Monday, June 6, 2011

India pushing educating poor to the Private Sector

Wall St. Journal had a Front Page article on June 4, 2011 titled:

"Class Struggle: India's Experiment In Schooling Tests Rich and Poor"

For those of you in different countries who may not have access to the news paper, I will try to give the high lights of the article, to the best of my memory capabilities:

A new school, Shri Ram School, was founded in 1988 by the scions of DCM family, as the name suggests.

The school encourages creative thinking as against the prevalent rote learning.

The children of elite attend the school, including grand children of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.

It costs $1350 per year.

Under the recently passed "The Right to Education Act-2009", all private schools are mandated to enroll 25% of students from the underprivileged class. The school will be given $300 per kid enrolled.

The Public schools run by the state are in dire straits due to absent teachers and poor infra structure.

Thus, the children of domestic servants are in the same class as the owners children.

This has led to dis-content in the English-speaking class.

The kids of Hindi-speaking class are struggling mostly to stay abreast the other kids.

The English-speaking (ES) parents resent lowering of the standards to compensate for the under achievement of the Hindi-speaking (HS) kids.

The socio-economic back ground of the HS kids is a constraint in their assimilation.

The parents of ES kids have gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the authority of the government to impose the Act.

Now what is written is my opinion:

While I applaud the effort to close the widening gap between the rich and poor, the affirmative action plan being forced on private sector may not beget the best results. A good education is the surest route for the under class to move up the food chain. For any society to be all inclusive, where every citizen has the opportunity to achieve his/her dreams, a quality education is the essential game changer.

Is the State abdicating it's obligation to provide these tools by forcing the private sector to take up the slack. Even if the quota is raised to 50%, the problem will not go away. After all, the private schools are in the better-off cities, whereas the majority of the under performing kids are in secondary cities or rural areas. The schools run by state aid in these areas are in such sorry condition that all efforts are wasted. The teachers do not show up to work. Funds are mis-appropriated by politicians. Kids just hang around all day doing nothing. No wonder, the poor parents would rather have the children provide labor on the meager plot of a farm.

I think a better strategy will be for the State to provide, even a mediocre education to the part of the 60% of the society that lives on less than $2 a day. It will do much more to open the doors, barely open now, that allow the cross-pollination between the socio-economic classes. A society is just and equal when the lower strata have a good chance of breaking the "Class Barrier" and move upscale. This can come only when the temples of education are blessing all in an equitable manner.

Please post your comments here...

Thursday, June 2, 2011



What five countries are you talking about? The countries that have a recognizable minority population are: Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, France, USA, Nigeria, Sudan, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Isreal ......

If they do not appease the minority, should we become like them? No. We have a history of tolerance and to go down to their level would mitigate the moral advantage.

What Kashmir has done to Hindus is a travesty. Should the Muslims in Meerut, Hyderabad be kicked out? No, again.

Post comments on


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shamim Ahmed
Date: Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Subject: BHARAT .......Pseudosecularism?
To: Syed Qamar Hasan



Gopal Aggarwal (Paul)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Revolution in Bengal

Bhallo. Bhallo....

It is the re-awakening of the Bengali Spirit after four decades in the darkness.  The Bengali's have shown that they can not be held down under false premises of growth with equality.  So much for the Maoist-Communist promise of bringing prosperity to the masses.  All they succeeded in bringing to the fore was new words in the vocabulary...Gherao, Bandh and lock-out.

Calcutta, or Kolkatta, was the pre-eminent city in the sub-continent for hundred years till the 40's.  It was a city thriving with cultural, social, musical, culinary and commercial activities.  The city was a premier destination for getting a higher education in the Western mode.  The infamous Macaulay had started the first University there.  Even the original ICS were trained there before moving to England.  The East India Company had moved its Head Quarters from Madras to Calcutta.

Then the partition came with the loss of trade for the port.  And, jute business lost it's importance.  This one-two punch left the city with a pessimistic outlook.  It was a wide opening for the Communist to jump in.  I don't know how their political philosophy was formed.  Maybe the pipe smoking and Scotch drinking helped!!

I remember, in the 60's, if a car hit a pedestrian, a mob would collect soon and lynch the owner.  Yes, this is true.  There developed such a hatred for the bourgeois that the industrialist packed up their bags and moved out of the state or, at the least, stopped any further investment there.

In the recent past, The state threw out Tata Motors.  How does that play with creating good paying jobs.  To do that to Tata, after its record in Jamshedpur, is a travesty.     

Well Bengal, now you have your work cut out for you.  You have to make up for the lost time.  In your absence, the playing field has changed.  Now you will have to compete with the likes of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra and Maharashtra.  It will be an arduous task but with the Bengali intellect, surely achievable.  Go creat jobs, build factories, schools and provide water, electricity and sewer services to the masses.  Caveat, the electorate has awakened, you don't have too much time.

This revolution came with out blood or bullets.  Shows the strength of democracy.  Arab world can learn a few lessons.

Hey, Kerala, we are waiting for you to show your mettle.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

President Zardari on OBL

Another article......Biru

Inquirer Opinion/ Columns

Osama bin Laden
by Maria A Ressa

OSAMA BIN Laden’s death is a moral victory, but it may turn out to be nothing more than that.
Over the past decade, he has been isolated and the capabilities of his al-Qaida degraded, but the group has evolved into a social movement that continues to attract new groups and new recruits.

Studies on social networks of al-Qaida and its Southeast Asian arm, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), show that both organizations continue to spread violent jihadi ideology like a virus.

How does it spread? Aside from the crucible of the Afghan training camps in the late 1980s, the constant propaganda pumped out by al-Qaida’s media arm and the real and perceived injustice against Muslims used by radicals to recruit moderates, there are other, more imperceptible influences.

Social network theory offers the Three Degrees of Influence Rule defined in numerous academic studies. Everything we say or do ripples through our social network, creating an impact on our friends (one degree), our friends’ friends (two degrees), and even our friends’ friends’ friends (three degrees). For example, if you’re feeling lonely, there’s a 54-percent chance your friend will feel lonely; a 25-percent chance your friend’s friend will feel lonely; and a 15-percent chance your friend’s friend’s friend will feel lonely. Emotions, like happiness and hope, as well as smoking, sexual diseases, even obesity can be traced and spread through social networks.

If these can spread through social networks, why not the volatile mix that leads to terrorism—anger, fear, hatred, religious fervor? Mapping the social networks of al-Qaida and JI show it does.

Both al-Qaida and JI operated the same way. They hijacked disparate groups, trained and funded them and infected them with the jihadi virus that targeted both the “near enemy” (their governments) and the “far enemy” (the United States).

Both groups used a top-down centralized command as well as bottom-up initiative to spread the ideology and carry out attacks. Their zeal came from a blood compact—an evolving network of family and friends.

After 9/11 triggered a fierce reaction from law enforcement agencies around the world, both al-Qaida and JI were affected the same way: their centralized command structures collapsed and their operational capabilities were degraded. Still, the old networks remain and continue to spread the jihadi virus. Smaller, more ad-hoc and less professional cells carry out attacks without central coordination.

In Southeast Asia, the possibility of retaliatory attacks from Bin Laden’s death may be highest in Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. Since mid-March, a series of attacks (bombs planted inside book covers and sent to moderate Muslims, as well as a suicide bombing in a police mosque) and foiled plots (Easter weekend 150-kg bomb attached to a gas pipe near a church) show the JI network still at work.

“The organizational structure of these terrorists,” says Ansyaad M’bai, the chief of Indonesia’s National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT), “originally formed from the core members of JI, which broke into smaller units. This can be seen through the nature of bombs, the style of assembly of the explosives they use. This is the same group.”

Ten years after 9/11, the link between JI and al-Qaida continues. In January, Pakistani police arrested JI leader Umar Patek (who had operated in the Philippines since 2003) and his Filipino wife. They were arrested after police trailed a known al-Qaida operative.

“Umar Patek maintained links with al-Qaida,” says Rohan Gunaratna, author of “Inside Al Qaeda” and the head of Singapore’s International Center for Political Violence & Terrorism Research. “This is a clear indication of the continuing partnership between al-Qaida and JI.”

The Internet and mobile phone technology have helped to further decentralize terror networks and spread the jihadi virus. More jihadi content is spreading faster in the virtual world while police are finding online technical manuals on bomb-making in real-world terrorist safe-houses.

“More people are buying into the ideology of JI and its associated groups,” says Gunaratna. “More individuals are politicized, radicalized and mobilized, and a very small number of them will continue to carry out attacks.”

Add the potent amplifying effect of social media. In mid-April, a jihadist prepared a 23-page guide to “effectively post” on Facebook. (Indonesia is the second largest Facebook nation in the world; the Philippines ranks sixth globally).

What seems clear is that in both the virtual and real worlds, the jihadi virus is spreading into more moderate and mainstream communities.

Which brings us back to where we started: Osama bin Laden is dead, but the jihadi virus is here to stay. The question now is how to track its mutations and vaccinate the public against it.

Maria A. Ressa is former CNN Jakarta bureau chief and author of “Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia.” She has worked as a journalist in Southeast Asia for 25 years. She is author-in-residence at Singapore’s In

Pakistan did its part

By Asif Ali Zardari

Pakistan, perhaps the world’s greatest victim of terrorism, joins the other targets of al-Qaeda — the people of the United States, Britain, Spain, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria — in our satisfaction that the source of the greatest evil of the new millennium has been silenced, and his victims given justice. He was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be, but now he is gone.

Although the events of Sunday were not a joint operation, a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilized world. And we in Pakistan take some satisfaction that our early assistance in identifying an al-Qaeda courier ultimately led to this day.

Let us be frank. Pakistan has paid an enormous price for its stand against terrorism. More of our soldiers have died than all of NATO’s casualties combined. Two thousand police officers, as many as 30,000 innocent civilians and a generation of social progress for our people have been lost. And for me, justice against bin Laden was not just political; it was also personal, as the terrorists murdered our greatest leader, the mother of my children. Twice he tried to assassinate my wife. In 1989 he poured $50 million into a no-confidence vote to topple her first government. She said that she was bin Laden’s worst nightmare — a democratically elected, progressive, moderate, pluralistic female leader. She was right, and she paid for it with her life.

Some in the U.S. press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing. Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn’t reflect fact. Pakistan had as much reason to despise al-Qaeda as any nation. The war on terrorism is as much Pakistan’s war as as it is America’s. And though it may have started with bin Laden, the forces of modernity and moderation remain under serious threat.

My government endorses the words of President Obama and appreciates the credit he gave us Sunday night for the successful operation in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. We also applaud and endorse the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that we must “press forward, bolstering our partnerships, strengthening our networks, investing in a positive vision of peace and progress, and relentlessly pursuing the murderers who target innocent people.” We have not yet won this war, but we now clearly can see the beginning of the end, and the kind of South and Central Asia that lies in our future.

Only hours after bin Laden’s death, the Taliban reacted by blaming the government of Pakistan and calling for retribution against its leaders, and specifically against me as the nation’s president. We will not be intimidated. Pakistan has never been and never will be the hotbed of fanaticism that is often described by the media.

Radical religious parties have never received more than 11 percent of the vote. Recent polls showed that 85 percent of our people are strongly opposed to al-Qaeda. In 2009, when the Taliban briefly took over the Swat Valley, it demonstrated to the people of Pakistan what our future would look like under its rule — repressive politics, religious fanaticism, bigotry and discrimination against girls and women, closing of schools and burning of books. Those few months did more to unite the people of Pakistan around our moderate vision of the future than anything else possibly could.

A freely elected democratic government, with the support and mandate of the people, working with democracies all over the world, is determined to build a viable, economic prosperous Pakistan that is a model to the entire Islamic world on what can be accomplished in giving hope to our people and opportunity to our children. We can become everything that al-Qaeda and the Taliban most fear — a vision of a modern Islamic future. Our people, our government, our military, our intelligence agencies are very much united. Some abroad insist that this is not the case, but they are wrong. Pakistanis are united.

Together, our nations have suffered and sacrificed. We have fought bravely and with passion and commitment. Ultimately we will prevail. For, in the words of my martyred wife Benazir Bhutto, “truth, justice and the forces of history are on our side.”

The writer is the president of Pakistan.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Obama Bin Laden Capture Vs. Kill

Here is a very intellectual comment I got from a Doctor in Calif......

How I processed my emotions Sunday night - A reaction to Osama Bin Ladens demise

Immediately after hearing the news of OBLs killing, the events of the last 10 years zoomed past by me in a flashback. The memories that included images of our fellow citizens jumping off the twin towers to their tragic deaths, to the outcry from families of the victims of this tragedy, to the catastrophes of subsequent wars and suffering afflicted on Iraqi/Afghani citizens, to the torture and imagery of prison cells like Abu-Gharib and then the numerous stories of serious domestic law enforcement abuses such as that imposed on Fahad Hashmy in NY were indeed very painful and something that I would hate to be reminded of again and again.

My heart was heavy and I felt a deep sorrow for all those that suffered under the rubric of this conflict. But at the same time I was very proud and in awe of the decisiveness and poise of President Obama. His speech gave me much strength. I went to the mosque that night and saw my fellow Muslims with saddened faces lost in deep reflection under the same agony of the traumatizing past decade. I suggested to them, "tonight we must stand with the President and the decisions that he made". They acknowledged and thought about it further, then nodded and all of a sudden it seemed as if they all also found a way to process and place their own emotions accordingly. We all found an anchor to get bearings on our feelings of general sadness, not for OBL of-course, but for feeling besieged for so many years.

The next day when several Muslim leaders and scholars suggested that Muslim community is either overjoyed, ecstatic or happy over this incident, I couldnt get myself to agree at all. It didnt even seem congruous with the emotions of these same leaders as they spoke. It didn't feel genuine. Perhaps because at the moment they failed to address the deepest fear in our community, one of this rising rhetoric of Islamophobia and no one emphatically suggested that it was then time to close this chapter and shut the doors on hate against Muslims in America.

For now it seems like everyone is simply digging into their respective positions even deeper, the right is only interested in perpetuating the threat of radical Islam, the calls from the left to bring troops back home are getting louder, and the response of Muslim leaders is as confused as ever with no indication of owning up to the reasons behind extreme deviations within the faith as in the UBL phenomenon so that it may in turn lead to concrete solutions internally to defeat such an extreme ideological onslaught.

I dont think anyone will hear me when I cry out, at least for now, but I'll say it as loud as I could, its time to let go. The Al-Qaeda story has ended and all that it inspired in terms of war and suffering must end as well. Will the remnants of its ideology survive? Sure, but so did communist parties as they still exist in many countries, neo-Nazism or neo-fascism (seen even here in today's America), but their overall impact on public psyche is none to insignificant. Its time to let go.

Please feel free to comment are three comments:

I think there is a valid point that taking actions like what the US did in Pakistan raises legitimate questions about sovereignty. Unfortunately it gets tangled up when you are dealing with a country like Pakistan. You don't really have a functioning Government, there is total anarchy and chaos, nobody knows who is doing what, there is no accountability and they are harboring the worst terrorists in the world. Clearly there is a dilemma. Does anybody honestly believe that if the US had alerted the Pakistanis, there was any chance of either capture or killing of Osama? Osama has been enjoying the Pakistani hospitality at least for the past five or six years.

The question that troubles me is whether Osama should have been captured instead of being killed. Apparently there was little if any real resistance to the raid, he was unarmed and his wife and child were there. Even a vile person like Osama deserves mercy in these circumstances.


Thanks. Interesting. Much more coherent analysis than Prashad's interview. I agree with most of it except the use of the word "assassination." which is being used rather loosely these days. It is usually reserved for heads of state and key political figures - Kennedy, Martin Luther, Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi. There is a certain 'reverence' (not the right word but you get the gist) if you will. Which creates certain legal issues and implications.

When they kill a leader of a terrorist organization or a thug or Gadhafi's sons or Sadam Hussein's sons or Usama - I would say they have been taken out or killed in action - which gives it the legitimacy of war or fighting terrorism.

Nobody questioned Israel when the Mosssad went after Eichmann and others who were then living in other sovereign nations?


A very interesting presentation. It reminds me of two people seeing the same accident...One saw the red car hit the black car and the other saw the opposite. Sadly, in either case there was damage done. I believe the permission given for the actions taken are acceptable no matter who criticizes them. A moral pass should be given under a simple statement that 911 changed the rules of engagement, war, killing and recognition of a military enemy forever. I find it interesting in the presentation that the words "religion" or "Jihad" "Muslim Extremist", etc. are never used but rather "Al Queda," and "civilians" etc. ....It is very simple....We are in a religious war "Religious War" with a fanatical enemy and every "non believer" is the enemy. Even though their religion is very strict and well defined there is even a place where Allah grants them the right to "lie" to get an advantage over the non believer. There is not a human being alive that would ever think that "rules of military engagement" would be appropriate in a religious war. If they say that is not true then they are lying and simply want to argue.
Religious wars defined:
A religious war is a war caused by, or justified by, religious differences. It can involve one state with an established religion against another state with a different religion or a different sect within the same religion, or a religiously motivated group attempting to spread its faith by violence, or to suppress another group because of its religious beliefs or practices. The Muslim conquests, theFrench Wars of Religion, the Crusades, and the Reconquista are frequently cited historical examples, especially in History Books. Saint Augustine is credited as being the first to detail a Just War theory within Christianity, whereby war is justifiable on religious grounds.
If you cut away all the rhetoric and bull shit there are no rules.....This is a religious war there will be no truce.

In a message dated 5/5/2011 3:16:46 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, biru@writes:

Good is an article (after your comments) from Economist that gives the rationale behind the action.


On Wed, May 4, 2011 at 8:46 PM,

Your buddy was on the Fox news channel a few minutes ago. He was interviewed today about his strong objection to the US killing Usama. "Illegal and violates the basic principles of sovereignty." US had no business invading a sovereign air space according to him. Did not make his case eloquently, and fumbled his interpretation of the law. Of course the legal eagles at Fox and O'Reilly are calling this chap a Pinhead.

I think you could get an interesting discussion of law and raw emotion going on this!!


A messy business

When a state kills its enemies remotely, the law gets tangled

May 5th 2011 | from the print edition
KILLING quickly in combat, when large numbers of soldiers are fighting according to the laws of war, is sad but legal. Change any of those parameters, and things get tricky. Some lawyers have denounced the killing of Mr bin Laden, unarmed and in his home, as an extra-judicial murder. Others see it as a wholly legitimate military operation.
Every country allows soldiers to use lethal force against a declared enemy in wartime, just as police may, in some circumstances, kill criminals. But America is at war with an organisation, not a country, and though al-Qaeda is not a state it is (by its own account) at war with the United States. Purists argue that the criminal law is the right weapon for defence against terrorists; pragmatists would differ.
In any case, America’s armed forces have legal backing for their actions against al-Qaeda. Though a presidential order of 1976 bars assassinations by America’s spooks, an act of Congress in 2001 authorised the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in September of that year.
Next comes the category of person killed. Deliberately targeting civilians in any conflict is illegal. But al-Qaeda has a quasi-military structure, and plenty of precedents exist for killing enemy commanders in wartime: in April 1943 America ambushed Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese naval commander, on the express orders of President Franklin Roosevelt. Critics of America’s actions are arguing that Mr bin Laden was no longer the effective commander of al-Qaeda. But that would be hard to prove.
Location can be controversial too. Russia sees the émigré Chechen leadership, for example, as legitimate targets and has killed them in places such as Qatar, to the fury of the local authorities. The assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a Hamas commander, in Dubai in January 2010, presumably by Israel, aroused similar ire. But Pakistan has itself used lethal force against al-Qaeda and allowed American drone attacks, for all its loud complaining now.
Timing complicates the question further. Bombing soldiers in a hospital, or shooting them after they have surrendered, is a war crime. Soldiers are under no legal duty to give their opponents a chance to surrender, though if the white flag is shown it must usually be honoured. Nobody has suggested that Mr bin Laden tried to surrender. But his shooting while unarmed raises questions about the nature of his resistance. Any video footage of the attack will be closely scrutinised to see whether he was a combatant, rather than a prisoner.
Behind the controversy is a change not in the laws of war but in the means of waging it. Drone strikes were measured in dozens under George Bush. They number many hundreds under Barack Obama. They allow an official sitting in America to kill someone thousands of miles away. Such killings usually escape scrutiny—and controversy—because they preclude any chance of surrender. Killing someone in the same room is always going to be more complicated.
from the print edition | Briefing

Verma on Khalidi

The exceptions in the Indian Constitution for Hindus and Muslims are out of respect for our time honored traditions and not for any exploitative purpose as with your GOP here.
I have intentionally kept a very low profile during these exchanges not just because for me it is an unknown territory - no experience or any special knowledge. Personally, grew up where there really were really no distinctions. In college, I had a privileged life - loved and hated equally by both Muslims and Hindus.
I am enjoying and learning a tremendous amount from your writings and the responses, specially Qamar's. Keep up the good work.
- Hide quoted text -

On Mon, May 2, 2011 at 8:11 AM, Biru <; wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sh <;
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Subject: Re: More..... Comments..... REVIEW:.... Verma on Khalidi _Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India
To: Biru <

My understanding is that India has probably the higheset level of preferential treatment for all minorities including Muslims. Many of the minority communities have benefitted tremendously under that program. It is questionable if the Muslim community in general has taken advantage of it. From what little I know they have not. Although compared to conditions in Pakistan and many other predominantly Muslim countries, maybe the ordinary Muslim is doing better in India.

If you compare the treatment of minorities in Pakistan, or most other Muslim countries the less said the better.

Not only is there preferential treatment, but as a secular democracy India has a real conflict in that the Constitution makes explicit exceptions for specific religious issues which include both Muslims and Hindus. To me, that makes absolutely no sense. By definition a secular democracy needs to keep church and state separate. (The right wing of the Republican Party in the US has probably forgotten that) On that score, Muslim countries are logically consistent. They do not claim to be democracies or secular. The current struggle in Egypt and other countries in the middle east is fascinating from that viewpoint.

Historically, I have been intrigued by the fact that the Muslim invasion had both barbaric and civilized aspects. Both Babar and Akbar would be considered enlightened rulers. Difficult to say the same about Mohammad of Gazni or Aurangzeb and many others.

On Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 1:47 PM, Biru &lt> wrote:
Usama and Qamar:

At the outset I agree with Qamar that we seem to have drifted away from the theme of the original article. We are doing a version of Coffee Shop discussion, only thing missing is cigarette smoke. We are focusing on looking back wards. That may help us under stand how we got where we are, but certainly not chart a new course at this important juncture of our country.

So, lets start again. Yes, there are real and perceived lack of opportunities not only for Muslims, but also lower casts, Dalits and Christians. Unfortunately that is the Legacy System we inherited with all its inherent bugs.

Gandhi gave us a new foundation of pluralism (his ideal was Jesus and was a avatar of His). That was only three score years ago. He lived and died for his belief of secularism and that Truth will prevail. We as a country are a work in progress and have an arduous path ahead of us in reinforcing his ideals of self less service, transparency and honesty in public life. But, we have certainly held up his belief of 'love conquers all'. There have been incidents in our short life that may put a lie to this and prevent the healing of deep old wounds. Looking at our erstwhile co-habitants, we can take solace in our achievements at the cost of complacency. We should not be glib in seeing the non-achievement of the founding principle of their state. They have descended from the Land Of The Pure to a state that discriminates against Muhajirs, Bhoras, Khojas, Baluchis and every other minority. Most of the Hindus have been ostracized.

I whole heartedly agree with Usama that Wahabism is not an ideal model to look at. It was promoted as a convenience for the House of Saud to keep the religious men happy while pocketing all the oil money. You can not go to Saud with a copy of Gita or Bible. Why should we be looking at them for inspiration when we have our own Ulema of Deobandi and Barelvi. They offer a very strict interpretation of true Islam while promoting peace with other religions. Indonesia may be a better model. The most revered Maulvi there is an Indian Ahmadi. They too have rejected Wahabism or Salafism.

We have to live up to the ideals of Gandhi and prove that religious contention has no place in a civil society. As to the lack of equal economic opportunities for each of us, the governance has to provide a level playing field. Then it should be up to each of us to get the most "roti-kapra-makan' for us and our family. We should not look to the politicians for entitlements, sops or quotas for they will use and abuse the voting block for their own glory. This is where the dream has been shattered.

Each one of us has to pull one self up from ones boot straps and not look at others to do it for us.

The Idea -Of- India is in Beta Test. Lets remove all the bugs and modify the code as needed. I am very optimistic we will succeed in showing the closed societies a road away from doctrinaire philosophy.


p.s. Usama....send me the link. Also, I am not a big fan of leftist historians. Try L. P. Sharma. Of course, a Sharma has to be good!!

On Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 11:20 AM, Usama <> wrote:

Qamar and Biru:
The debate about Muslim invasions has long been settled, as far as I know. The more current historians, such as Sunil Khilnani, Romilla Thapar and Ramchandra Guha have accepted that religion had very little to do with the depredations of the medieval times. Many of Shivaji's soldiers and generals were Muslim, as were those employed in the Vijayanagar empire. Interestingly, gold coins dating from ancient Muslim kingdoms have been found in some Hindu temples in Pakistani provinces, recently. Richard Eaton is another historian who has established the absence of religious zeal in the wars fought for material gain.

As regards the alleged oneness of Islam, it exists only in theory and in the minds of mullahs and Sunni scholars with political agendas. Typically, these folks willfully ignore the actual, lived experience of Muslim societies throughout the centuries and everywhere in the world. The diversity of Islamic religious expressions in every region of the world is breathtaking. Even the Islamic dogma and doctrine are from being free of controversy. The Prophet did not name anybody his successor. The holiness of the four khalifas is a totally contrived and political construct, deemed necessary to standardize Islamic practice in a political struggle for power that began in the wake of the Prophet's death.

Saudis being tolerant? You got to be joking. No church or mandir allowed to be built on their land? Migrant workers treated as miskeen, or rafique or worse.

Some biased Western historians trace the origins of Sufism to the wool clothing some holy men used, but that's a very limited definition of the whole phenomenon. Sufism represents a mystical dimension of Islam, as interpreted and propounded by Ibn-e Arabi in the 12th century, and represented by the poetry of Maulana Rumi, Fariduddin Attar (Conference of the Birds), and later practised by Chishti holy men: Nizamuddin and Moinuddin etc.

If the Saudis can have their version of Islam, as do the Iranians, the Sudanese, the Moroccans and the Turks, why can't Indians have a version of their own?

Biru sahib, you are a reader of the Economist, since you sent me some thoughtful articles about Indian economy, that's evidence enough that you are on equal footing with us. Since Qamar spent a lifetime in journalism, and I spent a few years in it, we have some skill with words, that's all. I enjoy a civil discourse, which goes on some mailing lists, one of which, my favorite, is SASIALIT, i.e., sough Asia literature. I'll send you subscription information, if you like.


To regard

2011/4/23 Syed

Biru and Usama.

Biru sahib laments on finding equal footing with us. I am not finding any footing at all to take part in the debate and take it
However,in my humble opinion there can be several narratives to the issue. Let me clarify some. That the barbarians Indian history refers were actually Turkomans.
The most maligned was Mohammed bin Ghori, who is reported to have ransacked and demolished several temples in the North-Western India.
But Biru says, his top three general were all Hindu's Soband Rai, Tilak and Nath. And when one of them, if i am not wrong, Nath's death had a devastating
affect on Ghori. Besides several narratives say that what he did in the east, he almost did the same in his western campaigns. He was even planning
to raid Baghdad, the seat of the caliph.
The idea of Pakistan is wrongly attributed to Iqbal by later day Pakistani media and intellectuals as Jinnah is credited with creation of Pakistan. Pakistan
was carved out for the landed aristocracy of Sindh and the Punjab for the their survival. Chaudry Khaleeq, the Mazari's, Bhutto's and the likes of him were smart enough
to know that in free Indian they will lose their lands.
Usma, I do not contribute to the idea of several Islams. There is only one Islam. Yes there many Muslim societies. Each trying to be closer to the
template of the Prophet(PBUH).
I think you should visit the Gulf and the cradle of so called wahabism, Saudi Arabia to see for yourself. The Arabs by far and large are more tolerant
of other faiths, that Muslims Of the sub-continent.
You will find several Hindu and Christians occupying very senior and gainful positions in the private and public sector.
Whabism, to borrow from you is more a creation of the US media after September 11. It is more akin to Martin Luther's campaign to rid the
clergy of its trappings.
Historically speaking the Sufi, originated from the term Soof, which in Arabic means wool. The first Caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr (RAZ) was
an embodiment of simplicity and humbleness. He clothes were of thick Soof and that's how a Sufi has come into being. It started
not from India, but from Al Sham( Syria) and traveled to iIndia. All the Sufi saints trace their Sheikhs to the Al Sham.
Even the Hinduism as a religion was abstract in its very early form. It acquired Iconism and idol worship and at a later stage.

Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 16:03:14 -0400
Subject: Comments..... REVIEW:.... Verma on Khalidi _Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India


Usama and Qamar:

The depth of intellect, evident from your learned comments, makes me hesitant to converse with you on an equal footing. I will still try.

At the outset let me reiterate that for the idea of a Secular India to bloom, it has to include all its colors.

To associate Indian Muslims with the Barbarians who looted and eviscerated the land of Indus Valley is misguided. The marauders were in the name only Muslims, their true religion was monetary conquest. The Turkic group that started coming, mostly from Uzbekistan, to Indus started the process of settling down. It was only the Mughals who established a Base Camp, though Babar still wanted his permanent rest in his old country.

Most of the soldiers and Generals in the Mughal employ were Hindus. Who was the General who defeated Shivaji? There was amity and comity between the two groups even during the harsher periods of forced change. As Usama has said, the idea of a nation did not exist. It was local kingdoms who aligned themselves based on selfish interests and not religion.

I will like to point that the zeitgeist even then was Secular. Let me digress, the local religion in millennial before the marauders came over the Hindu Kush was Shavia, Vaishnav, Buddhist, Jain and Shraman. Yes, they were considered distinctly separate religions! They all lived and let live. The schism with Buddhism came much later when the "Hindu" groups had merged to re-create the Vedic Brahmanism. Thus, we can see that the prevalent religious/social philosophy was inclusionary. All groups and thoughts were accepted and developed.

It is in this light that the Indian Islamic thought is very different than the Land where it came from. The Sufi tradition, originally Turkic, took roots in the Indus. It greatly influenced the Hindu worship and started the Bhakti movement. That is the beauty of our civilization, the congruence of many varied thoughts melding into each others domain. It is evident in the lack of animosity between Sunnis and Shias in India.

Now after the long diatribe, lets get back to Hindu (though I call myself Sanatan Dharmi) Vs. Muslim dialog. The roots go way back to the British Raj. Wow, what a great place to dump all your shortcomings! They did divide and rule. If they wasn't bad enough, some ill guided people like Iqbal, whose mother was Hindu, established the premise that Muslim can not live with Hindus and must have a Land Of The Pure. Of course, we know that idea has completely failed. It started as a Secular state, Jinnah and Nehru were of the same ilk. It became the first Islamic nation. And failed, it greatly has. Religion is good only for the soul. You need engineering for the stomach.

It is Pakistan that created the conundrum in the minds of Indus Mussalman. And a very perplexing one. Where does ones loyalty lie? Not many voted with their feet. 200 million are here, and if I may say so, much better of.

So, my friends, we have to prove that the land that has nourished many different cultures will mature into a giving and caring family of equals.

p.s. This e-mail is circulated to about 50 people.

On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 1:47 PM, Usama <> wrote:

I disagree both with your diagnosis and prescriptions about the Indian Muslims. Your basic assumptions are those of the Urdu speakers (about 55 percent of the Indian population) who believe that Muslims are a "community" by themselves, and that they ruled India for centuries. You got to remember: Indian civilization may be 5,000 years old, but the idea of India as a political / geographical entity is less than 150 years old. The Mughal empire was an Indian phenomenon, jointly run with non-Muslims who were split among themselves in terms of castes and classes and who definitely were not a monolithic Hindu population (see Kanchan Iliah). There was very little Islamic about the Mughal empire or about the other princely states where the elites were mostly Muslim. (Kashmir had the reverse situation.)

The minority problem as I see it, based on my 3 years in India during 2004-2007, is that the identity insecurity that has gripped Muslims for decades, has been exacerbated by the majority people's search for their own "true" identity. In other words, the majority Indians' brief flirtation with Hindutva resulted in further throwing the Muslims back on into their hard shell. Thank god, the larger society has repudiated the monstrous Hindutva ideology; but the Muslims are still not reassured. The Gulf experience has made many Muslims abandon the Islam that evolved in the Indian context over the centuries in the shadow of the Vedic civilization. That Indian version of Islam was totally tolerant, like the Vedic civilization, and accepting of many different expressions of piety (Nizamuddin Awliya, Ajmer etc).This Wahhabism embraced by many Muslims is a foreign import; it does not suit our temperament. It is ahistorical. It may be alright for the Bedouins and the Gulfies, but it is totally destructive of our own traditions. It also hurts us politically. The siege mentality, of course, is a worldwide phenomenon, made worse by the costly American imperialism, and European islamophobia.

The only way for Muslims to grow out of their medieval mindset is to embrace modernity: 1) a man-centered universe in which Allah does not micromanage the world; 2) secularism as understood in the Indian context, i.e., equal respect for all religions, and not necessarily a separation of religion and state, 3) equality of men and women; 4) individual rights; 5) freedom of thought etc. etc.

2011/4/19 Syed  <
Biru Sahib.
Yes, personal examples are necessary to eliminate untruths based on personal examples.
You see the problem with the INDIAN MUSALMAN is, he is victim of circumstances. The INDIAN MUSALMAN
has to accept the fact that he was always a minority. It was a quirk of history, that HE came to be the ruler.
Then a terrible tragedy happened to the INDIAN MUSALMAN. The 1947 partition of the country. Sadly HINDUSTAN was
dismembered into West and East Pakistan. The worse that happened was this division was based on a flawed
TWO- NATION theory. Those who choose not to go to this promised land of honey and milk today are 200 million strong
and are still bewildered about their status in India.When we begin to realize, (the
common Musalman)
that we are an integral part of India and as a community,
with a rich cultural and social heritage,( never mind the venomous and vindictive HINDUTVA forces, that are now dwindling) that made India
what it is today,a great tolerant and pluralistic nation, with as many as vibrant religions
and cultures the universe has.
Unfortunately our leadership operates on ignorance and treacherousness . And our Media, only plays over and over the glorious
past wants us to bask in the glow of nostalgia. Our malady is that we cannot or rather do not want to get rid of the past baggage.
But i am sure give the new generation of MUSALMANS another decade or two, you will see a people matching step to step
with what you have named as progressive lot..

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2011 11:48:31 -0400
Subject: Re: REVIEW:.... Verma on Khalidi _Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India



As always, you have great ideas.

Qamar, I always hear people giving personal examples to prove a universal truth. Like you, I also know a lot of very successful Muslims, you being one of them. My father had a very good friend, Gen. Habibulah. And another General from Hyderabad (senior moment with name) who later settled in Pune, buying a hotel. My good friend Hasan was related to him. My fathers boss was Mr. S. A. Qadir from Andhra, in the GOI. In Baghdad, while serving in UN, his best friend was Mr, Quadri, also from Hyderabad. Shamim knew him. So, we agree, there are very smart Muslims. My very good friend, Habib Ansari, came within a hair breath of becoming a Supreme Court justice.

Having said that, is there a dispute that statistically, Muslims are not on par with the nation in educational achievement. If not, then that gap has to be minimized to preclude a permanent under class. We do not wish to be a society of haves and have-nots.

The most important move will be to avoid ghettoisation. The feeling of minority insecurity has to be banished from the mind if one has to main line.


2011/4/17 Syed
Biru Sahib, when did you last visit Hyderabad. I go regularly to Hyderabad and don't waste time sipping coffee in Nizam Club /Secunderabad Club. I mingle with people,
people from all walks of life, from an auto-rickshaw driver to a CEO. I found that Dalits and Muslims have made considerable progress in education and technology.
There are over 10,000 IT trained people gainfully employed in Cyberabad in the several of IT companies.
You see what you have commented is now old hat. Things have changed.
last visit i was invited to a Bimillah ceremony arranged by a retired major at the military Club. Believe me i met half a dozen senior military officer from majorl,,brigadier and even
general.All Muslims.
There are over half a dozen senior police officer currently in Hyd. The present Commissioner if Muslim.
The recently retired DIG is also a Muslim,

Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 15:32:11 -0400

Subject: REVIEW:.... Verma on Khalidi _Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India

Very interesting comments and review. I will add my two bits worth. I would not doubt that there may be overt caution against hiring Muslims in the security forces. Justified or not, Indira Gandhi insisted on keeping her Sikh Guards!!

It should be noted that Muslim community, as a whole, lags in educational achievements, as compared to the national level. This issue was addressed a long time ago by Sir Syed when he formed Aligarh Muslim University. But the lag continues and that can partially explain the low representation in all Government jobs. Just take the example of Hyderabad with an ancient and vibrant Muslim community. How many Muslim programmers do you find?

The community as a whole has to emphasize the pre-requisite of modern education to eliminate the economic chasm. If not, the group will fall farther behind every year.......Biru