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Vadodara-Some Thoughts

The riots in Vadodara seem to be over and the city is slowly limping back to normalcy. The Gujarat administration with little prodding from the center seem to have acted with some urgency, for a change. Thank God for small mercies.Unfortunately, the riots and the memories of Gujarat 2002 has served to obfuscate the real issue. A Dargaah which was allegedy an encroachment was demolished. The Muslims protested, not exactly non-violently and as it is the norm in India, it soon acquired religious connotations. With Modi’s reputation being what it is, it soon became a Modi V’s the rest issue. We find it both sad and idiotic.Religious structures in India have long been used for land grabbing. I can offhand recall at-least ten temples in Delhi which are a traffic nuisance but will not be removed because someone’ religious feeling will be hurt by it. In-fact, I remember a slum near our home in Delhi, on which demolition orders were passed. Lo and behold, that very night, a temple came up, which sure enough stopped the demolition team dead in its track. The funniest thing? The slum was mainly inhabited by Bangladeshi Muslims, who probably thought contructing a make shift temple was faster, and more effective than constructing a Masjid as Delhi had a BJP government during those days! Continue Reading →

India, a soft state?

K Suryanarayana, the abducted Indian engineer has been killed by the Taliban. The brutes they are, they have not chosen to kill him by putting a bullet in his head but by actually beheading him. I once watched the video of one of the be-headings in Iraq and almost puked, I hope we wont be subjected to another such video.A close friend, deeply disturbed by the news called me and asked me two questions.First, is India a soft state? Could the government done anything to save his life? Secondly and more interestingly, what is the difference between Indian and Israeli reaction to terrorism?.At one level, India is perhaps the most benign and the most powerless ”powerful country in the world. Scores of her citizens have been killed in terrorist attacks, planes hijacked, hostages taken and the Indian government does not seem to do anything. This is however only partially true. India has faced terrorism from Kashmir, Punjab. North East and now the Naxalites ; on which so little attention is being paid. But, to her credit the Indian government has never buckled down. No terrorist has ever managed to bring the country to the knees. Even Israel has embarked on a policy of ”land for peace” but not India. It has taken years and years, for example in Punjab but the government and the armed forces have stuck to the task and ultimately in most instances managed to tire down the terrorists. India standing tall in face of such adversity, such violent acts(IRA compared to say the Kashmiri terrorists are kindergarten kids) is a miracle in it self, which we must respect and be proud of.( I am not talking about the origins of the problems, in most cases including Kashmir that is nothing to be proud of). Continue Reading →

Supreme Court Strikes!

(via Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Orissa government to provide police protection to a Muslim couple who were forced to separate after local clerics issued a fatwa that they were divorced even though they wanted to live together.”

Apparently, the husband in a state of inebriation pronounced Talaq on his wife three times. When he was sober, he realized his mistake but the local Mullah issued a fatwa declaring them as divorced. He was ostracized by the local Muslim community and forced to leave away from his wife. Seeing no hope of Justice, he knocked the door of the court.

I am pleased as a punch. For far too long, in the name of secularism, Congress and its cronies has played a devious game of pandering to the interests of a narrow religious section of Muslims on issues like Triple Talaq.

Starting from the shameful Shahbano , it has continued till the present day in the name of non-interference in the personal laws of a community. Such misplaced ”respect” for personal laws among Hindus would have ensured they would be still burning widows till the present day. Sometimes, change has to be imposed.

I leave the final word to the Supreme Court-

”No one can force them to live separately. This is a secular country. All communities—Hindus or Muslims should behave in civilised manner”

Absolutely right!

The spirit of Mumbai

Another bomb blast in Delhi, this time the target was Jama Masjid of all places. Luckily, no one is dead. Patrix thinks that will make the supporters of terrorists realize that they have no sympathy for Muslims. I have no such illusions hopes. From Kashmir to Iraq, Islamic terrorists have killed more Muslims than members of anyone other faith. What effect has that had? I guess all is Kosher as long as it is in the name of Jihad.

Anyways, My problem is of a slightly different nature. After each and every blast we hear two things. The government promises to catch the guilty, and newspapers extol the spirit of the people. The standard line is…

”People of (fill in your city) showed great spirit by coming out in large numbers. They showed they will not be cowed down by the terrorists. Such spirit shown by the people of … is admirable and lesson for the rest of country/world.”

Seriously, I am as tired of this cliched line as I am of the alleged spirit of the people.

Continue Reading →

Islam

A minor warargument has erupted on the Internet after a blogger posted an article questioning the Hijab. I thought, I would wait for the dust to settle down, for swords to be put back on their sheaths, for people to relax before I put forth my views. So, here I go.

First, let me answer why should a non-Muslim should be bothered about what happens in the Muslim world. I believe there are 3 strong reasons for it-

1. We live in an increasingly globalized world, or rather a globalized village. We all get affected by what happens in the other parts of the world, with the advent of Internet, news does travel faster than light. The world watches, and the world will react.

2. Islamic terrorists, or rather terrorists who claim to draw their inspiration from Islam and its teaching are the biggest bane of the world. No ifs and buts about it. People are entitled to ask, what is this about Islam which drives so many people to become suicide bombers, kill people randomly and in the brutal of manners-beheading to give just one example.

3. Somethings are beyond the realm of religion and are issues of humanism and not of religion. No one can claim that dowry deaths in India is a Hindu problem and and hence no one else should butt in. It is not, and even it is the human angle is much more important than any religious angle

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Hate speech

I am not a libertarian, but there is one aspect of libertarian thought to which I find myself increasingly in agreement with. The respect for hate speech. Hate speech is speech said to promote dislike or hatred of a group or groups, particularly those of a certain race or sexual orientation.

Broadly speaking , hate speech could be defined in two ways. Firstly, by a set of pre-conceived notions about what constitutes hate speech, example calling a Black person a Nigger. The second way, is to define hate speech from how people have reacted to it. So, something is hate speech if it has provoked a rational group of people in to reactions which are bizarre and irrational.

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Against Illegal Immigration

Note-This piece has been inspired by Bongpondit’s excellent piece on illegal immigration. It has been written after drinking 2 beers and I propose to drink one more after finishing it. Needless to say, it is long, ponderous, boring and quite heartless. In other words it is quintessentially me.

Illegal immigration is right now the hottest topic in US of A. The Bush administration has proposed changes which will basically do three things a) allow illegal aliens to work towards becoming legal without have to go back to their home countries b) Tighten border controls which will hopefully make it harder for illegal immigrants to cross over.c) Make it a felony to be in United States without papers

Even this has resulted in huge protests, rallies have been taken, students have left classes and taken to the streets and believe it or not the Hispanic diaspora has actually taken it as a personal affront. We are not criminals-goes out the cry. Is that really so?

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