Dec 10, 2008


The western and the US media has been rather measured in its castigation of Pakistan on its tacit if not active support to terror strikes in India. Spokespersons of various countries as also the western media are tying themselves in knots trying to be diplomatically correct as also putting the right amount of pressure on Pakistan to clean up its act.

            However Patrick French the UK based writer and the author of ‘The World is what it is’ the official biography of V S Naipaul, has lambasted Pakistan in his piece in the New York Times. Read excerpts from his article below.

They Hate Us — and India Is Us

Published: December 8, 2008

AS an open, diverse and at times chaotic democracy, India has long been a target for terrorism. From the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi in 1948 to the recent attacks in Mumbai, it has faced attempts to change its national character by force. None has yet succeeded. Despite its manifest social failings, India remains the developing world’s most successful experiment in free, plural, large-scale political collaboration.

The Mumbai attacks were transformative, because in them, unlike previous outrages in India, the rich were caught: not only Western visitors in the nation’s magnificent financial capital but also Indian bankers, business owners and socialites. This had symbolic power, as the terrorists knew it would.

However, I recently saw a televised forum in which members of the public vented their fury against India’s politicians for their failure to act, and it soon became apparent the victims were poor as well as rich. One survivor, Shameem Khan — instantly identifiable by his name and his embroidered cap as a Muslim — told how six members of his extended family had been shot dead. Still in shock, he said: “A calamity has fallen on my house. What shall I do?” His neighbors had helped pay for the funeral. Like most of India’s 150 million Muslims, Mr. Khan is staunchly patriotic. The city’s Muslim Council refused to let the terrorists be buried in its graveyards.

When these well-planned attacks unfolded, it was clear to anyone with experience of India that they were not homegrown, and almost certainly originated from Pakistan. Yet the reaction of the world’s news media was to rely on the outmoded idea of Pakistan-India hyphenation — as if a thriving and prosperous democracy of over a billion people must be compared only to an imploded state that is having to be bailed out by the I.M.F. Was Pakistan to blame, asked many pundits, or was India at fault because of its treatment of minority groups?

Read the full article.

Dec 9, 2008


A large number of people are suggesting use of military force against Pakistan, post the Mumbai terror strikes. Some people in some of the talk shows have suggested extreme steps including use of Nuclear weapons. While tempers are understandably running high amongst the populace, the government is also under tremendous pressure to be seen to act.

            Pakistan being a rogue state which has been called an international migraine recently by the former US secretary of state needs to be put in its place and forced to clean up its act. But even thinking seriously of military action would be nothing short of blasphemy. If anything it would put India, which has only just begun its long overdue march towards becoming an economic superpower behind by at least 25 years. To quote Thomas Friedman writing about economic development in China,

            “My belief after visiting China is that the change that has occurred there is in the best interest of the world and China. Once people get a taste for whatever you want to call it-economic independence, a better lifestyle, and a better life for their child or children-they grab on to that and don't want to give it up."

Any sort of war or prolonged political upheaval in East Asia or China "would have a  massive chilling effect on the investment there and on all the progress that has been made there," said Dell, who added that he believes the governments in that part of the world understand this very clearly.”……………….

He adds,

“When you are managing vital backroom operations for American Express or General Electric or Avis, or are responsible for tracing all the lost luggage on British Airways or Delta, you cannot take a month, a week, or even a day off for war without causing major disruptions for those companies. Once those companies have made a commitment to outsource business operations or research to India, they expect it to stay there. That is a major commitment. And if geopolitics causes a serious disruption, they will leave, and they will not come back very easily. When you lose this kind of service trade, you can lose it for good.”

Goes without saying, that the above applies equally to India as well. I am also reminded of what Rhett Butler had to say about wars in the classic novel ‘Gone with the Wind’, “No provocation can be extreme enough to justify wars.”

And what was sound logic in the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries is sound logic in the twenty first as well. Wars should be considered a medieval, if not primitive method of resolving differences in today’s flat world.

Be that as it may, what is the choice with us to stop Pakistan from waging a proxy war against us, which continues to bleed us with a thousand cuts and more(Bhutto’s line?).The proxy war by Pakistan ostensibly to liberate Kashmir will continue to be waged, firstly to avenge its humiliating dismemberment in 1971 and secondly to stop India in its tracks towards rapid economic growth. Waging a war at this time would be playing into the hands not only of the terrorists, the perpetrators of the heinous Mumbai atrocities by getting the Pakistan Army off its back in NWFP, but also that of Pakistan, which would have achieved at least one of its aims, the latter.

However the circumstances that Pakistan finds itself in today is a whole lot different from those of a decade ago. It’s a rogue state in the eyes of the international community. And the only reason it is not being castigated by the global powers, in particular the USA, is their role in facilitating America’s war against Al Qaeda.

In such circumstances, it would only be prudent not to take the bull by its horns and use diplomacy to force Pakistan into a corner through international pressure. And that is precisely what seems to be happening.  Secondly, just the flexing of our military muscle can probably achieve a lot more than an actual war. Pakistan after all, being on the very brink of bankruptcy and on the mercy of the IMF is in no state to wage a war. And lastly, as many prominent people have suggested, we need to take some hard decisions, use the tax payer’s money prudently for a change, and improve our homeland security.

It is however not my endeavour to suggest that wars are obsolete, that we should never even think of waging a war of choice. To suggest so would obviously be naïve. However we ought to think ten times before contemplating war, because the price that we may have to pay for a war today would be twenty times greater than it would have been two decades ago.

God Bless us all. Jai Hind. 

Liked the piece? Do leave your comments.

Dec 2, 2008


Major terrorist strikes in different parts of the country this year have occurred on the following dates:

·         13 May : Jaipur. Simultaneous bomb blasts at eight different sites, including a crowded shopping site and a Hanuman temple, a self-styled Indian Mujahideen, (a collaboration of LeT & SIMI) claimed responsibility.

·         Jul 26 : AhmedabadA series of seventeen blasts killing 49 and injuring 160 people.

·         Sep 13 :  Delhi. A series of 5 bombs exploded in Delhi, killing 30 and injuring 90.

·         Nov 26 : MumbaiGunmen opened fire at eight different sites in an apparent coordinated attack. The terrorists wielded automatic weapons and attacked locations including a train station, hotels, restaurants, a police station, and a hospital. Some gunmen took hostages and high military grade explosives (RDX) were found near by.

Can you spot a pattern? ………………………………………. Suspected Islamic terrorists have struck on the 13th  and 26th of alternate months.

Is it a pattern or merely coincidence? Is my mind playing games? If it is a pattern, the next strike may be expected on 13 Jan 2009. I sincerely hope not. There have been other terrorist strikes in between as well:

·         Jul 25 : BangaloreA series of nine blasts kills 2 and injures 20 people.

·         Sep 27 : South Delhi. Two weeks from the day of serial blasts killing 30, another bomb was detonated in a market in the Mehrauli district killing three and injuring 23.

·         Oct 01 : AgartalaThree bombs exploded in the insurgency-racked North-East India. Police said they suspected Muslim militant groups based in Bangladesh for the blasts in the Radhanagar and Gulbazar areas of Tripura's capital.

·         Oct 30 :  Assam. A series of 13 blasts occurred in and around Guwahati.

The incidents above do not show a pattern. (or do they?) The last two above could have been perpetrated by separatist insurgents, though Muslim groups as suspects have not been ruled out. Jehadists /SIMI activists are definitely suspected to have perpetrated the bomb attacks on Jul 25, Bangalore and Sep 27, Delhi. Is that of any significance as far as the pattern goes?

Tell me what you think?

Dec 1, 2008


The siege of Mumbai being over, it’s a time for all of us to reflect and introspect. What happened in Mumbai was a spectacle, if I can call it that, of a kind that this country had never witnessed before. I hope and sincerely pray that there is never a repeat of this kind of massacre, not only in this country, but anywhere in the world. The outrage of the people of India, is for all to see on TV channels.

As always, this incident will inevitably be followed by the following, (in fact some of the usual fallouts have already begun) :-

·         Tightening of security all across the country in the aftermath of the strike (a case of shutting the stable doors after the horse has bolted).

·         Blaming the terrorist strike to Pakistan.

·         Numerous enquiry / study commissions, which will take an eternity to come out with their findings / recommendations, by when the circumstances in the country might have changed considerably.

·         Political blame game.

·         Blaming the terror strike to Intelligence failure.

·         A few other half measures by government agencies like creation of certain new organisations to combat terror.

·         Temporary rise of patriotic fervour in the general populace, including on this occasion accolades for security forces (NSG, Armed Forces and maybe even Police).

·         The resilient return to normalcy………… till the next time.

Is there any hope whatsoever, that things may be different this time round, given the following:-

·         unprecedented ferocity of the terrorist strike per se.

·         public outrage, highlighted by the media.

·         The targeting of upper strata of society on this occasion, as opposed to the middle and lower classes on previous ones.

·         targeting of a large number of foreigners including Israelis and US nationals.

·         our notorious western neighbour having its back to the wall, facing unprecedented pressure from the international community to clean up its act.

I hope and pray things are different. However, the thought comes naturally to me, "Will it ever change, or will our inept, corrupt, self serving, irresponsible and shameless politicians continue with their own private agenda while the Jehadis prepare for the next attack."

The signs so far are encouraging. What with rolling of heads of some of our top politicians and announcement of certain measures by the Prime Minister. But unfortunately, all of this may not be happening as a result of government's sincere efforts to make amends for their past inadequacies. It probably is more because, post this ghastly incident, there is hardly any time for damage control before the country goes to polls. While the world over, measures have been taken by countries who have faced the brunt of terror, our country is being spoken of as a soft target for Jehadists. In the words of Thomas Friedman

"Muslim jihadists — those brave warriors who specialize in killing women and children and defenceless tourists — have turned their attention to softer targets like India. Just as they tried to stoke a Shiite-Sunni civil war in Iraq, and failed, they are now trying to stoke a Hindu-Muslim civil war in India".

About time we woke up from our long slumber.

God Bless India. Jai Hind

Further reading:,0,4043886.story