September 03, 2005

Russia invites India to hold major Russian-Chinese-Indian military exercises

MOSCOW — Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has made a proposal to India to hold major Russian-Chinese-Indian military exercises similar to the recent maneuvers it had held with China, the Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye military weekly reported Friday.

Experts said this means that Russia has serious plans for its policy in the east.

Alexei Bogaturov, deputy director of the International Security Institute, said the Russian political elite was tired of Moscow's attempts to win the respect of the West and the United States. Russia's opinion is respected only when it is feared, he said. "On the one hand, Russia does not want to be feared, but on the other hand, you must be strong to be respected," the expert said. This explains recent hints about the creation of powerful military blocs.

According to Bogaturov, there are no reasons to believe that Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi want to join forces against Washington. They simply want to be respected. "These joint exercises are, above all, a kind of political statement," the expert said.

Anatoly Tsyganok, the head of the Military Forecasting Center at the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, said the desire of Moscow and Beijing to establish a military-political alliance pointed to their "growing resistance against the unipolar structure of the world advocated by the Americans." The attempt to involve India in a joint naval group looks logical in this situation, the expert said.

Ivanov was pursuing one more goal when he made the offer, the expert said. About a month ago, the Indian military leadership again protested against Russian arms deliveries to India's adversaries in the Indian Ocean, in particular China. India said it would buy from other major arms exporters unless Russia heeded its appeal.

Therefore, Russia's offer to hold joint military maneuvers and later to create a military group in the Asian-Pacific region is also an attempt to sooth India's concern over Russian arms exports to China, the weekly concluded.

SPEECH : Putin's meeting with Beslan victims

Beginning of Meeting with Residents of Beslan who Suffered in the Terrorist Act of September 1-3, 2004

September 2, 2005

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: I won’t hide that it is difficult to begin this conversation.

Any mother, any father, any normal person understands what you are feeling. This is why thousands of people in our country and abroad responded to this tragedy at the moment it took place and did everything they could to show in some way their solidarity with the victims.

Overall, I know about and have been informed about the problems and concerns that preoccupy you today. I must say right away that I agree with those who say that today the state is unable to provide its citizens with the necessary level and quality of security. This is regrettably true not only of our state. You know about the terrible tragedy that struck the United States in 2001, when law enforcement agencies and intelligence services failed to detect and prevent a horrific terrorist act that killed thousands of people. You know about that terrorist acts in Spain and the recent terrorist bombings in London. Even powerful and developed countries with functioning economies and well-organised intelligence services are not able to prevent these barbaric acts from taking place.

There are many more examples. What can we say then about our own country that, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, suffered heavy blows in all areas, in social policy and in the economy? Following the serious events in Chechnya in the first half of the 1990s, our Armed Forces and our special services were barely on their feet and were in a state of semi-disintegration. Unfortunately, we have no other means, no option but to combat this scourge that is terrorism.

But I also want to stress that I agree with those who say that the problems our state faces are not an excuse or justification for officials not to fulfil their duties properly. This is the truth. A thorough investigation should be conducted into all the circumstances of this affair and you and the entire Russian public should be informed of its conclusions. This is our objective and we will most certainly ensure that this is indeed what happens.

That is what I wanted to say at the start. I know that you have many questions and perhaps also proposals. I am ready to listen to everything you have to say.

In conclusion, I just wanted to explain why we chose precisely this day for this meeting. I knew earlier about your request for a meeting. But I was waiting first for investigators to collect enough objective data from preliminary investigations into a number of criminal cases started following the tragedy in Beslan. The second point, which you also know about, is that we have made a legislative decision to declare September 3 the Day of Solidarity with all Victims of Terrorism. It was the terrorist act in Beslan that prompted us to take this decision at national level and immortalise the memory of all victims of terrorism, including the victims of Beslan, throughout all of Russia and for all time to come.

That is all I wanted to say at the beginning. Let us now talk in detail about all the questions that worry and concern you. I am ready to answer all your questions.

Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath: from natural disaster to national humiliation

Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath: from natural disaster to national humiliation

Statement of the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board

2 September 2005

The catastrophe that is unfolding in New Orleans and on the Gulf coast of Mississippi has been transformed into a national humiliation without parallel in the history of the United States.

The scenes of intense human suffering, hopelessness, squalor, and neglect amidst the wreckage of what was once New Orleans have exposed the rotten core of American capitalist society before the eyes of the entire world—and, most significantly, before those of its own stunned people.

The reactionary mythology of America as the “Greatest Country in the World” has suffered a shattering blow.

Hurricane Katrina has laid bare the awful truths of contemporary America—a country torn by the most intense class divisions, ruled by a corrupt plutocracy that possesses no sense either of social reality or public responsibility, in which millions of its citizens are deemed expendable and cannot depend on any social safety net or public assistance if disaster, in whatever form, strikes.

Washington’s response to this human tragedy has been one of gross incompetence and criminal indifference. People have been left to literally die in the streets of a major American city without any assistance for four days. Images of suffering and degradation that resemble the conditions in the most impoverished Third World countries are broadcast daily with virtually no visible response from the government of a country that concentrates the greatest share of wealth in the world.

The storm that breached the levees of New Orleans has also revealed all of the horrific implications of 25 years’ worth of uninterrupted social and political reaction. The real results of the destruction of essential social services, the dismantling of government agencies entrusted with alleviating poverty and coping with disasters, and the ceaseless nostrums about the “free market” magically resolving the problems of modern society have been exposed before millions.

With at least 100,000 people trapped in a city without power, water or food and threatened with the spread of disease and death, the government has proven incapable of establishing the most elementary framework of logistical organization. It has failed to even evacuate the critically ill from public hospitals, much less provide basic medical assistance to the many thousands placed in harm’s way by the disaster.

What was the government’s response to the natural catastrophe that threatened New Orleans? It amounted to betting that the storm would go the other way, followed by a policy of “every man for himself.” Residents of the city were told to evacuate, while the tens of thousands without transportation or too poor to travel were left to their fate.

Now crowds of thousands of hungry and homeless people have been reduced to chanting “we need help” as bodies accumulate in the streets. Washington’s inability to mount and coordinate basic rescue operations will unquestionably add to a death toll that is already estimated in the thousands.

The government’s callous disregard for the human suffering, its negligence in failing to prepare for this disaster and, above all, its utter incompetence have staggered even the compliant American media.

Patriotic blather about the country coming together to deal with the crisis combined with efforts to poison public opinion by vilifying those without food or water for “looting” have fallen flat in face of the undeniable and monumental debacle that constitutes the official response to the disaster.

Reporters sent into the devastated region have been reduced to tears by the masses of people crying out for help with no response. Television announcers cannot help but wonder aloud why the authorities have failed so miserably to alleviate such massive human suffering.

The presidency, the Congress and both the Republican and Democratic parties—all have displayed an astounding lack of concern for the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been shattered and who face the most daunting and uncertain future, not to mention the tens of millions more who will be hard hit by the economic aftershocks of Katrina.

In the figure of the president, George W. Bush, the incompetence, stupidity, and sheer inhumanity that characterize so much of America’s money-mad corporate elite find their quintessentially repulsive expression.

As the hurricane developed over two weeks in the Caribbean and slowly approached the coast of New Orleans and Mississippi, Bush amused himself at his ranch retreat in Crawford, Texas. It is now clear that his administration made no serious preparations to deal with the dangers posed by the approaching storm.

In an interview Thursday on the “Good Morning America” television program, Bush reprised his miserable performance of the previous day, adding to Wednesday’s banalities the declaration that there would be “zero tolerance” for looters.

The president blanched when ABC interviewer Dianne Sawyer asked about a suggestion that the major oil companies be forced to cede a share of the immense windfall profits they have reaped from rising prices over the past six months to fund disaster relief. He responded by counseling the American people to “send cash” to charitable organizations.

In other words, there will be no serious financial commitment from the government to save lives, care for the sick and needy, and help the displaced and bereft restore their lives. Nor will there be any national, centrally financed and organized program to rebuild one of the country’s most important cities—a city that is uniquely associated with some of the most critical cultural achievements in music and the arts of the American people.

Above all, the suffering of millions will not be allowed to impinge on the profit interests of a tiny elite of multi-millionaires whose interests the government defends.

Later in the day, Bush described the aftermath of the flood as a “temporary disturbance.”

The ruthless attitude of those in power toward the average poor and working class residents of New Orleans was summed up Thursday by Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who declared “it doesn’t make sense” to spend tax dollars to rebuild New Orleans. “It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed,” he said.

While Hastert was forced to backtrack from these chilling remarks, they have a definite political logic. To rebuild the lives that have been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina would require mounting a massive government effort that would run counter to the entire thrust of a national policy based upon privatization and the transfer of wealth to the rich that has for decades been pursued by both major parties.

Can anyone truly believe that the current administration and its Democratic accomplices in Congress are going to launch a serious program to construct low-cost housing, rebuild schools and provide jobs for the hundreds of thousands left unemployed by the destruction?

Congress has been virtually silent on the catastrophe in the south. It has nothing to say, having voted to support Bush’s extreme right-wing agenda of massive tax cuts for the rich, huge outlays for war in Iraq and Afghanistan and an ever-expanding Pentagon budget, and billions to finance the Homeland Security Department.

The millionaires club in the Capitol is well aware that it voted to slash funding for elementary infrastructure needs—including urgently recommended improvements in outmoded and inadequate Gulf Coast anti-hurricane and anti-flood systems.

The Democratic Party has, as always, offered no opposition. Indeed, the president was gratified to be able to announce that former Democratic president Bill Clinton would resume his road show with the president’s father, the former Republican president, touring the stricken regions and drumming up support for charitable donations. In this way the Democratic Party has signaled its solidarity with the White House and the Republican policy against any serious federal financial commitment to help the victims and rebuild the devastated regions.

The decisive components of the present tragedy are social and political, not natural. The American ruling elite has for the past three decades been dismantling whatever forms of government regulation and social welfare had been instituted in the preceding period. The present catastrophe is the terrible product of this social and political retrogression.

The lessons derived from past natural and economic calamities—from the deadly floods of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to the dust bowl and Depression of the 1930s—have been repudiated and derided by a ruling elite driven by the crisis of its profit system to subordinate ever more ruthlessly all social concerns to the extraction of profit and accumulation of personal wealth.

Franklin Roosevelt—an astute and relatively far-sighted representative of his class—had to drag the American ruling elite as a whole kicking and screaming behind a program of social reforms whose basic purpose was to save the capitalist system from the threat of social revolution. Even during his presidency, the large-scale projects in government-funded and controlled social development, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, never became a model for broader measures to alleviate poverty and social inequality. The contradictions and requirements of an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and production for profit resulted in any further projects being shelved.

From the 1970s onward, as the crisis of American capitalism has deepened, the US ruling elite has attacked the entire concept of social reform and dismantled the previously established restrictions on corporate activities.

The result has been a non-stop process of social plunder, producing an unprecedented concentration of wealth at the apex of society and a level of social inequality exceeding that which prevailed in the days of the Robber Barons.

Fraud, the worst forms of speculation and criminality have become pervasive within the upper echelons of American society. This is the underlying reality that has suddenly revealed itself, precipitated by a hurricane, in the form of a collapse of the most elementary forms of social life.

The political establishment and the corporate elite have been exposed as bankrupt, together with their ceaseless insistence that the unfettered development of capitalism is the solution to all of society’s problems.

The catastrophe unleashed by Katrina has unmistakably revealed that America is two countries, one for the wealthy and privileged and another in which the vast majority of working people stand on the edge of a social precipice.

All of the claims that the war on Iraq, the “global war on terrorism” and the supposed concern for “homeland security” are aimed at protecting the American people stand revealed as lies. The utter failure to protect the residents of New Orleans exposes all of these claims as propaganda designed to mask the criminality of the American ruling elite and the diversion of resources away from the most essential needs of the people.

The central lesson of New Orleans is that the elementary requirements of mass society are incompatible with a system that subordinates everything to the enrichment of a financial oligarchy.

This lesson must become the new point of departure in the political orientation of the struggles of American working people. Only the development of a new independent political movement, fighting for the reorganization of economic life on the basis of a socialist program, can provide a way out of the chaos of which the events in New Orleans are a terrible omen.

Europe reacts to US hurricane disaster

Press reactions in Europe to the disaster have ranged from complacent commentaries declaring that the disaster was unique and nothing could have been done to mitigate it (the Murdoch group; e.g., the Times of London) to highly critical columns in other newspapers. A number of European newspapers drew a direct connection between the tragedy and the overall state of American society.

Germany’s Die Welt was one of a number of papers that compared the events in Louisiana with social relations in third-world countries. It wrote, “America looks alarmingly like a third-world country within its own borders, divided and violent...20,000 people are vegetating in what looks like a camp for war refugees.”

The Austrian Der Standard led with the headline, “Third-World USA,” and stated that hurricane Katrina had revealed the enormous gulf between the appearance of technological superiority and the third-world conditions that exist in the US heartland. It went on to comment on the “ideological climate of the Bush government, which looks upon the poor black population with a mixture of distress and disinterest.”

Belgium’s Le Soir condemned the “richest country on the planet for deserting the deprived, the poor, the sick and the aged in the face of a cataclysm that had been predicted and could have been prevented.”

The Netherlands is a small country with its own experience in the construction of dams to ward off coastal waters, and the Dutch Het Laaste Nieuws argued against those who claimed that nothing could be done about the catastrophe:

“The American government seems to be light years away from being prepared for a catastrophe of such proportions. The pictures show just chaos. People plundering, police threatening to shoot them, not the slightest trace of any organised assistance, a city of millions that is sinking further and further under water because no one is capable of filling the holes in the dams. The Netherlands, a country that largely lies below sea level, has not experienced a drop of water for the past 50 years. The flood in New Orleans is the reverse side of an American society which is aimed at earning as much money as possible in the quickest time with a slimmed-down administration that costs as little as possible.”

The Spanish daily paper La Vanguardia drew attention to the lack of any sort of organised assistance for the victims of the hurricane and the “hands-off” approach of the American authorities: “Not even the richest world power was able to prevent the costly trail of death and destruction of the hurricane.... But as well as the many dead, the enormous damage, and the costs of rebuilding, the tragedy also raises a moral question: To what extent can a government force its own citizens to save their own lives?”

Remarking on the underlying social conditions exposed by the hurricane tragedy, other newspapers have predicted that the current crisis will have inevitable political repercussions and threaten the president himself. In a comment in the Süddeutsche Zeitung entitled “Bush in a Storm,” Stefan Cornelius began by drawing parallels between US president Bush’s initial paralysis on hearing of the September 11 terror attacks and his reluctance to leave his holiday ranch to address the hurricane crisis.

He then remarked: “The natural catastrophe in the US is also turning into a threat to the president. Alongside the dams of New Orleans, the carefully maintained barriers between social layers have also been breached. Because the south of the country was always the land of the poor and neglected, hopelessness and desperation have erupted into violence and anarchy. The scenes around the Superdome, the shots fired on helpers, the plundering and the call for a sort of martial law—all this serves to shock and reveal the sort of divisions with which the highly developed US has to contend.... The more the anarchy in the south spreads, the more likely political Washington will seek a victim for this demonstration of state weakness.”

This theme was also taken up by the British Independent newspaper, which entitled its September 2 editorial “A Disaster that Will Test Mr. Bush and All US Society” and speculated that the Republican Party as a whole could suffer from public anger over the social disintegration currently taking place in America’s south.

The editorial declared: “The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina also poses searching questions about the nature of US society and about the priorities the current administration has set. What happens to the many uninsured in a country where people rely on private insurance for medical treatment? And what happens to the bereaved families of breadwinners who have no life insurance, or to those with homes or businesses that were not insured.... Mr. Bush, for whom this 9/11 of a natural disaster has come just in time to distract attention from the growing mayhem in Iraq, does not have to face the electorate. The Republican party, to the extent that it espouses Bush, risks reaping the political whirlwind in his place.”

With many newspapers reflecting widespread shock and anger at the events in the US, official political circles in Europe have moved quickly to exploit widespread sympathy with the victims of the hurricane by expressing their solidarity with the Bush government. In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (Social Democratic Party) broke off federal election engagements to officially coordinate German proposals for assistance.

Church’s Higher Aspirations: Communal Politics

September 04, 2005

With the UPA government coming into power and Congress president Sonia Gandhi becoming all powerful, the aspirations of the Church seem to be growing. It is now seeking direct intervention in politics right from Jharkhand to Kerala.

Last week, in Jharkhand showing deep interest in politics, nine Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church asked permission from the Church to participate in panchayat (village council) elections in the villages, due in September. In Ranchi, the Bishops raised the issue with Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, who has promised to examine the issue. They were demanding amendments in the existing rules that bar Church priests from fighting elections.

Whereas, in God’s own land, another Church is ready to blackmail politicians. Now, Kerala’s Pentecostal Church is seriously thinking about entering politics. The Pentecostal Church, which claims a membership of one million, will have discussions with its followers at its centenary celebrations. The PCI in Kerala is a conglomeration of five Pentecostal churches-Indian Pentecostal Church, Church of God, Assemblies of God, Sharon Fellowship and WME Church. The centenary celebrations of the Church will be held at Thiruvalla from December 6 to 11. Here again due to the Christian connection, PCI is hopeful that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate it.

The Church is confident that with its strength it can tilt the political fortunes in many assembly segments in the forthcoming polls in the State. The followers of the PCI are mainly concentrated in central Kerala besides major cities in the State

Religious Organizations Threaten to Stall Constitutional Review in Kenya

KENYA, AFRICA, September 1, 2005: The entry of religious leaders in Kenya's constitutional review fray is likely to complicate the process. The draft constitution, completed last year, has proposed several changes to the current constitution. These include entrenching the already existing Islamic (Khadhi) courts - which preside over Islamic family and personal issues - in the constitution. Churches and Christian organizations have opposed the proposal, arguing that it would give Islam undue supremacy over other religions in the country. The Electoral Commission of Kenya will announce next Monday the crucial referendum date for the vote on its proposed new constitution. The Hindu Council of Kenya expressed its reservations on several issues in the forthcoming draft. Considering their massive following, especially in the rural areas, the threats could erect a huge obstacle to the enactment of a new constitution. Church leaders have vowed to use all resources within their means to ensure that Kenyans reject the draft being prepared by the Attorney General. "We support the idea of every religion being given a chance to worship and practice without restriction, but feel that giving only one religion special consideration in an important document such as the constitution is fundamentally unfair," says Dr. Sunil Shah, secretary general of the Hindu Council of Kenya. Muslims (10 to 20% of the population), however, have defended the inclusion of the Kadhis Courts in the expected constitution. Mr. Billow Kerrow, the MP for Mandera Central, says that Khadhi Courts are core to the practice of the Islamic faith and other religions should not fear since they also have a chance to practice their faiths without restriction. An additional source is here.

50,000 Dead as New Orleans Declared ‘Dead City’

50,000 Dead as New Orleans Declared ‘Dead City’, United States Military Orders Elite Special Forces from Iraq to Restore Order as Refuges Become ‘Ruthless Mob’

By: Sorcha Faal

Russian Intelligence Analysts are reporting this morning on what can only be described as a human catastrophe as it pertains to the events currently developing in the United States Southern Regions, and where the 24th largest city in this country has been declared as a ‘Dead City’.

Reports are also reaching us that the American people themselves have still not been informed by their Military Leaders as to the full extent of the human lives lost, and as some of these reports estimate as being over 50,000 lives lost, and which makes this the greatest single natural disaster to have ever occurred in the United States.

Unlike Russian and Chinese television broadcasts from this region, the people in the United States are not being shown the images of the masses of human remains floating in their Southern waters, many being eaten by reptiles in scenes so horrific as to shock any normal human being that has seen them. Russian Social Scientists report that these American peoples are not able to view these images, and indeed are kept from viewing them, as they are not ‘emotionally equipped’ to absorb the true horror of these events, and which is strange as these American people produce and export to the entire world some of the most shockingly violent movies in the world has ever seen.

But unlike one their movies the events currently overwhelming them now are all too real. To the ‘Dead City’ of New Orleans itself Russian Military Analysts are reporting that 2 Brigades of US Army and Navy Elite Special Forces have been ordered from the battlefields of Iraq to begin restoring order as the masses of the refuges in this ‘Dead City’ have resorted to barbarism and all social order has broken down and they can only be described, according to one report, as a ‘Ruthless Mob’.

Reports from this country are also stating that their countries Homeland Security Director has been given ‘all authority’ over these regions, and to which he and is Government Ministry have been prepared to do for some time, and as we had previously reported in our August 26th report titled “The Camps of ICE, Americas Road to Fascist Rule Nears Completion as US Government Accelerates Building of Concentration Camps" and wherein we had stated;

“As to who these ‘threats’ are that these ICE Secret Police Forces will ‘remove’ should not come as a surprise to these Americans as their own President has already stated that those who do not support their Global War on Terrorism are themselves terrorists. As history has all too often shown, the Leaders of Fascist Nations are never more popular to the masses than when they shout of war and protecting the ‘Homeland’. And all that remains to be done by these American Military Leaders is to provide the final ‘cataclysmic event’ that will galvanize their citizens to relinquish what little remains of their freedom, and to which the plans have already been put into place, and as we can read from the NewsMax News Service in their article titled “FEMA’s Plan for Mass Destruction Attacks" and which says;

"On June 19,[2003] FEMA posted a special bid notice for one of the agency’s largest contract awards ever – offering contracting firms $300 million for a five-year contract to simply prepare plans to create temporary housing on a scale never before imagined, and then stand by. This is reportedly one of the largest contracts ever awarded by FEMA for a disaster preparedness program. The name of the program is entitled "Standby Technical Assistance for Disaster Related Operations." FEMA officials met with the representatives of firms seeking the bids. Approximately 100 people attended the meeting. FEMA officials made very clear that the purpose of one of the most massive undertakings in the agency’s history was to prepare for potential mass destruction attacks on U.S. cities. Sources who attended the meeting tell NewsMax that most of the meeting dealt with how the firms should handle biological, chemical and nuclear disasters."

But perhaps more ominous than these current catastrophic events overwhelming these American people are what is soon to be facing them as their oil based economic structure begins to collapse, and coupled with their new Laws of Bankruptcy coming into effect in four weeks time will see the vast majority of these Americans reduced to virtual servitude.

Like their German counterparts of last century, these Americans have likewise accepted the fascist rule of their Military Leaders, even to the extent of sacrificing the freedoms they had enjoyed for over 200 years in exchange for what they were told was ‘security’. But in the Dead City of New Orleans this morning, and as the flood of refuges mount by the hour, perhaps they then could truly see what this ‘security’ means.

Equally not being noticed by these Americans is that their country has been economically reduced to the status most resembling a Third World Nation in that they produce for the world virtually nothing of value anymore, having spent the greater part of the past two decades divesting themselves of worthwhile manufacturing capacity and the jobs these industries once offered to any of those Americans who wanted to succeed in their lives.

To the final position these once great Americans are being reduced to is beyond their comprehension, but as we had detailed in our August 18th report titled “African Animals to Be Introduced Into Americas Wild As Internal Destruction of United States Nears Completion" is nonetheless the fate that awaits them, and as we had said;

“Late last year I had read a most strange report that had been prepared by the former Soviet Unions KGB in late 1983 for Top Secret dissemination among Politburo Members that detailed a rather chilling scenario of the United States being turned into an ‘International Playground’ for the worlds Capitalist Elites. Among the many chilling predictions of this Intelligence Report were that once the worlds population had been ‘stabilized’ in the early part of this century that the then former United States would become the ‘Center’ for World Rule and would only allow as its only citizens the most elite of the worlds peoples.

As with many reports of these kinds there is always a pushing to the extreme of the possibilities inherent with the facts at hand, which of course leads to much speculation in these reports and leading us to give them weight only as to their predictive value of seeing trends, and not necessarily to be considered, or acted upon, as concrete facts.

But today I am wondering anew about this strange report as events currently being undertaken in the United States are more and more beginning to mirror what these former Soviet Analysts had seen those many years ago in that the course of Americas future would be determined by an elite and select group of organizations and not by the American peoples themselves.

The organizations named in this report were reported as being Environmental Groups that would create and push for an agenda of evicting the American peoples from their rural areas and concentrating them into large cities, Legal Groups that would create and push for an agenda to destroy the ‘traditional’ American family and religious structures, Social Groups that would create and push for an agenda allowing homosexuality and pedophilia by separating children from their parents, and Police/Military Groups that would create and push for an agenda to Militarize the American peoples.

To the agenda of these Environmental Groups we can see their almost complete success in that they are now ready to repopulate the North American Continent with wild animals from Africa, and as we can read from the Telegraph News Service in their article titled "'Rewilding' could mean lions at large in US" and which says;

“Cheetahs, lions and even elephants could roam parts of North America in an extraordinary "rewilding" plan outlined today by ecologists and conservationists. The introduction of creatures, mostly from Africa, that are counterparts of large extinct beasts is suggested as a way of restoring ecosystems to something like the state they were in before man hunted large mammals and "megafauna" to extinction. Josh Donlan, the lead author of the study published in Nature, said that beavers had been reintroduced to Scandinavia to help restore the local ecosystem. The ecologists admit that they will be accused of wanting to "play God" but point out that cheetahs, camels and kangaroos already live on Texan ranches.

In America, the team points out that four million years of hunting by the now extinct American cheetah (Acinonyx trumani) was probably why the pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) - an antelope-like animal found throughout the south-west - developed the ability to run at up to 60mph.Introducing free-ranging African cheetahs back to the south-west could restore the relationship with pronghorns and provide endangered cheetahs with a new habitat. A pilot study will test a mild version of the rewilding plan by considering the release of the endangered Bolson tortoise on a private ranch in New Mexico. The tortoise, which can weigh up to 100lb and once thrived in Arizona and Mexico, now survives only in a small area of northern Mexico."

Today in Americas Southern Regions reptiles feast upon their floating dead, tomorrow, and should these people not heed the warnings given them, it could be lions.

Argumentative heritage of Bharat: Amartya Sen

Star of Mysore, Vol. 28 No. 196 Saturday, September 3, 2005


The Nobel Laureate for economics Prof. Amartya Sen has published a
book titled 'The Argumentative Indian.' He spoke about his book on 1st
August, 2005, to CII members.

Joan Robinson, my teacher many years ago, said that the frustrating
thing about India was whatever you could rightly say about India, the
opposite was also true. I asked my teacher whether the logic also
applied to the statement about India just made. No, there are
exceptions, Joan told me. According to Joan, however, there are some
traits about the Indians, the Chinese and the Japanese where there are
no exceptions. The Japanese are much too polite, the Indians just too
rude, the Chinese are just right.

In the other field where exception to the rule is difficult to find is
that of the Indian polity, which is where my book begins. Indians love
to talk as was established by Krishna Menon 50 years ago, when he
delivered the longest ever speech at the United Nations; he took 9
hours to make his point and this record has not been equalled since.

The argumentativeness of Indians is not always a lovable
characteristic. Many often wish, with good reason, that Indians would
do more useful things than argue. However, I believe, that this trait
does have some contributions to make. My book argues that the success
of democracy in India, among many other things and the revelation of
secularism owe something to that tradition. If valued, it can also be
very useful in confronting inequality and deprivation in India.

It is perhaps worth recollecting that when India became the first
developing country in the world and the first country in Asia and
Africa to opt for a fully democratic system, the air was thick with
scepticism. In 1967, the Indian correspondent of The Times reported
with some sense of absolute certainty that he had just witnessed "the
last general elections in India." But the doom did not come as
anticipated. In India, systematic elections have continued with
regularity and reasonable fairness. The media have remained largely
free and continued to report, scrutinise, criticise and protest; civil
rights have been taken quite seriously; the courts have been quite
zealous in guarding against violation; the military has stayed well
inside the barracks. The recognition of the success of democracy in
India has however come very slowly.

There is a persistent tendency to attribute Indian commitment to
democracy simply to the influence of British rule. And yet, if that
were the primary reason, why has such influence not worked similarly
for the other countries which also emerged from the same empire. There
is something more to be said about the conditions that have favoured
the survival and vitality of democracy in India. This is one of the
issues, I have tried to address in my book.

Any attempt to talk about the culture of a country or about its past
history or contemporary politics must inescapably involve considerable
selection. A question therefore could be asked as to why I have
focused in particular on the argumentative tradition compared to other
things India has. My reasons for choosing this focus are one, the very
long history of the argumentative tradition in India; two, its
profound contemporary relevance including its role in the revelation
of Indian democracy, secularism and plural culture and three, the fact
that this aspect of Indian tradition is often severely neglected in
the ongoing cultural discussion.

The argumentative tradition links directly with the heritage of
heterodoxy. The simultaneous flourishing of many different convictions
and view points in India is a special characteristic of this country
even if some contemporary politicians evidently see it not as India's
strength but as a weakness. The tolerance of religious diversity is
implicitly reflected in India having served as the shared home in the
chronology of history of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Jews, Christians,
Muslims, Parsis, Sikhs, Bahais and others. Each religious community
managed to retain its identity within India's multi-cultural spectrum.

There is a connection between heterodoxy and argumentative tradition
on the one hand, and democracy and secularism on the other. I want to
first discuss some features of Indian history that need particular
recognition. It is important to note how unusually extensive the reach
of the Indian heterodoxy has been, which has given a secure place even
to atheism and agnosticism in particular and scepticism in general
over a very long time.

This goes back to the middle of the second millennium BCE. The
"creation hymn" in the Rigveda ends with the following radical doubts
"who really knows, who will here proclaim it, when was it produced,
when is this creation, the God came afterward with the creation of
this universe, who then knows when it has arisen, when this creation
has arisen perhaps it formed itself or perhaps it did not. The one who
looks down on it in the highest heaven knows or perhaps he does not
know either." These 3,400 years old doubts would recur in Indian
critical debate again and again more or less continuously. Sanskrit
has a lar-ger volume of agnostic and atheistic writings than any other
classical language.

Conforming to the loquaciousness of the argumentative tradition, there
are a great many controversies between defen-ders of religiosity on
one side and advocates of general scepticism on the other. The doubts
sometimes take the form of agnosticism, sometimes of atheism and
sometimes a mix. Gautam Buddha for example remained an agnostic with a
practical subversion of the significance of the question by making the
choice of good behaviour completely independent of any God, real or
imagined. Buddhism is often recognised as the only religion in which
God is never invoked in identifying moral conduct. Indeed different
forms of godlessness have had strong following throughout Indian

The philosophy of scepticism and materialism flourished from the first
millennium BCE, possibly even in Buddha's own time. It is quite clear
that Buddhist intellectuals strongly faced this challenge. There is
also some evidence of influence of that line of thinking in the
Upanishad. Atheism and materialism continued to attract adherence and
advocates over many centuries and were increasingly associated with
exposition of the intellectually combative Charvaka School. As late as
the 14th century, when Madhav Acharya, wrote the Sarvadarshan
Sangraha, the Charvaka system had the distinction of receiving an
elaborately sympathetic defence in the first chapter of compilation
consisting of a reason and justification of atheistic and
materialistic possession. After being defended in the first chapter
these claims are subjected to counter argument in the following
chapters in line with strategy of the book in which each chapter
defends a parti-cular school of thought followed by counter argument
in later chapters.

The fact that an overarching heterodoxy reaches all the way to ancient
India is often neglected by those who would like to characterise India
as some kind of homogeneous Hindu State. My book focuses a great deal
on ancient India, not just because I believe it is extremely relevant
to understand modern India, but also because ancient India has become
such a politically charged subject in contemporary discussion.

Enthusiasm for ancient India has often come from the Hindutva
movement. That is from the promoters of the rather narrow view of
Indian civilisation, who have tried to separate out the period
preceding the Muslim conquest of India as the cradle of Indian and
Hindu civilisation. In contrast, those who take an integrationist
approach and a modern approach to contemporary India have tended to
view the harking back to ancient India with the greatest of suspicion.
It has therefore received little support from either side. For
example, the Hindutva activists like invoking the holy Vedas composed
in the second millennium BCE to define India's "real heritage," but
they pay inadequate attention to the content of that heterodox
document. They are also keen on summoning the Ramayana — the great
epic, for many different purposes varying from delineating Hindu
'beliefs and convictions to finding alleged justifications for
forcibly demolishing a mosque, the Babri-Masjid that is situated at
the very spot where "the divine Rama" was born.

The integrationist in contrast has tended to see the Vedas and
Ramayana as an unwelcome intrusion of Hindu belief into the
contemporary life of secular India. Of course, it is not wrong to
question the fractional nature of the choice of the Hindu classics,
ignoring others in India's long and diverse history. They also write
to point out the counterproductive role that such partisan can play in
the secular multi-religious life of today's India. Even though more
than 80 per cent Indians might be Hindus, the country has a large
Muslim population, close to a 150 million, the third largest among all
the countries in the world. India also has a great many followers of
other faiths-Christians, Sikhs, Jains Parsis and others.

We must accept that the old books and narratives from ancient India
have had an enormous influence on Indian literature and the neglect of
ancient India on grounds of secularism or modernity would be a
profound error. The ideas explored in ancient India have deeply
influenced intellectual and philosophical thinking on the one hand and
folks, tradition of story telling and critical dialectics on the
other. The difficulty does not lie in the importance of the Vedas and
Ramayana, they are undoubtedly extremely important, but in
understanding of their rich and diverse content and their role in
Indian culture.

The Muslim Pathaan rulers of Bengal arranged for a Bengali translation
of the Sanskrit Mahabharata and the Ramayana in the 14th century. The
enthusiasm of these Muslim kings for the ancient Indian epic reflected
their love for culture rather than conversion to Hinduism. The first
Bengali translation of the Mahabharata including the Gita was
undertaken at the order of Nadir Shah, who ruled Bengal till 1325 AD.
The first foreign translation of the Upanishad, other than in Chinese,
was the Persian translation produced in the 17th century by Dara
Shikoh, the eldest son of emperor Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal. It was
from this Persian translation that the Mahabharata was first
translated into English.

It would be difficult to ignore the general importance of ancient
India in Indian culture broadly across the religious spectrum. The
Vedas may be full of hints and religious invocations but they also
tell many stories. There is the one about the compulsive gambler,
which not only gives a moral message but shows tremendous human
sympathy for the predicament of the gambler. It also speculates about
the world. One of the speculations about the argumentative propensity
asks very difficult questions, not all of which are answered.

Similarly, adherents of Hindu politics, especially those who are given
to vandalising places of worships of other religions, may take Ram to
be divine. But in much of the Ramayana Ram is spirited primarily as a
hero, with many good qualities and some weaknesses including a
tendency to harbour suspicion about his wife Sita's faithfulness. A
Pandit, called Javaali, who gets considerable space in the Ramayana,
does not treat Rama as God and calls his actions entirely foolish. A
Javaali puts it "an intelligent and wise man like you." Javaali was
finally persuaded to withdraw his allegations by defenders of
tradition. All his arguments to explain in detail to Rama that "there
is no after world, nor any religious practice for attaining that and
the injunction about the worship of God, sacrifice gifts and penance
have been laid down in the scriptures by clever people and priests
just to rule over other people" have been kept in the Ramayana. The
problem with invoking the Ramayana to propagate a reductionist account
of Hindu religiosity lies in the way the epic is deployed for this
purpose as a document of supernatural velocity rather than as
wonderful literature and a marvellous parable.

It is indeed important to see that long tradition of accepted
heterodoxy in India. Resisting the attempt of the Hindutva activists,
to try to capture ancient India in the form of their drastically
miniaturised reading of India, is adequate only to point out that
India has many other sources of culture as well. It is necessary also
to see how much heterodoxy there has been in Indian thoughts and
beliefs from extremely early days.

The Chinese in the first millennium AD candidly referred to India as
the Buddhist kingdom. The far reaching effects of the Buddhist
connection and its impact on science, literature, drama, music,
mathematics and logic and the connection between these two large
countries are discussed in one of the essays in this book called China
and India. Ancient India cannot be fitted into the narrow box where
sectarian activists want to inculcate their down sized understanding
of India.

It was the Buddhist Emperor of India, Ashoka who not only outlined the
need for tolerance and the richness of heterodoxy, but also laid down
what are perhaps the oldest rules for conducting debates and
disputation with the opponent being "duly honoured in every way on all
occasions." That political principle figures a great deal in the later
discussions in India, but the most powerful defence of tolerance and
of the need for the state to be equidistant from different religions
came from Akbar, a Muslim Indian emperor. This was of course much
later, nearly 2000 years later.

But even those days were early enough for such principles of religious
tolerance since this was also the time when inquisition was in full
swing in Europe. When Giordano Bruno was burnt in Rome for heresy in
1600 AD, Akbar had just completed in Agra his codification of
religious freedom and other rights of dissent. The strength of the
dialogic tradition in India is sometimes ignored because of the much
championed belief that India is the land of religions and a country of
uncritical faith and practice.

Some people who are allegedly "highly sympathetic to India" are
particularly keen on showing the strength of India's faith base in
contrast with "shallow rationalism" and the scientific priorities of
the West. I was impressed to find, on arriving at Harvard in the late
1980s, that all books on India were kept in the section called
religion. This line of diagnosis of Indian tradition may well be moved
by sympathy, but it ends up suppressing very large parts of India's
own intellectual heritage. To demonstrate this East West contrast and
differences in cultural attitude and other attitudes, hypothetical
meetings are organised, as it were, between Aristotle and Euclid on
the one hand and wise and contended Indian presence on the other.
Though interesting, it is not pre-eminently the better way of
understanding the East West culture contrast. We could do better by
arranging meetings between Aryabhatt, the mathematician and Kautilya,
the political economist on one hand and the happily determined Vicigot
and Vikins on the other.

If the immediate motivation for this book is social and political
understanding in India, I believe it has some relevance also for the
way the classification of cultures of the world has become cemented
into a shape that pays little or no attention to a great deal of the
world's past and present.

What has all this got to do with democracy? There are two quite
different ways of seeing democracy, one much more limited than the
other. These differences have far reaching implications on our
understanding of the foundation of democracy and of its historical
origin. The narrow view of democracy interprets it entirely in terms
of voting, mainly as majority rule. The second, much broader
in-terpretation sees democracy in terms of public reasoning through
participatory discussion and public decision making.

The democratic claims of a political order have to be judged in this
second perspective; by its commitment to protect as well as to respond
to public reasoning. Voting and balloting are just one part of this
much larger story; the need for supporting and cultivating open and
informed discussion and to work for the response of public decision to
that interactive process are important. This way of seeing democracy
is certainly not new but it has been particularly explored in recent
years by modern political philosophers. This fuller view of democracy,
in terms of public reasoning, allows us to understand that the roots
of democracy go much beyond the confined history of some narrowly
designed practices, now seen as specifically "democratic

Nothing can change the powerful role that modern Western thinking,
particularly linked to European enlightenment from Paris to Edinburgh,
has played in the development of modern liberal values and
institutional demands of democratic Government. And yet Prof. C.A.
Bailey has argued in his very recently published definitive history,
"The Birth of the Modern World" that it was a great mistake to see
that non-western efforts to champion a modern democratic and liberal
society as mere copying of Western ideas. For example, noting the
radical liberalism of the young Calcutta intellectuals in 1840s, Prof.
Bailey points out that this highly active group had views not only on
the reading of Western literature but was also "rationalistic,
traditional and had philosophies long present in the Indian thinking."

The belief that democracy is quintessentially a Western idea is often
linked to the practice of voting in ancient Greece, especially in
Athens. But a jump to the thesis of the quintessentially Western or
European nature of democracy could lead to confusion. The most
elementary problem here concerns the partitioning of the world into
racial categories, in which ancient Greece is seen as an integral part
of an identifiable Europe. In this classificatory perspective, no
great difficulty is perceived in considering the descendent of say
Goths and Astrogoths as proper inheritors of the Athenian tradition,
they are all Europeans. There is, however, a great reluctance to take
note of the Greek intellectual links with ancient Egypt, ancient Iran
or ancient India.

Another difficulty concerns the fact that while public reasoning
flourished well in ancient Greece, it did also in several other
ancient civilisations. For example, some of the earliest open general
meetings, aimed specifically at settling disputes between different
points of view, took place in India. From the 6th century BCE onward,
in the Buddhist Councils, adherents of different points of view got
together to argue out their differences. Emperor Ashoka, who hosted
the third and the largest of these Councils in the 3rd century BCE,
also tried to codify and promote what might have been amongst the
earlier formulation of rules for public discussion.

As it happened, even the world conquering Alexander received some
political lecturing as he roamed the North West India in 325 BCE.
"Every man can possess only so much of the earth's surface as this we
are standing on. You are but human like rest of us. You are always
busy and upto no good, travelling so many miles from your home, you
will soon be dead and then you will own just as much of the earth as
will suffice to bury you." Alexander responded to this rebuke with the
same kind of admiration. Alexander did not think it right to change
his conduct in anyway, he just admired the idea.

Since public reasoning is essential to democracy, it is also
significant to note that nearly every attempt at early printing,
including that in India in 7th century, were undertaken exclusively by
Buddhist technologists committed to expanding public access to
important ideas. The first printed book in the world was the Chinese
translation of a Sanskrit treatise the "Diamond Sutra." It was
translated in 401 AD by Kumar Jeeva who was half Turkish half Indian.
It was translated 6 more times later but it was Kumar Jeeva's version,
which was chosen to be the first book to be printed. The content of
the Diamond Sutra is almost entirely religious but the commitment to
public reach can be seen even in the boldly scribed dedication of this
9th century book. It says "in vibrant memory of my parents and for
universal free distribution." It was not a priced publication. Public
reasoning in various forms has had long history across the world and
these traditions in diverse cultures make it hard to see democracy as
an essentially Western idea. The point is of relevance not just for
Indian history and tradition but for the world as a whole. I took some
liberty of discussing that in my book too.

In his autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom," Nelson Mandela describes
how influenced he was as a young boy by seeing the democratic nature
of the proceedings at the local meeting that were held in his own
African village. It was democracy in its purest form. "There may have
been hierarchy of importance among the speakers but everyone was
heard, chief and subject, warrior and medicine man, shop-keeper and
farmer, land owner and labourer." Mandela's quest for democracy, his
"Long Walk to Freedom," began distinctly at home. Not in London or
Paris, or in Washington, not of course in Europeanised Pretoria which
was engaged in throttling rather than promoting the development of
democracy in South Africa.

It is very important in this global Indian context to be clear about
what it is that I am trying to say and to avoid two pitfalls of taking
democracy to be a gift of the Western world that India simply accepted
when it became independent from the British rule and two, the pitfall
of assuming that there is something unique in Indian history that
makes the country singularly suited to democracy. The point is that
democracy is intermittently connected with public discussion and
interactive reasoning. The tradition for public discussion exists
across the world not just in the West. The long argumentative Indian
tradition helped in giving India a great advantage to get off to a
quick start, rather than seeing it as an embarrassment or an
imperfection. We have to understand the role of the tradition in
making it easier for India to be democratic and secular. There are
many others now, including South Africa, as I mentioned.

It is sometimes asserted that the use of dialectic is largely confined
to the more effluent and more literate and of no value to common
people. The elitism that is rampant in such a belief is not only
extraordinary, it is exaggerated through political cynicism and
impassivity it tends to generate. The critical voice is the strong and
traditional ally of the aggrieved and of the badly treated.
Participation in argument is a general opportunity, not parasitic of
any kind of particularly specialised skills. Criticising is not like
"composing phonics of performing to please act," any one can do it.

The argumentative tradition can indeed be a very strong friend of the
underdog, particularly in the context of democratic practice. As I
have discussed in my book, voices of dissent, social and political as
well as philosophical, have often come across the barrier of caste and
gender, starting with ancient India. For example, several of the most
forceful winterlocutors in ancient India were women, such as Gargi and

Criticisms of caste division are also presented within the accepted
heterodoxy of Indian text. For example when in Mahabh-arata Bhrigu
tells Bharadwaj that caste division relating to differences in
physical attributes are natural and it reflects also in skin colour,
Bharadwaj responded by pointing to the considerable variation in skin
colour within every caste, and I quote "If different colours indicate
different castes then all castes are mixed castes." But the more
profound question asked by Bharadwaj is that we all seem to be
affected by desire, anger, fear, sorrow, worry, hunger and labour, how
then do we have caste differences? A very evocative peculiarly
powerful passage in the Merchant of Venice discusses how the Jew might
differ from the Christian.

While the heritage of argumentative tradition is worth celebrating and
utilisation of the intermediation of democratic politics that make the
voice of dissent particularly effective and practically fair,
criticisms of inequalities connecting caste, class and gender have had
some influence. Sometimes even the point that there have been many
Indian women in leadership position is not unconnected with the
tradition where women have had a voice and that point has been often
comprehensively missed. This is not just a matter of today. When
Sarojini Naidu became the President of Congress in 1925, she was the
first woman President of any major political party in the world.
Britain had the first women President 50 years later in 1975. The
second woman president of the Congress, Nelli Sengupta was elected in
1933. We have to recognise, that the Congress President did matter;
indeed when Subhash Chandra Bose got elected to the Congress
Presidency, Mahatma Gandhi did a lot to try to debunk it and very
recently, Sonia Gandhi, after winning the election, decided to stay as
the President of Congress rather than becoming Prime Minister. Both
are very important positions. That is the point I am trying to make.
It is not that traditions have not had influence. There were more
women in Indian National Congress Movement than in the Chinese and
Russian revolutionary movement put together.

I think these are worth re-cognising but these influences are limited,
particularly to the upper classes. The efficacy of this line of
reasoning has to draw on their being politicised and brought into
constructive public discussion and engagement. It will be as much of a
mistake to treat the argumentative tradition to be of no consequence
to contemporary Indian society as it would be to regard that tradition
to be so independently powerful on its own, irrespective of
incorporation in politics, that it could deliver without
intermediation of political engagement.

One of the penalties of increased focus on religious and communal
identities is that it has gone hand in hand with deliberately
fostering a sectarian identity in India and has tended to divert
people to defending secularism rather than defending the need for
equality. But it has also led to more integrated focus on the interest
and freedom of the deprived group. Political organisations that unite
the lower castes often have the underdogs in general, the end is not
served by the divisive politics of rivalry between different lower
caste groups fighting each other rather than confronting together or
by religious sectarian. The newly-erected communal, boundary lines are
thus not only divisive in themselves they also add to the social and
political difficulties in placing the egalitarian and social agenda at
the centre and, therefore, removing the old barrier of hardened

So I conclude, the argumentative heritage is an important asset which
we are very lucky to have and which we would be advised to value, to
invoke and to utilise.

Its effectiveness does depend on how strongly we use it. Much would
depend on political deployment of the argumentative voice in
opposition to societal inequality and asymmetry and the actual use
that is made of the opportunities of democratic articulation, reason,
assessment and political engagement.

India has all chances to become one of world's leading superpowers

India made traditional relations with Iran and Russia stronger, and also revived its friendship with Afghanistan

The Central Asia region has been one of the most heated world centers of tension and instability within the past years. At that, South Asia countries were inevitably involved into the disputes and armed conflicts in the region. And South Asia in its turn is the region where the interests of Islamabad and Delhi have been in steady confrontation over the past fifty years. Some experts surprisingly state that the situation has recently started changing for the better. There is less confrontation between the sides and instead they establish more cooperation. It is highly likely explained with India's foreign policy that has become stronger and makes the country an important figure among the Asian continent countries.

Recent events demonstrate that India has made the traditional relations with Iran and Russia even stronger, and also revived its friendship with Afghanistan; it maintains an active dialogue with Pakistan and the US.

During his recent visit to Delhi, Secretary of Iran's Supreme Security Council Ali Larijani confirmed the strategic partnership between India and Iran. He stated that despite the pressure exerted upon Teheran from the West because of Delhi's nuclear program Iran still supported the Islamic republic.

India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh negotiated wider partnership with Afghanistan during his visit to the country. Now, Kabul seeks reviving the cooperation with Delhi that was stopped because of India's pro-Soviet position of non-interference into Afghanistan affairs. Within the past decades, India had no influence in Afghanistan. Today, India is rated sixth regarding the size of the aid to Afghanistan.

The success of India's foreign policy depends upon its economics that has become stronger and is speedily developing. Experts state that lobbyist of large American concerns in Washington do their best to help develop partnership between India and the US. Indian markets are now an important part of the world economics, and American companies seek stronger positions on the Indian market. For this purpose, both countries need to intensify their partnership.

Pakistan no longer wants to be in conflict with the giant neighbor when it sees that the US and India are getting closer partners. This week, Kashmir separatists accepted Delhi's proposal to start peace talks after the many years of their confrontation with the central government of India. These peace talks are to start next Monday.

The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline which is currently under construction symbolizes improving relations between India and Pakistan. A business project in the energetic sphere is the best stimulus to bring regional tension down. There is an even stronger factor that may help maintain closer relations between India, Iran and Pakistan: the three countries are known as the strongest opponents to the world situation in development and utilization of nuclear technologies today.

It is clear that India has every reason today to seek steady membership in the UN Security Council. Even strong ideologists and diplomats in China, the country fighting with India for the domination in the Asia region over centuries, admit that India successfully performs the leader's role in the region.

Read the original in Russian: (Translated by: Maria Gousseva)

09/03/2005 16:20

Russia suggests establishment of joint European air defense system

08/31/2005 16:32

The Unified Air Defense System of the Commonwealth of Independent States was created ten years ago

Anti-aircraft systems struck their blows, and aviation hit surface targets to complete the Battle Community 2005 military exercise on the Ashuluk test ground in the Astrakhan region of Russia. About 2,000 military men from Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Tajikistan took part in the maneuvers.

The first stage of the exercise took part in June-July of the current year in the Chita region (in Russia's Siberia). Belarus' C-200 air defense systems fired their test missiles successfully. The next stage of the exercise took place in the beginning of August in the republic of Kazakhstan. Air defense units of Kazakhstan and anti-aircraft defense troops of another post-Soviet republic, Kyrgyzstan, participated in the maneuvers. The four countries trained the multilateral cooperation in combat during the last stage of the military exercise.

Russia's Minister for Defense, Sergei Ivanov, heads of defense departments from several CIS states and managers of defense enterprises were watching the process of the active phase of the exercise. Military delegations from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan arrived in the Astrakhan region to observe the Battle Community 2005 exercise.

The Unified Air Defense System of the Commonwealth of Independent States was created ten years ago. The system protects the borders of its members in the air space. Tactical exercises are traditionally held in Russia at the end of summer.

The final stage of the maneuvers in the Astrakhan region of Russia took place with the participation of world-known air defense systems: S-300, S-125 and S-45, as well as with 40 battle planes such as Su-24, Su-25 and MiG-29. The exercise was held to set military units and formations on high alert, regroup air defense forces and aviation with a view to strengthen the protection of the defended objects.

The recent exercise ended with the creation of the regional group of air defense troops. "Until recently, it was up for each country to bring their command posts for the exercise. This time, there is one joint headquarters to command the whole process. It is actually the prototype of the future united group of air defense troops on the territory of the former USSR. Now we can set up a command post in any region," Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

The minister highly estimated the exercises in Ashuluk and emphasized the fact that they were the battle maneuvers: "There was absolutely no imitation. Armenia, Tajikistan, Belarus and Russia performed missile launches successfully. The task has been executed," Sergei Ivanov said.

It is hard to overestimate the significance of such cooperation. According to the Deputy Secretary of the Collective Security Treaty, Valery Semerikov, the defense ministers took efforts to retrieve the air defense system in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Colonel-General Leonid Maltsev told reporters that the documents about the creation of the joint air defense system had been practically ready. Mr. Maltsev's Russian colleague, Sergei Ivanov, added that Russia and Belarus were planning to conduct Air Force and Air Defense military exercises in 2006. In addition, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are to join Russian Armed Forces in September of 2005 for another exercise in the Asian region.

To crown it all, Sergei Ivanov set forth a sensational initiative after the completion of the Battle Community 2005 exercise. The defense minister offered to establish the joint European ABM system. Speaking about Russia's role in the project, Mr. Ivanov said that Russia would obviously make a considerable contribution in the system.

Read the original in Russian: (Translated by: Dmitry Sudakov)

No caste for converts

Sandhya Jain

The recent Supreme Court judgment discouraging additions to the list of religious minorities and the Central Government’s failure arrive at a consensus over the Women’s Reservation Bill provide an occasion to debate the meaning of caste and religion, and their usage as instruments of reservation benefits.

From the time of the British Raj, caste has been used to berate Hindu society and has acquired negative connotations in public discourse. Though political parties canvass mass support through caste affiliations, political discourse labels it illegitimate. Even constitutional affirmative action for underprivileged castes is used to put upper caste Hindu society in the dock, though efforts are on to extend the use of caste for political ends. At present, organized religious minorities have launched a virtual crusade for the benefits of caste-based reservations. We need to examine to merits of this quest in terms of the genesis of caste and its applicability to those who have seceded from the Hindu fold.

Caste, the Portuguese name for the Hindu jati and gotra, is simply the organizing principle of ancient Indian society. It was the means by which diverse groups in society were integrated and mutual conflicts resolved, on the matrix of an evolving dharma. Both caste and dharma emphasized heredity because ancestry (gotra) was imperative as the spirits of the ancestors had to be invoked in all social sacraments (samskara) to establish the individual’s worthiness to receive the sacrament.

Though apparently restrictive, all groups accepted the heredity principle and “created” ancestries and fabled origins as they progressed in life. The Mundas of Chotanagpur, who were originally organized into exogamous septs called Kilis, changed their Kilis into Gotras. Thus Sandi Kili became Sandil Gotra and Nom Tuti Kili evolved into Bhoj-Raj-Gotra. The Koch tribes of Assam metamorphosed into Bhanga-Kshatriya or Rajbansi, and claimed affinity with Rajputs.

Caste or jati is rooted in the tribal concept of gotra. Sociologists have traced the origins of the Barabhum royal family in eastern India to the Bhumij of the ancient Gulgu clan. The early forts of the Barabhum rajas were at Pabanpur (near Bhula, burial ground of the clan) and Bhuni, where the royal (tribal) goddess Koteshwari had her sacred grove. But when the Bhumij chiefs claimed Rajput status, they shed their tribal affiliations by renouncing the clan ossuary at Bhula. A similar process was discerned among the tribal Bhumij of Baghmundi and the Manbhum Bhumij. The Bhumij are organized in patrilineal exogamous clans (gotras) affiliated to ancestral villages where the clan ossuaries are located. Gotra is thus the organizing principle of tribal societies and the key constituent of Hindu social identity.

Given this reality, the question arises whether individuals and groups who have renounced their Hindu identity should get the benefits of a caste identity. Today, amidst mounting evidence that SC/ST reservations in educational institutions are being surreptitiously cornered by non-Hindus, some are asking why individuals who reject their Hindu identity should retain their caste names and thus mislead society.

It is well known that both Christianity and Islam systematically wiped out the traditional religion and culture in the lands where they spread. Christianity humbled Europe through untold brutality, and the Pope’s talk of Europe’s “Christian roots” cannot disguise the truth that the religion is a cruel imposition of only 2000 years. As for the genocides against the native peoples of North and South America, Australia, and the enslavement of Africa, the less said the better. Islam, similarly, triumphed by wiping out traditional communities (including Christian) where it became dominant.

My point is that both these religions have shown zero tolerance for even vestiges of the old religions in regions where they came to have sway. Both have periodically launched movements against “heretics” and resisted the liberalization of dogma. While Islam today has the tabligh movement to cleanse Muslim adherents of old practices of their former faith traditions, Christian clergy are engaged in battle with the modern god called “secularism.”

Tolerance of, or co-existence with, old faith identities is therefore ruled out in both religions. In India, they do not even respect the right of the Hindu community to remain the majority community, and persist with aggressive attempts at conversions, vitiating the atmosphere all over the country. It therefore makes little sense to permit so-called Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims to garner reservation benefits intended to overcome social disabilities of Hindu society. If erstwhile Dalits find that Christianity and Islam mistreat them, they must approach appropriate judicial forums for redressal of their grievances or come back to the Hindu fold.

Meanwhile the Supreme Court has rendered a sterling service by discouraging the trend towards listing distinct religious groups as “minority communities.” Indeed, as Swami Dayanand Saraswati pointed out in his reaction to the judgment, there are sound reasons why we should reject the classification of minorities on religious grounds. What is happening is that in India transnational religions with enormous numerical, economic and political clout are claiming privileges as minorities.

India’s religious minorities have access to the enormous resource base of their global co-religionists, yet seek benefits that should go to more needy and deprived sections. The Vatican in Rome caters to the interests of Catholics, while the World Council of Churches in Geneva looks after Protestants. The 2.1 billion-strong Christian community constitutes one-third of the world population, and its clout and reach extends beyond national boundaries, as does that of Islam. Adherents of these transnational faiths, therefore, cannot legitimately be designated as minorities.

The Supreme Court rightly feels that classification of groups as minorities is “a serious jolt to the secular structure of constitutional democracy.” Not only would it generate “feelings of multi-nationalism in various sections of the people,” but it would hinder national integration. The judgment should serve as a stepping stone in the direction of abolishing the category of minority in the constitution. The educational and cultural rights of all groups can be protected by equal laws for all educational and cultural institutions – it is time to level the playing field.

Natural calamity : Blame game

September 3, 2005
N.S. Rajaram

After any great natural calamity, there is always the blame game. One thing that great natural calamities bring to light is that no one is ever prepared to deal with it adequately because nature follows no predictable or predicted course. Each calamity is different.

The problem is not resources but delivery. The more sophisticated a society is the more vulnerable it is to breakdown of communications. There was no shortage of food or other supplies but the collapse of communications delayed the delivery of necessities. This was so during the tsunami and also more recently, the Mumbai floods. The same is true in New Orleans now.

There will always be a delay in the delivery of help and a period during which there will be no functioning authority or other state machinery. I saw this myself in 1983 in the South Texas coast when it was hit by hurricane Alicia. It was not on the same scale, but the region is not as vulnerable as New Orleans. Everything broke down. We were on our own for several days. We had to manage the best we could, and everyone tried to help.

The difference in the New Orleans calamity is the near total breakdown of the civil society. Armed bands were roaming free looting, raping and plundering, and in general feeding on the helpless victims.

The victims were of course overwhelmingly black, but so were the looters and the gangs. This truth cannot be wished away or blamed on racism. The real issue it seems to me is the fragility of civil society of the present generation.

Why did this not happen during the tsunami or the Mumbai floods? There were sporadic cases of theft and looting, but the kind of anarchy and lawlessness as in New Orleans.

Even in the isolated Andamans, the supposedly 'primitive' tribals, not only survived by helping one another, they helped other victims (from the mainland) to the extent they could. In Mumbai a month ago (as in South Texas in 1983 when I was caught in a hurricane) people helped each other to the extent they could. There was no other thought. Here also the population is largely black and Hispanic.

The neighborhood in which I lived had a high proportion of ethnic minorities but this was not a problem. There was no breakdown.

The collapse of civil society cannot be blamed on racism or any government conspiracy, because it happened during a period when there was no government. In fact, it points to a deeper social malaise. This is a long term problem that lies beyond the reach of any government. It is for social leaders and, may one say it-- spiritual figures, to address.

The people must tell the evangelicals and other church figures help the victims-- raise their morale and morality before going around the world 'saving heathens.'

September 02, 2005

Pakistani oppression against Baloch people.

Speech by: Balach Marri

The People of Balochistan struggle for right of self-determination has its genesis in history and culture.
Strongly believer of independent, the people of Balochistan have never accepted hegemony and domination of
Pakistani establishment in any stage in 55 years history of Pakistan.

We Baloch never accepted alien domination of Punjabi supremacy. We have been engaged in a constant
struggle for self governance since last 55 years which resulted in sever military operation by Pakistani Army in
Balochistan and forced migration and displacement of thousands of Baloch’s to Afghanistan and other parts
of the world.

Let me tell you the brief history of Pakistani oppression against Baloch people and our struggle against the

This history begins when Balochistan was forcefully annexed to Pakistan though at that time Balochistan had
its own Parliamentary system. It had its own House of Commons and House of Lords. Both the houses
unanimously voted not to join Pakistan.

When Pakistan government couldn’t get the approval from the Baloch people’s representatives, they made an
example in history by passing a resolution from Quetta Municipality majority (elected by settlers) to vote in
favour of Balochistan’s annexation to Pakistan.

Physically it was not possible for Pakistan government to announce the annexation of Balochistan and make
Balochistan a part of Pakistan just by the approval of Quetta Municipality. Another move Pakistan made was to
break Kalat State in to four parts.

To exercise this plane Pakistan government deployed its naval forces on the coastline of Makaran (which was
a part of Kalat State) and declared it as separate state, by appointing Nawab Bhai Khan as ruler of Makaran
State, for declaring exaction to Pakistan. After the successful annexation of Makaran, Pakistan Government
forced two other parts of Kalat, (Kharan and Lasbela) to join Pakistan as separate states. Ultimately Pakistan
Army was sent to Kalat to suppress and kill those who opposed annexation of Balochistan to Pakistan.

In 1956 Governor General Sakinder Mirza dissolved all the states of Balochistan and declared them the part of
West Pakistan as one unit.West Pakistan Assembly passed the resolution Against One Unit. In 1958
President of Pakistan Sikandar Mirza, encouraged Khan of Kalat to demand restoration of Kalat State. When
Khan of Kalat did it Sikandar Mirza declared Khan as traitor of Pakistan. On 8th of October 1958 Sikandar Mirza
sent Pakistan troops to arrest Khan of Kalat with rest of family, suppressed the supporter and declared martial
law in the hole of the country and Khan of Kalat was sent to Jail in Punjab. People started defying the
Government for not implementing the anti one unit resolution and restoring back the status quo. On 18th of
December 1958 Army operation started in Jhalawan in Balochistan, many political activist and civilians were
murdered by army. The operation continued for more then 2 years.

Nawab Nouroz Khan with his sons and comrades took to hills and were fighting against the army. He was
ultimately tricked under oath of Quran for the demands being excepted and made to lay down his arms. But
when he descended from mountains he along with all his comrades were arrested and thrown into the
notorious army operated torture camp called Kooli Camp. The atrocities and inhuman treatment was matted
out to the inmates of that camp for 2 years.

Many of the inmates were tried in the military courts and sent to the gallows or transportation for life.

In 1962, general elections were held under Ayubs new constitution. In Balochistan there were only two
national assembly seats, which were won by Nawab Khair Baksh Marri and Sardar Attaullah Mengal. In the
first session of the national assembly Sardar Attaullah Mengal in his speech belied Ayub Khans claim that the
Marshal law was blood less which he was boosting upon he also gave details of the inhuman treatment
matted out during the martial law to the people of Balochistan. Nawab Khair Baksh Marri in his speech, during
that session rubbed more salt on Ayub Khans wounds.

This was enough for a military dictators bull as a red rag and the result was immediately after the session
government started arresting political workers and throwing them behind bars. Among them were Sardar
Attaullah Mengal, Mir Ghus Bux Bizanjo and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. In November 1962 Mr Mengal was
released on bail by the high court when the assembly was in session he went and made another speech
against the undemocratic attitude of the Government and was reasserted and sent to jail. Because of the high
handedness of the government people of Balochistan reacted sharply, to which Government sent the army
into the interior of Balochistan to teach the people of Balochistan a lesson. Thus another army operation took
place which included Ariel bombardment as well. Innumerable people including women and children were
killed and hundreds were arrested and thrown behind the bars some of whom died in jail. The Government
having failed to suppress the uprising of the people ultimately released all those in jail unilaterally in 1967.

Ayub Khan was removed from power and Yahya Khan took over Yahya Khan dissolve one unit and restored
the provinces including Balochistan, he held elections in 1970 where NAP National Awami Party returned in
majority in the Balochistan assembly and single majority party in NWFP.

By that time the blood thirsty Generals gave a bloody parting kick to east Pakistan and remaining minority of
west Pakistan was declared as Pakistan with Bhutto in power. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was unveiling to hand over
power to the elected representatives of NAP in Balochistan and NWFP. He did realise the sensitiveness of
the satiation and the army being busy on the Indian border, was left with no other alternative but to hand over
the power to NAP in both the provinces.

The federal Government started hatching conspiracies against the provincial governments in order to
destabilise them. And when the army was relived from the Indian borders Mr Bhutto didn’t wait long and
ordered the army to move in to the interior of Balochistan and then dismissed the Governments both in NWFP
and Balochistan. All the leaders political workers were put behind bars against whom the charge was framed
after 3 years, ban was put on NAP.

People were butchered to the extent that Children were killed and their bodies were not allowed to be buried
and hungry dogs were left to feast on them. This was done by the same patriotic army who refused to learn
any lesson from East Pakistan departure. Alive people were thrown down from choppers on their villages to
set example as a mark of love for the people of Balochistan. Thousands of people were killed in those army
operations, which continued for 5 years.

Thousands were rendered homeless with their livestock taken away by the starving army Jawans as booty.
Thousands other were forced to flee to Afghanistan which they had to stay more then a decade in destitute.
And when they returned home they were starving not with a penny left in their pockets and most of them were
suffering from tuberculoses because of under nourishment.

Not one person among those who returned was rehabilitated by the Government of Pakistan, on the contrary
they are being hunted upon even to this day by the Government of Pakistan who so ever was in power.

Arundati Roy suffers from schizophrenia

Not media-- Arundati Roy suffers from schizophrenia! Her claims "Indian occupation" in J&K has surpassed the excesses of Pinochet in Chile", and deployment of 1 soldier for every 15 Kashmiris lack credibility, as her claim during Gujarat riots about the rape of Jafferi's daughter when the lady was in USA! Indian Army has lost 7260 lives in Indo-Pak wars defending J&K and an additional 1416 lives out of a total of 16850 lives lost during just a decade,1988-97!
Brig VRP Sarathy (Retd)


Bharat J. Gajjar

Hockessin, DE 19707-1611

September 2, 2005


To be happy, keep your family together lovingly. United we stand,
divided we fall. One of the many formulas for being happy, is when
everyone in the family does their dharma, everyone helps each other.

If a marriage breaks down, and gets divorced, then the family breaks
down and each member goes through a great deal of pain. However if you
really look into it, you'll see that society benefits financially a
great deal.

In America two out of three marriages are broken. That is a sad thing.
When a marriage is broken, a family splits, society is benefits. One
man's poison is another man's food. This sad day for a family is a hey
day for society.

When a family is splitting, private investigators, lawyers and courts
get busy. Grandparents and sometimes friends are sad, but many others
are sadly entertained with juicy gossip. Talk shows are extremely happy
broadcasting the melodrama of broken families.

Now broken family members do not feel good and that makes doctors,
psychiatrists and marriage counselor offices very busy. Unhappiness
created by broken families leads them to take more medicine and sometimes
leads them to alcohol and drug abuse. That makes substance abuse clinics
and hospitals busy.

As the family breaks up, the Realtor is busy selling the house and now
the family needs two apartments, two cars, and of course, two credit
cards and two bank accounts.

Now there is loneliness, so bars are flourishing, single groups are
crowded and dating related businesses are very active. Restaurants,
travel agents and resort places are busy. On weekends the father will take
the children to McDonalds and, of course, going to a movie is topping
on the ice cream.

Broken families are going to spend more so the banks are happy,
Government is very happy, as their bureaucrats are busy taking care of the
single mothers.

I can go on and on, but who is the victim of this disaster? It is the
family, and most importantly, little children in the family. In the
long run society might get rich, but it gets weak. Let us pray that no
family gets broken up and let everybody make less money. Let love win
and money lose. Let's concentrate more on keeping marriages together.

Professor Bharat J. Gajjar

Sarabjit's identity being confirmed: India

India has said it was confirming the identity of Sarabjit, sentenced to death in Pakistan, on the basis of information given by him during Consular access in Lahore jail earlier this week.

"We are checking details. He (Sarabjit) has said he is so and so. That is being checked," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters while responding to a question.

"After consular access is the confirmation of identity," he said.

Sarabjit has been sentenced to death by the Pakistan Supreme Court for his alleged involvement in 1990 bomb blasts. Pakistan says he is Manjit Singh, an Indian spy but Sarabjit insists that his identity has been got wrong by the Pakistani authorities.

After an uproar here, Pakistan gave Consular access to him. Two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad met Sarabjit on Tuesday on high-security Kot Lakhpat Jail near Lahore.

"The officials met him, talked to him. He seemed to be good health. The officials left some provisions for him. He said he is Sarabjit and gave letters to the officials, one for wife and one for his sister," Sarna said giving details of the Consular access.

Asked whether the letters had reached their destination, he said he was not aware.

Advani appeals to Musharraf for Sarabjit's release

BJP President L K Advani has made a "personal" appeal to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to intervene and get released Sarabjit Singh, facing death sentence there.

"The whole world will praise him and all Indians will be forever indebted to him if he does," Advani said after a meeting with members of Singh's family, including his sister Dalbir Kaur and wife Sukhbir Kaur.

They had joined BJP on Thursday.

"I hope that our government can put enough pressure on Pakistan to arrange for Sarabjit's release," he said.

Advani said the whole nation was concerned about the farmer who strayed across the border and now faced death sentence in the name of Manjit Singh.

"I hope that after Advaniji's appeal, President Musharraf will release Sarabjit in the best interests of Indo-Pak relationship," Dalbir Kaur said.

She maintained that succesive governments were to be equally blamed for Sarabjit's condition.

Infiltration through rivers and canals along the Bangladesh border

IntelliBriefs sources learnt that terrorists are using rivers and canals along the Bangladesh border to infiltrate into India . ISI has choosen this as the best strategy to infiltrate, for many reasons , some include advantage of muslims demography , weak communist government in the state of West Bengal and presence of large number of Radical islamic madrassas which act as support for terrorists and ISI agents . Government is contemplating to seal the entry points through the rivers and canals along the Bangladesh border to check illegal infiltration . The Government has taken several measures to check infiltration by sealing the entry points through the river and canals along the Indo-Bangladesh Border, wherever feasible. In recent years there has been an increase in the cases of infiltration from such area . The riverine areas being unfenced, such areas are prone to infiltration.

Out of total 4096 kms length of Indo-Bangladesh Border, approximately 1116 kms of the International border is riverine. Reverine segments of the International Border are being dominated by BSF deploying boats and vessels. Troops deployed on the International border are maintaining surveillance over riverine areas by carrying out regular patrolling by boats and vessels. BSF has also deployed three floating BOPs and provided four fast patrol crafts with each BOP to dominate the riverine areas in West Bengal.

However experts believe that government need to do more to stop infiltration . Illegal immigration and infiltration of terrorists and ISI agents has become a menace to internal security . Eastern border is a favourite infiltration point for ISI sponsored terrorists , coupled with communist government in West Bengal which is weak in handling the infiltration and unwilling to handle handle growing radical Islamic menace in the state.