Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Kashmir Conflict needs a political solution, not violence or wars

February 16, 2019

— Nasir Khan

The Kashmir Conflict is not something new, it is as old as the two independent states of India and Pakistan. It was a conflict that needed some bold steps by the leaders of the two countries to find a workable solution that met the demands of the Kashmiri people.

But there was no real intention to find such a solution, except to use empty rhetoric to appease the populations of the two countries. The latest killing of so many soldiers is also a tragic reminder that the problem of Kashmir has not disappeared. Innocent people are dying in Kashmir, both civilians and soldiers, and they will continue to face such deaths as long as there is no solution to the conflict.

I deeply deplore the death of the Indian soldiers and also the deaths of innocent Kashmiris at the hands of the Indian army.

But something else is needed to pacify the people of Kashmir, not empty words, violence or threats of more violence and intimidation. Any military action by India over the tragic loss of lives of soldiers will not help the situation. Even a war will not do much good to the people of the two countries, or will be helpful to the people of Kashmir.

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https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-india-kashmir-bomber/kashmir-suicide-bomber-radicalised-after-beating-by-troops-parents-say-idUKKCN1Q41M6

Kashmir suicide bomber radicalised after being beaten by Indian troops, parents say

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Shahram Vahdany has breathed his last

January 31, 2019


— Nasir Khan, January 30, 2019

With a heavy heart and great sadness, I inform all friends of Dr Shahram Vahdany (aged 59) that he died two days ago in a hospital in Vancouver (Canada). I was informed about his death last night by a friend. The condition of his liver had worsened over the last few months, and no transplant or operation was possible because his physical condition did not allow it. It was only a question of time when he expired, and it happened two days ago.

I am deeply sad over the death of a noble and great friend who had devoted his life to the cause of truth, peace and justice. His well-known website Media With Conscience contributed enormously to inform about the issues that weak and oppressed people and nations suffered at the hands of the powerful and oppressive powers and regimes.

Thank you Shahram what you did, and what you stood for. You knew that you would not live for long, as you had written to me a few months ago about it, but you faced the situation calmly and bravely. We all thank you. We will miss you. You will live in our minds and hearts.

The Chinese poet Wang Wei (699-761 AD) expresses the feelings of one who was parting company:

AT PARTING – Poem by Wang Wei

I dismount from my horse and I offer you wine,
And I ask you where you are going and why.
And you answer: “I am discontent
And would rest at the foot of the southern mountain.
So give me leave and ask me no questions.
White clouds pass there without end.”

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Saudi kings, Israel and Palestinians

January 23, 2019

The following article is from 2015. What I said about the former king is also true about his successors. Now the effective ruler of Saudi Arabia is Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) because of his father, King Salman’s ill health.

The Palestinians are being killed and victimized by Israel as before. The Saudi rulers remain indifferent to what happens to the occupied and colonized people of Palestine.

The Saudis have been busy in the war in Yemen, with the help of their allies for the last four years, causing immense suffering and destruction, while doing their utmost, with the help of Israel, to instigate America to attack Iran, thus paving the way for the total Israeli hegemony over the whole region with the support of Saudi Arabia.


On the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Nasir Khan, January 23, 2015

All the devils in Hell were much excited today to welcome a newcomer. Guess who was coming? A great king was coming to join them. When the short worldly sojourn ends here a long and upward journey to a new life starts, I was told as a child. Today was one such day for a great king to go upward.

So that was the end of that short worldly sojourn for the mighty king. There will be no more displays of gold, diamonds and emeralds to please any. That will be a task for his successor now. But any fabulous gifts of golden chains and garlands with diamonds were only for the influential and the mighty ones. Not for any ordinary people. No worker from Asia or Africa received any such gift. They were mere workers, the raw material to keep the oil industry going.

The children of Gaza, hundreds of them, and thousands of adults were massacred by Israel in the summer of 2014. There was not a single concrete step taken by the great mighty king of Saudi Arabia to stop the killing of the Palestinians of Gaza. Netanyahu knew the great king was his ally, not an opponent. So the job of killing a besieged people and destroying Gaza’s infrastructure – its buildings, homes, hospitals, mosques – and causing misery in a captive people could go ahead unhindered. And it did.

Netanyahu wanted to do it. He had the support of America and his Arab allies, including the mighty king. So Israel did what it wanted to do. The reactionaries were all on one side. They had no fear from any quarter. Everything was crystal clear for the kill, the big kill. No problem. Some voices around the world? Some bloggers and internet activists included. But who cares when you have America and Saudi Arabia on board. Therefore when Israeli military and air force were in ‘full action’ the great king, didn’t stir a finger to stop the massacres and destruction of Gaza.

But his friends may have something to add. I have nothing more to add today. Sometime later, perhaps.

 

Interaction between Hindus and Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent

January 17, 2019

A former Facebook friend, Mr Kushal, once commented that Jejuri (Hindu) Temple seemed more like an Islamic piece of architecture than a Hindu building. This was my reply to him:

— Nasir Khan

Both Hindu and Islamic architecture have influenced each other in many ways. By its appearance, Jejuri Temple seems to be a clear example of this interaction in architecture.

Regarding your views on the division of Hindus and Muslims, my reply is: If these people, Hindus and Muslims, regard one another as human beings first where people’s religious beliefs are left as their personal matters and nothing more, then a common human and humane bond will emerge that will allow cultural diversity but wherein all people will stand for common humanity and common political, social and economic rights and obligations.

But in India and Pakistan things are working in the reverse order. In these countries, the first consideration is towards religious identity while what is obviously common, our common humanity and our oneness as human beings, is pushed out of sight! The result is fanatics and fundamentalists in Hindus and Muslims have made living for ordinary people difficult.

The Hindutva fanatics in India have poisoned the minds of vast numbers of Hindus and have made them anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan by their continuous propaganda. Many feel that is the only way to make India a purely Hindu state by preaching the mantra of Akhand Bharat. There is so much hatred against Muslims and Islam in Indian right-wing Hindus, which I find hard to believe.

In Pakistan, the right-wing religious and political parties have equally viciously poisoned the minds of millions of people for establishing a theocratic state instead of a modern democratic state.

Consequently, their continuous indoctrination and misleading information against the non-Muslims has relegated religious minorities in Pakistan to a secondary status. The victimization of some innocent people for having violated the so-called blasphemy laws of Pakistan under concocted charges is a living proof of the cancerous fanaticism and primitive mindset that once flourished in the early middle ages.

On Martin Luther’s prescription to inculcate the Bible on the youth

January 2, 2019


— Nasir Khan

“I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.”

― Great church reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546).
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The great church reformer, Martin Luther, would be glad to know if someone can pass on this information to him, no matter wherever he may be at present, or in whatever form he may be, that schools and the educational systems in many European countries have faithfully followed his ‘pious prescriptions’ for many centuries. However, some independent thinking was also allowed in European educational system because of the great struggles in the last century by educationists and thinkers.

Meanwhile in other parts of the world – especially in Asian and African countries – people have followed the age-old teaching methods where children and youngsters have been taught in their old dogmas and stories as eternal truths. Such a schooling had and still has a lasting effect on them that can’t be shaken off. Because of such a traditional indoctrination, for most people dogmas and dogmatic thinking are more like their second nature; they cannot liberate themselves from such ways of thinking. Any dogmas internalized at a young age take a permanent hold on the minds of the people.

Maintaining Institutionalized Ignorance

December 28, 2018

— Nasir Khan


Renowned American writer Saul Bellow (1915-2005) says: “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance.” This pithy saying speaks volumes if we analyze it at greater length. But I will offer only a few fleeting remarks here.

It may surprise some if I say that ignorance is not a simple matter. In fact, a complex phenomenon serves various social, political and religious interests. It is directly related to influence common people and their consciousness of the social reality that surrounds them. However, the task of the brainy purveyors of ignorance is not to inform, but to raise the barriers that would not let any truth slip into the masses! That means if the particular interests are to be protected and masses duped then ignorance has to be institutionalized, fortified and perpetuated by the powerful and the influential people who are at the helm of affairs.

Who can buttress the citadel of ignorance better than the people who are dubbed as intelligentsia, intellectuals and the ‘educated’ ones that separates them from the ordinary people? There is no doubt, they do an excellent job when they have rich and resourceful people to patronize them and institutions to hire their services. They are closely attached to upholding the interests of the ruling elite and justify their actions and policies. I call them modern-day gladiators!

Are socialists non-believers?

December 26, 2018

— Nasir Khan

Socialists are not non-believers. The people who believe in social justice, social equality of men and women, believe in a just and non-oppressive social, political and economic organization of society in the interest of all, believe in the advancement of knowledge free from the power of the ignorant people who keep society back, and who stand for humanity and human values for all without showing favour to any one religion, one special colour or race are believers on a higher level than the followers of dogmas and superstitions beliefs, worshipping stones and all sorts of natural or man-made objects.
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A former Facebook friend of mine (she is no longer on my friends’ list) and some other readers have come up with some strong criticism of Communists and their crimes under Communist leaders. In fact, her views are quite common in many parts of the world. I am adding my reply to her for other readers to see as well:

Dear XY: My piece is not about Stalin or Hitler and their actions. In it, I clarified in a summary form that socialists are also believers, and not non-believers as some people falsely assert. How are they believers that I’ve discussed. It is about the principles on which socialism is based and the principles which are the core of socialist thinking.

If a socialist or a communist has committed such crimes as you mention, then the fault does not lie with the principles of socialism but with any person who misuses the principles of socialism. In the same way, as Hitler, Franco, Pinochet, George W. Bush killed millions of innocent people; these leaders were Christians. The principles or dogmas of Christianity or even Jesus Christ did not stop them from killing millions of people for their political objectives.

The conquistadors in the New World (America) wiped out millions of the native Americans. All these killers were Christians from Europe. The same thing happened in Australia. The people who wiped out the native populations were Christians. But as a socialist, I do not blame Christianity for what these killers did. I can add to the list a lot more. But I wanted to give you only a short reply.

The threat of Hindutva fascism in India and Indian Muslims

December 18, 2018

— Nasir Khan, December 18, 2018

Badri Raina is well-versed in India’s political and social issues. Over the years he has has been busy pouring forth his ideas and suggestions in his articles and columns with great vigour and in earnest. As a result, we find much food for thought in what he says or focuses on in his analyses or reflections. One may even look upon this retired professor of English as a political guru for well-educated Indians!

There are many glaring contradictions that an outsider like myself comes face to face when looking inside the Indian political system and judging its main political actors. On one hand, the fundamental principles enshrined in the secular, democratic constitution of the Indian Union are praiseworthy, but, on the other hand, the forces operating against the fundamental values of a secular democracy have been and are a constant threat.

The Hindutva fascism has taken firm roots within the Hindus, thus posing an existential threat to Indian Muslims, who are the main target of the right-wing Hindu militant organizations and their political parties. The expansion and influence of the Hindutva ideology and political brainwashing of the Hindu masses to regard Muslims as enemies and unwanted people has been phenomenal. The enmity and hatred towards Indian Muslims and Pakistan among the Hindu population, including ‘liberal’ Hindus, is bewildering.

Will Rahul Gandhi as the leader of Indian National Congress be able to stem the tide of Hindutva fascism? To succeed, even to a moderate degree, he will need all the active help of democratic people in India. Let’s hope the optimism Raina shows in this column is not misplaced.

In any case, I stand with all those who work for secular democracy, non-discrimination against any religious community and safeguard the human rights of all for a peaceful co-existence under the rule of law.

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Gandhi underscores that Hindutva is a neo-fascist theory which is far removed from Hinduism.

It is never a good thing for politics to go just one way in a democracy as pluralist as India’s.

The defeat of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the three Hindi heartland states, therefore, must be seen as a salutary course correction.

A hitherto supine Indian National Congress is clearly up and about, and a feisty revival of its self-confidence is visible everywhere. It will be graceless pusillanimity to deny that Rahul Gandhi as the new Congress president had anything to do with this. Gandhi has battled self-doubt and derision with a steady and humble self-application to the complexities both of his own party and the national zeitgeist, and he emerged triumphant.

Gandhi’s sifting of the campaign agenda and his denomination of personnel at all levels has, for the most part, been impeccable and untainted by small-minded considerations. As has been his refusal to answer the politics of hate and chicanery by similar means. He has earned his spurs the hard way and decisively put to rest speculations about his leadership. It may be said that his career graph defines a heroism of sincerity.

Most electoral campaigns in democracies tend to follow largely predictable axes of propagation, but three aspects of Gandhi’s campaign invite particular attention.

Also read: Here’s What Congress Needs to Do to Continue Its Winning Streak in 2019

Throughout the Congress’s campaign, Gandhi has sought to take the party more to the Left than could have been expected. He has relentlessly attacked the crony-corporate friendliness of the Modi dispensation and countered it by highlighting  agrarian distress and joblessness – issues that have yielded considerable traction among the populace – both in the rural and urban sectors.  The severity of these mass predicaments  has been far too real to be fobbed off by the regressively emotive shenanigans sought to be unleashed by the Hindu rightwing.

More controversially – and for most liberal commentators, problematically – Gandhi, after listening to the findings of the A.K. Antony report, has sought to boldly embrace his Hindu identity.

On the face of it, this aspect of his campaign must seem dismaying to those who hold on dearly to the secular principles of constitutional  politics. There is no doubt that this new turn within the campaign has caused deep apprehension among minority communities, especially  Muslims, who, regardless of their misgivings, see in the Indian National Congress some guarantee of secular safety.

Upon deeper reflection, however, a more constructive and long-term interpretation of this turn seems warranted.

An overdue agenda of India’s cultural politics has been to intelligently deny the Hindutva camp proprietorship of Hindu cultural identity. More acutely, Gandhi’s articulation here underscores that Hindutva, far from being a religious construct, is essentially a neo-fascist political theory of state and polity. Therefore, it’s far removed from Hinduism as practiced by India’s majority population. Where quotidian Hindus – like quotidian Muslims – have always practiced their faith in non-sectarian ways, Hindutva has viciously stoked sectarian and hate-filled cultural proclivities.

It cannot be detrimental for this contrast to have been flagged during the campaign. Gandhi, then, did not so much as succumb to Hindutva as he sought to dethrone its pernicious content with the virtues of personally-held faith. I make bold to say that if the Congress party works this agenda with intelligent discrimination and in tandem with demonstrated pluralism in government and on the ground, such praxis may rid us of a menace against which Indian politics seems helpless.

This must now involve re-owning India’s minority populations with conviction and without fear of the hitherto accusations of ‘minority appeasement’. Given that, however subtly, Gandhi has shown Hindutva to be the larger and more detrimental appeasement politics, Indian Muslims need not suffer any longer on account of an opprobrium that the Congress party has caved into off and on.

The Indian masses have seen enough of the depredation wrought by Hindutva as a political-cultural posturing now to know that it is anything but Hinduism. Gandhi has courageously taken on the onus to exorcise Hindutva jinn from India’s statecraft and body-politic. However, should the Congress be seen jittery again in embracing India’s minorities, especially Muslims, it would only end in paying a fatal compliment to the adversary it seeks to vanquish.

Also read: Assembly Elections 2018: What Does This Loss Mean for the BJP?

The third aspect of Gandhi’s tenure as party president concerns his style of leadership. By all accounts, his democratic humility is no mere posture. The stunning revival of the party structures from top to bottom seem intimately connected with his determination to respect opinions on as wide a scale as party functioning permits. He seems truly to have encouraged First Amendment rights, so to speak, to workers, satraps, regional leaders and party spokespersons to a point where they now seem both unafraid and all the more committed to the party’s ideology rather just to his person. This is a fine prospect for India’s multi-party democracy and for the Indian National Congress particularly.

But, having ousted the BJP from its heartland bastions by appraising the electorate of the hollow nature of political jumlas, the Congress must now ensure that its own manifesto does not similarly remain a fake gesture. It will be crucial for the party that its governance remains rooted in delivering upon its promises. Where if fails to do so for objective reasons, it must be able to forthrightly communicate to the people the constraints which prevented it from performing in those areas.

Much of the party’s credentials to play a leading role in unifying political opposition against the BJP in the upcoming general elections will depend on its people-oriented governance.

Badri Raina taught English literature at Delhi University for four decades. He is the author of Dickens and the Dialectic of Growth, The Underside of Things: India and the World, Kashmir: A Noble Tryst in Tatters and other books.

Christmas, Palestine & Kashmir

December 18, 2018

Nasir Khan, December 18, 2018

The break-up of Pakistan in 1971

December 10, 2018

— Nasir Khan

In 1971, under the orders of President Yahya Khan Pakistani army unleashed Operation Searchlight in East Pakistan. What the army was asked to do was to crush all opposition after political negotiations between Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to form the national government failed. In fact, it was Sheikh Mujib’s Awami League that had won the majority of seats and its leader, Sheikh Mujib, was entitled to become the prime minister of Pakistan. But it did happen this way.

Some prominent politicians in West Pakistani didn’t want Sheikh Mujib to gain power or were unwilling to share power with him. This led to public protests in East Pakistan and opposition to West Pakistan’s domination. Soon the opposition became a rebellion that became a war of independence for the people of East Pakistan to overthrow the yoke of West Pakistan’s political and economic domination. After making enormous sacrifices and receiving military help from India to defeat the beleaguered Pakistani army, the Mukti Bahini, the volunteer liberation army, achieved independence. Bangladesh came into existence as a new sovereign state.

After the tragic destruction and suffering of the people in East Pakistan and the humiliating surrender of Pakistani army there, Mr Bhutto emerged as the most powerful leader in Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan) while Sheikh Mujib became the iconic figure and ruler of Bangladesh.

In 1971, the two-winged Pakistan lost its one wing. Since then it has been flying on only one wing! If the high horizons set by its leaders and its mullahs remain undisturbed, it may soon reach some new universe.


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