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January 22, 2023

Pakistan's Economic Crisis-Lessons for India

South Asian Countries: Economic Downslide: Common Factors Ram Puniyani Pakistan is currently in the grip of massive economic crisis. The wheat flour is Rs 150 per Kg. (Pakistan Rupee PKR). The staple diet Roti (type of bread) is Rs 30 in a country where average daily earning is Rs 500, with an average household needing close to 10 Rotis a day. The US dollar is close to PKR 230. Summing up the economic plight of Pakistan, John Ciorciari, professor at Michigan’s School of Public Policy says. “Pakistan faces a severe economic crisis and clearly requires external support. Foreign exchange reserves are at dangerously low levels—enough to pay for only a few weeks’ worth of imports. Inflation is at its highest levels in decades, growth is sagging and the central bank has raised interest rates sharply to address a weak currency.” No doubt this worsening is partly precipitated by the massive floods in Pakistan. As such also the basic structure of the economy of Pakistan has been on weaker wicket, with military dominance, ‘Islam in Politics’ and US dictates influencing its total scenario. While at the time of Independence Pakistan’s Governor General Mohammad Ali Jinnah gave one of the best definitions of secular state in his 11th August Constituent Assembly speech, “If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his color, caste or creed is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.” This principle was not to last for long and the fundamentalist elements around him took over after his death. Persecution of Hindus, Christians, Shias and Kadianis (these two are sects of Islam) began over a period of time. The ‘religion in politics’ dominated the scene, the basic infrastructure of agriculture, industry remained on the margins, health and education were having low priority. Roughly the domination of the military, fundamentalism in politics had different priorities and it seems that is one of the major factors in the inability of the state to cope up with the economic challenges. No two cases are exactly similar; still some generalizations can be drawn. In case of Sri Lanka, the ethnic politics, the Sinhala Buddhist politics was in the driving seat. The Hindu-Tamils were the first target, followed by the persecution of Muslims and Christians. The military was in a dominating position and the autocracy, and high handed decisions like that of spending nations fortune on Rajpaksa Airport near Hambantota port and stopping the import of fertilizers, led to the big disaster just eight months ago. The food crisis, the rising prices led to the uprising of people. Sri Lanka did begin as a democracy but the pressure of ethnic (also overlapping religious) issues dominated the scene to disenfranchise the Hindus (Tamils), and others in due course. Rohini Hensman, a scholar activist of Sri Lankan origin gives a very comprehensive account of the roots of ethnic religious divides on which major political parties harped. In due course this gave rise to the anti-people; autocratic regime of Mahinda Rajpaksa and Gotabaya in particular. (Rohini Hensman, Nightmare’s End, 13th June 2022, New Left Review). Interestingly Sri Lanka also went in to trace the ancestry of its poverty stricken citizens through documentary proof. In India currently the communal elements are boasting that it is due to Modi that India is not having such a crisis. Surely the crisis in India is not of the proportion of what Pakistan is currently facing or what Sri Lanka witnessed and is still in troubled waters. Still the rising prices of commodities are breaking the back of the poor and even the middle class to which India’s Finance minister also claims to belong. Indian rupee has seen a free fall against the US dollar and now it stands at Rs 83 against the dollar. The unemployment is all time high, the GDP on the lower side. The Oxfam report shows the widening gulf between the rich and poor. The Muslim minority and Christian minorities are under constant intimidation and marginalization best reflected in what India’s outstand ex police officer Julio Rebiero said, “Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country. The same category of citizens who had put their trust in me to rescue them from a force they could not comprehend have now come out of the woodwork to condemn me for practicing a religion that is different from theirs. I am not an Indian anymore, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra.” In contrast to both the neighbors India began on the solid wicket of secularism and focused on Industries, irrigation, fertilizers, health facilities (Primary Health Centers) and Education. It also endeavored to set up the premier places of higher education, IITs, IIMs along with the research institutions which can compete with global excellence, BARC 1954, DRDO 1958, INCOSPAR later ISRO 1962 and 1969, and CSIR among others. Undoubtedly there were some flaws in the initial planning like over emphasis on heavy industry and higher education; still the solid infrastructure was laid. Scientific temper was mandated even through the Constitution. It is from the decade of 1980s that the communal forces have reared their head in a powerful way and are currently the most dominating political factor, which is leading to our downslide in most of the areas, irrespective of the claims that Achchhe din (Good Days) have arrived, irrespective of the claim of Sabka Saath (taking along everyone). In last eight years GDP has come down from 7.29% to 4.72%, average unemployment rose from 5.5% to 7.1%, cumulative NPAs rose from 5 Lakh Crore to 18.2 lakh crore, export growth has come down from 69% to 6.4%, rupee has weakened per dollar, from 59 to 83. Attack on scientific temper is becoming stronger. In post colonial South Asia; British who ruled and plundered the region also sowed the seeds of ‘divide and rule’, dividing the people along Hindu-Muslim line or Sinhala-Tamil line. Partition of the country was also a result of the same. Among India and Pakistan, India embarked on the path of a modern nation state, while Pakistan soon fell in the grip of divisive politics. While earlier many Pakistanis looked up to India as a role model, now from the last 3 decades in particular, India also seems to be following the path which Pakistan followed. As the late Pakistani poetess, Fahmida Riaz, in the aftermath of Babri demolition so aptly put ‘Tum Bilkul Hum Jaise Nikle’ (You also turned out to be like us)!

January 19, 2023

Mohan Bhagwat: Distorted History-Sectarian Agenda

Mohan Bhagwat 2023: Distorted History-Sectarian Agenda Ram Puniyani In a series of lectures in Vigyan Bhavan (Delhi) in 2018 Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Chief, spoke in a language due to which many insiders and many commentators outside the Sangh (RSS Combine) felt that it is a major moment for RSS and it is changing drastically. The RSS supremo, who upholds the concept of Hindu Nation, went to the extent of reciting the preamble of Indian Constitution and upheld secularism and socialism. In the recent interview to its mouth pieces, (Panchjanya and Organiser January 2023) the language is changed to what can be said to be ‘Golwlakar 2.0’. Golwalkar’s book, (the second chief of RSS) 'Bunch of Thoughts', which is not much quoted by the Sangh ideologues these days, argues that Muslims, Christians and Communists are internal threat to the Hindu Nation. In his other book, ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’, this ideologue asserts that we are a Hindu nation from times immemorial and the minorities should be given the same treatment what Germans gave to the Jews and other weaker sections of society in Germany. Now when Bhagwat says, that threat is not from outside but from inside, he is repeating Golwalkar’s formulation. In his earlier pronouncements he had been trying to gain legitimacy to the extent that a section of Muslims elite went to have dialogue with him. Now in the present circumstances it seems that Bhagwat wants to show RSS agenda in its blunt form. So he states that ‘Hindu’ has been on war from last thousand years and now ‘Hindu’ has woken up. As per him there is no harm to the Muslims living today in Bharat. If they wish to stick to their faith, they can. If they want to return to the faith of their ancestors, they may. It is entirely their choice”. Also they have to give up their sense of superiority. He covers a wide range of topics from cruel Muslim invasion, to illegal immigrants, to accommodating transgender among others. As per him there is nothing to fear for Muslims! One may add only they should become used to occasional beatings in trains like Asim Hussain (a trader who was brutally beaten up in a train on some made up charges), they should become used to boycott on the pretext of Corona jihad or land (Shaheen bagh, Haldwani) or UPSC jihad among others. Just a reminder, during Covid 19 epidemic the blame of this was put on a Muslim organization, Tablighi Jamaat. This was called as Corona Jihad and Muslim hawkers were prohibited from areas where Hindu lived. Shaheen Bagh was a massive protest by Muslim women to begin with in Delhi and then all over in the aftermath of Government bringing in a law to give shelter to persecuted people of neighboring countries, except to Muslims. In Haldwani attempt was made to evacuate thousands of people, majority Muslims, on the pretext of illegal occupation, while there are Government schools and Hospital in the same area. There is a consistent theme in his pronouncements and that reasserts the RSS understanding of ‘Hindu Nation from times immemorial’! The question is was Hindu the identity and religion of the people living here all through? Was the South Asian community a homogenous mass living under one Republic or monarch? The present concept of Nation state is a just few centuries old and earlier there were pastoral groups, followed by Kingdoms, which were at loggerheads with each other. It was not Hindu versus others. Just a small example will suffice Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (A Hindu Maratha King) for establishing his kingdom had to defeat Chandra Rao More another Hindu king. His armies plundered in Surat and Bengal. In Bengal Maratha (Hindu) army plundered recklessly including the property of rich Hindu trader, Jagat Seth. In his battle against Aurangzeb, the Muslim emperor, Shivaji had Muslim Generals like Ibrahim Gardi and Daulat Khan. Aurangzeb had sent his top officer Raja Jaisingh, a Hindu, along with Hindu soldiers to contain Shivaji. So what is this, ‘Hindu is at war from 1000 years’? It is basically history related to diverse kingdoms and not people. Again a single example, it was Rana Sanga, a Hindu king from Rajasthan, who invited Babar, the Mughal (A lineage of Muslims) to come to join him in battle against Ibrahim Lodi another Muslim, who was ruling Delhi area at that time. In Bhima Koregaon (Maharashtra) battle the Peshwas army(Hindu) had Arab Muslim mercenaries, in another instance Rana Pratap (a Hindu King from Mewar in Rajasthan) had thousand Pathan soldiers (Muslim) in his army which took on Akbar (Mughal, Muslim emperor) in Haldighati battle in Rajasthan. The real struggle had been at the social level, the upper caste domination and atrocities against the lower caste, so very well pointed out by Swami Vivekananda, the great Hindu saint. Kings’ administrations were mixed with people of both religions and people interacted at social level giving rise to our culture, which had admixture of best of the traditions irrespective of from which religion they came. The whole edifice of RSS ideology is to hide the caste/varna atrocities of elite in our history and to deflect the narrative to the battle of Kings along religious lines and rule of different Muslim kings, particularly Mughals. These Muslims Kings are presented as if they have created all the evils prevalent here. They are also projected as tormentor of Hindu. So in their projection on one side there are Muslim aggressors and other side “Hindu”! Totally illogical way of presenting history! RSS adorns the garb of representing Hindus, and puts itself as ‘Hindu’, who has woken up. As ‘Hindu’ has been at war and woken up during last two decades and is in ‘hyper state’ from last eight years (rule of present Government) is to be accepted and not to be feared of as per Bhagwat. This ‘waking up’, has stepped up the violence against Muslim-Christian minorities. This woken up Hindu is represented by the likes of Dara Singh, (killer 0f Pastor Stains, a missionary working among Leprosy patients) or Shambhulal Regar who killed Afrazul (A Bengali Muslim wage labor) or those who have been indulging in lynching of Muslims on pretext of cow-beef. As Bhagwat is stating that Muslims have nothing to fear, bulldozers are delivering justice to Muslims in particular, while another set is intimidating Christian missionaries in Adivasi areas in particular. Human Rights Watch report 2022, points out that home demolitions are being used more and more brutally against Muslims of India. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen states that the exercise of CAA is weakening the Muslim minority and strengthening the Hindu majoritarianism. As far as Muslim superiority is concerned, some communal thinkers amongst Muslims, the elite sections did try to generalize the ‘we Muslims were the rulers’; this was parallel and opposite to ‘This has been a Hindu Rashtra’. The atrocities, beef lynching’s, love jihad intimidations are not due to the ‘superiority’ feeling among Muslims. It is enfoldment of agenda of Hate constructed by the Hindu majoritarianism. Why has the language of RSS Chief changed from his 2018 speeches in Vigyan Bhavan? There may be many reasons for Bhagwat to be more forthright than sugarcoating his agenda earlier. Many state elections are due in 2023 and General Elections are due in 2024. The polarization around identity issues seems to be the main instrument in its hands. Amit Shah, BJP leader, has already blown the conch for next elections by saying that Ram Temple will be ready by January 2024. Bhagawat is operating on same wavelength. The massive response to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra may be another factor. It seems Rahul Gandhi Yatra is giving the message of peace; there is a churning in the society, so RSS-BJP want to consolidate their position by highlighting their communal agenda, the one based on identity issues. Another point may be to put forward a subtle defense for those spewing Hate like Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur when she says ‘sharpen your knives’ or likes of Yeti Narsinghnand who says ‘40% Hindus will be killed if a Muslim becomes a PM’. It may be also be signal for its other foot soldiers to carry on their work irrespective of the criticism they face and odd Court ruling which may be critical of their actions. His insinuation about ‘balance of population’ is also unwarranted as the fertility rate among women, including Muslim women is also falling. ‘Hindu society has awakened: Natural to be aggressive’, this ‘Bhagwat speak’ totally contravenes what the greatest Hindu of 20th Century, Mahatma Gandhi, who gave the call of peace and non violence, compassion and love.

January 17, 2023

Mohan Bhagwat: Distorted History-Sectarian Agenda | Ram Puniyani

 

https://rampuniyani.com/mohan-bhagwat-distorted-history-sectarian-agenda/

Mohan Bhagwat: Distorted History-Sectarian Agenda

 

Ram Puniyani

 

In a series of lectures in Vigyan Bhavan in 2018 Mohan Bhagwat spoke in a language due to which many insiders and many commentators outside the Sangh felt that it is a major moment for RSS and it is changing drastically. The RSS supremo went to the extent of reciting the preamble of Indian Constitution and upheld secularism and socialism. In the recent interview to its mouth pieces, (Panchjanya and Organiser January 2023) the language is changed to what can be said to be ‘Golwlakar 2.0’.

Golwalkar’s 'Bunch of Thoughts', which is not much quoted by the Sangh ideologues these days, argues that Muslims, Christians and Communists are internal threat to the Hindu Nation. In his other book, ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’, this ideologue asserts that we are a Hindu nation from times immemorial and the minorities should be given the same treatment what Germans gave to the Jews and other weaker sections of society in Germany.

Now when Bhagwat says, that threat is not from outside but from inside, he is repeating Golwalkar’s formulation. In his earlier pronouncements he had been trying to gain legitimacy to the extent that a section of Muslims elite went to have dialogue with him. Now in the present circumstances it seems that Bhagwat wants to show RSS agenda in its blunt form. So he states that ‘Hindu’ has been on war from last thousand years and now ‘Hindu’ has woken up.  As per him there is no harm to the Muslims living today in Bharat. If they wish to stick to their faith, they can. If they want to return to the faith of their ancestors, they may. It is entirely their choice”. Also they have to give up their sense of superiority. He covers a wide range of topics from cruel Muslim invasion, to illegal immigrants, to accommodating transgender among others.

As per him there is nothing to fear for Muslims, only they should become used to occasional beatings in trains like Asim Hussain, they should become used to boycott on the pretext of Corona jihad or land (Shaheen bagh, Haldwani) or UPSC jihad among others. There is a consistent theme in his pronouncements and that reasserts the RSS understanding of ‘Hindu Nation from times immemorial’! Was this the identity and religion of the people living here all through? Was the South Asian community a homogenous mass living under one Republic or monarch? The present concept of Nation state is a just few centuries old and earlier there were pastoral groups, followed by Kingdoms, which were at loggerheads with each other. It was not Hindu versus others.

Just a small example will suffice Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for establishing his kingdom had to defeat Chandra Rao More another Hindu king. His armies plundered in Surat and Bengal. In Bengal Maratha army plundered recklessly including the rich trader Jagat Seth.

 In his battle against Aurangzeb he had Muslim Generals like Ibrahim Gardi and Daulat Khan. Aurangzeb had sent his top officer Raj Jaisingh to contain Shivaji Maharaj. So what is this, ‘Hindu is at war from 1000 years’? It is basically history related to diverse kingdoms and not people. Again a single example, it was Rana Sanga who invited Babar to come to join him in battle against Ibrahim Lodi. In Bhima Koregaon battle the Peshwas army had Arab Muslim mercenaries, in another instance Rana Pratap had thousand Pathan soldiers in his army which took on Akbar in Haldighati.

The real struggle had been at the social level, the upper caste domination and atrocities against the lower caste, so very well pointed out by Swami Vivekananda. Kings’ administrations were mixed and people interacted at social level giving rise to our culture, which had admixture of best of the traditions irrespective of from which religion they came. The whole edifice of RSS ideology is to hide the caste/varna atrocities of our history and to deflect to the battle of Kings and rule of different Muslim kings, particularly Mughals. So in their projection on one side there are Muslim aggressors and other side “Hindu”! Totally illogical way of presenting history!

RSS adorns the garb of representing Hindus, and puts itself as ‘Hindu’, who has woken up. As ‘Hindu’ has been at war and woken up during last two decades and is in ‘hyper state’ from last eight years is to be accepted and not to be feared of as per Bhagwat. This ‘waking up’, has stepped up the violence against Muslim-Christian minorities. This woken up Hindu is represented by the likes of Dara Singh, (killer 0f Pastor Stains) or Shambhulal Regar who killed Afrazul or those who have been indulging in lynching of Muslims on pretext of cow beef. As he is stating that Muslims have nothing to fear, bulldozers are delivering justice to Muslims in particular, while another set is intimidating Christian missionaries in Adivasi areas in particular.

Human Rights Watch report 2022, points out that home demolitions are being used more and more brutally against Muslims of India. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen states that the exercise of CAA is weakening the Muslim minority and strengthening the Hindu Majoritarianism. As far as Muslim superiority is concerned, some communal thinkers amongst Muslims, the elite sections did try to generalize the ‘we Muslims were the rulers’; this was parallel and opposite to ‘This has been a Hindu Rashtra’. The atrocities, beef lynching’s, love jihad intimidations are not due to the ‘superiority’ feeling among Muslims. It is enfoldment of agenda of Hate constructed by the Hindu majoritarianism.

Why has the language of Sarsanghchalak changed from his 2018 speeches in Vigyan Bhavan? There may be many reasons for Bhagwat to be more forthright than sugarcoating his agenda earlier. Many state elections are due in 2023 and General Elections are due in 2024. The polarization around identity issues seems to be the main instrument in its hands. As Amit Shah, has already blown the conch for next elections by saying that Ram Temple will be ready by January 2024. Bhagawat is operating on same wavelength. The massive response to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra may be another factor.

Another point may be to put forward a subtle defense for those spewing Hate like Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur (Sharpen your knives) or likes of Yeti Narsinghnand (40% Hindus will be killed if a Muslim becomes a PM). It may be also be signal for its other foot soldiers to carry on their work irrespective of the criticism they face and odd Court ruling which may be critical of their actions. His insinuation about ‘balance of population’ is also unwarranted as the fertility rate among women, including Muslim women is also falling.

‘Hindus society has awakened: Natural to be aggressive’, this ‘Bhagwat speak’ totally contravenes what the greatest Hindu of 20th Century, Mahatma Gandhi, who gave the call of peace and non violence, compassion and love.

     

Trailer of the documentary Ram Ke Naam by Anand Patwardhan has been age restricted by You Tube - What are they up to?

 


Tracking Religious Hatred in India .... -- report in Washington Post

 https://t.co/VNqFjuMlNp

January 15, 2023

India: "Why Can't An Anchor Be Taken Off Air?" Supreme Court On Hate Speech | NDTV report

  "Why Can't An Anchor Be Taken Off Air?" Supreme Court On Hate Speech

https://t.co/ZNoLYiBFI7