July 20, 2019

ICJ decision on Jadhav case proved that Baloch are proxy of none. Dr. Allah Nizar

ICJ decision on Jadhav case proved that Baloch are proxy of none. Dr. Allah Nizar

Sangar News

Pro-Independence Baloch leader Dr. Allah Nizar Baloch while commenting on Khulbushan Jadhav case, said that the decision of International Court of Justice, (ICJ) allowing him consular access and a retrial in a civilian court, makes it pretty clear that Pakistani plans had badly failed in its purpose to abduct Khulbushan Jadhav and pronounce him guilty through military courts. Now, this becomes crystal clear to the world that the ongoing freedom movement of Balochistan is proxy of none; in fact, the indigenous people are fighting this war by the dent of their courage.

Pakistan has trampled all international ethics and morality underneath its feet by imprisoning Khulbushan Jadhav in jail. Pakistan has been keeping the same attitude in Balochistan for the last seventy years. International Court and world powers have to raise their voice against these atrocities promptly.

He said, ”Those who sacrificed their lives in the national liberation struggle of Balochistan are publicly known to everyone and not a single non-Baloch is part of it. The drama of the Khulbushan abduction from Iran was played with a purpose to link our national struggle for freedom in Balochistan with India, and to demonstrate that Baloch national struggle is not indigenous but a proxy war which is handled by the spies of Pakistan's arch-rival. That was not only an insult to the Baloch national struggle, history and the martyrs of the Baloch nation but also was contrary to the international values.

History witnesses that Baloch nation has protected their land all alone; whether it was against the Purtagees or the British. Though being the largest democratic country of the world and as a neighbor, it is the responsibility of India to help us and take action against ongoing atrocities in Balochistan." mentioned Allah Nizar Baloch.

The Baloch leader remarked," Pakistan has digressed from legal norms in Khulbushan Jadhav case. He was denied consular access and was held guilty in its notorious army court and India went to International courts against this decision. While because of this case, India has demonstrated. It is a country that approaches all avenues in its purpose to provide justice to its citizens. India has the capacity to expose the atrocities of Pakistan at every forum of the world. But thousands of Baloch are languishing in Pakistani torture cells and enduring all sort of tortures. Along with India, it is the responsibility of the civilized world to take action against Pakistan's barbarities and like Khulbushan Jadhav case play their due role while providing justice to Baloch people. Because Baloch are living under a colonial rule and they don't have any state representation on the world level."

While commenting on the ban against BLA by the USA he said," USA while imposing a ban on BLA has proven that they are naive to understand the dualistic approach of Pakistan. The USA should reconsider its decision because BLA is struggling within the parameters of International laws and till date neither BLA nor Baloch nation ever did minutely hurt the interests of the United States of America, conversely, Pakistan has been exporting terrorism across the globe. Pakistan is responsible for destroying the peace though wagging proxy wars in Afghanistan and the region. Till today Pakistan is harboring the  same policy."

Dr. Allah Nizar Baloch added," therefore it is essential to support Baloch nation to bring peace in the region. Baloch not only expect help from USA and India but also hope that all civilized countries would support us in these trying times and declare their support to the Baloch national struggle."



18 July 2019


Daniel Fiott

The 2019 Yearbook of European Security provides an overview of events in 2018 that were significant for European security and charts major developments in the EU’s external action and security and defence policy. With a new data-rich look, the 2019 Yearbook of European Security contains many novel features including region and issue-specific sections, content-centric timelines, key document sources, information boxes and an index.

The book particularly focuses on the Common Foreign and Security Policy and its geographical dimensions. Additionally, it concentrates on the Common Security and Defence Policy with a special focus on missions and operations and policies and new initiatives such as Permanent Structured Cooperation and the European Defence Fund.

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July 18, 2019

SAmskrita Bharathi's main founder. Chamu Shasry writes: On NEP 2019

This is the response from SAmskrita Bharathi's main founder.
Chamu Shasry writes: on NEP 2019

You may find the Draft NEP 2019 at the following link -


I had made several attempts earlier to impress upon the members of NEP Draft Committee as to how Samskrit should be positioned in NEP-2019. But a very few of my suggestions have found the light in the just published Draft NEP 2019. Hence today I made the following submissions to Draft NEP-2019 through email. You too are requested to write to - nep...@nic.in regarding the same. Unless united efforts are made, it would be difficult for Samskrit to find an appropriate place in NEP 2019.

Simply extolling Samskrit but not providing any meaningful policy solutions is like smoke without fire due to which Samskrit is unnecessarily getting all the criticisms and opposition. This is what has happened to Samskrit in the past and now also. Many, even our own people, are not aware of what the real issues are. Hence many of our friends who love Samskrit make impractical, unwarranted, unimportant and untimely demands. Let us be strategic and focused.

Following are the submissions by Samskrit Promotion Foundation.

1.      Regarding ‘Three Language Formula’

1.1  The Three Language Formula, followed since the adoption of the National Policy on Education 1968, and endorsed in the National Policy on Education 1986/1992 as well as the NCF 2005 has two fundamental flaws.

1.1.1.      English, the only language option as a second language in the Formula, is a compulsory language by default. First and third languages have options of mother tongue, regional language or 8th schedule languages, but not second language English. Hence English is the only language compulsorily learnt all over the country till today. Though the Draft NEP 2019, in P4.5.4, elaborately speaks about the dominance of English language in the country and the need to break it – “this power structure of language (English - supplied) must be stopped at the earliest”- a careful study of all the NEPs and NCFs till date including this Draft NEP 2019 suggest that the root cause for English language hegemony in India is English being the only compulsory language in the Three Language Formula. This fact is either not understood or is quietly accepted by the educationists and the people who are at the helm of policy making. We are neither undermining the importance of English nor have any hatred towards English. The question is whether we should make only one language as compulsory. (Further, though a small issue, it is said in P4.5.4 of Draft NEP2019 that – “only about 15% of the country speaks English” but the source for this data is not given. Is it ‘15% …..speaks English’ or ‘15% …..can speak English’. Both make a lot of difference.)

1.1.2.      The Three Language Formula, which is in force for the last five decades, divides the country on the basis of language. If the linguistic reorganization of States was the first linguistic division of the country, the Three Language Formula was the second. The very basis, the only basis of Three Language Formula is Hindi-speaking States and Non-Hindi-speaking States. Language should engender unity and harmony, not division and hatred. But unfortunately the above mentioned two painful language divisions still rub the wounds time and again. We neither undermine the great need for an Indian Official Language for the Union of India, i.e. Hindi, nor want to hinder Hindi’s present natural and faster growth in all the States of India. The question is how best Hindi could be promoted without creating any heart burns.

1.2.       Since today’s children and parents are intelligent enough to decide which languages to choose, since making any language compulsory by default or by design would be counter-productive and since there are numerous attractive ways to promote a language to the desired extent, instead of prescribing a set of languages, Draft NEP 2019 should give the freedom to choose “any three languages of 8th Schedule of the Constitution or official languages of the Union of India” as offered in the schem
e of studies by the Boards of Secondary Education.

1.3.      Though the NEP and the NCF clearly state that the Three Language Formula should be implemented “till the last year of Secondary Education” i.e. 10th standard, it is not implemented uniformly in the country. The greatest irony is that the MHRD has not taken any steps to implement in toto, the act it got passed in Parliament i.e. NEP and NCF, in the very Boards directly under MHRD. Hence one area in Three Language Formula which is much used and misused and needs to be addressed by Draft NEP 2019 with clear suggestions for implementation is “three languages from which standard to which standard”. There were three patterns in implementing Three Language Formula in the country till recent years. 1) From 6th to 10th in most of the State Boards 2) 8th to 10th in a few of the State Boards 3) 6th to 9th in two National Boards under MHRD, i.e. CBSE & NIOS and one private national Board CISCE. Since CBSE is the trend setter in the country and since State Boards have started following CBSE pattern i.e. two languages in 9th & 10th to overcome the unfair disadvantage their students face because of CBSE’s two languages in 9th and 10th, only English and mother tongue/regional language find place in 10th Board Exam due to which those students who would like to opt Hindi or Samskrit also are not able to do so, resulting in discontinuation of that language in 11th and 12th and further in UG and PG. If any Indian language is not continued up to 10th Board Exam, the negative impacts of it are many, like – no student takes it seriously unless it is for Board exam, fulltime teacher appointment becomes difficult, further decline of studies of Indian languages in Higher Secondary and Higher Education, etc. Hence Three Language Formula should continue till the last year of Secondary Education, i.e. 10th, irrespective of where it starts.

1.4.      The language policy for Higher Secondary, i.e. 11th and 12th Std., adopted in the National Policy on Education1968, and endorsed in the National Policy on Education 1986/1992 as well as the NCF 2005 is ‘two language policy’. While all the State Boards have implemented it in toto and have two languages in 11th and 12th Std., only the three National Boards, CBSE, NIOS and CISCE have not complied with it. They have only one language i.e. English. No Indian language is studied as an optional language! (Offering Indian language as an additional language does not serve the purpose) And now State Boards also want to follow the same. This is one of the root causes for the decline of Indian languages in Universities. Hence Draft NEP2019 should explicitly state the need for two languages in 11th and 12th Std. There again, the students should be given the freedom of choosing any two languages of 8th Schedule of the Constitution or the official languages of the Union of India.

2.           Regarding “Study of Sanskrit and knowledge of its extensive literature” in P4.5.15 -

In the above mentioned P4.5.15, the sentences starting from “Considering the special importance of Sanskrit………” and ending with “Panchatantra stories in ethics classes, etc.)” either may be replaced with the following or in addition to the above the following may be incorporated – The approach would be to promote the study of Samskrit not by relegating it to Samskrit Pathashalas or by isolating it to exclusive Samskrit Universities but by mainstreaming it through integrating Samskrit Knowledge Systems (SKS) along with different modern subject areas. New course books on ‘Samskrit for Specific Purpose (SSP)’ like ‘Samskrit for Yoga’, ‘Samskrit for Ayurveda’, ‘Samskrit for Law’, etc. will be introduced as electives at Higher Secondary level so that it would help them to excel in UG and PG courses of respective subjects. (In fact one of the main reasons for the decline of Samskrit studies in Ayurveda or for the difficulties of Ayurveda students in studying original Ayurveda texts in Samskrit is that those students do not study Samskrit at plus-two-level since Samskrit is not offered for Science students in many states)

चमू कृष्ण शास्त्री Chamu Krishna Shastry,
न्यासी सचिवः
Trustee Secretary,
संस्कृत-संवर्धन-प्रतिष्ठानम् देहली
Samskrit Promotion Foundation, Delhi

The IMF Takeover of Pakistan

A Pakistani walks past a shop which is closed due to strike in Peshawar, Pakistan, July 13, 2019.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad

Many Pakistanis see the terms of the $6 billion bailout package as a hostile takeover of their economy and government.

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

July 18, 201

On July 3, the International Monetary Fund approved a $6 billion bailout package to help “return sustainable growth” to Pakistan’s economy. Throughout the deal spanning 39 months, the IMF will review Pakistan’s progress on a quarterly basis. As part of the agreement, $1 billion has been released to Pakistan.

This is the 13th IMF bailout for Pakistan, with the Fund looking toward the correction of “structural imbalances” in the country. In this regard, the IMF had announced in the negotiations over the past couple of months that Islamabad would have to increase taxation in order to repay external debt and increase foreign exchange reserves.

Details of the agreement reveal the targets that have been set for Pakistan, requiring the country to increase the foreign exchange reserves from the current $6.824 billion to $11.187 billion next year. As a result, the country’s net reserves are expected to increase from negative $17.7 billion to negative $10.8 billion over the same period.

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The IMF has further asked Pakistan to pay $37.359 billion in external debt within the duration of the IMF bailout deal. Islamabad owes $14.682 billion of this figure to Beijing, largely due to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC).

The increase in taxation required by the IMF was visible in this fiscal year’s financial budget, with the government increasing the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) tax collection target from 3.94 trillion Pakistani rupees ($25 billion) to 5.5 trillion rupees. The documents further reveal that over the next two years of the bailout package, additional 1.5 trillion rupee and 1.31 trillion rupee hikes in revenue collection have been scheduled.

Even before the budget was passed, the government had already implemented steps to enhance taxation, with hikes in the price of petrol and electricity. Government officials confirm that further hikes are expected next month.

In addition to the heavy taxation, another precondition of the IMF bailout was the devaluation of the Pakistani currency, which the Fund deemed to be artificially valued. With the IMF calling for a “market determined” value of the Pakistani currency, the rupee has lostover half its value since December 2017, resulting in inflation rate reaching a five-year high at 9.4 percent in April, and expected to rise to over 13 percent, as per the Fund’s forecast.

The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (meaning “trader’s association”) calling a nationwide strike is one example of the impact that the rise in taxation has had on local industries. As a result, the working class in the country is rising up against what it calls the “IMF’s imperialistic takeover” of the country.

“[The IMF] package is littered with conditionalities that are putting burden on the lives of ordinary people. Pakistani people and traders have no capacity to pay taxes demanded by the IMF,” Farooq Tariq, spokesperson and the former general secretary of the Awami Workers’ Party, told The Diplomat.

“As part of the package, the IMF installed its own ‘intelligent’ people on key posts. Not only does it serve the IMF’s purpose of increasing its stranglehold over the country, it reflects a total lack of confidence in PTI’s capacity to do the job,” Tariq adds. PTI refers to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the current ruling party of the country.

Multiple interviews with officials in the Finance Ministry reveal that the appointments of former IMF mission chief Reza Baqir as the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan and former Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh as the prime minister’s adviser on finance were enforced by the IMF in the lead up  to the bailout agreement.

When asked, a senior government official told The Diplomat that the IMF forced the issue to install “its own men” amid continued deadlock with former Finance Minister Asad Umar. The IMF’s pressure further escalated after it was revealed that the entirety of the loan Pakistan received from Saudi Arabia and the UAE at the turn of the year was spent to prevent the currency market from crashing.

Senior financial journalist and analyst at FX Empire Shahab Jafry questions the manner in which the IMF has forced the government to manage the local currency’s valuation.

“The currency market was going haywire, and you had to dump the [U.S.] dollar to buy the rupees – to support the local currency. The government says it is letting the rupee free float – it can’t let that happen, the country will collapse in 48 hours,” he told The Diplomat.

“The currency has an annual 5 percent depreciation against the dollar. I don’t see the rupee stabilizing because I don’t see the economy stabilizing. In the modern day, in competitive floating currencies, you have to have a very strong export revenue generation to have a stable currency – or oil reserves, because you are prone to imports and the fluctuation of commodities and currencies can crash markets,” Jafry adds.

Observers note the usual IMF pattern in its current dealings with Pakistan, with the Fund employing trusted people in countries where there is large-scale misappropriation of funds obtained from international institutions.

Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the PM’s financial adviser, was also part of the team that negotiated the 11th bailout package with the IMF as the finance minister during the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) rule from 2008 to 2013.

Last month, an entire inquiry commission was formed to probe the alleged corrupt practices of the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz over the past decade. While many see it as an attempt to audit the funding received in the past, others see it as a maneuver led by the current ruling party, the PTI, to victimize its political opponents with the help of the Pakistan Army.

Farooq Tariq maintains that the military establishment has had a role to play in the aggravation of the economy, and the PTI isn’t the first party to seek the Army’s help in maintaining the vicious circle of debt for Pakistan.

“Pakistan goes to the IMF every few years because of its ruling political parties’ inability to run the economy. The reason is very simple: military and debt expenses. Both take up over half of the national budget at present. The successive governments have bowed down to the pressures of the generals and the creditors not to reduce these two unproductive expenditures,” he said.

Where the Army bolsters particular parties to safeguard its economic interests, the IMF wants Pakistan to pursue certain geopolitical interests. For many, the bailout agreement reveals that instead of economic reforms, geostrategic interests are at the heart of the deal.

“The IMF package is a straitjacket for Pakistan’s economy. The IMF document illustrates a very simplistic thought process,” economist and political scientist Farrukh Saleem, the PTI government’s former spokesperson on energy and economy, told The Diplomat.

“They say the budget deficit is extremely high, the solution is to increase the revenue by 45 percent. How exactly? It’s a shrinking economy. Similarly, they say the trade deficit is extremely high, and then devalue the rupee. The IMF isn’t trying to solve Pakistan’s problems at all, the package has zero reforms – be it power, budget deficit, or trade deficit. After all, the IMF is not a purely economic institute, it’s a political institute as well,” Saleem added.

The former spokesperson maintains that the IMF is advancing U.S. security interests in the region by using the bailout package to ensure Islamabad’s compliance. He refers to this year’s WikiLeaks document “Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare,” originally written in September 2008, as evidence of how the IMF and World Bank are used to serve U.S. regional goals.

Lieutenant-General Talat Masood, former secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense Production, says there are obvious U.S. goals that the IMF is looking to fulfill.

“They would like to control our nuclear development. They don’t want us to spend on conventional forces and try to match India. They want us to focus on the economy. They don’t want us to use Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT] and others to destabilize India and Afghanistan. Also, CPEC and our relationship with China is too strong for their liking. They want us to contribute significantly in the Afghan peace process by pushing the Taliban,” Masood told The Diplomat.

Masood believes the recent arrest of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, in the lead up to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the United States, underlines that Islamabad has succumbed to the American demands. But Masood is also critical of Pakistan’s own policymaking, which renders it vulnerable to external pressure.

“Pakistan’s policies are so shallow and aren’t based on any foundational principles, and hence can’t be defended. It’s a weakness of policy and the internal structure of Pakistan that they have to succumb to external pressure,” he adds.

July 17, 2019

Fool’s gold – Pakistan could have made big money from gold mines, now it’s paying penalties

Fool’s gold – Pakistan could have made big money from gold mines, now it’s paying penalties

The $5.8 billion penalty in the Reko Diq case should make Pakistanis reconsider the military’s overwhelming presence in their lives.


16 July, 2019 10:52 am

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan | Facebook

At a time when Pakistan’s debt-ridden economy cannot afford further bleeding, a World Bank arbitration court has ordered Imran Khan’s government to pay $5.8 billion in damages to a multinational mining giant, which discovered gold and copper deposits in Balochistan only to have its mining lease arbitrarily cancelled.

Pakistan also lost another arbitration case against the asset recovery firm Broadsheet LLC, and has been ordered to pay $33 million in damages and costs. The company had been hired by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to search for the hidden assets of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family. Broadsheet LLC’s contract was also terminated without regard to international contract law.

Both cases demonstrate how Pakistan’s economy suffers when the hyper-nationalist sentiment of an intrusive and politicised military interferes with economic decision-making. Within Pakistan, the military establishment manages to get its capricious decisions endorsed by a subservient judiciary. But Pakistan has faced a long streak of negative judgments in international arbitration tribunals and courts because of overly simplistic choices made by its generals.

Without the military’s interference, the large gold and copper deposits found at Reko Diq, Balochistan, would have brought in revenues for Pakistan instead of a $5.8 billion penalty. The deposits would have been exploited by Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between Chile’s Antofagasta and Canada’s Barrick Gold, and Pakistan would have shared the profits with the multinational corporation with mining experience.

Also read: Modi isn’t about to change India into national security state like Pakistan & bankrupt it

With the military’s backing, nuclear scientist Samar Mubarakmand demanded ejection of foreign companies from Reko Diq in 2011, and subsequently started mining and smelting operations with his own team.

The Supreme Court, then headed by activist Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, ordered the cancellation of the Tethyan Copper contract in 2013.

In January 2015, the Pakistan military’s magazine Hilal published an article by Samar Mubarakmand, described as ‘an eminent scientist who led the team of scientists and engineers to conduct Pakistan’s Nuclear Tests at Chagai in May 1998’. The article titled ‘Destined Towards a Rich Pakistan: Reko Diq Mineral Resources’ suggested that Pakistan did not need to pay a foreign company to extract its minerals. It claimed that scientists who succeeded in making nuclear weapons for Pakistan could also make it rich by developing its natural resources.



Mubarakmand’s pitch was received well by the military as well as xenophobic civilians. Balochistan has long been a troubled province and, in the official Pakistani view, easy prey to the usual foreign suspects.

Also read: The China-Pakistan ‘nexus’ to exploit tons of gold from the mines of Balochistan

The hyper-nationalists thought the judgment of the country’s highest court was enough to turn a multinational company away without sufficient compensation. Some of the Reko Diq mines were turned over to the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC). The Chinese are, in Pakistani folklore, more mindful of Pakistan’s interests and security needs than Westerners and can be trusted to never have any truck with the Indians who allegedly encourage Baloch separatism.

But the Chinese could not extract even an ounce of Reko Diq’s copper or gold, nor could Mubarakmand’s team of patriotic scientists. Although the Chinese are still said to be involved in the mining project as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

More recently, the Pakistan army’s Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) – a road and buildings constructor – has been involved in the Reko Diq project, even though it has no experience whatsoever of complex copper mining.

The World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)’s award in favour of Tethyan Copper should serve as a reminder that military officers and nuclear scientists with a greater claim to patriotism are not the best persons to make decisions about commercial mining or understanding the inviolability of international contracts. But it is unlikely that the lesson will be learnt any time soon.

Pakistan’s generals and officers of the ubiquitous Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continue to believe that they are better positioned to define and defend Pakistan’s national interest. This belief persists in the area of economic decision-making even though economics and contract law are not taught at Pakistan Military Academy or the Army Staff College.

Corruption charges against civilian politicians have been used to wriggle out of international contracts. During the late 1990s, contracts of several Independent Power Producers (IPPs) funded by the World Bank were terminated. In 2011, several Rental Power Projects (RPPs) were cancelled amidst allegations that the civilian officials at the time received kickbacks from companies from the United States, Turkey and UAE.

The militarised anti-corruption drive is costing Pakistan more than the recoveries in unlawful assets of corrupt politicians or officials. The Broadsheet case, for example, shows how the generals hired an international firm to help them find hidden overseas assets but then lost the opportunity of recovering these assets by cancelling the asset recovery firm’s contract.

Also read: What Pakistani generals want from PM Imran Khan – career advancement

Now, not only won’t Pakistan fail to recover the assets identified by Broadsheet, it would have to pay the firm compensation for its work. Huge arbitration awards are hurting Pakistan’s already thin pocketbook. In 2017, Turkish company Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim AS won a $780 million award from ICSID over the unlawful termination of its rental power project.

There are other examples of militarised decision-making affecting Pakistan’s economy. Privatisation of large loss-making state enterprises, such as Pakistan Steel, and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has often been contemplated but shelved due to ‘national security concerns’. Xenophobic nationalism interferes with travel facilities for foreign businessmen and corporate executives as well as with large investment projects like the Reko Diq copper and gold mines.

Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have often looked upon managing the economy as integral to their remit of ensuring Pakistan’s security. One of the arguments for each of Pakistan’s four direct military coups d’état and for other military interventions in politics was the need to maintain equilibrium in the government’s finances.

The military has often spearheaded anti-corruption drives, although evidence suggests that public sector corruption in Pakistan has increased, not diminished, over the years, including during military regimes. It is not unusual for Pakistan’s national security apparatus to intervene directly or behind-the-scenes for the purpose of denying a local business or foreign investor their legitimate dues from the federal or provincial governments.

Also read: IMF finds very little right with Pakistani economy, prescribes very ambitious remedies

The permanent state apparatus wants to be able to sidestep constitutional and legal restrictions, including the opportunity to get out of inconvenient contractual obligations, by any means necessary. But that is not how the real world works. Cancelling contracts and juggling aid packages are not a substitute for land reform and sustained modernisation of agriculture, training of a skilled workforce, and nurturing of innovation or entrepreneurship.

The $5.8 billion penalty in the Reko Diq case should make Pakistanis reconsider the military’s overwhelming presence in their lives. Pakistan’s recurrent economic crises are partly the product of general disdain towards pursuit of economic activity in a culture that extols the virtues of the warrior more than that of the trader.

Husain Haqqani, director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C., was Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008-11. His books include ‘Pakistan Between Mosque and Military,’ ‘India v Pakistan: Why Can’t we be Friends’ and ‘Reimagining Pakistan.’ Views are personal.


How Much Is Your Data Worth to Tech Companies? Lawmakers Want to Tell You, but They Have No Idea

If lawmakers want to tackle data privacy, they need to more widely address the value and cost of data in people’s lives.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash


Samuel Lengen

Politics Data Technology LawmakersPrivacy Big Data

New proposed legislation by U.S. senators Mark R. Warner and Josh Hawley seeks to protect privacy by forcing tech companies to disclose the “true value” of their data to users.

Specifically, companies with more than 100 million users would have to provide each user with an assessment of the financial value of their data, as well as reveal revenue generated by “obtaining, collecting, processing, selling, using or sharing user data.”Estimating the value of user data isn’t simple and won’t, I believe, solve privacy issues.

 In addition, the DASHBOARD Act would give users the right to delete their data from companies’ databases.

As a researcher exploring the ethical and political implications of digital platforms and big data, I’m sympathetic to the bill’s ambition of increasing transparency and empowering users. However, estimating the value of user data isn’t simple and won’t, I believe, solve privacy issues.

Data Collectors

The data collected by tech companies consists not just of traditional identifying information such as name, age, and gender. Rather, as Harvard historian Rebecca Lemov has noted, it includes "Tweets, Facebook likes, Twitches, Google searches, online comments, one-click purchases, even viewing-but-skipping-over a photograph in your feed."

In other words, big data contains the mundane yet intimate moments of people’s lives. And, if Facebook captures your interactions with friends and family, Google your late-night searches, and Alexa your living room commands, wouldn’t you want to know, as the bill suggests, what your “data is worth and to whom it is sold”?  

The commission, I believe, will quickly realize that estimating the value of user data is a challenging undertaking.         

However, calculating the value of user data isn’t that simple. Estimates on what user data is worth vary widely. They include evaluations of less than a dollar for an average person’s data to a slightly more generous US$100 for a Facebook user. One user sold his data for $2,733 on Kickstarter. To achieve this number, he had to share data including keystrokes, mouse movements, and frequent screenshots.

Sadly, the DASHBOARD Act doesn’t specify how it would estimate the value of user data. Instead, it explains that the Securities and Exchange Commission, an independent federal government agency, “shall develop a method or methods for calculating the value of user data.” The commission, I believe, will quickly realize that estimating the value of user data is a challenging undertaking.         

More Than Personal

The proposed legislation aims to provide users with more transparency. However, privacy is no longer solely a matter of personal data. Data shared by a few can provide insights into the lives of many.

Facebook likes, for example, can help predict a user’s sexual orientation with a high degree of accuracy. Target has used its purchase data to predict which customers are pregnant. The case garnered widespread attention after the retailer figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did.

Having been let loose, predictive technologies will continue to work even if users delete their part of the data that helped create them.

Such predictive ability means that private information isn’t just contained in user data. Companies can also infer your private information, based on statistical correlations in the data of a number of users. How can the value of such data be reduced to an individual dollar value? It is more than the sum of its parts.

What’s more, this ability to use statistical analysis to identify people as belonging to a group category can have far-reaching privacy implications. If service providers can use predictive analytics to guess a user’s sexual orientation, race, gender, and religious belief, what is to stop them from discriminating on that basis?

Having been let loose, predictive technologies will continue to work even if users delete their part of the data that helped create them.

Control Through Data

The sensitivity of data depends not just on what it contains, but on how governments and companies can use it to exert influence.

This is evident in my current research on China’s planned social credit system. The Chinese government plans to use national databases and “trustworthiness ratings” to regulate the behavior of Chinese citizens.

Data privacy is as much about big tech’s ability to shape your personal life as about what it knows about you.

Google’s, Amazon’s, and Facebook’s “surveillance capitalism,” as author Shoshana Zuboff has argued, also uses predictive data to “tune and herd our behaviour towards the most profitable outcomes.”

In 2014, revelations about how Facebook experimented with its feed to influence the emotional state of users ended in a public outcry. However, this instance just made visible how digital platforms, in general, can use data to keep users engaged and, in the process, generate more data.

Data privacy is as much about big tech’s ability to shape your personal life as about what it knows about you.

Who Is Harmed

The truth is that datafication, with all its privacy implications, does not affect everyone equally.

Big data’s hidden biases and networked discrimination continue to reproduce inequalities around gender, race, and class. Women, minorities, and the financially poor are most strongly affected. UCLA professor Safiya Umoja Noble, for example, has shown how Google search rankings reinforce negative stereotypes about women of color.

In light of such inequality, how could a numerical value ever capture the “true” value of user data?

If lawmakers want to tackle data privacy, they need to more widely address the value and cost of data in people’s lives.

The proposed legislation’s lack of specificity is disconcerting. However, even more troubling might be its insistence that data transparency will be achieved by revealing monetary value alone. Numeric assessments of financial worth don’t reflect data’s power to predict our actions or guide our decisions.

The DASHBOARD Act aims to make the business of data more transparent and empower users. However, I believe that it will fail to fulfill this promise. If lawmakers want to tackle data privacy, they need to regulate not just data monetization, but more widely address the value and cost of data in people’s lives.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

July 16, 2019

Xi tells Party elite to stick together


 On Monday, the Party’s top journal Qiushi, published a speech by Xi Jinping on “political construction.”

Some context: Xi gave the speech at a June 29, 2018 Politburo study session.

For those that don’t feel like reading the whole thing, Xinhua has summarized the main points (CPC):

“The article emphasizes that Marxist political parties have lofty political ideals, lofty political pursuits, pure political quality, and strict political discipline.”“If a Marxist political party loses its advanced political nature, then it is impossible to talk about the party’s purity.”“This is why the Party’s political construction is…fundamental.”Got that? Good.

So how do you advance political construction? Easy:“To preserve the Party’s political leadership, most important is preserving the authority and unified, collective leadership of the Party center.”“This must be the primary task of the Party’s political construction.”

Get smart: This speech’s intended audience was the Party leadership. It was a reminder – and a warning – that the fractious elite politics that characterized the Hu Jintao era have no place in Xi’s China.

Xinhua: 习近平:增强推进党的政治建设的自觉性和坚定性
People.cn: 《求是》杂志发表习近平总书记重要文章《增强推进党的政治建设的自觉性和坚定性》

Gandhi's and Nehru's contribution to the freedom struggle

*More on Gandhi's and Nehru's contribution to the freedom struggle.

"He is a mad man" - said *Gandhi !*

"His act was a senseless deed" - said *Nehru !*

"We condemn his act of terror and apologise and hope we are not punished for it" - - resolution passed by *Congress !*

Who was this man and what did he do to attract such huge condemnation from Bapu (kahe ka) and Chachaji (kis ka) ?

He was *Shaheed Udham Singh* and the senseless deed he did was that he killed *Michael Dwyer.*

Michael was the *monster* who massacred 1526 innocent unarmed peaceful Indians in *Jalian wala Bagh in 1919.*

Udham singh was 19 year old volunteer who was serving water to the 20,000 people gathered in the garden on festival of Baisakhi.

They were brutally massacred by Gen Dwyer and Udham singh was live witness to it.

He wanted to avenge the brutality and get some sense of justice to these martyrs.
British GOVT didn’t take any action.

*Congress couldn't get british to act on Dwyer.*

So Dwyer happily retired to England and lead a peaceful rich life.

*Meanwhile, Udham singh joined Gadhar Party and fought for freedom.*
He was jailed for 5 years and there he was inspired by death and martyrdom of *Bhagat Singh* who wanted to take action on Dwyer.

After release, he escaped from India through  Kashmir. He went to Germany and then to London.

He joined as engineer and pursued Dwyer for 6 years. He procured a gun, learnt shooting and then found that on 13, March, 1940 Dwyer was speaking in Caxton hall, London.

He hid a gun in a book in which he had carved a place for gun. Sat in front row and shot two bullets into heart and lung of Dwyer.

He died instantly.

He didn’t escape. He bravely courted arrest.

He told these words to the judge:

*"I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I have crushed him. For full 21 years, I have been trying to seek vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?”*

He was sentenced to death in the court.
He fasted for 42 days in the jail and was brutally tortured and hanged on July 31, 1940

*Meanwhile in India congress condemned his act. Gandhi and Nehru abused him for making british angry and they forced congress to pass a resolution against killing of Dwyer.*

They were very busy those days helping british recruit Indian soldiers for World War  - II and they didn’t want Punjab to get upset wirh british.

This is our great freedom fighting party which condemned killing of a monster like Dwyer who massacred 1526 people in Punjab.

*Udham Singh was buried in London and like other freedom fighter's,  he is forgotten in India.*

*No textbooks talk about him.*

Few people know about him.

*I am happy that they are making a movie on this patriot and coincidently it will be released on Gandhi birthdays on Oct 2. His story is a great and inspiring one.*

Mayawati named a District in Uttarakhand after him in 1995, perhaps the only good deed she has done in her life and in 1974 his remains were exhumed and brought to Bharat and he was cremated here.

His ashes are in urn in *Jalian Wala Bagh.*

🙏.my salute to this great soul, who are inspiration to our soldiers, where is Congress in this scheme, they have suppressed the genuine history




Jul 11, 2019


Mieczyslaw Boduszynski

Katarzyna Pisarska



How can the principles and tools of public diplomacy be applied to bridge contested historical memories and narratives? Israeli-Polish relations offer a compelling case study.

Rarely are two peoples living on different continents as intertwined by history as Poles and Israelis. For nine centuries Poland remained the home, and at times a safe harbor, for the largest Jewish community in the world. The culture and intellectual output of Poland’s Jewish community had an important impact on Polish society, just as Polish culture had a profound impact on Judaism. Polish Jews played a central role in the formation of the Israeli state. Relations between Poland’s Christian majority and its Jewish minority were complicated. But the two peoples lived side by side until the outbreak of World War II. Between 1939-1945, under the brutal occupation of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, Poland lost over 5 million of its citizens—including nearly the entire population of 3 million Polish Jews.

Rather than being united by a shared history of oppression, violence and killing during World War II, contested historical memories and politics have often divided Poles and Israelis (as well as the Jewish diaspora). Despite strengthening relations between Israel and Poland, in recent years historical controversies have risen to the top of the political agenda, casting a dark shadow on other areas of bilateral cooperation. The most fraught discussion revolves around the conduct of Poles toward Jews under German Nazi Occupation. In contrast to some neighboring countries, there was no Polish collaborationist government during the war. However, despite countless Poles risking their lives in order to shelter Jews during the Holocaust, many others assisted the Nazi killers or, in a few cases, organized their own pogroms during and after the war. While the Polish narrative emphasizes the heroic actions of Poles who helped Jews, Israelis and the Jewish diaspora recall Polish anti-Semitism during the interwar years, which bolstered the German Nazi effort.

The communist regime that ruled Poland from 1945-1989 did little to educate Poles about their wartime past, preferring to gloss over difficult issues like Polish anti-Semitism and complicity in Nazi crimes. In 1968 the Polish Communist party declared thousands in a small community of remaining Polish Jews enemies of the state and forced them to leave Poland. Over this incident, too, there is contention over whether it was driven entirely by mobilization from the top or whether popular anti-Semitism played a role.

After the fall of communism, many Poles began to take an interest in the rich history of Jewish life in Poland, and some began to discover their previously unknown Jewish roots. Meanwhile, the work of historians, notable among them the Princeton scholar Jan Gross, forced Polish society to come to terms with its complicity in the Holocaust, as did works of popular culture such as Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski’s Oscar-winning film, Ida

Public diplomacy based on a collaborative, grassroots approach emphasizing people-to-people ties might be the best way forward to reconcile the diverging historical narratives and grievances of the past. 

Despite the gains of the 2000s in reconciling competing narratives of World War II, the idea that Poles were only victims, and never victimizers, during World War II has been difficult to overcome. More recently, growing nationalist sentiments, and the rise to power of populist political forces, set the process of confronting the past back further. In 2018, a crisis in Israeli-Polish relations erupted over a so-called “Holocaust Law,” which aimed to criminalize attempts to assign any blame to Poland and Poles for the killings in World War II (itself a reaction to frequent misleading statements by foreign officials and media implying that the concentration camps established and operated by Nazi Germany were “Polish death camps”). Tensions were defused only after the Polish Parliament, under intense external pressure, agreed to amend the bill by decriminalizing the offense.  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to cultivate good relations with the populist government which currently rules Poland as a way to increase his leverage in a European Union that is often critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Despite his efforts, acrimony between leaders of the two countries escalated earlier this year when Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki cancelled a planned visit to Israel in response to remarks by top Israeli officials suggesting that Poles are irredeemable anti-Semites.

Can public diplomacy aid in bridging the gulf in historical memories? Public diplomacy underscores the centrality of people-to-people exchange. Regrettably, one of the major challenges in trying to bridge the gulf between Poles and Israelis today is the relatively small number of people-to-people interactions between both groups, leaving ample space for misinterpretations and manipulation. In 2017, a record number of 250,000 Israeli citizens visitedPoland, though many of them to see the memorial sights associated with the Holocaust. Polish tourism to Israel has also skyrocketed (85,000 Poles visited Israel in 2017), with dozens of direct, weekly flights from Polish cities to Tel Aviv. While increasing tourism is a positive development, it does not necessarily generate the dialogue that public diplomacy facilitates. The Israeli Youth Delegations program, funded by the Israeli state since the early 1990s, brings over 25,000 high school pupils to visit Jewish historical sites in Poland annually. The program has been criticized for the rather limited interaction it affords Israelis with their Polish peers. As an alternative, in 2009 the Polish Ministry of Education instituted a separate grant program for Polish and Israeli high schools, which promotes one- to two-week student exchanges to Poland for Israeli students. As state-sponsored initiatives, however, these programs remain highly susceptible to influence from politics.  

Israeli-Polish relations and, by extension, the goal of facing the past, would benefit from a collaborative public diplomacy approach. Traditional, state-driven public diplomacy programs such as cultural and educational exchanges offer an important contribution to conflict resolution by facilitating dialogue, confronting misperceptions and bridging narratives. However, a collaborative PD approach—understood here as a “process of building mutual understanding through a multi-stakeholder effort (citizens and NGOs working side-by-side with governments) to undertake projects contributing to a common good—goes further by complementing and enhancing government-led programs. It adds a vital grassroots component which can contribute to the betterment of bilateral relations in the long term, but in the short and medium term, allows for dialogue to continue regardless of political tensions between states.

Today, there is already promising ground for the development of collaborative public diplomacy in Israeli-Polish relations. Politics, the state of bilateral relations, and state-driven public diplomacy efforts notwithstanding, Polish civil society has been making remarkable efforts in areas such as exchange, dialogue, and cultural preservation and documentation. A number of Polish non-governmental organizations have helped revive Jewish cultural, social and religious life in cities such as Kraków. Poland now hosts a number of major Jewish cultural festivals and other events. Polish universities offer Yiddish and Hebrew language classes, and Jewish studies programs saw the enrollment of a record 2,500 students in Warsaw and Kraków last year. At the local level, Polish civil society is collaborating with municipalities to help the remaining Jewish community preserve its cemeteries and restore its synagogues.

Museums and other sites of memory based on private efforts can also play a critical role, filling in voids left by the official education system. Here we must mention the remarkable POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, which the New York Times called “the most ambitious cultural institution to rise in Poland since the fall of Communism.” POLIN opened its doors in 2015, with the Israeli president in attendance at the inauguration. The museum cost over $100 million and represents an extraordinary collaboration between Polish and foreign donors, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. It contains eight galleries, full of multimedia exhibits, artifacts, documents and other objects. Importantly, while one gallery memorializes Jewish death in the Holocaust, the remaining galleries honor over six centuries of Jewish life in Poland in all its complexity and diversity. Among other topics, the museum deals with the thorny issue of Polish-Jewish relations in an impressively balanced way. And the museum has also instituted its own exchange programs focused on dialogue among youth.

Israeli-Polish relations have many reasons to thrive. Poland remains one of the staunchest supporters of Israel within the European Union. In comparison to some Western European countries, in Poland there a very low number of anti-Semitic incidents, and there is no organized effort to boycott and divest from Israel. When you add to this the strong economic growth of both countries, a well-organized tourism industry and common history on which to build, it becomes clear that there is ample space for excellent relations. The major hurdle remains a lack of dialogue and mutual understanding of the long history of Polish-Jewish relations within Poland, including the fraught history of relations under German occupation in World War II. Public diplomacy based on a collaborative, grassroots approach emphasizing people-to-people ties might be the best way forward to reconcile the diverging historical narratives and grievances of the past. Such an approach will also provide the necessary tools in order to build strong and sustainable relations for the future.    

Photo (by Fred Romero via Flickr | CC BY 2.0) shows the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Concentration camps or a model counterterrorism program?

Photo credit: A visual representation of countries that signed letters to the UN Human Rights Council against and in defense of China’s ethnic policies in the Xinjiang region. Map made by Reddit user Hamena95

An extraordinary event in human rights diplomacy happened in the last week: Two unprecedented letters to the president of the UN Human Rights Council were signed by dozens of countries expressing either support for or condemnation of China’s treatment of Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

The condemnation came first,from the ambassadors of 22 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and many Western European countries, but not the United States, which quit its position on the council a year ago.China responded with a letter of its own: Russia and Saudi Arabia were among the 37 states that expressed support for China’s ethnic policies in Xinjiang as a successful “counter-terrorism and deradicalization” program, Reuters reports.


As we wrote in the SupChina Weekly Briefing last week, scholars estimate that there are as many as 1.5 million Turkic Muslims in “re-education camps” — i.e., concentration camps — in China’s western Xinjiang region. The goal of the mass internment campaign, which began in the spring of 2017, has been reported to be forced assimilation of ethnic minorities — i.e., cultural genocide — that Beijing considers to be a threat to stability.

The Australian ABC has multiple new resources to learn more:

Tell the world — a 45-minute documentary on the crisisThe missing: Meet the families torn apart by China's crackdown on UyghursCotton On and Target investigate suppliers after forced labor of Uyghurs exposed in China's Xinjiang

Severity of Economic Impact of the Maoist Movement

Vivekananda International Foundation

Giridhari NaikJuly 3 , 2019  View: 475  Comments:0

It is now well recognised that the Maoist movement in India is deeply rooted in socio-economic conditions in parts of India with large tribal populations. However, misunderstanding and misperceptions about this problem persists due to lack of economic information. A deeper research on the economic dimension of the Maoist conflict can generate perspectives beneficial to policy makers and better explain the conflict in the framework of cost and constraints. The cost-benefit analysis in turn can help policy interventions and convince people of the ineffectiveness of such violent extremist movements.

The Maoist conflict has extensively affected forest produce market and mining in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, and agriculture in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Economic, social, developmental and strategic costs of Maoist conflict is too substantial to be ignored. There are direct indirect costs, and losses to both the public and private sectors. While a comprehensive research with the use of econometrics is necessary to assess the volume of losses caused by Maoist violence, this essay tries to capture the many dimensions of its economic impact.

A Legacy of Economic Depredations

Ever since the movement first emerged in the Naxalbari area of West Bengal in 1967 following a split in the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Maoists have pursued their radical and revolutionary goals by violent, disruptive and destructive means. Naxalism, as Maoism in India is often called, rides on the slogans of economic exploitation and underdevelopment1. However, the Indian Maoist literature does not lay out any well-articulated economic programme; it speaks more about ideological and organisational issues, against capitalism, imperialism, globalisation, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and industrialisation. They vaguely mentioned about people’s democratic economy in the following words: “All the industries, banks and other industries of the Imperialist and the comprador big bourgeoisie will be expropriated, turned over to the new democratic state, all lands will be expropriated and distributed to the landless. State will exercise control over the life of the country’s economy. People’s democratic state will play the principal role in industry and commerce and will control the economic life lines of the Country”2. They have asked the people to stop paying taxes, cess and levy to Government. They have also formulated an all India perspective plan to infiltrate into different industries.

The economics of Naxalism is an economics of extortion, loot, levy and destruction. The movement, like any other, needs funds to sustain itself. It needs large financial flows to continue the armed hostilities against the state. It spends large sums on arms and ammunitions, on funding mass organisations and on propaganda. The Maoists run protection rackets for Ganja/cannabis cultivation. They extort money from contractors engaged in road building and irrigation projects, from businessmen and mine owners, and loot banks and local moneyed people in districts where they are active. They collect money from various government schemes such as the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005, and the public distribution system, and levy from villagers, traders, small merchants and transporters. In some forested areas under their control, where they have distributed land (pattas) title/ownership to the villagers, a tax is collected in return. They also collect membership fee from villagers and supporters. During elections, they gather funds from a few local politicians. It is estimated that every year the Naxals collect several hundred million rupees as levy and extortion. Naxals collect levy of 7% to 10% of cost from road work, 2% to 3% from construction of schools and colleges, about Rs 5 million from each factory and mine in areas they dominate. They collect huge protection money from industries, such as the paper industry in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharastra. In order to force the industries to pay, they use threats and often burn vehicles and equipment.

Table 1

Number of hits by Maoists(From Jan 2006-June 2009)3Railways122Mines, Steel Plants59Transmission lines42Telecom83Total316

Between January 2006 to June 2009 the Naxals had hit the Railways, transmission lines, steel plants and mines total 316 times.

Human and Infrastructure Costs

The human and material costs of the Maoist conflict have been high. Currently, it is almost impossible to estimate the exact figure of the value of destruction caused by them and the intangible losses. That the conflict has taken a heavy toll on human lives is clear from the limited data available. The fatalities due to the conflict during last thirteen and half year is 7857 human lives, according to the South Asia portal. It includes 3110 civilians, 1986 members of security forces and 2781 Maoist activists. The number of injured may be at least three times the fatalities. The full extent of the human miseries caused cannot be appreciated unless one visits these areas.

The Maoists have systematically destroyed infrastructure and other public property, damaging the local economies. Their armed attacks have caused loss of human resources, affected trade and business, tourism, mining activities, and led to escalating cost of various projects in the affected areas. They sustain a picture of underdevelopment by destruction of infrastructure in regions that already suffer from a developmental lag. The cost of damage to the infrastructure due to the destruction perpetrated by the Maoists is a substantial one. Infrastructural development has suffered the greatest setback in areas where they are active. They have destroyed hundreds of mobile towers, high tension towers, roads, bridges, culverts schools, hostels and guest houses in the affected areas. Hundreds of mobile towers of BSNL, Airtel, Reliance and other companies were blown off in Daltonganj, Aurangabad, Gaya, Palamu, Dantewada, Sukma, Bijapur, Garhchiroli and Raigada districts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha during the last ten years. Naxals on many occasions have destroyed high tension electric transmission towers, poles and 11 kv and 33 kv electric lines in Andhra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Besides monetary loss, the disruption of electric transmission has caused black outs and inconvenienced millions of people for a few weeks 4. The intangible cost of disruption of electricity to public utilities, hospitals, students, critical patients, and to society as a whole cannot be computed. The entire loss due to damage of roads, bridges, mobile towers, electric transmission, according to a rough estimate, is about rupees 20 billion per annum.

Maoist have also looted dozens of banks and ATMs. For example, on 22nd May 2008 Maoist activists looted a cash delivery van of the ICICI Bank on the National Highway under Tamar police station of district Khunti, around 50 km away from Ranchi. They took away Rs 51.1 million and 1.30 kg of gold5. They have torched several bank branches in Bastar and Jharkhand. Currency remittances to banks in Naxal dominated areas have become very cumbersome and costly. In few places the Reserve Bank of India had to hire helicopters to remit currency. Dozens of branches were at different times closed in remote areas as a result of Maoist activities. This has hit the business and livelihood of local people and the local economy.

The education system in the area has similarly been disrupted. Maoists have damaged dozens of school buildings and hundreds of hostels. In many areas they blasted the buildings by using mines or explosives. In some areas they abducted school children to use them for party work. The educational system in remote forested areas has been disrupted either due to schools and hostels being destroyed or the taking away of some students by the Maoists. The fear psychosis created by blasted school and hostel buildings, and the kidnapping of students has also led to an increase in drop outs from the schools. The reason they gave for attacking the schools was to force out the security forces that at times take shelter in the school buildings. However, through the 1990s and 2000-2001 also Naxals attacked school buildings and hostels, when there were no central forces present in Odisha, Chhattisgah and Jharkhand.

Roads and infrastructure in general have had a huge setback. This has in turn hampered economic activity. Moreover, road construction and repair is difficult in forested and hilly terrains and a costly affair. The agencies are finding it difficult to construct roadsM6. The construction of about 500 km of Nation Highways and six bridges in Naxal areas of Chhattisgarh, Andhra, Odisha could not take off. In Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, to construct a 22 km stretch of road from Bijapur to Ganglur, the Police department had to sacrifice of 56 lives of security men in various offensives by Naxals. Road transportation similarly has been seriously affected in Naxal areas. The Maoists mine and regularly damage roads. They have damaged some National Highways as well. Every year during shut downs declared by the Maoist outfit, transportation activities in few state highways and National Highways come to a standstill. The list of vulnerable National Highways can be seen in Table 2.

Table 2: National Highways hit by Maoist Violence

NH 20Biharsharif- Hazaribagh- Ranchi-KhuntiNH 22Patna- Punpun-GayaNH 26Keshkal- Koraput-Salur-Vijay NagramNH 326Rayagada- Koraput-Malkangiri-MotoNH 27NaxalbariNH 221Jagdapur-Konta-BhadrachalamNH 353CGadchiroli-SironchaNH 57Phulbani-Kalinga GhatiNH 202Bhopal Patnam-VenkatpuramNH 163Geedam-DantewadaNH 765Shri Sailam

Naxals have continuously targeted the Railways, including both goods and passenger trains. They caused the derailment of Gyaneshwari Express on 28th May 2010 at Midnapore in West Bengal and set fire to Vishakha Express. They have also hijacked a train for a few hours. During every call of closure of rail movements by Naxalites, they damage the railway line and cause accidents in Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand. In the last five years they have damaged railway tracks in the districts of Gaya, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Giridih and Dantewada. They have also damaged many railway stations such as Chiyanki, Dumri and Jageshwar of Bihar, and as recently as in March 2017 they ransacked the Doikallu railway station in Odisha to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the State. The Hazaribagh-Ranchi railway project suffered losses because of Naxal activities in 2008. The loss suffered by due to Naxals in 2016-17 was approximately Rs. 400 million; the cost of repairing damaged Railway lines exceeds few billion rupees every year. They also disrupted rail transport in some areas of West Bengal and Bihar for a considerable time at night in the past leading to the loss of several billion rupees to the railway department every year.

The conflict in the area has given rise to an environment of fear among potential tourists, massively affecting the tourism industry. The area in which the Maoists are active in Central India has been blessed with scenic spots such as Chitrakote and Tirathgarh water fall, Indrawati tiger reserve, Kanger valley, Koundiniya, Papikonda and Udayanti national park, Shrisailam, Simlipal, Kawal, Palamu tiger reserves, but because of the looming fear of violence, they do not attract many tourists.

Attacks on Industry and Mining

Captured top Naxal leaders during interrogations had revealed that they had identified several SEZs for attracting foreign direct investments, and chalked out plans to disturb ongoing projects. Naxals have targeted Latehar aluminium factory, Tata steel plant Jamsedpur, Ghatshila satellite towns, Chandil steel plant and Dumca power plant, among the many other industrial units targeted. Naxals have also tried to infiltrate and influence trade unions in order to sabotage industrial units. A senior Maoist central committee member said they would target Multinational firms whose investments have displaced tribal settlements7.

Naxal areas also find it hard to set up new industrial projects. Lalgarh, Singur, Nandigram, Kalinga Nagar and Lohandiguda are a few examples of major projects that failed to take off. Several billion of rupees had been invested to procure land and on initial construction of these incomplete projects. Global brokerage firm CLSA in its report of 2009 mentioned: “The Maoist threat could derail the plans to develop the mineral wealth of the country. In Kalinga Nagar of Odisha and Lohandi Guda in Chhattisgarh, Tata Steel was unable to complete its projects. Maoist shut downs in Jharkhand state with rich deposits of iron ore and dolomite have cost local steel makers 60 days of lost work per year. Texas Powergen, Posco, Vedanta, Mittal are also being deterred from investing about $ 85 billion in this mineral rich belt. Private sector investment vital to overall developments of any region maynot take place if the Government cannot find a sustainable solution to Maoist problem”8.

Naxal activities caused permanent closure of some mines such as Charagaon, Pallemadi and Godavari iron ore mines and also temporary closure of some mines in Bailadilla. National Mineral Development Corporation’s (NMDC) project at Bailadila suffered a minimum loss of Rs. 20 million per day when Naxals called for closure of transportation of minerals. The destructions of conveyor belts of NMDC, underground lines of Essar and other units cause huge losses to the mining sector.

Loss to forest and forest produce

Availability of natural resources has important consequences for conflict dynamics. Naxals distribute land ‘pattas’ to villagers by clearing forest lands. Hundreds of square km of forest land have been destroyed by them. They also destroy considerable stretches of forests in order to set up their temporary camps. Economic loss due to this deforestation runs into many billions of rupees. Naxals in the past have destroyed forest and bamboo depots, forest guest houses and forest range offices in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Telengana. Tendu leaves collection in many areas was also hit by the conflict.

Thousands of people have been displaced due to the violence in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and in other states. The cost due to displacement runs to a few billion rupees. Violence, loss of livelihood and poor economic conditions escalate the cost of rehabilitation as well. It creates a vicious poverty-conflict trap.

Additional Economic Costs

The Government needs fund for counter-measures. The cost of maintaining security forces in the field is large. Deployment cost of Central Police Forces and State Police Forces becomes a burden on the national economy. About 110 battalions of Central police forces are deployed in Naxal affected states. The state governments of affected States have also developed and deployed similar numbers of police forces to counter Naxal offensives. Besides, fortified police stations and police posts in affected areas have cost about Rs. 10 billion .

In conflict zones, value of life reduces and the cost of everything else increases. Construction costs of many projects, including road and bridge construction, multiplies in Naxal hit areas. In few areas food and construction materials are sent along with security convoys. Conflict also doubles the time required for completing any project. In many places Naxals are known to destroy the equipment and vehicles used for construction work. It is worthwhile to put the words of the then Malkangiri District Collector about escalation of costs: ‘‘We refloated the tender 11 times for construction of Moto Bridge on river Sabri but still there is no response. In 1999 the cost of the bridge was 7 crores, in 2009 it escalated to 27 crores, even then none of the contractors came forward”9.


The broader evaluation of cost of losses caused by Maoist depredations to railway, roads, electricity, government buildings, forest, educations, vehicles, mining, industries, agricultures, commerce and trade is conservatively estimated at about Rs. 200 billion per annum. Lack of development punishes the local population and disruptions escalate the cost of projects, affecting the national economy.

The business community and foreign investors have expressed low confidence in investing in the conflict zones. The shadow of conflict eclipses economic activities and shatters local economy. Conflict related damages to domestic trade, industry, tourism and agriculture pushes Maoist threatened areas into chronic economic decline. Substantial business opportunities have been lost. Infrastructure and environment has suffered tremendous losses. Essential services like health and education have suffered setbacks. The long term economic consequences of the Naxal problem are most worrisome and are worth deeper studies by conflict analysts. Coupled with the loss of lives, the detrimental long term effects on the economy makes it even more important to work collectively towards an early resolution of the conflict.

(One of the foremost experts on Naxal Movement, Shri Giridhari Naik is a former Director General of Police, Chattisgarh, and perhaps the most on-the-ground experienced officer in fighting it.)


After the merger of the People’s War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Coordination Centre (MCC) the various factions of the movement was brought together and renamed as Communist Party of India (Maoist).Please see pages 34, 67, 136 and 137 of the Strategy and Tactics of the Indian Revolution, the Central Committee, Communist Party of India (Maoist).Times Nation, August 2009.Times of India, 14 October 2009, Indian Express, 10 June 2008.Pioneer, 22 May 2008.Indian Express, 10 June 2008.The Hindu, 17 December 2009.Hindustan Times, 15 December 2005.Times of India, 22 July 2008.

(The paper does not necessarily represent the organisational stance... More >>

Image Source: https://static.asianetnews.com/images/01crz9cpk83gjghyvzkjfhwk5m/naxalism--2-_710x400xt.jpg

July 15, 2019

Emperors of Extraction: The Mughals did not make India rich. Claims of their welfarism only buttress a political agenda

Emperors of Extraction: The Mughals did not make India rich. Claims of their welfarism only buttress a political agenda

A riposte to Rana Safvi's argument on how the Mughals apparently strengthened India, while, in fact, Europe grew by paces just then and India's poverty shocked visitors.


 |  6-minute read |   14-07-2019



In a DailyO article I came across recently, historian Rana Safvi has repeated a set of claims that form the foundational bedrock of the Republic of India. The point of these myths appears mainly to buttress the centrality of the Congress party’s role in the “Idea of India” (whatever that means). The story, as it goes, was that India was a rich wonderful Disney land, till the wicked witch of the west — Britannia, comes along and destroys everything.And what are the main claims made herein by Ms Safvi?

First, that the Mughals thought of themselves as Indian or, at the very least, Indianised. Second, that they made India “rich”. Third, that they wisely invested in “infrastructure”. Fourth, that unlike the British who extracted wealth, the Mughals ploughed it right back in.

And her proof?The moaning of travellers like Thomas Roe and Francois Bernier with a selectively chosen chart of historical world GDP share by Angus Maddison, showing India’s share go up from 22% of world GDP to 24%.

Despite the courtliness, did India really prosper under them? The evidence says no. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Let us dissect these claims.

The first claim of the Mughals indigenising is unexceptionable though it will require another piece to take down. This piece will focus on why I think her remaining three claims are laughable at best.

“Rich” and per cent share of world GDP don’t exactly go hand in hand. Let's take the three richest countries in the world; this usually rotates between Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Qatar, Norway, Macau, Switzerland and Monaco — all extremely wealthy with a very high standard of living. Yet, their share of world GDP is negligible.

India and China, on the other hand, are two of the three biggest economies — and yet, China has vast pockets of acute poverty with extreme wealth concentration in the eastern seaboard, and India is dirt-poor, save for monstrosities like Antilla.

What one needs to look at then is the GINI Coefficients and per capita incomes of the period, best explained in Ian Morris’ The Measure of Civilisation: How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations.

Let's take Angus Madison’s statistics for the same period, showing a complete stagnation in per capita income at 550 USD (in 1990 USD) for 300 years running from the 1500s to the 1700s. Clearly then, the temporary blip in GDP in the 1600s did not result in higher per capita incomes - in fact, India’s GDP went down from approximately 25% to 15% from the beginning of the Mughal empire to its end, with the collapse starting during Aurangzeb’s reign itself.

What then of inequality? One good measure is looking at civic architecture. In India, there is a noticeable absence of public goods — just monuments of, for and by emperors (what Safvi rather funnily refers to as “infrastructure” and implies that Shah Jahan knew of the “tourist potential” of the Taj Mahal), as contrasted to Europe during the same period - where every form of public good can be found, from bridges, town halls and theatres, built not by emperors but by the citizenry themselves. This, as Bibek Debroy shows, was the case in Maurya and Gupta India as well.

Medieval Europe was developing, just as India was collapsing. (Photo: Reuters)

Unsurprisingly, Madison’s figures also show that for the entire period of the 1500s to the 1700s, the per capita income of these European states was significantly higher than India and continued to grow exponentially higher while India stagnated at 550 USD. In1500, for example, Italy led the pack at 1100 USD, followed by Belgium and Holland. The UK in 7th place had a per capita income of 714 USD — almost 50% more than India — and this increases to 974 USD in 1600 and 1250 USD in 1700, well before the era of colonial exploitation begins, while India remains stagnant at 550.

Add to this the point that almost 1/4th of the Mughal state’s revenue was the emperor’s personal property, that 1/3rd of the revenues went into maintaining the Omrah (or court) and that between 60% to 70% of revenue was concentrated in the hands of just 655 nobles — that tells you all you need to know.

The same Thomas Roe that Safvi quotes, for example, was shocked at the levels of poverty he encountered in India. The Mughal empire, like any medieval feudal empire, and the entire Islamic period in India was a period of economic stagnation — one that saw Europe steadily overtaking it even in the 1500s and reaching a massive power differential by the 1700s.

That arts and culture flourished in the near-total absence of public goods and civic amenities is, in fact, a confirmation of this extreme resource capture and extraordinary poverty that the vast majority of Indians endured.

Was the Taj Mahal, in fact, built for private gratification? Or, public good? (Photo: Reuters)

India’s decline compared to the rest of the world starts sometime in the 1200s and by the 1400s, most European powers start overtaking it in per capita terms (the reasons for which are elaborated in Barbara Tuchman’s The Calamitous Fourteenth Century).The colonial era only exacerbated the difference because of India’s own stasis.

That’s all.

How is it then that British rule, for all its “wealth drainage”, still sees Indian GDP grow steadily — and for the first time in 700 years, sees an actual increase in India’s per capita income from 550 to 673 USD in just 100 years?Safvi seems to excel at apparently manipulating figures.

The basis of her argument is that as long as extortion stays with “Indians”, despite economic stagnation, despite horrendous inequity and lack of trickle-down, it is not extractive and exploitative — but extortion, if it is taken abroad, even though there is a clear rise in public goods (railways, bridges, civic amenities, etc.) and significant rise in per capita income, is extractive and exploitative.

Given that history is shades of grey, her assertions are laughable at best. But given the age we live in, where the works of Eric Diamond, Angus Madison, Ian Morris, Steve Pinker and Yuval Harari, have shown us new amazing and nuanced ways of perceiving history, Safvi’s piece comes off to me as eminently clueless, deliberately mischievous in the selective use of Maddison's statistics, ignorant of Europe, unaware of real economics and displaying all the pitfalls of finding convenient statistics to suit an agenda.

To quote Disraeli “there’s lies, damned lies and statistics” and Safvi, rather predictably, given her bloopers, fits solidly in that infamous last category.