Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
by Vinay Lal
The Loop, "Agony Point", on the Darjeeling Hill Railways. Photograph taken in the 1890s.
The British conquest of India, as recent studies of colonialism have established, entailed a great deal more than the mere acquisition of territory, the plunder of an ancient country, and the expansion of British trade. It was in every respect a conquest of knowledge, as the land was charted, grammars and dictionaries of Indian languages commissioned, bodies counted, plants and animals (not to mention people) enumerated, and laws codified. The tropes of surveillance, surveying, and statistics appear to encapsulate the chief organizational principles of the modern British state in India, the activities of which were carried out not only by the police, jurists, census commissioners, ethnographers, anthropometrists, and administrators, but by the officials serving under such organizations as the Botanical Survey, the Trigonometrical Survey, and the Geological Survey.
Surprisingly little work, however, has been done on the social life of the British in India, and it is quite clear that if the recent scholarship has mercifully taken us taken away from the conventional studies of nationalism and colonialism, which focused without much imagination on the activities of elites and their organizations and official functionaries of the state, or on such questions as the nature and extent of the economic exploitation of India, and moved us to more complex considerations of state formation, popular resistance, the creation of modern identities, and the anxieties generated by colonialism within the colonizer as much as the colonized, that we will now have to move into yet another phase of research and scholarship. Though the general parameters of British social life in India are adumbrated in Francis Hutchins' The Illusion of Permanence, Kenneth Ballhatchet's Race, Sex, and Class under the Raj, Lewis Wurgaft's The Imperial Imagination, Charles Allen's Plain Tales from the Raj, and a handful of other works, no comprehensive works have ever been written on such British institutions as clubs, gymkhanas, boarding and public schools, sanitoria, homes for the aged, the district collector's office, and the field hospital. There is even scarcely an adequate, much less analytically illuminating, history of the English-language press in the colonial period, and the relationship of British-owned newspapers to the colonial government has never been explored. What, if anything, has post-colonial theory done in bringing us to an understanding of these forms of social life in colonial India? How did the British in India commemorate their war dead, and how did they grieve for the young ones whose lives were decimated by disease? What did they think of Indian fruits, how did they eat mangoes and custard apples, and what (if any) plants did they bring with them to India? Will our ecological histories remain confined to the work of the forest department, the continued denuding of Indian forests, the resistance by forest dwellers and hill people to colonial and indigenous elites, and the sagas of Chipko and the Narmada Bachao Andolan, or will it also encompass the British encounter with Indian landscapes, their cultivation of Indian fruits and vegetables, and their understanding of the idea of 'Mother India'?
It is within this framework that we might want to place Dale Kennedy's almost novel study of Indian hill stations in the colonial period. As he says, "hill stations remain among the most curious monuments to the British colonial presence in India" (p. 1), and since the nineteenth century they have exercised a powerful hold on the imagination of Indians and Britishers alike. Of all of the Indian hill stations, Simla is the most well-known and the most-frequented, and it has previously been the subject of a few studies. It is from Simla that the British government of India partly conducted its affairs, and it is to Simla that, long after independence, the Indian middle classes continue to flock in the summers in record numbers every year. But on the whole the literature on hill stations is scanty, and though Ooty, Kodaikanal, and Darjeeling are wrapped up in lore, and the environmental degradation of Dehra Dun, Mussoorie, and Nainital is inescapably evident to visitors, the nexus of associations and meanings that hill stations evoke remains elusive. Kennedy is, accordingly, interested not so much in a particular hill station as he is in how the idea of the hill station came to fruition, the development of hill stations as nodes of British power and as nurseries of the ruling race, and their place in the emergence of a social life for Britishers settled in India.
The Lower Bazaar, Shimla.
Photograph by Bourne and Shepherd, Calcutta.
The origins of hill stations lay in the British desire "to establish sanitoria within the subcontinent where European invalids could recover from the heat and disease of the tropics" (p. 1). This in turn could only transpire once the British had, howsoever minimally, consolidated their rule and acquired new territory, and it is no accident that the establishment of hill stations such as Mahabaleshwar and Cherrapunji was consequent to military conquest (p. 12). Though Kennedy does not mention so, by the late seventeenth century a number of prominent European thinkers, most notably Montesquieu, had already formulated a climatological theory, which stipulated that the development of a country had a close bearing to the climate: stated less innocuously, it meant little more than that the natives of Oriental nations, debilitated by the heat of the tropics, were prone to laziness and licentiousness, and needed the firm hand of men from colder climates to govern and discipline them. Heat was also deemed, in the words of one English physician writing on the Influence of Tropical Climes in Producing the Acute Endemic Diseases of Europeans, to be "the great moving power of all other subordinate sources of disease" (p. 20); and when the fearful cholera epidemic of 1817-21 struck, it appeared that refuge would have to be sought in places more congenial to the constitution of Europeans. By the late 1830s, the reputation of a number of places for 'curing' disease was purported to be beyond dispute, as the climate there was thought to be salubrious. So came into being the special enclaves for Europeans that were to be known as hill stations, and the contrast with the dreaded plains -- repositories of filth and dirt, inhabited by the teeming millions, cesspools of disease -- could not have been plainer.
The curative effect of hill stations, however, was soon brought into question. They were not beyond the range of malarial mosquitoes; victims of cholera, which struck with ferocious and fatal rapidity, found no relief in the hill stations. The Nilgiris were described by the Medical Board of Madras as "not well adapted for the cure of those chronic diseases attributable to a tropical climate", and a parliamentary commission reporting in 1861 on the sanitary state of the Indian army boldly declared that "hill stations are not curative" (pp. 28-29). But if long stays at hill stations might not have a curative effect, surely they had restorative benefits? At Ooty, the senior medical officer opined that "the invalids who derive most benefit from a change to the hills are those who labour under no organic disease, but suffer from general debility, the result of a residence in the low country; these cases rally wonderfully and rapidly", and likewise the author of The Book of Climates (2nd ed., 1891), one Dr. D. H. Cullimore, agreed that as a "restorative to those suffering from overwork, or exhausted by the heat of the plains," "tropical hill-stations are the most advantageous" (p. 29). This view was quickly enshrined as conventional wisdom, and it came to be widely believed that everything in the hill stations happily conspired to make the Britisher a more joyous being, or at least as happy as any one from that depressed race could be.
As Kennedy argues, while this "medicalization of leisure" had various precedents in Britain itself (p. 31), one must understand that the British flight to the hills represented more than the desire to flee 'disease' and embrace 'health'. A number of other considerations weighed heavily with those eager to propound the virtues of hill stations. In the plains, the Englishman was thought to face virtual extinction over a period of three generations, and the permanent colonization of India was seen to be inconceivable unless some mode of arresting "degeneration" could be found. Here was cause enough to abandon the plains; further, travel was thought to enrich the mind as much as the body, enlargening the range of 'experience', and giving a new meaning to the idea of 'home'. If the Alps had seemed imposing to the British traveler, how was he to apprehend the majesty of the Himalayas? Those wondrous peaks evoked the idea of the 'sublime', and here even the conqueror found himself in the position of the humble petitioner, begging for more (though not in the manner of Oliver Twist) displays of God's splendor. Yet the 'sublime', magnificent and wild, and just as likely to evoke feelings of fear, was evidently not suitable for residence, and it was too far removed from the more comfortable trope of the 'pastoral'. The unfamilial could perhaps be rendered familial, and in these remote parts the English garden, homely and inviting, could be imagined and even willed for. Horticultural activities, such as the planting of English apple trees, and experimentation with produce familiar from home -- strawberries, lettuce, parsley, pears, and much else -- were critical in bringing back memories of England; and it was contrived to make the Himalayas more amenable to the 'human' and picturesque' proportions of the English landscape by scaling the mountains down to hills (pp. 46-47). Kennedy argues that the adoption "of the term hill station for highland sanitaria", some located at heights of nearly 10,000 feet, "also suggests an etymological effort to minimize the disturbing implications of the sublime": what were 'mountains' became, upon residence, 'hills'. Moreover, England had 'hills', but scarcely mountains, and there was something pleasing in that 'coincidence'.
But why 'stations', rather than hill places, or hill resorts, or hill destinations? Though Kennedy does not ask this question, we are not prevented from speculating. It is after the advent of the railways in Britain that the usage 'hill station' came to predominate, and it is possible that it was inspired by the then-frequent reference to the 'railway station'. As a place to which the English repaired, and which was to become largely their exclusive haunt until the declining years of the Raj, the 'hill station' was evidently only for those who had achieved a certain 'station' in life. Residence in the 'hill station' conferred prestige upon the vacationer, and the Englishman whose wife and children could stay at the hill station for longer periods was unquestionably of a superior 'station' in life than his compatriots. Finally, we must consider that, keeping in mind the contrast so insistently present between the tortuous plains and the 'hill station', and the suffering allegedly undergone by the English in the plains as they labored to bring law and order into the lives of their 'heathen subjects', the whole enterprise of retreating to the hills took on the appearance of being a pilgrimage as much as an extraordinary travail. The hill station was, then, the last station the Englishman arrived at as he bore the cross of the white man's burden, and at long last he could count upon rest and freedom from the burdens of work.
Though 'hill stations' originated as one of the principal nodal points for the production -- and hence consumption -- of leisure, they soon came to acquire other characteristics. Conceived as little homes away from 'home', they were to be made in the physical and moral image of England: the landscape was dotted with English architectural monuments, a Mall -- or central avenue -- was built for strollers (an anomalous breed in the late-twentieth century West), and devotion to God rendered more pleasing by the construction of the Anglican church (pp. 100-6). Hunting had been an integral part of the life of the English country gentleman, and in hill stations the unfettered indulgence in this passion became a way of life for the English (pp. 58-60). The 'leisure principle' defined one end of the spectrum, the other being filled by the 'productivity principle'. Land that was not being tilled or farmed was mere 'waste' land, and the forest had to be rendered 'productive'. Thus numerous 'hill stations' were to be associated with the introduction of cash crops, such as tea in Darjeeling (p. 53, 189).
Most significantly, though, hill stations were to serve as "nurseries of the ruling race", as spaces for the colonial structuring of a segregational and ontological divide between Indians and Europeans, and as institutional sites of imperial power. Whereas in the plains British men outnumbered women, at the hill stations British women had a more formidable presence than men, and their numbers always saw a dramatic increase at moments of crises, such as during the Rebellion of 1857 or the Punjab Disturbances of 1919. The hill stations were seen as furnishing security from the uncouth and occasionally dangerous hordes of an oriental country -- here younger British women could safely indulge in the mating game, lure men into domesticity, and raise a family. "Nowhere else in India", writes Kennedy, "did the sense of family become so pervasive and the choice of schools so extensive as in the hill station" (p. 118). It was in the hill stations that the British constructed their most elite boarding schools, and here parents unable to nurse their ambition to send their sons to Eton and Harrow deposited their wards. That was at least a few notches better than sending them to the best schools in the plains.
Throughout their presence in India, as Kennedy stresses, the British were animated by the desire to maintain an unbridgeable distance from Indians. It has even been argued that, in a manner of speaking, the British adhered to their own version of a caste system, and they would not deign to have any social intercourse with Indians, barring those whose acquaintance had to be cultivated as a matter of political expediency. Contact with servants and menials was unavoidable, but they existed only to be commanded. A very elaborate anthropology of distinctions was put into place, and from the broad type-casting into 'martial' and 'non-martial' races the British proceeded to other classifications. Besides the 'wily Brahmin', the 'fanatic Mohammedan', and the 'thieving bania', there were those tribals and aboriginals who lived on the fringes of Indian society. Though paradise might well have been a place altogether devoid of Indians, the indigenous hill people could be tolerated as "nature's children" (pp. 63-87). The British found the hill people -- Lepchas, Todas, and Nepalese among others -- prone to 'savagery' but less prone to falsehood, mendacity, the observance of caste distinctions, and servility, and more inclined to a rough and ready kind of frontier egalitarianism. A number of British commentators were even convinced that the Todas were one of the lost seven tribes of Israel, while others found male Todas to bear a striking resemblance to Jesus Christ (pp. 72-74).
Sadly for the British, the 'curious' hill people, who would satisfy the appetite of many an ethnologist and anthropometrist, were not the only Indians they had to encounter. Though it was desired to banish the Indian to some other horizon, the very enterprise of establishing hill stations demanded the labor and services of many Indians, and in time the Indians, though initially outnumbered by the British, would come to have an ineradicable presence at these stations. Kennedy weaves, though not always adequately, a number of threads into this story. The movement of Indians to the hill stations constitutes a part of the labor history of India, which has been overwhelmingly under the shadow of peasant history. As Kennedy notes, "at least ten Indians were necessary to support each European" (p. 175), and one author estimated in 1869 that thirty-five Indians were required to service one "small family" in Simla (p. 178). Forcible labor was extracted from many. Little attention was paid to the housing needs of such a large labor force, it no doubt being assumed that they would fend for themselves, and no sanitary facilities were provided either. The over-crowding at hill stations was noted as early as the late 1880s, and a 1905 study found that the bazaar area of Simla had a higher population density than any other area of the Punjab (p. 192). The native bazaar always seemed poised to consume the hill station.
But this was only one manner in which the presence of the Indian was obtrusive. As the hill stations grew, there was an expansion in trade, and it was often the much-detested banias from the plains who rushed in to avail themselves of new opportunities. The emergence of a class of Indian professionals, who were inclined to take their holidays with their families in the hill stations, posed yet another problem. These were what the British called the 'seditious' types, not manly, honest, or loyal like the yeoman farmer, and to thwart them was to invite allegations of racism. The 'lower' class of Indians had been kept at bay by simpler subterfuges, such as the argument that their presence posed acute problems of sanitation and hygiene, thereby paving the way for disease, but could recourse be had to other exclusionary strategies for keeping out the wealthier class of Indians? In many cases, Indians were prevented, often on the orders of the Viceroy himself, from purchasing property in hill stations. Adverting to an attempt made by the Nizam of Hyderabad to purchase property in Simla, the Viceroy, Lord Lansdowne, made it known that "the presence of these Chiefs at hill stations is distinctly undesirable, and that we ought to discourage it in every way" (p. 199). On another occasion, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab took the view that "there is a wide distinction between the European and the native. A Hill Station is a necessary health resort for the former or for his family. It is not so for the latter" (p. 200). Indian visitors to Simla were stopped enroute and subjected to a humiliating physical examination on the grounds that the plague of 1899 necessitated such measures, but the 'inspection post' remained open until 1926, then closed as a consequence of vigorous protests, only to be reopened in 1930 at the height of the nationalist movement (p. 195).
The hill station, then, was seen as an exclusive British preserve: here it was possible to render the Indian into an outsider, and here the Indian was to live in something like exile, without family or friends, and so taste something of the experience of the Britisher. Admission to this sacred enclave was possible, but only in accordance with a hierarchy of spatial differentiations. There was nothing extraordinarily subtle in how the British understood the symbolic significance of altitude: they were to be placed above, and the Indians below them. "Nothing is more likely to maintain British prestige", noted one military officer, "than the occupation of commanding ground by the British race", while a sanitary engineer came to the conclusion that "the natural separateness of the European from the Native part of the town . . . is of supreme importance from a sanitary point of view. Above, the air is fresh and pure, and cannot be contaminated by that below. . . . So distinct are the two localities, that they bear but slight relationship [to one another]" (pp. 196-97). In Simla, accordingly, senior British officials were given fine houses on the ridge, English and Anglo-Indian clerks found themselves housed on the slopes, and Indian clerks received dormitory housing further below (p. 197). The presence of Indians (except as coolies) on the Mall in Simla was not tolerated for a very long time, and when Gandhi was ferried on the Mall in an automobile to enable him to meet with the Viceroy, this action became the subject of an indignant inquiry in the House of Commons. This incident, curiously, receives no mention in Kennedy's book.
The representation of 'difference' in topographical strata suggests just how far hill stations were nodes of imperial power. As Simla was the seat of the imperial government, so various other hill stations became capitals of provincial governments. At one time the Government of India was housed for nearly eight months a year in Simla, and the Secretary of State's orders of 1877 that the government's length of stay in Simla be confined to the period between November 1 and April 15 were simply ignored. John Lawrence, the hero of the Punjab, "refused to accept the viceroyship unless he could conduct the affairs of state from Simla" (p. 161), but it was not only the cool weather of the hill stations that beckoned officials to the hills. One member of Canning's Council laid bare the rationale for the seasonal migration of the government: "Every great oriental ruler, with any pretensions to civilization has his summer and winter residence" (p. 160). The British could be construed as only emulating the oriental despots they had succeeded, but they no doubt saw themselves as fulfilling the expectations their subjects had of them. However, protests by ordinary citizens, and later the nationalist agitation against a government run from Simla, belied that benign claim. Thus a memorial from the people of Madras to the Secretary of State in 1881 pointed to the unnecessary expense entailed by the seasonal migration to Ootacamund and the lavish construction of official residences and buildings, much as it bemoaned the tendency "to retire to places at great distances therefrom whence they cannot exercise the control and do the duty required of them" (p. 168). These migrations removed officials from public scrutiny, a point reinforced by Gandhi in his short piece on Simla, "Five Hundrendth Storey": "To win swaraj means to oblige the Government . . . to descend from the five hundredth floor to the ground floor and introduce naturalness in its relations with us" (p. 172).
For a variety of reasons, the popularity of hill stations among the British began to decline in the ten to fifteen years preceding the end of the Raj, but that by no means heralded their end. Had Kennedy carried his story beyond the termination of British rule, he would have found that hill stations are not only thriving, but have generated their own political economy, besides giving place to new sets of cultural meanings. Though hill stations are perhaps most widely renowned as destinations for honeymooners, and as romantic spots for married couples and lovers, their relationship to the Hindi film industry must needs be explored. Innumerable Hindi films have been shot at hill stations, and complex tourist industries have grown around hill stations. The phenomenon of Srinagar, which developed as the premier destination for middle-class Indians pursuant to independence, and which has now been ravaged by terrorism, suggests the complex relationship between hill stations, local and global economies, tourism, the patterns of labor migration, 'development', and geopolitics. Many hill stations have been underdeveloped, rendered parasitic on tourism, and the price extracted may well be very high as the unfortunate degeneration of Srinagar suggests. Unlike the British, most Indians typically go to hill stations for a week or so, and their experience is almost prosaic. Middle-class housewives, for example, are seldom relieved of the tedium of cooking by these 'vacations', and many a family is known to take its pots and condiments along on the trip. So what then is the "magic", to evoke Kennedy's title, in the hill stations? Why is it that landscapes so sublime generated no great works of art or painting among the British? Might there be something in the British experience of India that rendered everything magical into the prosaic, and is it not that legacy that has carried over into the Indian experience of hill stations? Though Kennedy provides a very fine sociological and political study of hill stations in British India, there is room still for a cultural poetics of hill stations.
[First published in The Book Review (Delhi) 17, no. 9 (Sept. 1993):8-9.]
[See also ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre’, and companion piece: ‘The Public Memory of Udham Singh in India’]
In the annals of anti-colonial revolutionary activity in India, the name of Udham Singh shines bright. He is remembered chiefly as the assassin of Sir Michael O’Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, often confused with Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, the perpetrator of the infamous Jallianwala Bagh Massacre at Amritsar in 1919. O’Dwyer was then the ruler of the Punjab, and O’Dwyer, though he did not order the massacre, not only did not issue any reprimand but was also clearly of the opinion that Dyer had taken appropriate action to stem a lawless mob from taking the law into its own hands. It was necessary, as O’Dwyer and Dyer were to state on subsequent occasions, to strike terror among the people and create the necessary ‘effect’. In nationalist historiography, particularly of the variety that celebrates patriots who embraced armed resistance, Udham Singh is viewed as among the more notable patriots, along with the likes of Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Rajguru, and Sukhdev, who had a burning desire to liberate the motherland from colonial rule.
Sher Singh, the name by which Udham Singh was known at birth and in his early years, was born on 26 December 1899 in Sunam in the Sangrur district of Punjab. [Colonial records list his date of birth as 23 August 1901.] Family members tilled the land though Sher Singh’s father served as a watchman at a railway crossing. Sher Singh lost both his parents when he was still a very young boy and he was sent to Amritsar’s Central Khalsa Orphanage in 1907, where he was initiated into the Sikh faith and named Udham Singh. The Orphanage is known as an institution which imparted instruction in Sikh history, religion and culture to its wards, transforming them eventually into fit recipients of the faith so that they might all the more serve as its future guardians.
The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
It is in Amritsar, on 13 April 1919, that General Dyer entered the Jallianwala Bagh, where thousands of people had gathered for a political meeting, and ordered his troops to commence firing without giving people a chance to disperse. The official death toll stood at 379, though the Congress, which initiated an inquiry into the “Punjab Disturbances”, including the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh, estimated that as many as 1,000 people may have died in the firing. Whatever the exact number of fatalities, which will never be ascertained with certainty, the young Udham Singh, then 20 years of age, is described as having been deeply hurt, and doubtless enraged, by O’Dwyer’s actions, and he is thought to have taken a vow to avenge the death of hundreds of fellow Indians – women, men, and children. The film “Shaheed Bhagat Singh” (2000) depicts Udham Singh as taking a pledge at Harmandar Sahib that the blood of Indians shall not have been shed in vain.
Interregnum: The Itinerant Revolutionary
Over the course of the next decade, Udham Singh led an existence that was at once peripatetic and revolutionary. He traveled to Africa – according to some accounts, to Nairobi; and more likely to Uganda, where Indian labor force helped to build the railways -- and eventually made his way to the United States. By the early 1920s, Udham Singh had joined forces with those waging armed struggle against British rule in India, and in the US he became an active supporter of the Ghadr movement. He came under the influence of Lala Lajpat Rai, but the dominant intellectual figure in his life was clearly Bhagat Singh, whose own turn towards revolutionary Marxism or Bolshevism was emulated by Udham Singh. In the mid-1920s, Udham Singh also traveled to France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Poland and a number of other countries before, apparently, making his way back to the US sometime around 1923-24.
Udham Singh returned to India in July 1927 with a cache of arms as well as prohibited political literature but was caught by the police in Amritsar, convicted under the Arms Act, and sentenced to a jail term which lasted four years. Upon his release in October 1931, Udham Singh returned to his hometown of Sunam, but constant harassment by the police forced him to depart for Amritsar. Here, according to some of his biographers, he opened up a business as a signboard painter. In 1933, Udham Singh made his way to London, and over the course of the next three years he traveled widely in Europe; he also appears to have been a motorcycle enthusiast. Late in the 1930s, according to British police records, he is said to have stated that by was a carpenter by profession, and he listed his name as Azad Singh.
The Assassination of O’Dwyer
Udham Singh, if the account of the pledge he had taken after the Amritsar pledge has any veracity, had long nursed the desire to avenge the death of his fellow Indians for whom he held O’Dwyer at least as much responsible as General Dyer himself. Dyer was relieved of his position in the army, though he had received the approbation of thousands of private citizens in Britain who hailed him as the savior of the British empire, but he succumbed to an illness a few years after the shooting at Jallianwala Bagh. O’Dwyer, meanwhile, had returned to England after retirement, and like many a celebrated ‘old India hand’ he occasionally attended public meetings. On 13 March 1940, O’Dwyer was one of the scheduled speakers at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Royal Central Asian Society. As O’Dwyer was conversing with Lord Zetland, the Secretary of State for India, Udham Singh took out a concealed revolver and fired a number of shots: two bullets struck O’Dwyer, who died instantly, and another bullet wounded Zetland. Udham Singh made no attempt to escape and was at once apprehended.
Trial, Conviction, and Death of Udham Singh
Udham Singh was charged with the murder of Michael O’Dwyer on 1 April 1940 and his trial commenced on 4 June 1940 at “Old Bailey”, London, before Justice Atkinson. He gave his name as Ram Mohammad Singh Azad – an attempt on his part, three decades before Amar Akbar Anthony, to prove his secular credentials and to suggest, perhaps, that it remained for individuals to show how they could move beyond the communal outlook. To an India where communalism was assuming overwhelming importance, Udham Singh sought to demonstrate through his personal example that considerations of religion, creed, and caste ought to be no consequence to a genuine patriot.
The outcome of the trial was a foregone conclusion: Udham Singh had shot O’Dwyer before witnesses, and he never denied that he was responsible for the assassination. The trial lasted a mere two days; the proceedings were but a formality. Justice Atkinson sentenced him to death by hanging, and Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed his appeal and confirmed the death sentence. The order was carried out on July 31 at Pentonville Prison, also famous as the site for the execution of the Irish revolutionary Roger Casement. O’Dwyer was buried in the prison grounds and it is not until much later, at the request of the Indian government, that his remains were exhumed and repatriated back to India. Though a lesser-known figure than Bhagat Singh, he continues to be lionized in the Punjab and especially in Amritsar, and Punjabis have carried the memory of his name to other parts of India.
[For some brief notes on the public memory of Udham Singh, see the companion piece on him at MANAS.]
Copyright: Vinay Lal, May 2008
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Indian Express Dec 17, 2009
KELLER (SHOPIAN) : Sheeraza Akhtar was looking forward to her wedding in April next year to a boy from the nearby village of Sangam. The conversation on most nights in the family centred around the coming festivities. Till Tuesday, when a militant entered the house of labourer Mohd Maqbool Mir, asked him to point out Sheeraza and then shot the 21-year-old dead.
It was the sixth such incident in this area in the recent past, and the small village of Kellar in Shopian district, hemmed in on all sides by forests, was in a state of shock on Wednesday. Since April this year, unidentified assailants have killed seven civilians, including four women and a three-year-old child.
Mir recalled Sheeraza was serving dinner when the man came into the kitchen at 7.30 pm. “Clad in black phiran, this young man asked my younger daughter her name, then looked at Sheeraza and asked her name. When she told him, the man pumped five bullets into her body,” said the 70-year-old, breaking down. “I don’t know for what crime my young daughter was killed.”
Sheeraza’s younger sister Dazy, still to recover from the shock of seeing her sister killed before her eyes, said she didn’t utter a word as she lay there dying.
The Class X student recalled that they first believed their brother Tariq, who stays in Delhi, had returned. While the assailant wasn’t wearing a mask and speaking Kashmiri, Dazy said they hadn’t seen him before.
Neighbours remember Sheeraza as a caring, shy girl who loved her family. “We want to know who is behind this gruesome killing,” said Ghulam Ahmad Khan.
Station House Officer, Keller, Farooq Ahmad said they believed three men came to Mir’s house on Tuesday evening, and one of them went in and shot Sheeraza as the other two stayed outside on guard. “The killing is the handiwork of militants active in the area,” he said.
Sheeraza is the fourth woman to have fallen to bullets of unknown assailants in the past nine months. On April 4, militants had gunned down 60-year-old Reshma Begum near Kellar; on May 30, Sahib-ud-din of the same village was killed by unidentified persons; three days later, 26-year-old Nageena Akhtar was shot in the area; in July, another young woman, Parveena, was killed in similar circumstances; while later that month, Mohd Aslam Awan and his three-year-old son were shot by unknown gunmen in Gujjar Patti Keller.
Both factions of the Hurriyat Conference have condemned such killings.
He and his kith and kin were hounded for over a month. No human rights organisation came to their defence. On the fateful night of September 29, the lawless arm of the law finally caught up with him. He was whisked away from Jammu to Srinagar. A week later — on October 6 — his body was found hanging in the Ram Munshi Bagh police station in Srinagar. The police said it was suicide. Just five weeks after their marriage, his bride became a widow.
Rajneesh Sharma’s only crime was that he was a Hindu from Jammu who had fallen in love with a Muslim woman from the Valley. He did not convert to Islam. Instead, the girl, Amina Yousaf, adopted Hinduism and took the name Aanchal Sharma after marriage. Her father, Mohammad Yousaf, a Sub-Inspector in the Sales Tax Vigilance Department in Srinagar, could not reconcile himself with this. At his instance, the helpful State police and the pliable, communalised administration came down heavily on Rajneesh and his family. ......
While the local media covered this macabre tragedy in detail, the national dailies, with the exception of The Pioneer, almost blacked it out.
The torture marks on Rajneesh’s body, seen by scores of people on its arrival in Jammu exposed the brutality the policemen practised. There were cigarette burn marks all over. His nails had been pulled out. Other evidence of torture suggests that he was given the option of giving up either the woman he loved or his faith. The courage Rajneesh showed in the face of such torture — which has been confirmed by post-mortem as well — needs to be commended.
Let us contrast the indifference towards Rajneesh’s death case with how civil society reacted in Kolkata when an influential and rich Hindu, Ashok Todi, was accused of getting the police to help him deal with a Muslim man, Rizwanur Rahman, who dared to marry his daughter. The people of Kolkata, irrespective of their religion, rose in protest. Some of India’s greatest intellectuals went and forced the Government to order an impartial probe which led to the prosecution of both Todi and the police officers who colluded with him.
Contrast Kolkata’s reaction with the deafening silence in Srinagar and Delhi over Rajneesh’s custodial death. The victim is from Jammu & Kashmir’s minority community. Will Rajneesh have to become a Rizwanur to get justice in India?
Ex-Muslim Anchal Rajneesh seeks justice
Hindu minorities insecure in J&K
Why is Rajneesh different from Rizwan
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
12 November, 2008 03:59:00 Ari Saja
In fact, every day is a Red Letter Day at CIIS. Or should I say “Red Flag Day?” CIIS Alumni who are unfortunate enough to have relatives who fought or died for the Free World against Communists, cite the unique experience of seeing a faculty member come in to a classroom in the United States of America, and declare: “My grandfather was a Communist, my father was a Communist, and I am a Communist”, in warning that other views would not be tolerated. Other accomplishments of CIIS can be found on the internet, for instance on an Open Letter on PetitionOnline that I found through GOOGLE, with 807 signatures. CIIS also tries to attract students by pointing out that 75% of its student body is female, and to their tradition of senior faculty taking wives from said student bodies.
There is considerable confusion what the “C” in CIIS stands for. This may shock many readers, but I am informed by usually reliable sources who prefer to remain anonymous that it does not stand for “Communist” or “Chinese”, it stands for “California”, and neither of the two “I”s stand for “Islamic” or “Insurgent”. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.
So who is this great Humanitarian, Tipu Sultan, the hero of the Indian Muslim Council of the USA? I am told that Tipu was, well, the Sultan. Of Mysore, in Karnataka, India, until his infestation ended in 1799. First son of Haider Ali, by second wife Fakhrunnisa, His capital was “Sri Ranga Pattanam”. According to my desi friends, that means: the city of Sri Ranga, but it was corrupted by whisky-slurred illiterate British thugs (i.e., South Asia Scholars like the ones who write California’s school textbooks) to “Seringapatam”. Tipu was a devout Indian Muslim. And we all know that Islam is the Religion of Peace. Tipu brought peace to villages all over the present-day Indian state of Karnataka and south into Kerala. Tens of thousands of villagers never felt anything at all after he was done with them.
He was also one of the most religious of Sunni Muslims, in the way that the New Life Baptist Church followers are some of the most religious of Christians and the Taliban are the most religious of Muslims. It is said that he went to every village with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, and offered the choice to those who survived his army’s initial wave of peace. Accept the Religion of Peace – or get Eternal Peace in pieces after a few minutes of dismemberment and other happy acts by his soldiers.
An example of his humanitarian nature can be seen from this quote from someone who comes from one of the areas blessed by him  :
“Naraka Chaturdashi, is also known as Deepvali, the famous festival of lights, but Mandyam Iyengars don't celebrate it; they observe it as a Dark Day. It was on this day over 200 years ago that Tipu Sultan herded nearly 700 men and women belonging to this community and put them to a cruel death, according to two Mysore-based scholars who have more than academic interest in this particular aspect of history - Dr MA Jayashree and MA Narasimhan, whose close relation with the Wadiyars of Mysore goes back to more than 150 years.”
Another person who has done some research on the history of Tippu says :
“But in reality, he was only a religious fanatic who believed in converting as many Hindus to Islam, and killing those who didn't fall in line.
Living in Kerala, one does not have to read historical books to know about Tipu's oppression. It was just a few generations back and Tipu's cruelty is a part of the folk-lore. Temples relocated, idols (some of them even made of gold) buried (some of them recently recovered) and people resettled, in the wake of Tipu's military campaign ('padayottam' as it is locally known)."
The book by Sitaram Goel is pretty blunt .
“Based on a novel by Bhagwan Gidwani, the docudrama ‘The Sword of Tipu Sultan’ provoked widespread outrage. ‘Tipu Sultan: Villain or Hero?’ originally published by the Bombay Malayalee Samajam, is an anthology of essays that excoriates Doordarshan's depiction of Tipu Sultan and criticizes the peculiar "secularism" practised by the contemporary Indian State.
In the words of Ravi Varma, one of the contributors to the anthology: "It was Tipu Sultan and his fanatic Muslim army who converted thousands of Hindus to Islam all along the invasion route and occupied areas in North Kerala, Coorg, Mangalore, and other parts of Karnataka. Besides over 8,000 Hindu temples were desecrated and/or destroyed by his Muslim army. Even today, one can see large concentrations of Muslims and ruins of hundreds of destroyed temples in North Kerala as standing evidence of the Islamic brutalities committed by Tipu Sultan ... He was, all through, waging a cruel Islamic war against the Hindu population of Kerala, with a large Muslim army and ably assisted by the French with powerful field guns and European troops. ...In spite of all this, historical documents and records are being suppressed.
So what do the original sources tell us about Tipu? The anthology includes excerpts from Tipu's letters as researched by the distinguished Kerala historian K. M. Panicker, which he reviewed in the Bhasha Poshini magazine, August 1923:
1. Letter dated March 22, 1788, to Abdul Kadir: "Over 12,000 Hindus were honoured with Islam. There were many Namboodri Brahmins among them. This achievement should be widely publicized among the Hindus. Then the local Hindus should be brought before you and converted to Islam. No Namboodri Brahmin should be spared. "
2. Letter dated December 14, 1988, to his army chief in Calicut: " I am sending two of my followers with Mir Hussain Ali. With their assistance, you should capture and kill all Hindus. Those below 20 may be kept in prison and 5000 from the rest should be killed from the tree-tops. These are my orders."
3. Letter dated January 18, 1790, to Syed Abdul Dulai: " ...almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. I consider this as Jehad."
The anthology also quotes from A Voyage to the East Indies by Fra Barthoelomeo, a renowned Portuguese traveller and historian, who was present in Tipu's war zone in early 1790:
"First a corps of 30,000 barbarians who butchered everybody on the way ... followed by the field gun unit under the French commander, M. Lally. Tipu was riding on an elephant behind which another army of 30,000 soldiers followed. Most of the men and women were hanged in Calicut, first mothers were hanged with their children tied to necks of mothers. That barbarian Tipu Sultan tied the naked Christian and Hindus to the legs of elephants and made the elephants to move around till the bodies of the helpless victims were torn to pieces. Temples and churches were ordered to be burned down, desecrated, and destroyed. ... Those Christians who refused to be honoured with Islam were ordered to be killed by hanging immediately. These atrocities were told to me by the victims of Tipu Sultan who escaped from the clutches of his army and reached Varapphuza, which is the centre of Carmichael Christian Mission. I myself helped many victims to cross the Varapphuza river by boats."
Moreover, evidence of Tipu's atrocities abounds in many contemporary church records in Mangalore, Calicut, and Varapphuza.”
However, one must note that these are gripes from the Kufr, the Unbelievers whose extermination the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Sheikh Osama Bin Laden so clearly designated as “halal” for peaceful Muslims. In all fairness to the IMC one must note that Tipu Sultan, like so many Islamic rulers such as Saddam Hussein and General Pervez Musharraf, enjoyed at least a 399% approval rating among all those who lived to express opinions in the lands that he ruled.
We can see clearly that Tipu Sultan is exactly the kind of hero that the Indian Muslim Council of the USA, and Associate Professor Angana Chatterji of the CIIS, would adore. The Tipu Sultan Prize is better than the Nobel Peace Prize in that Tipu brought Eternal Peace (and the Religion of Peace) to far more people than Nobel did.
The CAG – or is it CAC? – or CSFH?
To understand the relevance of the Tipu Sultan Genocide Award, one must go a bit deeper into Associate Professor Chatterji’s credentials. She is a founder member of the Forum of Indian Leftists, credited with organizing a steady stream of articles and OpEds to the media. She is co-author of the FOIL’s “Five-Year Comprehensive Research Report” on (non-Muslim, non-Communist) fundraising in the US, a report that brought so much enjoyment and laughter to so many people in 2002-2003. An example of the smoking-gun proof that they cited for hateful behavior is the following quote. This is slightly paraphrased since the original sounds like it was written by someone in a South Asia Scholar state of sobriety, but the gist is accurate:
“The (law-abiding Indian-American charity) sent $25000 to the families of New York firefighters killed in the September 11, 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. This was clearly anti-Muslim, since most of the victims were non-Muslim, and the perpetrators were all Muslim”.
Apparently the internal peer review at CIIS found this to be of the highest intellectual quality ever seen in anything generated at that institution. Unfortunately the ignorant general public outside did not agree. Since the highly amused public reaction to this masterpiece of her “research” competence, Dr. Chatterji appears to have given up co-authoring research reports, papers etc. and switched to less mentally challenging modes of propaganda.
The FOIL’s “CSFH” (Communists Seeking to Fund Hate?) mutated into CAC (Communists Amplifying Communalism?). Then the Darfur genocide brought funding opportunities, they made the minor change from “C” to “G” and became “CAG”. What CAG stands for is anyone’s guess. Someone told me, so I will tell you, that CAG does NOT stand for “COMMUNISTS ADMIRING GENOCIDE” but I really don’t see how that could be.
The Only Genocide That Matters
The “CAG” recognizes only one “genocide”. This is the death of several Muslims in the riots in Gujarat in 2002. Of course, the grim, sober “count” of that horrible time, is that some 700 people died, of whom about 400 to 500 were Muslims, and the rest mostly Hindus. This included about 100 policemen, of all religions, who died trying to protect innocents against mobs. Many of the Muslims and Hindus killed were violent rioters shot by the greatly outnumbered police as they tried to loot, rob and kill others.
What triggered this horror? The CAG would have us forget that. At 7 AM on the cold morning of February 27, 2002, the Sabarmati Express train to Ahmedabad was stopped by someone pulling the emergency chain, about a mile outside Godhra station. The train was immediately attacked by a (peaceful Islamic) mob estimated at 4000 that, to believe the CAG’s version of events, just happened to be loitering there at 7AM on a winter morning. A barrage of rocks from the embankment kept the passengers from trying to escape, until the sleeper coaches were decoupled and the doors were barred from outside (windows of overnight sleepers in India have metal anti-theft grilles). Someone cut through (or came through) the vestibule connecting to the other coaches and poured gasoline into the sleeper. Others tossed in flaming rags. Fire trucks racing to the scene were stoned and obstructed until it was far, far too late.
Fitfy-three charred bodies were found when firefighters and police eventually entered the smoldering steel ovens. They included the (Muslim) wife of the station master of Godhra station, and no one so far has published a religious breakdown of the victims, who were sleeping passengers on a regularly scheduled overnight train heading into a cosmopolitan industrial center in India. But the Sepoys of the Indian English-language media did what they do best – they parroted what the racist western news channels run by Pakistanis, such as AP, CNN and BBC, said: that the victims were all “Hindu activists”.
I remember seeing that news report while eating breakfast in the US West. My immediate reaction, beyond the horror, was rage at the obviously incendiary and utterly inhuman characterization of the victims as “Hindu Activists”, and I remember praying: “Oh, PLEASE, stop the reaction that this will provoke”, and knowing even as I prayed that this was too much to hope for.
When the train eventually pulled into Ahmedabad, and the relatives of the victims took the bodies to funerals, the explosion of rage all over Gujarat was just far too much for any police to contain. The Army was then deployed across the rivers of Punjab, at the border with Pakistan. It took a few days to bring them back into Gujarat and deploy them in the interior, where the roads had not recovered from the violent Bhuj earthquake of January 26, 2001.
The Communists, Conversionists and Islamists of the CAG have tried for 6 years to pin criminal guilt for these “riots” on Chief Minister Narendra Modi of Gujarat. The latest exhaustive report headed by the respected Judge Nanavati again clears him. The Central government headed by political enemies of Modi have utterly failed to pin anything on him that would stand up in court. While the Supreme Court found many faults with police investigations of the riots, no sensible evidence has ever surfaced that the Chief Minister failed to do his duty in stopping the riots. In fact, Zaheera Shaikh, one of the young Muslim complainants, 19 at the time of the riots, was sent to prison for perjury because she insisted that the “Affidavit” attributed to her was one composed by FOIL’s sponsor Teesta Setalwad, and that she had been bullied and threatened into signing it. Setalwad enjoys unmatched access to the Indian Supreme Court, since she is a relative of a very famous attorney who practiced in the Court.
In 2008, terrorist bombings, very clearly done by Islamic terrorists, struck Ahmedabad, as horrible in effect as the Godhra atrocity. The terrorists even targeted the relatives gathered at the hospitals, in blasts set off right in front of the entrance to Emergency. My prayers had been accepted, apparently, as this time there was not a single incident of rioting in the aftermath.
But none of this matters to the CAG. Their one-point agenda is to “get” Chief Minister Modi. So, to the CAG, if I read their website right, the deaths of 500 Muslims in a riot that followed the horrible burning to death of 53 innocents by a Muslim mob, is the only example in history of “Genocide”. Darfur doesn’t matter (let’s see now: the victims there are mostly non-Muslim, and the perpetrators are Muslim, so it can’t be genocide). The Holocaust wouldn’t matter (it was mostly Jews who were killed, right? ) The killing of over 1 million Cambodian people wouldn’t matter (The killers were Communists). The genocide in East Pakistan, where 3 million were killed in a year by the Pakistan Army in 1970-71, cannot matter, because most of the victims were Hindus and the perpetrators were, of course, Muslim. The killing of half a million Tutsis in Rwanda wouldn’t matter – they were not Communists or Islamists.
And as we see above, the genocide that killed tens of thousands of non-Muslims (Tipu was equally kind to Christians) is a historical event that the Indian Muslim Council, the CIIS and Angana Chatterji, and hence the CAG, remember with fond admiration and longing.
So who constitute the CAG? According to their website, “35 organizations”. Never mind that the membership of most is pretty much the same. Let’s see a list:
* Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia (ASDSA)
* Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA)
* American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI)
* Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM)
* Association of South Asian Progressives (ASAP)
* Building Bridges of Understanding Coalition (BB)
* Coalition for a Secular and Democratic India (CSDI)
* Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH)
* Center for Study and Research in South Asia (CERAS, Montreal)
* Coalition against Communalism (CAC)
* Dharma Megha
* Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA)
* Forum of Inquilabi Leftists (FOIL)
* Foundation For Pluralism
* Friends Of South Asia (FOSA)
* Indian Christian Forum (ICF)
* Indian Muslim Educational Foundation of North America (IMEFNA)
* Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA)
* Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC)
* Indian Progressive Study Group of Los Angeles (IPSG-LA)
* International South Asia Forum (INSAF)
* Manavi (An organization for South Asian women)
* Muslim Youth Awareness Alliance (MYAA)
* NRI's for Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI)
* Organizing Youth (OY)
* Policy Institute For Religion And State (PIFRAS)
* Sikh American Heritage Organization (SAHO)
* Sneha (A network for women of South Asian origin)
* South Asian Collective (SAC)
* South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection (SAMAR)
* South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD, Canada)
* South Asian Progressive Action Collective (SAPAC)
* Students For Bhopal (SFB)
* Supporters of Human Rights in India (SHRI)
* The Organization of Universal Communal Harmony (TOUCH)
* Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment
* Vedanta Society of East Lansing
* Voices for Freedom (VFF)
* World Tamil Organisation (WTO)
* Youth Solidarity Summer (YSS)
* Center for Religious Freedom (Freedom House)
* Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
* DC Collective for South Asians (DCCSA)
* Genocide Watch
* Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP)
* Interfaith Freedom Foundation (IFF)
* Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA)
* National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
* Project REACH
I happen to have found out a few things about these by reading what I find, and talking to people:
* 1. Coalition against Communalism (CAC) is simply the pre-mutation “CAG”. When funding opportunities came up related to the Darfur Genocide (there are enough Americans stupid enough not to ask which side these people are on in that genocide), they changed the “C” to a “G”. The “CAG” website is easily seen to be essentially the CAC website, even the content has not changed.
* 2. Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) is what mutated into “CAC” after the “CSFH” was exposed and dissolved in ridicule. The website of CAC obviously started with a copy of the CSFH website.
* 3. FOIL describes themselves as “Leftists”. See “FOIL Primer Part 1” by Komerath  for an in-depth expose. I think they would be insulted if they were NOT described as Communists. Angana Chatteri, Biju Matthew, Girish Agarwal, Shalini Gera, Akhila Ra(h)man, Vijay Prashad of Trinity College, CT, Vinay Lal of UCLA, and “Ra” T. Ravishankar are some of its loudest noises.
* 4. “FOSA” is a combination of FOIL and the Pakistan-American Association, with very apparent sponsorship from the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence, per the Pakistani media . Led by Gera, Ra(h)man, Vinay Lal, Mainland Chinese CIIS graduate student(s) working for Chatterji , and several Pakistanis. FOSA with the Pakistan American Association (PAA) are the worthies seen on San Francisco streets holding signs saying :
“Allah Will Destroy Terrorist India and America!”
* 5. “South Asian Collective (SAC)” is a communist organization, partly based in France. Essentially same as FOIL. Mutated from the “SACW” (South Asia Communist Web).
* 6. South Asian Progressive Action Collective (SAPAC) is perhaps the subset of the SAC that can spell a longer name.
* 7. Youth Solidarity Summer (YSS). Communist organization set up to recruit youth, on the “catch’em when they have nothing better to do and no sense to figure it out” principle. Recently tried generating a FOIL-type “REPORT” (with FOIL authors who wisely chose to remain anonymous given their sad experience in 2002), slandering the Hindu Students Council. Fortunately the HSC and everyone else, just ignored them, not even bothering to laugh in public . The “Youth” of YSS includes semi-permanent graduate student teaching assistants at California universities, including some who have the distinction of earning direct condemnation by their university presidents, and causing the dissolution of their entire departments.
* 8. Organizing Youth (OY) is a mutation/ offshoot of YSS, the (lotus-eating) equivalent of the Soviet Comintern’s Young Pioneers, the Chinese Red Guards, and the Indian DYFI.
* 9. Muslim Youth Awareness Alliance (MYAA). Teaching Muslim Youth the techniques perfected by the Communists in their long-running Class War. See also “Student Islamic Movement of India” or SIMI. SIMIans have been “credited” with many “progressive youth” actions in India related to shall we say, fireworks in crowded places, according to police reports.
* 10. Association of South Asian Progressives (ASAP). The ASAP denotes their need to keep morphing to stay ahead of the police, perhaps. The mother ship was the “PROXSA” (Progressive South Asian… etc) based in France, until perhaps things got too hot there.
* 11. (FIACONA) is a name that makes Christians who believe in Jesus Christ, cringe. This is a federation of the commercial soul-harvesting combines of the Baptist and Methodist and Jesuit fringe groups set up to spread hate and liberally spread weapons and destabilize India. See the history of terrorism in North East India and Nepal, the case of the Purulia Arms Drop, and the roots of riots in Gujarat, Orissa, Andhra and now Karnataka, the horrible stories of well-fed conversionists riding into tsunami-destroyed villages in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka and telling the starving residents that they could get food- if they converted. FIACONA’s leadership is most definitely not the same (I hope!!) as that of the mainstream Christianity in India or North America. Recently, with the Maoist takeover in Nepal, the close collaboration between the Conversionists and the Maoists has become all too clear, both in Northeast India and in organizing murders in Orissa. In the “CAG” we see proof of this happy marriage in the US as well.
* 12. “South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection (SAMAR)” The smart acronym means “war” in Indian languages, the term used by the Communists to denote violent strikes and other terror campaigns. Need one say more?
* 13. Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA). The people who gave Chatterji the Tipu Sultan Genocide Award. Apostles of peace, inter-religious harmony, freedom of worship, and respect for the (Unbelievers’) Constitution. Well connected to SIMI, CAIR, Pakistan-American Association and FIACONA, FOIL and FOSA. Top office bearers included the founder of the SIMI.
* 14. Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC). Well… No particular comments on this organization. But one might be prudent to check out “Google” for news items related to “Muslim Relief and Charities” especially in the context of the Al Qaida, to stay informed on this general topic.
* 15. NRI's for Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI). Most interesting Orwellian name. This is the interface between the IMC and certain organizations associated with a major political party in India, to channel funds from Pakistani and other sources, to worthwhile causes. The founders included Kaleem K. Kawaja.
* 16. Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM). Headed by Kaleem Kawaja, famous author  (See Pakistan Link for his publications) of the February 2002 article, "Can You Spare A Tear For the Taliban?" This was soon after the Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan website showed that image of the basket full of severed human hands, many feminine, the handiwork (no pun intended) of Kawaja's Taliban brothers. Kawaja, sitting in Maryland, praised the Taliban's commitment to protecting women even as American soldiers were dying to save the Afghan people from Taliban tyranny.
* 17. Coalition for a Secular and Democratic India (CSDI): You get the idea – another combination of the words “Coalition, Secular, India” and the signature of a Communist organization: the word “Democratic” in the title. Like those democratic heavens GDR and DPRK, to name a couple.
* 18. Sikh American Heritage Organization (SAHO). This is another interesting mutation. In the 1970s through 80s, Pakistani-trained, Canadian-funded terrorists killed over 20,000 people in Punjab (oh, no, that can’t be genocide because the victims were non-Muslim and the perpetrators were armed by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan). Their most infamous international accomplishment was the murder of over 350 passengers including 44 little children, many of the passengers US and Canadian and Indian citizens, when a bomb blew the Air India Boeing 747 “Emperor Kanishka” apart over the Irish Sea. The same day, two baggage handlers at Narita airport, Japan, were killed when a bomb in a bag destined for another Air India flight exploded. A precursor of today’s Pakistani dominance in global terrorism.
The “Khalistan” (nation of the empty-headed) movement became, shall we say, less popular and more recognizable to the Department of Homeland Security with the revived investigation in Canada on why the Air India case was so badly bungled. The lead suspect had died in India on one of his terrorist missions). The “Babbar Khalsa” sub-sect of this bloody gang is on the US State Department’s Honor Roll of foreign terrorist organizations. At the first Convention of the Indian Muslim Council in 2003, the Khalistan representative came as the Khalistan Representative. Today apparently it’s called “SAHO”.
* 19. The Organization of Universal Communal Harmony (TOUCH). Unabashed acronym, set up to “touch” desis silly enough to buy the “Harmony” line used by the NRI-SAHI.
* 20. Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment & 21. Vedanta Society of East Lansing These are probably run by the same persons, who have a very wide range of other businesses. This appears to be the link from the NRI-SAHI to other interesting entities set up in East Lansing, Michigan, for instance by General Musharraf.
* 22. EKTA: I don’t know what if anything the acronym stands for, but the word “Ekta” means “unity” in Hindi, and this is a long-running umbrella organization that spawned many of the others like a spider laying eggs. In the “South Asia Communist Web” in America.
So we see that 22 of the “35 organizations” of CAG are basically the same gang of Communist-Islamist and commercial soul-harvesting gangs and fronts for other entities with too much money and way too much hatred for democracy, freedom of religion, and anything else that characterizes free societies. Many of the rest are simply permutations and combinations of the same gangs.
So what is the IMC’s point in awarding the “Tipu Sultan Award” to Angana Chatterji of CIIS? Very simple and obvious. The “Tipu Sultan Award” is a blatant provocation, the equivalent of the KKK (no reflection on Kaleem K. Kawaja) setting up the “Adolf Hitler Award” and awarding it to, say, Rafsanjani of Iran for his well-known rants of hatred against Israel and Jews. It is deliberate, and it shows exactly what the IMC and the AIM represent.
As for the CAG, this award and simple consideration of the reality of their composition, show that they are indeed Communists Admiring Genocide. What this makes the CIIS, I leave to the gentle reader to conclude.
1. Maolan Cadambi, “Did Tipu massacre 700 Iyengar men, women & kids?” Ramanuja list archive, Oct. 26, 2006.
2. Meanderthalis, “Tipu Sultan - the Glorified Butcher?” August 28, 2006. http://meanderthalis.blogster.com/tipu_sultan_glorified_butcher
3. Walia, C.J.S. IndiaStar Review of the book edited by Sitaram Goel, “Tipu Sultan:Villain or Hero?” Voice of India, new Delhi, 1996. 85p. http://www.indiastar.com/wallia7.htm
4. Komerath, N., “Yesterday once more: FOIL Primer - Part 1”. In Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak, Ed., “NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds – Anti Nation Industry”. Vigil Public Opinion Forum, Chennai, India 2006, p. 81-99.
5. Komerath, N., “The Lashkar-e-Pinocchio Rides Again”. In Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak, Ed., “NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds – Anti Nation Industry”. Vigil Public Opinion Forum, Chennai, India 2006, p. 100-115.
6.Saja, A., “Anarchist Losers Attack American College Students – And Flunk As Usual”. May 07, 2007. http://www.ivarta.com/columns/OL_070507.htm
7. Kawaja, Kaleem K., "Can You Spare a Tear For the Taliban?" Letter to PakistanLink, February 2002. http://www.pakistanlink.com/Letters/2002/Feb/08/10.html
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Anyone familiar with life in islamic countries knows that most graves of poor people are "unmarked."
Those who follow this person's career will remember that she was instrumental in getting Modi's visit to the US blocked, opposing the efforts by Hindus in California to correct the educational curriculum, misrepresenting the Christian violence in Orissa and is the author of "Violent Gods."
Angana Chatterji addressing the audience after receiving the award at the 2008 National Convention of the Indian Muslim Council - USA.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Nov. 21 2009 (Bloomberg) -- Italian police today arrested two Pakistani nationals who were charged with aiding terrorists in connection with the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.
The men were detained in the northern town of Brescia, where they have a money-transfer agency, Stefano Fonsi, head of the local Digos special-police force, said by telephone.
The day before the Mumbai attacks, the suspects transferred money to activate a voice-over-Internet-protocol phone account used by the terrorists and their accomplices, Fonsi said.
The investigation that led to the arrests started in December 2008 after the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Indian police alerted Italian authorities that the money for the phone lines had come from Brescia, Fonsi said.
The Mumbai terrorist attacks began on Nov. 26 and militants struck two luxury hotels, a railway terminal and a building housing a Jewish center, killing about 200 people.
To contact the reporters on this story: Chiara Remondini
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Boy in court over stolen chocolate
A 12-YEAR-OLD Aboriginal boy will face a children's court today charged with receiving a stolen Freddo frog.
The chocolate frog, allegedly shoplifted by the accused child's friend from a Coles supermarket in regional Western Australia, usually retails for about 70 cents.
The boy, who has no prior convictions, also faces a second charge involving the receipt of a small novelty sign from another store. The sign, which was also allegedly given to the boy by his friend, read: ''Do not enter, genius at work''.
The boy's lawyer, Peter Collins, had lobbied WA police for the charges to be withdrawn but authorities had failed to respond to his written request, he said. ''It's scandalous that a 12-year-old child should be subject to prosecution for a case of this type.''
Mr Collins said when the boy last month missed a court date due to a family misunderstanding, police had apprehended him about 8am on a school day and taken him into custody. The boy was then imprisoned for several hours in the holding cell at the local police station.
The boy will appear at the Northam Children's Court, about 100 kilometres from Perth.
Sunday 15 November 2009 12.00 GMT
Although the Taliban have openly claimed responsibility for the recent epidemic of suicide bombings against civilian targets in Peshawar and Islamabad, many Pakistanis appear convinced that the real culprits are India or the United States.
"These are India's agents," an anti-narcotics bureaucrat tells me in Islamabad with a confident grin. With its operatives active in a string of Indian consulates along the Pak-Afghan border, so goes the popular claim, they direct New Delhi's latest attempt to topple the Islamic Republic. It is a common refrain in Pakistan. In fact, so common, that almost everyone I venture to ask blames the Indians, or Americans, or foreigners for the terrorism.
The country has faced many crises over the years, but these are particularly unsettling days. In the past, violence tended to be unilateral: avoid the angry mob on days of protest, neighbourhoods patrolled by gangs, or criticising vocal mullahs and life was generally quiet. But today's enemy moves with stealth and could be anywhere.
Already poor migrants from Afghanistan and the central Asian republics have been evicted from the slums of Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi on the suspicion that someone among their numbers is responsible for the violence. But these are just the small fry, and even the media and the government claim there is good intelligence implicating foreign powers.
So where, one has to ask, do these rumours come from?
There are three broad explanations. First, this is a traumatised country that is justifiably in shock over the extent to which violence has become an everyday reality. The images of fellow Pakistani men, women and children being martyred on our television screens has a deep impact too. It is only human to look at outside forces to explain this chaos – surely we couldn't be doing this to ourselves? There must be a foreign conspiracy against our country.
Linked to this is a powerful denial complex that is not unique to Pakistan. Much as most Americans refuse to reflect on their own government's past support for Osama bin Laden, there is widespread incredulity over the radicalisation of organised Islam in Pakistan. Because the state itself has historically encouraged client jihadi organisations there is limited public discourse on the militarisation of Islamic doctrine in Pakistan. When these groups kill ordinary Pakistanis, as a consequence, few are willing to accept people from their own towns and provinces are responsible.
A third factor that influences conspiracy theories is that there is occasionally evidence to suggest foreign involvement in the violence. After the Iranian revolution of 1979, Iran and Saudi Arabia exported Islamist militancy to their Pakistani co-religionists in a petty confrontation of regional empires that sowed the seeds for today's brutal Shia-Sunni violence.
The United States has a long history of clandestinely supporting Islamist militancy in Pakistan. When Iran blamed the US for the audacious murder of high profile Iranian Revolutionary Guard members last month, many in Pakistan saw this is as further proof of American involvement in terrorism in the region, including their own country. Added to the intrigue is the fact that for years the US mysteriously refused to kill former Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud via remote drone despite being offered his precise location by Pakistani intelligence authorities.
Influence of the Israel lobby on American foreign policy in the Middle East is another source of conspiracy theories in Pakistan. When in April Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said Pakistan was a greater threat to his country than Iran, many saw it as confirmation of the most strident conspiracy theory here, namely that Israel is clandestinely orchestrating the present mayhem.
Of course none of this proves the conspiracy theories to be correct. Rather, they suggest a false reading of history and social dynamics by many Pakistanis. In the world of the conspiracy, powerful actors are not merely mortals with influence but rather god-like beings who direct geopolitics like an opera, and that is just how the powerful often appear to be in this country.
By marshalling conspiracy theories many people, not just in Pakistan, abdicate responsibility for confronting the ills their societies face. If you are playing cards with a cheat, is there any point in trying to get a better hand?
"But what is the common man to do?" retorts science tutor Imran during a random encounter outside my uncle's house. It is a valid point. With so much out of the ordinary citizen's hands, it is easy to believe Pakistan's problems are all down to hidden designs.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
May 31, 2007
For millions around the world yoga is a source of relaxation and spiritual sustenance. Not so for the Indian Government, which is furious \over efforts by American entrepreneurs – including an Indian-born celebrity “yogi” – to patent the ancient practice.
Indian officials announced yesterday that they would lodge official complaints with US authorities over hundreds of yoga-related patents, copyrights and trademarks that have been issued in recent years.
The Health Ministry said that it would take up the matter directly with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, while the Commerce Ministry said that it would write to the US Trade Representative.
“How can you patent yoga – something that has been in the public domain for thousands of years?” said Verghese Samuel, joint secretary of the Ministry of Health department for yoga and other traditional practices. “It’s a ridiculous decision,” he told The Times. “We’ll have to challenge it. We’ve already started the process.”
The dispute has exposed the differing attitudes towards yoga – and intellectual property rights over “traditional knowledge” – in India and the US.
In India, where yoga has been practised for 6,000 years, it is regarded as a Hindu exercise, involving philosophy as well as fitness, and beyond the control of government or private enterprise. In the United States, where yoga first became popular in the 1970s, it has been largely stripped of its cultural and religious overtones and turned into a $3 billion-a-year subset of the fitness industry.
As yoga has moved from marginal to mainstream, US authorities have issued 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga-related trademarks.
Indian authorities appear to have been particularly upset by the copyright and trademark granted to Bikram Choudhury, the founder of “Hot Yoga”, for his brand of 26 yoga poses performed in a steam room.
Mr Choudhury, who is originally from Calcutta and opened his first yoga studio in California in the 1970s, copyrighted his yoga sequence in 1978 and obtained a trademark for Bikram Yoga in 2002. In 2005 he won a legal argument with a group of yoga teachers who disputed the copyright and trademark. He argues that his sequence of poses, combined with high temperatures – they should be done at above 105F (40.5C) and 50 per cent humidity – is unique.
“The analogy to music is perfect,” John Marcoux, his lawyer, said. “He’s not claiming ownership of individual notes, but of a particular selection of notes and the arrangement of those notes.”
“If you look at the number of yoga poses in the universe and at how many sequences you can create, the numbers are astronomical,” he added. “This doesn’t hurt yoga, it helps spread it around the world.”
The 61-year-old self-proclaimed “yogi to the stars”, who has about 900 studios around the world, plans to open his first Indian outlet in Bombay.
His plans have been overshadowed by a barrage of criticism in the Indian media from government officials and yoga experts. “One cannot patent yoga. It is an Indian treasure,” said Suneel Singh, who has been teaching yoga for 25 years.
Yoga is one of thousands of traditional Indian products – including basmati rice and turmeric – that the Indian Government has been fighting to protect from Western patents in recent years.
In 2002 it set up a task force to compile a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library with details of 4,500 medicinal plants, Ayurvedic remedies and thousands of yoga postures.
The library, which draws on texts in Sanskrit, Tamil and other ancient languages, is designed to provide a body of evidence to help to fight attempts to copyright Indian traditional knowledge.
Copyright a yoga move?If yoga has been around for 5,000 years, can a 21st century businessman claim to own a piece of it? Bikram Choudhury says yes. The Beverly Hills yoga mogul, who popularized his style of yoga and then franchised a chain of studios bearing his name, has long rankled traditionalists, who dislike his tough business tactics and brash outspokenness. Now Choudhury is facing a challenge in a San Francisco courtroom, where a federal judge is hearing arguments in a lawsuit that some legal experts say could define a new frontier in intellectual property. At issue: Can Choudhury take a sequence of two breathing exercises and 26 yoga poses from an ancient Indian practice, copyright it and control how it is practiced? The Open Source Yoga Unity people say he can't. More inside.
… as the number of Western yoga teachers has grown, there has been a steady increase in patent applications claiming each pose in their class is not part of the ancient discipline of mind and body, but their own unique invention. In the United States alone, there have been more than 130 yoga-related patents, 150 copyrights and 2,300 trademarks. Now India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library is being made available to patents offices throughout the world so they can establish whether the claim is a genuine innovation or "prior art" from Indian systems of medicine.
[...] The attempt by US teachers to patent traditional poses has caused disbelief and anger in India, where it has been practiced for around 6,000 years.
"Copyrights over yoga postures and trademarks on yoga tools have become rampant in the West. Till now, we have traced 130 yoga-related patents in the US. We hope to finish putting on record at least 1500 yoga postures by the end of 2009," said Dr V.P Gupta, of the CSIR, who created the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library.
see mother jones article
and review by Jordan Susman
Monday, November 2, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
By Andy Dolan
29th October 2009
British police are searching for a teenager who recently converted to Islam.
The parents and friends of Sarah Dunn said the 14-year-old girl had become obsessed with the Koran just before she disappeared on September 28.
Sarah, who had gotten into an argument with her parents over her decision to study the Koran just before she went missing, was last seen in the town of Wellington.
It is feared she may have been brainwashed by hardline Muslims and her family are urging her to get in touch.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Shock CCTV of racist attacks
Sickening ... Justin and Luke Lovedale attack shopkeeper
By JOHN COLES
Published: 23 Oct 2009
The SUN (UK)
THREE racist teenagers have been publicly named and shamed for a series of sickening assaults on Asian shopkeepers.
Feral twins Luke and Justin Lovedale and yob Nicholas Gardener were all 16 when they launched their attacks amid a torrent of racist abuse.
The trio — now 17 — sneered and laughed as CCTV footage of one of the sickening assaults was shown to a court.
It showed them wrestling one shopkeeper to the floor before stamping on him as they shouted 'F***ing P***' while a terrified female shopkeeper desperately tried to fend them off.
Another clip showed them battering two shopkeepers to the ground before repeatedly stamping on them.
They admitted the attacks in Bristol this year but denied they were racially motivated — despite Luke Lovedale telling police after his arrest: "I aint beaten up no P***. F***ing **** needs to go back home."
Luke and Justin Lovedale
Hate crimes ... teen brute Justin Lovedale and his twin Luke, right
District Judge David Parsons found all three defendants guilty of racially aggravated common assault — and lifted an order banning their identification.
He warned them all to expect jail and told Bristol Magistrates' Court: "The protection of the community outweighed the teenagers' interests.
"Race hatred should be dealt with seriously by the court, and your victims deserve the protection of the court."
The convictions come days after a BBC Panorama programme showed an undercover reporter being subjected to race hate on Bristol's Southmead estate.
Gardener, who has 19 previous convictions, stormed in to Costcutter in Bedminster, Bristol, with an unidentified pal on April 5 and attacked shopkeeper Hardik Patel.
He punched him to the ground before hitting him twice more and shouted "You f****** P***".
The other youth then kicked him three times in the stomach and as they ran away Gardener shouted: "I will kill you, you f****** P***."
Two months later the Lovedale twins and Gardener — boyfriend of the brothers' sister — went to a Bargain Booze at 10.30pm to buy cigarettes and vodka.
When staff refused to serve them they launched a sickening assault on shopkeeper Ashok Selvam as a female member of staff frantically tried to beat them off with a broom handle.
They pulled his T-shirt over his head and, as one brother held him in a headlock, the other repeatedly punched him in the face.
Mr Selvam told the court that as they assaulted him they shouted "F****** Asian, f****** P***."
Less than an hour later, the three teenagers went to a nearby Costcutter and snatched a bottle of wine.
As shopkeeper Parakram Zala tried to call cops Gardener punched him in the face, shouting "We will kill you, f****** P***."
Colleague Girish Patel tried to fend of the youths, before all three began hitting him.
CCTV footage shows them continuing to punch and kick the two shopkeepers as they lay on the floor.
Mr Patel was left with such serious injuries he feared he may lose the sight in his left eye.
The three thugs showed no remorse throughout the three-day trial and sat yawning and sighing in the dock, chatting to each other and laughing.
Gardener was remanded in custody but the Lovedale twins were released on bail, on condition that they live at their home in south Bristol with a curfew of 8pm to 6am.
Detective Constable Gary Booth, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: "Racism will not be tolerated in Bristol."
The three will be sentenced on November 11.