war with India to deflect public attention. It becomes difficult in a democratic system.

The nice thing about democracy is that law is subject to amendments. Leaders face the public at every four or five years. In other systems, that cycle is missing. Leaders emerge if we allow the system to cycle the rulers. India is slowly transitioning from iconic leaders to pragmatic and less charismatic ones.

If Pakistan had a visionary leader like Nehur or Lee Kuan Yew, it will be the most sought after destination and not Dubai.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

umairpk,

Who is anthony dennis and why should his book be read?
Just as corporates hire marketing companies to promote their brands so are many authors commissioned to propogate the lie of the greatness of Islam.

We can see the total destruction unleashed by Islamists.
We can see how minorities are slaughtered. We can see how women are no more than sex slaves. We can see how there is no free speech, no democracy, no right to practice your own faith. We can see.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

kpsingh,

Peace is always the first choice. But not the only.
The intelligent but the misguided may understand the message of peace. But the stupid and the devilish will only understand if you give it a nice hard knock.

It is not for nothing that ancient wisdom espouses these 4 ways to resolve disputes.

1. saama, the process of pacifying
2. daana, the process of giving money in charity
3. bheda, the principle of dividing
4. danda, the principle of punishment

We must not forget that war and peace are two sides of the same coin. And the aim of all war is also peace.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

mortal1,

where are the moderate muslims ?

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

rrdas said: “where are the moderate muslims ?”

These are the kind of questions whole of racist Europe will start asking and will start slaughtering Muslims in this century. Muslims are going to have same fate as Jews in Europe and no one will come to save them. And that will create more and more radical elements inside Muslim world and this warped and false jihad will go on a perpetual spree and this will end (or may be not end) with clash of civilisations. Only 2 ways exists to stop it. In eyes of so called super intelligent, world must go to Arabia, learn Arabic, study Koran and accept Islam and its Arabic ways of life. In short let this false jihad win and everyone else surrender. Second method of fools and sick people is that moderate Muslims come forward and answer the call of Europe and West that “where are moderate Muslims and what are they doing to stop this false jihad”? Licking feet of Saudis is definitely not helping anything. Blaming everything on Israel and Zionists will not work. Maintaining this false jihad as strategic depth against fictitious enemies won’t help. Terming those who forcefully impose their interpretations of religion onto others, as innocent students won’t help.

Lets see what approach does the world take.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

rrdas:”We can see the total destruction unleashed by Islamists.We can see how minorities are slaughtered. We can see how women are no more than sex slaves. We can see how there is no free speech, no democracy, no right to practice your own faith. We can see.”

-I can cite many examples of intolerance towards Muslims in the west, the French ban on burqa, the Swiss ban on building minerates of Mosques, the Muslim woman stabbed by a German in the courtroom etc. Islam has given a great respect and honour to women, in the west instead women have become a commodity of sex. Free speech? in Pakistan there is a free society. In some countries like Saudi Arabia I do agree freedom of speech is somewhat restricted. And why should the west impose democracy and western views down the Muslims? Muslims have their own way of life, own culture, traditions and family values. That is the diversity in the world, everyone has to co-exist. And you can see for yourself, Islam remains the fastest growing religion. Choice is yours, don’t look at the tiny minopsrity, pay attention to the regular, hardworking majority of Muslims who are moderate.
If we do an exercise and compare the violent crime rates in Muslim countries, armed robberies, rape, violent crime, alcoholism, drug abuse, carjackings etc is rampant in West. I do not say Muslim societies are free from social evils, but we need to look at things rationally. Choice is yours, if you want to create understanding for a better world, or opt for ‘clash of civilizations’ then you are no different than those extremists who kill in the name of religion and are misguided fools.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

umairpk,

When you say pakistan is a free society, you are putting your foot in your mouth. A free society where every known minority (non-muslim) is virtually going extinct. A free society where even muslims like Ahmadis, sufis and shias are targeted. A free society which believes in terrorism.

Free society, democracy respect for other religions are all beyond the understanding of a xenophobic religion like Islam. First stop killing people, accept people from all faiths as the children of the very same god as the one you worship. Accept that God is manifest to different people in different ways – but in effect He is the very same god.

“And why should the west impose democracy and western views down the Muslims? Muslims have their own way of life, own culture, traditions and family values. ”

Then why impose your lifestyle and culture like the Burqa on them. They have every right to reject your values just as you reject theirs.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

Most of us do not agree with one another about this complex world, simply because of different backgrounds, different cultures, traditions and different values that we cherish. Religion or personal faith has very little to do with local conflicts or those of a global scale.
The mass hysteria and the paranoi among the people of this world is the major consumer of the world media. Your analysis, research and opinions, no matter how sincere and honest are based on emotions, bewilderness and restricted vision of the world.

Those who are forecasting dooms day may proved to be correct, not on account of their vision but simply by accident and miscalculation.

Though shall not kill is the God’s commandment and prescribed in the scriptures of muslims, christians and the jews. Therefore any one undertaking this act or condoning it has no right to consider himself as a muslim, christian or a jew. Let us stop labelling them islamists, fundamentals and extremists. Throughout history no society has ever been able to eliminate the criminality among them.
So rrdas, 777 and others, stop your delusion of muslim extremists plans and european response towards muslims. Why should the french govt. not ban on the woman’s veil( a thousand women affected including those Saudi Royals who live in a palace or those arab tourists who come to see the disney land) simply because the bona part President is a jew, or the swiss govt ban on minarets be regarded as unislamic? There are over two billion muslims today in the world who are aspiring to follow the Islamic faith and any one messing abut with them is writing a page of desaster in their own societies. Remember the muslim armies who spread across in Europe and those who had the intention to blow up the entire city of Vienna or those who occupied the Buda and pest for almost two centuries. History tells us that muslim armies never went out to foreign land to colomnise them, but simply for the destruction spree and this must not be ignored, the vengence of muslim armies in history has remained unmatched!

If the clash of civilisation does recur, it would not be on account of differences among faith but simply reflect the shift in balance of power in the world. You are the self appointed apostles of this world and therefore try to address the realities of the world and deliberate on the solutions and not if and why’s, to justify the actions on prejudice. Here are the problem areas.

. Korean crisis where american military is stationed with 20000 nuclear armed troops facing North korea and China equally armed with Nuclear tockets.

. Afghanistan whch is occupied by the Americans and Nato military trying to dictate the political course for the Nation. The Pashtoos with a minimum force have beaten the invaders but the USA admin. is not willing to withdraw instantly.

. Kashmir which is occupied by the Indian military and two nuclear Armies are facing each other which could start the conflict any second without any advance notice.
. Resiricted energy resouces in the world against the ever growing demand from the developing countries and the western industry states who are currently consuming more than the fair allocation.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Umair Wrote:
“I can cite many examples of intolerance towards Muslims in the west, the French ban on burqa, the Swiss ban on building minerates of Mosques, the Muslim woman stabbed by a German in the courtroom etc. Islam has given a great respect and honour to women, in the west instead women have become a commodity of sex.”

On the contrary its the “Tolerance” of west towards Islam, which has lead the world in this chaos. When you live in a country you have to obey the law, If France bans the burqa you see it as intolerance for Islam, do you think a catholic woman can go to work with covered face in France??

How about UAE sending a Brit couple to jail, just for kissing in public ? Isn’t it intolerence for west where kissing is pretty much common.

If Muslims like you think,that west is agaist islam why don’t you simply leave west and go wherever Islam is allowed instead of blowing up the buildings. OR even better try making a new “Land of pure” out of infidel France.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

Punjabiyar:Firstly, I am a Pakistani muslim living in Pakistan, secondly I just visted the UAE last month and can tell you it is one of the most liberal and accomodating country in theiddle East with a lot of tolerance of other religions and culture. Ask the thousands of British and Canadian expats living and working in the UAE and they will tell you how tolerant they are. You can have fun at the Jumeira beach and go the the beautiful Mosque nearby for prayers. It is an example of a society in peace and tolerant of other faiths. rrdas:’Then why impose your lifestyle and culture like the Burqa on them. They have every right to reject your values just as you reject theirs.”

-when an immigrant is a Canadian or a French Muslim by birth and holds the passport, he integrates and become a part of the society. it is to be seen if the society is tolerant enough to provide space to the Muslims. The Muslims in Europe just want to wear the burqa themselves, they do not want non-Muslim westerners to wear the burqa too. Muslims are not trying to impose their lifestyle on non-Muslims in europe for example, if Muslim women want to wear the burqa in europe it is a personal choice. Like I said, we only have two choices, inter-faith dialogue and understanding or clash of civilizations. In the end, you will have to either stand with the majority or side with the misguided extremists on either side.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Umair:
“Firstly, I am a Pakistani muslim living in Pakistan, secondly I just visted the UAE last month and can tell you it is one of the most liberal and accomodating country in theiddle East with a lot of tolerance of other religions and culture. Ask the thousands of British and Canadian expats living and working in the UAE and they will tell you how tolerant they are. You can have fun at the Jumeira beach and go the the beautiful Mosque nearby for prayers. It is an example of a society in peace and tolerant of other faiths.”

As always you dodged the real question with your generic Point of view, here is the link for the public kiss thing. FYI I used to live and work in U.A.E as well and please don’t tell me how tolerant they are. I could not open a fcuking company there which don’t had words “AL” (Short for allah) in the business name. But It did not matter to me at all, imagine some muslim living in Canada or France for this matter and forced to include words “Jesus” or “Rama” in his business name. You guys will be ready to burn the world for that.

Sending someone to Jail for Use of alcohol is common in UAE. But funny thing is you can buy any kind of whisky from the sheikh of Umm-al-Quwain, if you don’t know he has a open liquor shop 500 mts from highway. Islamic countries make people to obey there laws no matter what, but when same thing happens in western countries its “Intolerance for Islam”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/04  /dubai-kissing-couple-jail_n_524736.htm l

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

@Rex
I thought you broke off diplomatic relations with Indians.

You said
“Though shall not kill is the God’s commandment and prescribed in the scriptures of muslims, christians and the jews. Therefore any one undertaking this act or condoning it has no right to consider himself as a muslim, christian or a jew”

And then a few sentences later you say:
“History tells us that muslim armies never went out to foreign land to colomnise them, but simply for the destruction spree and this must not be ignored, the vengence of muslim armies in history has remained unmatched”

On one hand Muslims should not Kill as per God’s commandments and next you start chest thumping of ‘Muslim’ armies’ vengeance. Why you call those armies as Muslim when God’s commandment is to NOT kill and anyone killing (and that too for vengeance and not for defence) has no right to be called Muslim as per you??

And then you say 777 is sick and fool and confused and so on. Please anyone clarify who is spreading confusion here now?

The only thing I would ever agree with you is this:
“Resiricted energy resouces in the world against the ever growing demand from the developing countries and the western industry states who are currently consuming more than the fair allocation”

Now restrict this scenario to a small country like India with 1.5 billion population and you will understand the trouble in making a QUICK progress on reforms.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

Umairpk,

“when an immigrant is a Canadian or a French Muslim by birth and holds the passport, he integrates and become a part of the society. it is to be seen if the society is tolerant enough to provide space to the Muslims.”

There are nude beaches in the western world. Would Pakistan provide americans and europeans space for nude beaches. The problems faced by the western world has been too much tolerance and giving too much space. For which they are paying a price.

The backlash from these countries will be strong for which all muslims will have to pay a price.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

Rex Minor

“History tells us that muslim armies never went out to foreign land to colomnise them, but simply for the destruction spree and this must not be ignored, the vengence of muslim armies in history has remained unmatched!”

One thing is surely revealed in your statement. The barbarism of muslim rulers fighting for the sake of fighting. Only a mentally deranged person or community would do that.

And secondly even after 700 years of rule in India you could not achieve much. So much for the valour of the muslim rulers. Had it not been for the stupidity of Nehru and his congress party there would be no Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Posted by rrdas | Report as abusive

Umair,

Seen from a Muslim stand point, a lot of things seem to appear fair and just. However, Muslim communities abroad generally tend to live in isolated groups. Income level definitely has a strong influence on it. Most Muslims migrate from economically backward nations and in their adopted countries, feel secure by forming closed communities. This is not confined to Muslims alone.

My community which has a strong presence in UK, Canada, Australia etc has the same tendency. We have religious requirements that makes us stand out. If we are alone, we can get singled out and ridiculed. Most of my community members arrive from poor backgrounds. Many cannot speak the local language of the countries in which they move into. They rely on relatives and sponsors to survive through. Hard work is the only advantage they bring with themselves. After settling down, many start out on menial professions – cab driving, janitorial service, security guards and so on. Once people settle down, we still seek community support to establish ourselves – to set up a gas station, or a grocery store or a restaurant etc need funding. Getting money from goras is not an easy thing. So we have to rely on the community.

When we settle down with some business, we need trustworthy people who can understand us and have the same survival instinct as we have. And we look to the new entrants from our own community. Security is further strengthened by inter-marriage. And we establish a community center that caters to the needs of the whole community. Gurudwaras are set up where people come without fail during every weekend. Usually it starts out in a small way in a house and then moves on to a church and then we get enough money to build one on our own.
Religious cohesion and staying in an alien environment unites our people more than it does in our own home country.

Those who live abroad now become price items in India. Marriage to someone living abroad is ticket to prosperity seen from Indian stand point.

The bottom line comes to this – if one needs community support to survive and come up abroad, go by the expectations and edicts of the community. Do not take stand against it. Filthy rich people do that. But they still need the political clout. This is where conservatism steps in. If you have issues because of your religious following, your community will step in for you. Being far away from your homeland makes one’s resolve even harder.

People who migrate out and seek survival in their communities end up becoming more conservative and proud towards their heritage. Muslims wearing burqa and clashing with the local culture comes from the same reason.

This is not confined to us alone. The Greeks, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Ethiopians, Middle Easterners in Western countries have the same ways of surviving and approach. It so happens that many of these immigrants are Christians and therefore can blend in somewhat easily. Hindus are more diverse. Jains and Hindu Gujeratis do what we do. The other Hindus are very diverse and migrate into higher income classes where they do not rely on their communities.

All these clashes arise from survival instincts. When white people migrated into North America, they simply killed off the natives who did not like their migration. Australia is worse in this regard. Now they are seeing the same thing the natives of North America and Australia are seeing – strange and alien practices and codes of conduct.

So do not feel bad that Muslims are being singled out. We all face issues abroad. I have had garbage bags thrown at me in Sydney by some kids from their car. And political opportunists seize these moments to their advantage. We must realize we are in someone else’ land and it is a slow process of being accepted for what we are. We Sikhs have not rioted or resorted to violence despite facing a lot of discrimination and prejudice in white men’s lands. But over years, we are being accepted as part of the fabric. Muslim immigrants will go through the same thing. This is not unique to Muslims. This is a social issue and we should not bring it in the context of India-Pakistan relations.

I do not agree with rrdas on his myopic analysis.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

rrdas:”There are nude beaches in the western world. Would Pakistan provide americans and europeans space for nude beaches.”

-Now this is what is called a stupid question. If Americans would like to come and visit Pakistan they are free to visit the Clifton beach in Karachi, if they choose to dress modestly it is better. If they choose to take off their clothes, it is still their choice but it will be stupid on their part. Besides, Americans are not that stupid, I am pretty sure they will obey the local customs and laws. As I said in the begining no matter how much you are reasoned with or given any rational answer still you will find some fault with Islam. For people like you Islam teaches that such people’s hearts have been locked and their ability to listen to reason has been void. It is no use arguing with you, stay happy but do not remain under illusion that Islam will be destroyed.

Punjabiyaar:
I am not aware when did you leave the UAE, today’s UAE has been completely transformed into a modern state. With metro rail, modern airports, excellent infrastructure, more liberal labour laws, tax free benefits, states like Ajman and Ras Al Khaima offering added incentives and benefits for investors to open up their business there. That process should have been hassle free, but individual experiences can be different. I have been an occasional traveler to UAE and had very good experience.
BTW, AL is not short for Allah, you need a class in Arabic grammar to understand what does ‘al’ means. ‘al’ is more like a connective word, for example the national airline of UAE is ‘Etihad’ airways but in arabic it is written as
??????? in the begining the arabic ‘al’ has been added. making it alEtihad.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Umair
I left UAE 6-7 years back and It was a modern state at that time. They would not give me a Western company name like “Five Star Trading” instead told us to choose a Islamic Name starting with “AL” I don’t know arabic and dont want to learn that too, what will you think if you are forced to name a business starting with “Shri” if you want to do business in India, you will also think its a hindu god or something, While its just a salutation for respect.

I know Dubai is the most liberal of them and it was allowing us to choose any name, For me I am talking about Ajman.

Now coming back to Topic, if France bans burqua and made it a law, why can’t muslims in France just follow the law and don’t wear it. Why there is a need for Global Jihad against France.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

@Rex
rrdas said “The barbarism of muslim rulers fighting for the sake of fighting”
Do you now see the error in your calling those arabic armies you mentioned as Muslim?? Your statement defames Islam and Muslims altogether. It will be much better if you think faster than typing.

@rrdas
Islam is a great religion and I am a hindu who says this and who has read Koran as well. Now for muslim society yes you may be right the trouble is there. But your approach full of negativity will create more problems than solutions. Do not go down the Rex ways.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

A few months back, here in Canada, A sikh employee was asked to remove the turban and wear a hard hat, in famous store HomeDepot. But it was not a Under Construction site so hard hats were not required.

You may not even know it, because no sikh priest saw it as “West against Sikhism”. No Fatwas were issued and matter was taken to the court instead and Employee won.

Now see yourself in contrast of this case. Why did Pakistanis tried to burn the Indian bus, I was travelling in, over danish cartoons ??

There is definitely something wrong with you guys.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

Punjabiyaar:
“Now see yourself in contrast of this case. Why did Pakistanis tried to burn the Indian bus, I was travelling in, over danish cartoons ??”

-Again, as far as UAE is concerned I told you the RAK Free zone and Ajman free zone are aggressively marketing for business development and looking for investors to open up new business there. Ajman at that time might be a small conservative state going into trivial details when opening up businesses and issuing licenses. Today that process might be hassle free. As with France ban on burqa, if tommorow they ban Muslims from Friday prayers, do you think Muslims must stop going to Mosque for prayers? The French must think from their heads what kind of laws they are passing. Atleast America gives much more religious freedom.
Now the Pakistanis who tried to burn the Indian bus, I am not sure if that incident took place in Canada? You must understand that the cartoon incident was very unfortunate and it hurt the sentiments of many Muslims. You might have come across a furious group of Pakistanis who would have been angered and expressed it that way. Myself, I was living and working overseas during the Danish cartoon controversy, our protest was more peaceful where we signed petitions outside Mosques, which were forwarded to the Danish embassy by Muslim leaders and Imams.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

I’ve never lived in Islamic states but I have a few relatives & friends living in the UAE, Kuwait & Iran and they all tell me that the laws & public institutions in these countries, are biased against non-muslims. Arabic countries will kiss upto westerners but they look at south asians with contempt (even muslims). I remember, a couple of yrs ago I was in a public office in Dubai to renew my tradering lisence & the attitude of the staff towards me, completely changed once they realized that I wasn’t Indian but American.

@Umair

For every instance of hate crimes against muslims in the west, I can cite you 2 or 3 instances, where terror plots by muslim radicals have been executed/foiled (london plots, shoe bomber, time’s square, the underwear bomber etc etc). Can you imagine what would happen to any minority group in Mulsim country, if people from that group constantly ploted/executed mass killings of muslims in those countries? Also, in all the instances of hate crimes against muslims in western countries, the culprits have been severely punished. Moderate mulsims, living in the west can create a lot of goodwill by blowing the whistle on radicals or extremists who spread hate but unfortunately we don’t see much of that. If headlines about “muslims plotting terror attacks” are replaced with headlines about “muslims helping apprehend radical islamic terrorists”, the attitudes of people towards muslims, will definetely change.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

rrdas said:

> Had it not been for the stupidity of Nehru and his congress party there would be no Pakistan or Bangladesh.

You seem to be a sympathiser of the Hindu right, and I need to call you out on this. If there had been no partition as you fondly wish, there would have been an additional 160 million Muslims from Pakistan and 140 million Muslims from Bangladesh in undivided India. i.e., an additional 300 million Muslims added to the 150 million Muslims of India’s 1.2 billion population.

In such an undivided India, Muslims would therefore constitute 30% (450 million/1.5 billion) instead of the current 12.5% (150 million/1.2 billion).

You and your parties need to make up your minds – do you wish for an undivided India that is 30% Muslim or are you happier with the current situation?

And the constant Nehru-bashing is getting a bit tiresome. He stood head and shoulders above any Advani, Vaypayee, Golwalkar or Godse, and it is becoming increasing clear with the passage of time and the perspective it brings. The leaders of the Hindutva movement definitely don’t speak for all Hindus, or even a majority of Hindus. Golwalkar’s theories can make any thinking person cringe.

[This is not to say I'm soft on Islamic extremism or Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. I remain outraged by them. But the characteristic Hindu-right theories on partition like what you said above need to be challenged.]

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Negative image about Muslims is building up worldwide. This is really unfortunate. See this link about Harry Potter actress:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry -potter/8214522/Harry-Potter-star-beaten -after-meeting-non-Muslim-man.html

I remember during the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, no one ever heard of issues with Muslim societies or immigrants. Many Pakistanis lived and thrived in UK during that time. They were favored by Western countries.

As soon as 9/11 happened, things have taken a diametrically opposite turn. Now Muslims are being looked at with suspicion. There was an episode of an Indian Muslim doctor getting into trouble in Australia. Later on nothing was found wrong about him. Now media are relentlessly picking up issues with Muslims. This is something we all need to admit. Right now the Muslim world is on the opposite side of the Western world, with the common villain, the USSR gone. There are lots of books written about Islamic fundamentalism as though it is something new. The same fundamentalism was used as a weapon against the Soviets.

The whole world is spinning around “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” principle. We need to come out of it. The danger of isolating moderate Muslims is that they will fall into the hands of hard liners who have been waiting for this opportunity. Do not expect moderate Muslims to justify the actions of their extremists. This is like asking all white people to condemn racism. They are not the only ones discriminating. Remember the monkey episode on Andrew Symonds in India?

Muslims make up a 1.5 billion of world population. They have their own social codes which do not agree with others on many fronts. By confronting them, nothing is going to work. It is important to breed mutual respect and goodwill. The number of radical Muslims world wide might be less than a million. India has done well in this regard over the years. Making cartoons out of their prophet, exercising subtle discrimination etc against people will make things only worse.

We need to move on towards progress. Deal with nations run by cranky leadership. Leave religion out of conflicts.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@KP
“Leave religion out of conflicts”

Ohhh come on KP being someone from south asia and one who knows the history so well should know that the religion is the GREATEST (read in font size 40 and bold) WEAPON to Divide and Rule. Onus is onto people like you and me that we go on blindly following the religions or use or heads first. People say God’s words are to be followed. I ask how anyone knows that whatever God told to prophets (assuming Prophets knew how to communicate with God) has been carried forward to us correctly over generations?? Are the commandments we read today are same as that told by God and are not corrupted?? Should a common man not use his head?? South asians seldom use their intelligence in religion matters and hence the chaos all over. Its sad very sad.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

Correction
[use or heads first] should read [use OUR heads first]

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

Umairpk said:

> As with France ban on burqa, if tommorow they ban Muslims from Friday prayers, do you think Muslims must stop going to Mosque for prayers?

I think you may have misunderstood the French “ban” on the burqa. The French have a concept called “laicity” which deals with the strict separation of the state from religion. It has been discussed on this blog before.

From what I understand, the strict enforcement of laicity does not prevent a member of the public from entering a government department wearing a religious symbol and asking for service. However, an employee of the same department cannot wear a religious symbol while offering the service on behalf of the state. I think that is all that it amounts to. If you are acting as an agent of the state, you cannot display any religious affiliation. This when applied to the burqa, can be interpreted as a ban, but I don’t think it applies to a general person walking down the street, only to people offering services on behalf of the state. Happy to be corrected if that’s not the case.

Quite apart from the laicity constraint, I think many public buildings like banks, etc., do not allow people to enter with their faces covered in any case. This includes motorcycle helmets as well as burqas. It’s not so much an anti-religious measure as a security one.

Having said that, I agree with KP Singh that world opinion seems to have hardened against Muslims. This is a pity, since most Muslims are just like other people, trying to make a living and get ahead in the world and give their children a better future. I’m not sure what can be done to reverse this trend of mutual suspicion.

In Mumbai, right after the November 2008 terrorist attack, Indian Muslims staged a demonstration condemning the attack. They even refused to have the killers buried in any of their graveyards. This action went a long way towards convincing other Indians not to equate Indian Muslims with terrorism. I would say that relations between Muslims and Hindus in India are actually quite relaxed now, and a good part of that is due to the prompt condemnation of terror by Indian Muslims. Perhaps part of the terrorist agenda was to drive a wedge between the two communities, but it was thwarted.

If the majority of Muslims are indeed moderate, the world badly needs to hear their voices! For too long, the extremists have been the only ones being heard, and they have painted a distorted picture of the community as a whole. This is not just the problem of the Muslim community but also their well-wishers, humanists in general.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

777xxx777: “Ohhh come on KP being someone from south asia and one who knows the history so well should know that the religion is the GREATEST (read in font size 40 and bold) WEAPON to Divide and Rule. Onus is onto people like you and me that we go on blindly following the religions or use or heads first.”

Anything can be used as a weapon for dividing people. Not just religion. Look at North and South Korea. Look at Hutus and Tutsis. Look at Tamils versus Sinhalese. Look at African Americans and Caucasians. Look at Bengalis versus Punjabis. Look at Balochis versus Pashtuns. Look at Nazis versus others. Look at Chocolate ice cream lovers versus Vanilla ice cream lovers. People can go to war with each other on any of these premises.

Religion is also a weapon, but not the only weapon.

I do use my head. I am not fanatical about religion. I believe in tolerance and respect for other religions. It is only the close minded cave dwellers that I go against. And they are not only living in Germany, but also in India and elsewhere. As far as I am concerned, my religion is personal. I have never fought with anyone to project the belief that mine is the most ideal religion for everyone.

What I have said is that religion is not meant for conflicts. It is meant for one’s inner spirit. Religion provides the means to achieve closeness to the spirit.

The only way to come out of petty conflicts is to grow towards better life. Golden ages are needed. When the Abbasid empire ruled, Muslims reached a golden age. They were very open minded. They helped translate a lot of Indian scriptures into Persian and absorbed many of the concepts. It is they who introduced the concepts of modern mathematics, astronomy, Gothic architecture etc to Europe. Tulips were introduced by Ottoman Turks. Every society during its golden age has been like the US today – open, liberal and most sought after. The world now has the means to achieve that golden age and spread it far and wide. India under Akbar was one of the wealthiest places on earth. Emperor Akbar invited people from all faiths to come to him and enlighten him on religion and spiritualism. He lived like a Hindu Rajput, starting his day with the salute to the sun. The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah celebrated Diwali. Dara Sikoh translated the Bhagavat Gita into Persian. All that takes is a golden age. If we can achieve that, all differences will disappear.

Modern world is capable of extending and expanding the golden age. Ancient empires could not do that over sustained period of time. Our world today can definitely do it. But the attempt has to be made.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@Ganesh
” a good part of that is due to the prompt condemnation of terror by Indian Muslims”

Yes and that’s what Muslims in Europe need to do to escape hardships that Jews faced in past. But where are those moderate Arabs and Africans (if there are any)?

Indian examples of tolerance stand out today. Mumbai 2008 it was calm (in terms of inter-community clashes) and all were together with each other for support in loss. Ayodhya verdict saw almost zero clashes among communities. The fabric is increasingly getting integrated despite fools like Mulayam, Maya, Rahul and other congress agents trying hard to disrupt it. So people like us have to come out of our cages and make our voices heard. Are Arabs upto it???

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia- 53689520101220

Example Tolerant Islamic countries…what a tolerance

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

To a series of exposures next scandalous details of personal life of WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange were added.

Life style of Assange becomes even more interesting after disclosure of his former lover’s revelations – a young man from Sweden named Ivar Anderson with whom the founderof WikiLeaks had,though not lengthy but very stormy, relations when Assange had been living in Sweden.

Acquaintance of Assange and Ivar Anderson took place on a computer party in Stockholm where the young man (now 27 years) represented a new online project Bufinder.com.

Casual acquaintance has ledto short, but very passionate relations, which Ivar remembers as one of the brightest in his life.
Employment of Assange with hisproject and randomness of his life, caused also by pressure of police, haven’t allowed Julian and Ivar to prolong the relations and soon the founder of WikiLeaks had been compelled to leave Sweden.

Ivar Anderson speaks of his former lover very respectfully and notes such qualities of Assange as: purposefulness and hard work to fanaticism, but also believes that the policy of openness promoted by WikiLeaks, should be extended to privacy of Julian. Therefore, Ivar doesn’t see anything wrong in the disclosure of these facts from the life ofJulian Assange.

Frank dialogue of our reporter with the young man was held in one of Stockholm’s cafe in December evening after a brief correspondence. And, also aspiring to an openness, we consider expedient to tell our readers this story.

Aftonbladet

Posted by pablitisimo | Report as abusive

777xxx777: “Example Tolerant Islamic countries…what a tolerance”

I see nothing Islamic in this. It is about a movie director siding with political opponent. I’d call the following as pure backwardness and to be condemned by all:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1874471.stm

In India, we have honor killings, dowry deaths, female infanticide etc. Continuous progress and women’s empowerment will help eradicate these issues in the long run.

A lot of issues are social rather than religious. Caste prejudice in India is more social in nature than religious. We must be clear in distinguishing the difference.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@KP
“Caste prejudice in India is more social in nature than religious”

Well, in that case I would say that we disagree on this. I consider caste system as a side effect of blindly following the religion and its so called prophets and saints. People seldom use their brain and become fodder for self proclaimed prophets who want to achieve their own political goals. All those shouting God God have any idea what God said, is there any conclusive evidence that the scriptures and books that reached to us are correctly carried forward to us by our ancestors? And still religion and faith?? Ohh give me a break. Religions create more troubles than solutions and world is witnessing that right now.

In case of Iran which is a pure Islamic state where state has everything to do with religion, suppressing opposition voices is political intolerance wrapped in Islam.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

777xxx777: “Well, in that case I would say that we disagree on this. I consider caste system as a side effect of blindly following the religion and its so called prophets and saints.”

Which religion? As far as I understand, there is no such thing as a Hindu religion. There are various types of cults and orders that appear similar in structure with their own deities and rituals. It is like all of Africa looking similar to us from a distance. You go in closer and you find more diversity than you can imagine. This is one reason why in India there are so many Gods and so many saints. All Indians do not follow the Vedas. Most do not even know what Manu’s edicts are. If you read Indian history, you will find that the current structure of the pan-Indian “Hindu” religion was set up during the Gupta dynasty. Buddhism had spread across most of India prior to the Gupta dynasty. A revival happened when a lot of things were changed to appeal to the masses. The avatars of Vishnu were put in order at that time. Caste system had remained before that and after that. Buddha himself campaigned against it. This tells me that caste system is a social system that helped people monopolize professions as a matter of survival. The natives of the land were conquered people and pushed down the order to do jobs that no one wanted to do – dealing with dead bodies, skin and leather, washing clothes and so on. Religious justification was concocted to sustain the social prejudice. Many white Aryan supremacists twist religion to suit their campaign as well.

When something is a social background, you will find it remaining despite the overall changes. Even amongst us Sikhs there is caste prejudice. I am a Jat. When it comes to marriages, we somehow prefer our own people. Amongst Muslims, the same class and caste hierarchy has crept in.

Even in modern India, one can see the profession based class taking new shapes – Actors’ children become actors. Doctors’ children become doctors. Lawyers’ children become lawyers. Accountants’ children are invariably accountants. Politicians’ descendants are politicians. Military people seek military professions. Farmers remain farmers. If you give a thousand years time, this demarcation will become rigid again.

Caste system is a symptom of overall backwardness and stagnation. In a modern world, it does not have much strength to survive. India is changing. Hopefully in a hundred years, we will be more mixed and cosmopolitan.

“People seldom use their brain and become fodder for self proclaimed prophets who want to achieve their own political goals.”

Even those who are not religious tend to seek their own groups. It provides a feeling of security and social acceptance.

“All those shouting God God have any idea what God said, is there any conclusive evidence that the scriptures and books that reached to us are correctly carried forward to us by our ancestors? And still religion and faith?? Ohh give me a break. Religions create more troubles than solutions and world is witnessing that right now.”

Religions will never disappear. They are a part of the human psyche. Laws and constitution do not have the personal appeal a religion has. And people follow religious edicts more than laws. Religions form a part of the social fabric and culture. Communists have already tried everything and failed.

“In case of Iran which is a pure Islamic state where state has everything to do with religion, suppressing opposition voices is political intolerance wrapped in Islam.”

Nuclear technology has nothing to do with religion. If Iran is pursuing it, it is not for religious reasons. According to your logic, they must be performing Namaz five times in front of the reactors to enrich the uranium. Sure Iran is a theological state. But they drive cars and watch TV. They also play soccer. Everything is not religion based. Religion comes in only when the question of identity is raised. If I use your logic, then one can conclude that all elections in India are based on caste, because it is part of the “Hindu” religion. We are Sikhs and we elect our politicians in Punjab. And it has nothing to do with turban and beard.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@rrdas
I fully agree with you! But try to consider in your mind the time when muslim armies were destroying the world which was not compatable with their vision. Mr Nehru and the congress party were not the decision maker. How could they, they were slaves themselves.

Now sit back and relax and watch what the American military is doing today in the 21st century, a crusade of destruction in many parts of the world under the banner of Democracy! Do you approve of this because it is them and not you who is the underdog?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@777
In as much as I dislike to address you with 777′s but you have choosen the digits for your name so I am obliged to address you as such. Similarly, the armies which I was referring to belonged to the countries which called themselves muslim countries. Now you are a smart guy, how should I refer to them. Today armies of the christian countries are no longer called christian armies or crusaders simply because these contries have separated the church from the Govt. affairs. Clever, is’nt it?
It is one thing to accept Islam or any other faith, as a way of salvation and it is another to reach that goal and becoming a good muslim. Is this not the dilemma the world is facing all over; are the so called christian countries do not accept the ten commandments and millions say ameen in their churches every sunday of the week and like a super hypocrites adhere to the death sentence?

Now do’nt be touchy, reforms in education are needed all over the world. India is not the only candidate, the problem is the leaders who democratically get elected but are always behind the time they live in or to imagine the future. In Europe Scandanavian countries have the upper hand, in central and south the leaders are not visionary. I am not able to understand the indian wisdom, Is nuclear energy the salvation for Indian needs? Is India aware of the accidents which occur in France Nuclear plants. How does one protect nuclear plants from the so called terrorists who consider India as a legitimate target for their operatioons to free the Kashmiris?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

[...] more alarming are Pakistani press reports suggesting that fake WikiLeaks cables planted in the Pakistan media were deliberately designed by Pakistani intelligence to whip up public opinion against U.S. pressure [...]

Burqa has no place in the modern world, which calls for full participation of women in the development of their economies. Burqa has very little to do with the religion either, Those who want to retain it as a right, and regard it as a protection against the men, should better move about in countries where the State is unable to protect them otherwise.

We have already got problems in the western societies with the so called hajab, which is now becoming the political symbol of expression of muslim women!

The fact that Bona part went for burqa was to gain votes from the French Right( Le Pen Party). This was shabby on the part of the French President who having the jewish background, wernt on a spree of contoversial and anti-muslim, anti- minorities campaign, even appointed a jewish foreign minister, though the guy was from the opposition socialist party.
Also, in my opinion you do not need a house of God with minarets in Europe for muslims to pray. Let the muslims purchase or rent the churches which are now standing empty, and use them to say prayers. The Sultan of turkey whose army occupied Budapest for more than a century and a half, did not build mosques with minarets but used beautiful cathedrals in the country for prayers.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Rex
“I am not able to understand the indian wisdom, Is nuclear energy the salvation for Indian needs”

You need to live in India and understand the corruption scenario which according to your misconception is a British bogey. I am as much disgusted with nuclear deal as with latest fighter jet deals with Russia. But in case of nuclear deals other options like solar energy are not feasible right now because of other long term pending reforms for industry. In India like Europe and US the problem is with leaders or politicians if you put it that way. Power Corrupts be it Britain, France, Germany or India or Pakistan.

“Today armies of the christian countries are no longer called christian armies or crusaders simply because these contries have separated the church from the Govt. affairs”

Then why do you keep calling them ‘christian’ all the time?? Why do you see everything that is political from a lens of religion? Instead of calling the armies as Muslim you could have said Arab armies, Persian armies, Middle East armies, etc but you chose to call them muslim armies why??? As for my name you have option to refer as ‘xxx’ for it is ’777xxx777′. I hope that solves ur irritation with my name.

“Burqa has no place in the modern world, which calls for full participation of women in the development of their economies”

Ohh wow I remember a few days back u were all up for supporting burqa by saying its personal rights and all and now u say its not needed. Good to see a change in your stand.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@KP
Ohh KP you should think faster than you type. I am saying that to push in any evil into society the religion is the best tool and greatest weapon. Anything that has supposed support of so called prophets can be pushed into society however evil that custom or rule may be. Why so?? Because people follow religion blindly and anything that is supported by prophets gets very easily accepted by society without thinking if that is evil or good. People here do not question religion but blindly follow it and so all social evil are side effects of this blind religion following.

India was not divided by Jinnah alone but by those paranoid muslims who supported his threat of civil war. He was just a poster/face of evil of society wrapped in religion. Had people not been following religion blindly the division would not have occurred.

People need to use their heads before just following so called God’s commandments.

I hope I am clear now. If not let me know, I’ll try to rephrase.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

“Then why do you keep calling them ‘christian’ all the time?? Why do you see everything that is political from a lens of religion?”

Pakistanis have been taught to look at everything from a religious perspective, from the day they are born. Quoting Zulfikar Bhutto from one of his (in)famous speeches “the christians have the nuclear bomb, the jews have it & now the hindus have it as well. So why can’t we muslims have one too?”. I think that says it all about the psyche of Pakistanis.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

@777
I think you are a comedian! I do not see anything from the lens of a religion.
You must be joking accusing me of supporting Burqa? You have even got a shadow called Mortal1 who is thinking loud with you. I do not believe we have anything further to exchange on wikileak!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

[...] Could Lead to Bio-Weapon ThreatRedOrbitMonsters and Critics.com -Hindustan Times -Reuters Blogs (blog)all 561 news [...]

[...] Could Lead to Bio-Weapon ThreatRedOrbitMonsters and Critics.com -Hindustan Times -Reuters Blogs (blog)all 572 news [...]

[...] info but gives little in return to US: WikiLeaksEconomic TimesRedOrbit -Hindustan Times -Reuters (blog)all 590 news [...]