Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pakistan eats dust, India wins

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Misbah who?
Misbah 5 runs.

(just in case, you don't get the last line - read - Miss by 5 runs)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dalit woman tied naked to tree

AMRITSAR: A 55-year-old Dalit woman was tortured, stripped and tied to a tree in Ram Duali village of Punjab because her nephew eloped with a girl from the same community. The police have arrested four persons for allegedly committing the crime on Saturday. Sawinder Kaur, the victim, is undergoing treatment at civil hospital police said.

Narrating the nightmare, Sawinder Kaur said she was dragged out of her home by members of the girl's family, who thrashed her, tore her clothes and threw hot sawdust on her. She was then stripped and tied to a tree.

Amritsar (rural) SSP Iqbal Singh said police arrested Shingara Singh, Amarjit Kaur, Gurmit Singh and a former sarpanch, Rattan Singh. According to Sawinder Kaur, her nephew Satnam Singh eloped with Shingara Singh's daughter Charanjit Kaur. Shingara Singh, who didn't approve of the marriage, lodged a complaint against Sawinder Kaur, her son Babbu and daughter-in-law Balwinder Kaur.

Times of India

Read this story without the Dalit word. Does it make any difference to the article?

Pilgrims as hooligans. But what's the agenda??

[...]The increased militancy of these kavadiyas is akin to that of the Ram bhakts who pulled the Babri masjid down and participated in Godhra-type carnages. Most kavadiyas are young men. Is it not surprising that increasingly large numbers of such men are able to take almost a month off from whatever productive activity they pursue? Most of them are likely to be unemployed rural and semi-urban youth. {What! No mention of muslims resorting to violence in Agra after Shaab e baraat? Worried about what might happen in the future but overlook the present and the past? The argument given by many mohammedan apologists is that unemployment turns them into terrorists and it is possible for these kanwariyas too can turn into self exploding missiles. Why doesn't our 'secular' government reserve more jobs for these folks knowing what can happen in the future a la mohammedans?}

The holiness of the task to be undertaken allows them to obtain the permission of parents and provides them with an opportunity to create a sense of self-worth. However, the lack of any real piety turns this exercise into a kind of militant flaunting of religious identity. The likelihood of its being exploited by Bajrang Dal type of communal armies aimed at other religious minorities cannot be discounted. {And how do you measure the piety or lack of piety? Any hard data or fore-knowledge which I am clueless about? Ramzaan and mohammedan festivals too have been exploited in the past (present and future too) in India by muslim fundamentalists to fan communal hatred, why not mention those too(being secular only)?}

In towns of north India, the traditional patrons of mass religion, of Ramlilas and other religious functions, have been the trader class and more recently politicians. They are also the sponsors of large-scale feasting of kavadiyas. Most kavadiyas seem to be OBC or Dalit men. For many such youngsters, the path towards upward acceptance into mainstream upper caste Hinduism has been through association with one or the other of the central deities of classical Hinduism, Shiva and Hanuman. {Pray, tell me how this upward aceeptance work?The author being a Sikh(practising or not, who knows), she might not know that Hindus (upper,lower, middle, left, right and center castes) can worship any gods and if I pray to Goddess Durga, will this 'demote' me in the caste hierarchy since She (Goddess Durga) is not among the central deities of 'classical' Hinduism as given by the author? Where do Brahma and Vishnu (Bajrang Bali Hanuman is the 11th Rudra avataar of Shiva) fit in this 'classical' Hinduism? I am curious to know what other forms of Hinduism exist apart from 'Classical' one? Must say, it is quite entertaining to read such authors.}

The patron saint of akhadas and body builders is Hanuman; that of the trishul-wielders is often Shiva, the destroyer. There is great scope for exploiting such followers for religious vendettas apart from the nuisance they pose through violating civic space and facilities. We should rethink our patronage of kavadiyas before we face violence of an uncontrollable sort. {Here is the agenda: Unity of Hindus is bad. But to the dismay of the author, opposite is happening, so raise red herrings like great scope of blah blah, equate Kanwariya's with Babri demolishers and even go to the extent of re-inventing Hinduism. Why don't we ban Haj if the author fears such a scenario since muslim hajjis are known to have turned jihadi after the so-called pilgrimage to Sowdi Arabia. Ms. Kaur won't touch muslims since they might just explode in her face and criticizing mohammedan, even jihadi, activities might get you the label of fundamentalist, communal etc. What next, don't go on pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi, Amarnath or Tirupati? Another gem here, patron saint of trishul wielders is often Shiva. How often? Because Goddess Durga too carries a trishul.}

Ravinder Kaur, The writer teaches at the department of humanities and social sciences, IIT, Delhi.)

Times of India
Maybe memsahib should take advantage of being in an IIT and get herself enrolled in beginner mathematics classes, some logical sense might take root. Also, please practice 'secularism' to the hilt and also mention
the mohammedan pilgrim violence in Agra.

One can sense desperation in these lying articles and they are not fooling anybody. Desperation will get louder and shriller from these failed social 'engineers' but in the end, Satyamev Jayate.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Taslima attacked, Muslim 'moderates' respond

Muslim leaders in India condemn attack on Taslima and in the same breath, call for an end to free speech. Shabash!

Delhi Minorities Commission chairperson Kamal Farooqui said the incident was condemnable, specially as three MLAs were involved in it.

But, he said, the government should also ensure that Nasreen is not allowed to do or write anything which hurts the sentiments of Muslims.

"The government should immediately cancel her visa and make her go out of the country," he said, adding, "she should realise that this is not Bangladesh or Pakistan, but India where the sentiments of all communities are respected."

But not the sentiments of Taslima Nasreen and those who support and agree with her. And not the sentiments of those who believe that Islamic blasphemy law does not and should never supersede common modern laws based on the principles of free inquiry and free speech. These are the closet jihadi's amongst us, these scumbags are known as 'moderate muslims'. Well, I don't see a difference in the view of this moderate and a jihadi?

Myth of Teresa

The nun adored by the Vatican ran a network of care homes where cruelty and neglect are routine. Donal MacIntyre gained secret access and witnessed at first hand the suffering of "rescued" orphans

The dormitory held about 30 beds rammed in so close that there was hardly a breath of air between the bare metal frames. Apart from shrines and salutations to "Our Great Mother", the white walls were bare. The torch swept across the faces of children sleeping, screaming, laughing and sobbing, finally resting on the hunched figure of a boy in a white vest. Distressed, he rocked back and forth, his ankle tethered to his cot like a goat in a farmyard. This was the Daya Dan orphanage for children aged six months to 12 years, one of Mother Teresa's flagship homes in Kolkata. It was 7.30 in the evening, and outside the monsoon rains fell unremittingly.

Earlier in the day, young international volunteers had giggled as one told how a young boy had peed on her while strapped to a bed. I had already been told of an older disturbed woman tied to a tree at another Missionaries of Charity home. At the orphanage, few of the volunteers batted an eyelid at disabled children being tied up. They were too intoxicated with the myth of Mother Teresa and drunk on their own philanthropy to see that such treatment of children was inhumane and degrading.

Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 in Kolkata, answering her own calling to "serve the poorest of the poor". In 1969, a documentary about her work with the poor catapulted her to global celebrity. International awards fol-lowed, including the Nobel Peace Prize and a Congressional Gold Medal. But when, in her Nobel acceptance speech, she described abortion as "the greatest destroyer of peace today" she started to provoke controversy. She died on 5 September 1997, her name attached to some 60 centres worldwide, and India honoured her with a state funeral. Her seven homes for the poor and destitute of Kolkata, however, are her lasting monument.

I worked undercover for a week in Mother Teresa's flagship home for disabled boys and girls to record Mother Teresa's Legacy, a special report for Five News broadcast earlier this month. I winced at the rough handling by some of the full-time staff and Missionary sisters. I saw children with their mouths gagged open to be given medicine, their hands flaying in distress, visible testimony to the pain they were in. Tiny babies were bound with cloths at feeding time. Rough hands wrenched heads into position for feeding. Some of the children retched and coughed as rushed staff crammed food into their mouths. Boys and girls were abandoned on open toilets for up to 20 minutes at a time. Slumped, untended, some dribbling, some sleeping, they were a pathetic sight. Their treatment was an affront to their dignity, and dangerously unhygienic.

Volunteers (from Italy, Sweden, the United States and the UK) did their best to cradle and wash the children who had soiled themselves. But there were no nappies, and only cold water. Soap and disinfectant were in short supply. Workers washed down beds with dirty water and dirty cloths. Food was prepared on the floor in the corridor. A senior member of staff mixed medicine with her hands. Some did their best to give love and affection - at least some of the time. But, for the most part, the care the children received was inept, unprofessional and, in some cases, rough and dangerous. "They seem to be warehousing people rather than caring for them," commented the former operations director of Mencap Martin Gallagher, after viewing our undercover footage.

I first learned of the plight of the Kolkata children from two international aid workers, both qualified nurses and committed Catholics. They came to me after working as volunteers for the Missionaries of Charity last Christmas. Both made the comparison with images that emerged from Romanian orphanages in the early 1990s after television news teams first gained access.

"I was shocked. I could only work there [Daya Dan] for three days. It was simply too distressing. . . We had seen the same things in Romania but couldn't believe it was happening in a Mother Teresa home," one told me. In January, she and her colleague had written to Sister Nirmala, the new Mother Superior, to voice their concerns. They wrote, they told me, out of "compassion and not complaint", but received no response. Like me, they had been brought up in Catholic schools to believe that Mother Teresa was the holiest of all women, second only to the Virgin Mary. Our faith was unwavering, as was that of the international media for about 50 years. Even when the sister in charge of the Missionaries of Charity's Mahatma Gandhi Welfare Centre in Kolkata was prosecuted and found guilty of burning a young girl of seven with a hot knife in 2000, criticism remained muted.

The most significant challenge to the reputation of Mother Teresa came from Christopher Hitchens in 1995 in his book The Missionary Position. "Only the absence of scrutiny has allowed her to pass unchallenged as a force for pure goodness, and it is high time that this suspension of our critical faculties was itself suspended," he wrote, questioning whether the poor in her homes were denied basic treatment in the belief that suffering brought them closer to God. Hitchens's lonely voice also raised the issue of the order's finances, which in 1995 (and still in July 2005 when we were filming) seemed never to reach Kolkata's poorest.

Susan Shields, formerly a senior nun with the order, recalled that one year there was roughly $50m in the bank account held by the New York office alone. Much of the money, she complained, sat in banks while workers in the homes were obliged to reuse blunt needles. The order has stopped reusing needles, but the poor care remains pervasive. One nurse told me of a case earlier this year where staff knew a patient had typhoid but made no effort to protect volunteers or other patients. "The sense was that God will provide and if the worst happens - it is God's will."

The Kolkata police force and the city's social welfare department have promised to investigate the incidents in the Daya Dan home when they have seen and verified the distressing footage we secretly filmed. Dr Aroup Chatterjee, a London-based Kolkata-born doctor, believes that if Daya Dan were any other care home in India, "the authorities would close it down. The Indian government is in thrall to the legacy of Mother Teresa and is terrified of her reputation and status. There are many better homes than this in Kolkata," he told us.

Nearly eight years after her death, Mother Teresa is fast on the way to sainthood. The great aura of myth that surrounds her is built on her great deeds helping the poor and the destitute of Kolkata, birthplace of her order, the Missionaries of Charity. Rarely has one individual so convinced public opinion of the holiness of her cause. Her reward is accelerated canonisation.

But her homes are a disgrace to so-called Christian care and, indeed, civilised values of any kind. I witnessed barbaric treatment of the most vulnerable.

The Missionaries of Charity have said that they welcome constructive criticism, and that the children we saw were tied for their own safety and for "educational purposes". Sister Nirmala even welcomed our film: "Our hopes continue to be simply to provide immediate and effective service to the poorest of the poor as long as they have no one to help them . . . May God bless you and your efforts to promote the dignity of human life, especially for those who are underprivileged."

For too long Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity have been blessing critics, rather than addressing justified and damning condemnations of the serious failings in their care practices.

Donal MacIntyre is a reporter and documentary-maker for Channel 5 Television.

Monday 18 August 2005
Donal MacIntyre


I was one amongst many who thought Teresa did some good for the poor in India but sigh...Barbaric Teresa, rot in hell.

One tight slap on Ramachandra Guha's face

Last Sunday I woke up early and went to old Delhi to eat nihari in a little restaurant in Ballimaran, not far from Gali Qasim Jan, the street in which Mirza Ghalib’s old home dies slowly of neglect. Eating succulent nihari that cooks all night in its own juices and is served with fresh spices and thick bread is one of the pleasures I remember from my growing years in Delhi, but last week I went for reasons beyond nostalgia and gastronomy.

I went to see if the India I grew up in still exists or if it has become a place in which you only see Muslims at the movies. The reason for this exercise was an annoying article by our latest celebrity historian, Ramachandra Guha, which appeared in The New York Times on August 15. What better moment to rubbish India in a foreign newspaper than the day on which we celebrate our independence from foreign rule.

Guha, who says he grew up in Delhi, as I did, claims that he could not count a single Muslim among his close friends. He wrote: “The novelist Mukul Kesavan, a contemporary, has written that in his school in Delhi he never came across a Muslim name: ‘The only place you were sure of meeting Muslims was in the movies.’ Some of the finest actors, singers, composers and directors in Bombay’s film industry were Muslims. But in law, medicine, business and the upper echelons of public service, Hindus dominated.”

Hindus dominating should not surprise us in a country that has a population that is 80 per cent Hindu but it surprises Ramachandra Guha. Either he is a very dodgy sort of historian, the kind that have an ideology into which they fit their history, or he lives in an India that is a figment of his imagination.

In the India in which I grew up everyone had Muslim friends and if he bothered to do a little research before he wrote his articles, Guha may notice the number of Muslims there are in law, business and the upper echelons of life in general. He might notice also that in villages across India, Hindus and Muslims live together and ethnic tensions have been so rare that when communal violence spread into rural Gujarat in 2002 it was almost the first time this happened.

What depressed me about breakfast in old Delhi was not the absence of Muslims, but the desperate poverty in which they live and the way in which the most historical part of Delhi is being allowed to slowly die of criminal neglect. It never used to be this way. When I rang the MP from Chandni Chowk, Kapil Sibal, to ask about this, he said he had grand plans of restoration and municipal improvement and we would soon see results.

There is going to be a massive car park on the edge of the old city to keep cars from parking in its narrow lanes, and foreign architects and restoration experts are being brought in to revive that part of Delhi that was once Shahjehanabad. May it happen soon, because the neglect amounts to vandalism. I cannot think of another country where this would be allowed to happen.

The desperate poverty that so disturbed me would disappear because visitors would come in droves and establishments like the little restaurant in which I ate my nihari would flourish and prosper. In my childhood, the most famous restaurant in Delhi was Moti Mahal in Daryaganj, a street that still has some fine, old Art Deco buildings.

The Muslim problem in India is not that they have been treated as pariahs but that poverty and illiteracy have made them fall shamefully behind in India’s race towards modernity. My breakfast companion last Sunday was a poet called Zafar Moradabadi, who is genteel and refined in the old-fashioned way Indian Muslims used to be before Islamism hit.

When I asked Zafar Sahib what was the most important thing that could be done to help Muslims better their lives, he said, “What we need is free education in good, private schools. Most Muslims cannot afford to pay for private schools. And government schools. . . you know what they are like!”

So the madrasa comes into play and narrows learning and horizons down to the confines of the faith. It is not possible to be taught only about religion and emerge educated in any real sense. It would be beyond tragedy if the next generation of Indian Muslims learned nothing of their great heritage of poetry, literature and refinement and learned only about Islam.

If the prime minister is seriously concerned about the condition of Muslims let him invest in the schools the community desperately needs. They will bring immense change, and perhaps even the Muslim vote.

Indian Express: Tavleen Singh