Coming Out Swinging

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is often described, not entirely without reason, as a somewhat passive and non-confrontational leader — an accidental politician, with the real strings being pulled, behind the scenes, by Sonia Gandhi. (Manmohan may wear the Pagri, but Sonia wears the pants, as it were.)

However, in the speech he gave yesterday in the Indian Parliament before the Confidence Vote (which the UPA government won, by about 20 votes), Manmohan Singh showed no signs of meekness or passivity. Indeed, his take-down of BJP leader L.K. Advani is rhetorically ferocious. I was impressed:

“The Leader of Opposition, Shri L.K. Advani has chosen to use all manner of abusive objectives to describe my performance. He has described me as the weakest Prime Minister, a nikamma PM, and of having devalued the office of PM. To fulfill his ambitions, he has made at least three attempts to topple our government. But on each occasion his astrologers have misled him. This pattern, I am sure, will be repeated today. At his ripe old age, I do not expect Shri Advani to change his thinking. But for his sake and India’s sake, I urge him at least to change his astrologers so that he gets more accurate predictions of things to come.

As for Shri Advani’s various charges, I do not wish to waste the time of the House in rebutting them. All I can say is that before leveling charges of incompetence on others, Shri Advani should do some introspection. Can our nation forgive a Home Minister who slept when the terrorists were knocking at the doors of our Parliament? Can our nation forgive a person who single handedly provided the inspiration for the destruction of the Babri Masjid with all the terrible consequences that followed? To atone for his sins, he suddenly decided to visit Pakistan and there he discovered new virtues in Mr. Jinnah. Alas, his own party and his mentors in the RSS disowned him on this issue. Can our nation approve the conduct of a Home Minister who was sleeping while Gujarat was burning leading to the loss of thousands of innocent lives? Our friends in the Left Front should ponder over the company they are forced to keep because of miscalculations by their General Secretary. (link)

Unfortunately, I gather the din was too great for the speech to actually be heard. But hey, at least he tried to say it.

In terms of content, the only thing that seems off key here is the reference to Advani’s “ripe old age” — I’m not sure that a 75 year old man can really get away with that comment! (Advani, for reference, is even older — about 81.)

The rest of the speech (read it here in its entirety) is more focused on substantively defending the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal and the general policies of the current government. It is, by comparison to the above, a bit dull… but necessary.

In the interest of opposing dullness, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the second remarkable thing that happened in the chaotic Parliamentary session yesterday:

bjp lok sabha.jpg

3 BJP MPs disrupted the session when they pulled wads of Rupees out of a bag, and claimed they had been paid to abstain from voting. (A video clip of the event can be seen here.)

The allegations are going to be investigated, of course, but my instinct is that it smells like a stunt. The three MPs say they met Amar Singh, who told them “we can’t give you very much money to abstain, because we have the votes to sustain the government.” That sounds like B.S. (why would the SP bother with bribes if the vote was already secure?). And the story of how they were actually physically given the money is also a bit questionable (see this report). Finally, they claim they have video proving the bribe took place — but where is that video? Why didn’t they leak that to the media as well?

Of course, if it comes out that there’s hard evidence supporting the claims of vote-buying, the currently fragile UPA government probably really will fall. And the government falls because they really did buy votes and abstentions this nakedly, I for one won’t be particularly sorry about it.

In the meanwhile, 8 BJP MPs have been expelled from the party for defying leadership, when they either abstained from voting or voted cross-party for the bill. And the Samajwadi Party has filed a procedural complaint (“breach of privilege”) against the 3 BJP MPs who pulled the stunt.

160 thoughts on “Coming Out Swinging

  1. Please stop with the canard that Manmohan Singh is not corrupt. My father is a senior IAS officer based in Jammu and Kashmir and he has been hearing from his Delhi based peers, which includes some who work in the PMO, for some time now that, Mrs.Manmohan Singh has a circle of very close relatives around her who are authorized to collect “donations” for Manmohan Singh. And these donations are solicited from heavy hitting business persons, domestic and foreign. For proof, loot at the way our Prime Minister led his party in the purchase of MPs. Do you really believe that eight BJP members of parliament changed their votes on principle. Remember these are the very same MPs who until last week saw nothing wrong in belonging to a party where Narendra Modi, the butcher of Gujarat, is considered a possible Prime Ministerial candidate. Just because I am a practicing Sikh, I am not going to refrain from criticizing Manmohan Sigh, who in my opinion is as avaricious as the next politician in India. On a different note, I wonder how many progressives on this blog would have been supportive of the deal had it been the BJP, a fascist party in my opinion, in power right now and not the Singh led Congress?

  2. “temporarily stateless migrants post-partition” Can also be defined as families that had their children or women killed/raped/maimed before their eyes. Their citizenship status relegated to secondary citizens who according to the law of the new country do not deserve most rights accorded to “normal” human beings. Their assets seized by the government on one side and sent away to another that did not have enough wealth to even create a semblance of their normal lives. To provide a different parallel or a more yenta perspective, watch the scene in Schindler’s list where they move into a single room and the wife says “its not so bad”

    “erased homeland/60+ years later utterly stateless “po’ Palestinins” Again like I mentioned to someone before, please please go even have a cursory glance of the history of the region before you talk about the history of a “Palestinian” state…it was empty, inarable, arid land with absentee landowners.

    “right of entry/return to adopted (albeit refashioned) country” With regards to right to return, I would like you to again please go ahead and look at the proportion of Hindu population in Pakistan AFTER Partition and the Hindu population of Pakistan now. While you are at it, if you have time, also look at records of number of temples and such. Or do the more relaxed thing and read Lajja.

    “no freaking right of return, yo” Alright, so imagine this scenario…India is split into India and East & West Pakistan. Now, significantly larger India, with more wealth, more people, and more resources attacks Pakistan after the British leave. Pakistan fights India and beats them back. After they have lost, and many have settled in camps along the Burmese and Afghan borders, the Hindus in India displaced by the warfare say – well Pakistan was our homeland we are Hindu-Pakistanis…we didn’t want to fight it was them bad ass gangsta mofos in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, far away from these decripit border lands that wanted us to fight…we are peace-loving people and it is not our fault that you were attacked. Will Pakistan let these Hindus back in?

    Palestine does not exist because no such entity ever existed. Even an “Arab” identity didn’t exist until the Osmanlikh failed and Saudia became a major player, the Hashemites would have despised their people being called “Arabs”, why even go beyond them to other lands.

    The land beyond the Indus, the only land where the majority of the people ascribed to the Vedas, Pasupathi and intertwined philosohpies, has existed since collision of the continental plates and the detachment of madagascar. So has the land of Israel, from before the date of the Mernetpah stele, the books of the Egyptians, the Greek or the Romans.

    These cursory glances at history that you desire others to have, should be something that you must first append with more perusal yourself – you certainly do not seem to have a fair grasp of the history there. While I wouldn’t wish Bernard Lewis on most people, I will on you.

    Again, this is not our place to discuss or even a relevant thread to discuss Israeli-Palestinian affairs. I will not say anything more on this.

    Sorry for the digression

  3. Palestinians are stateless and homeless because the countries they find themselves in (Lebanon, Syria, etc) refuse to assimilate and absorb them. Since they are all Arabs it wouldn’t have been too tough to have them blend in…gradually they would have lost much of their separate identity (at least politically) and could have become citizens of those nations. The fact that that didn’t happen is an indictment of the host nations as well as the Palestinians themselves, who refused to let things go and accept their fate and move on with their lives. The Punjabi and Sindhi migrants to India in 1947 could also have kept themselves politically and socially separate, and been kept that way by the Indian Gov’t, but instead all opted to move on with life. For that matter even the Muslim Punjabi migrants into Pakistan were absorbed into Pakistani Punjabi society and life went on. The fit for Muhajir migrants (Urdu-speakers) and their descendants in Pakistan has been less easy but still far better than what the Arab World (including the Palestinian leadership) managed to accomplish for the Palestinians.

  4. 99 · Nesha said

    will get cluster bombed in refugee camps in Lebanon, while, yeah, you got it, stateless

    the Lebs are not exactly big fans of the Palis, and are no strangers to attacking Palestinians in refugee camps either.

  5. Palestinians are stateless and homeless because the countries they find themselves in (Lebanon, Syria, etc) refuse to assimilate and absorb them.

    They are being issued passports in West Bank now? Thats where most Palestinians live. In West Bank and Gaza and they are stateless in both West Bank and Gaza which are little bantustans.

    Lebanon is a complicated country. Palestinians make up 25% of the population and the rest is split between Shittes, Christians, Druz and Sunnis. Even though RahulD does not believe that ‘Palestinians’ exist, the Lebanese are not Palestinians.

    I think the analogy between India partition and Palestine situation is flawed. Both India and the new state Pakistan agreed to the mutual seperation and swap of people.

    Having said all that, Palestinians should of course be given citizenship in Lebanon and whereever else they are residing. Hopefully, they can also get citizenship of some country in West Bank and Gaza.

  6. Manmohan Singh lost the 1999 Lok Sabha election from the South Delhi constituency. South Delhi is considered the most affluent part of Delhi. Even though Manmohan Singh was widely considered a very (probably more) capable candidate, he lost because Congress was perceived to be anti-Hindu or at least overly-sympathetic to minorities. His defeat was quite a shock to many.

    You got that wrong. He lost because the local congress party officials did campaign for a win. Manmohan Singh does not have the required charisma to contest a Lok Sabha election. He is a resume candidate and most of those, in Indian Parliament sit in Rajya Sabha. To win a Lok Sabha election you need to be a political scion or a bollywood actor or a criminal or some one who has spent a decade or more building his base from local level. It had nothing to do with religion.

  7. The Palestinians in Lebanon will be the last people to get citizenship. Maybe only before they get citizenship in West Bank and Gaza. The Lebanese have not had a census done since 1925 so that the old compromise of (Sunni PM, Christian President and Shiite Speaker) can be maintained. The Shias now are in a plurality in Lebanon and the 1.2 million Palestinians will now have to be a part of a new compromise.

    The Palestinians in Lebanon should be allowed to go back to West Bank and Gaza. I dont think its reasonable to send them back to Israel because we all have a God given duty to maintain the Jewish majority in Israel. I dont see why Israel wont allow them to go back to West Bank and Gaza.

  8. 108 · Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery said

    I dont see why Israel wont allow them to go back to West Bank and Gaza.

    GASP, but that’s the land G-d gave to the Chosen People! you can’t bring any more Canaanites in!

    The far-right, and even some center-right, parties in the Knesset see the West Bank and Gaza as Jewish land that should have been annexed long ago. Some like Avigdor Lieberman would like nothing more than to see all Palis expelled to Jordan and populating the area with Jews. As far as they’re concerned, repatriating a million Palis is like bringing a million more terrorists into Greater Israel. And the West Bank outside Ramallah doesn’t offer too many opportunities, even compared to Lebanon.

  9. I never said that they don’t exist now, I meant that there has not been an entity called “Palestine” or an identity of a “Palestinian” outside of the past 100 years or so.

    Jordan was actually the only country that accepted most of the refugees. I’m gonna paste something from a paper I wrote coupla years ago because I’m too lazy to invalidate your points with the UN Commission on Refugees references I used in the paper “After the 1948 War of Independence, 758,000—866,000 Jews were either expelled or fled the surrounding Arab nations into Israel. 711,000 Arabs fled Palestine during the same time, to other Arab nations. Israel accepted these Jews into its society and now they form 40% of the population. Most of the Arab nations, which combined are roughly 650 times the size of Israel, did not accept the Arab refugees. The people dying for Hamas today come from those who were rejected by their own.”

    Actually I remember reading later on after I wrote that paper, that at first only 360,000 Arabs were displaced or removed, the rest were displaced after the war rather than the Sephardic who had to leave more immediately.

    If you look at the India – Pakistan analogy, you will find the same imbalance. The wealthy Muslims in India were the ones who benifitted mostly from the formation of Pakistan, the poor became the Mohajirs and the poorest got left behind in India – and ironically many of them are discontent with India for it. When the supposed “swap” happened, it was anything but equal! However, most of the Hindus who were wealthy in Pakistan were sent off without anything or had to risk staying back as Kaffirs.

    It is these people that you were being flip about and got someone else a warning, when you are the one provoking anger by being dismissive of a significant event to many; just because their experiences resulted in some of them becoming Hindutva proponents.

    And could you please stop misusing the term “bantustan”, just coz it is a glib pejorative now does not mean that you use it in any distantly related context.

  10. It is these people that you were being flip about and got someone else a warning, when you are the one provoking anger by being dismissive of a significant event to many; just because their experiences resulted in some of them becoming Hindutva proponents.

    Get off your soap box.

    The Partition happened on both sides. The train which reached Lahore were also sometimes completely empty just as the trains which reached Amritsar from the other side. Nobody is denying the horrors of partition. My own uncles and aunts and relatives made a very dangerous journey from UP/Delhi to Pakistan and some of them did not make it. My grandparents got their house in UP burnt down by a Hindu mob before they left for Pakistan. Did any poster here make this cross-border journey personally? Let go of Partition. Is there a point in rehashing events which happened 60 years back. The perpetrators of those killings on both sides are long dead or in their 80s. Move on.

  11. To Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery and Dhokla:

    The greatest day in Indian history was the day the Babri masjid was brought down? What rubbish! And what are we to do now? Take our revenge on a third of the population by citing the tyranny and mayhem created by Mughal rulers several hundred years ago? Three-pronged objects are better off in the hands of the gods I worship. We have nutters like the Sainiks that of the zillion plus temples have to go and perform a pooja in the Taj. Why not they go do something for the Kashmiri Pandits, if so concerned? The Congress is pathetic, but I’d trust a Manmohan Singh as PM any day over a Narendra Modi, Advani or (eeeeeeeeeps!!) Mayawati as PM of my country.

  12. P_a_f_d said “partition happened on both sides” I beg to differ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Action_Day Partition was not a movie or a sporting event that can just be let go and forgotten. It was a catastrophic event that has and will continue to shape events in the subcontinent for decades to come.

  13. Manmohan Singh was simply standing up for himself, the government he has tried to lead, and principle.

    Principle died a while back. Manmohan Singh’s façade of honesty, which was widespread before the vote, has been shattered. Whether or not the bribery charges are proven, it is clearly apparent that a ton of horse trading apparently took place. The cross voting is a clear indicator. (ABD’s may not understand this because of the differences in the parliamentary procedures in India and the US — laws in India ensure that not voting according to the party line has legal implications) But even given ignorance, about Indian laws and the about the nature of Amar Singh () least the following should be a clear indicator of where the PM’s moral compass lies — the government actually released convicted murderers from prison for the vote—so that they could vote for the govt.

    The most surreal aspect of this whole process is the fact that the BJP actually secretly supports this deal (Advani has admitted as much, that the constituents who vote BJP agree in principle with the deal), but they have put themselves on the line to try and kill it.

    Worse this is propaganda, that has been swallowed hook, line and sinker. The following article highlights the Indian media’s role in this. http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14681273 http://www.nuclearbharat.com/ contains a lot of background information for the deal . So does Brahma Chellaney’ blog.

    BJP supports a nuclear deal with the US, and has talked about it quite openly, and not secretly, it just is not this one. The details of the deals and the subsequent changes to the deal (such as the hyde amendment) have made this deal far less beneficial to India than the one under the BJP. The left disagrees with the principle of the deal. BJP with the details. Since there is no vote for just the principle and not the details, BJP’s opposition to the deal is neither immoral, nor a flip flop.

    Their attempt to break the government was a nakedly cynical, opportunistic play for power; luckily, it failed. And they lost 8 MPs immediately as a result (guess who will be courting those principled turncoats tomorrow?). I wouldn’t be surprised if other casualties follow And it’s nonsensical of you to try and equate the morals of a person who flagrantly and knowingly incited communal violence for political gain (Advani)

    It’s nonsensical to talk about adverse reactions to Muslim appeasement and support of equivalents of the multiple Munich Agreement’s for Muslim terrorists as something indicative opf moral superiority. (At least Britain stopped talking about ‘Peace in our Time’ when the tanks rolled into Poland. I bet today’s bombings will be blamed as a reaction to ‘oppression of Muslims’ by at least one mainstream paper. Is’nt it somewhat humorous that the PM talks about communalism while acting as the servant of the family that presided over riots (genocide maybe?) against his community. Such an elated sense of moral clarity indeed. I guess he will be happy to shake the ground if more big trees fall)

    Anyway coud go on in this vein .. but the point is given how many people have different views on this, and given the views are fairly entrenched (on both sides), and given that Advani’s protests against muslim appeasement and MMS’s advocacy of muslim appeasement HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NUCLEAR DEAL, why bring it up?

  14. 116 · DizzyDesi said

    given that Advani’s protests against muslim appeasement and MMS’s advocacy of muslim appeasement HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NUCLEAR DEAL, why bring it up?

    But let’s keep the polemics going, because, why not?

  15. The cross voting is a clear indicator. (ABD’s may not understand this because of the differences in the parliamentary procedures in India and the US — laws in India ensure that not voting according to the party line has legal implications)

    Cross voting is routine in US, but even here sometimes, Party Whip can issue a binding.

    In India, per se, cross voting is not barred, it happens now and then. The most famous cross voting happened when Young Turks of Congress (Chandrashekar, Dinesh Singh, and all) voted for VV Giri for Indian President, and against the Congress Party nominee (I think it was Sanjeeva Redddy) in 1969. This was triggered by Indira Gandhi as a rebillion against the old gaurd, Morarji D., Kamraj, etc, and she had the famous AIR radio speech “vote according your conscience“. This led to a new party Congress broken away from Congress (O = Old), and saw one of the biggest electoral victory (only to be seconded by 1984).

    In 1978, a lot of defections within Janata Party were preceeded by MPs cross voting, That was their way of announcing defections.

    However, in principle, in India, one cross votes against the party directive, those members get expelled by the party (Mind, they do not loose their MP seat). That is not because of any legal law, but a way of maintaining discipline within Indian political culture. Some famous MPs who cross voted went to becomes PMs (Indira Gandhi(she was already PM), Chandrashaker, Charan Singh).

  16. I meant: However, in practise, in India, one cross votes against the party directive, those members get expelled by the party (Mind, they do not loose their MP seat).

    The entire breakaway of Janata Party was engineered by a series of cross voting, and subsequent defections.

    Expulsion is not mandated by any Indian law.

  17. Cross voting is routine in US, but even here sometimes, Party Whip can issue a binding.

    Thats incorrect. There are no ‘bindings’.

  18. 104 · Amitabh said

    Amitabh

    Amitabh,

    To accept citizenship in other nations is to give up any hope of a Palestine as a homeland. Why bother with negotiations for a two-state solution if right of return is taken off the table?

    You are also coming from the Zionist argument point of view that since Palestinians are Arabs, they might as well give up any claim to former-Palestine. Most Palestinians are refugees because they want a right to return to their land. Israel does not recognize the right for a Palestine to exist because they do not see Palestine as a place that ever existed (Right wing Zionist mantra). Which is why a Jewish couple from New York–who has never lived there can set up a settlement post in West Bank, on the land of an Arab farmer who has farmed there for 900 years.

    I see that there are quite a few commentators here who are definitely drinking deeply from the Zionist kool-aid. There is no arguing with you all because your premise is a zero/sum game–push the Palestinians out, let Israel have parts of Lebanon and Syria as well.

    Bottom line, since Israel does not believe that Palestinians do not have a right to any land and while Palestinians know that do, there will be no peace. There are new settlements going up in the West Bank by the way. So much for the rhetoric of peace.

    Rahul, don’t respond to my posts. Let me guess, you are a desi who grew up in America, with very little consciousness of the outside world. 9/11 happened. You realized a deep-seated anger/hated towards Muslims and the Arab world. You set about educating yourself on how to hate them more than reading manifestos from neocons and Israeli right-wing. At dinner parties, you self-hate your people and brown-nose your neocon friends by telling them how the Muslims are destroying the world. Your posts are the kinds I see from rabid Zionists. I am familiar with them and your ilk. Educate yourself about BOTH sides of the issues, travel to the occupied territories, and then spew your right-wing, one-sided mantras–at least then I may–may–have some respect for you. For now, you sound like those kids from two-year colleges with an Associate’s degree in Economics trying to argue with an MBA with 15 years field experience by spouting things out of a textbook. One textbook at that.

  19. Thats incorrect. There are no ‘bindings’.

    They have been instances here, when the party whip has directed to vote for a particular issue along the party line. During New Gingrinch’s time, and I think later during Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceeding, there were instances, when party whip intervened. Sure, here cross voting is so common, that nothing disciplinary happens (I do not know of instances). However, the very role of party whip is to rally around.

    As such, there are no bindings in India either, in practice, the cross voting in India is not a routine (is seen as an act of mutiny – it has also do with Parliamentary democracy, where the ruling party MPs are part of the executive) as here. But with said, during reorganization of Indian States in 1950s, a lot of Congress MPs from South and Maharastra used to cross vote against Nehru on issues that mattered them.

    I think 1969 cross voting in India stands as a singular act in democratic traditions – where Prime Minister of a ruling party led cross voting against his/ her own party.

  20. Lebanon is a complicated country. Palestinians make up 25% of the population and the rest is split between Shittes, Christians, Druz and Sunnis. Even though RahulD does not believe that ‘Palestinians’ exist, the Lebanese are not Palestinians.

    Thank you for pointing that out, Pagal. I think most Indians and most non-Arabs have zero knowledge about the complexities of the Middle East. I am sure people like RahulD thought that Iraqis would welcome the U.S. as liberators. He also thinks Muslims are the cause of all evil. Don’t bother responding to him. You know what kind you are dealing with, right?

    I think the analogy between India partition and Palestine situation is flawed. Both India and the new state Pakistan agreed to the mutual seperation and swap of people.

    True. A more apt analogy, quite possibly–though there are no analogies that match–would be if the Iraqis displaced in Syria are stripped of their citizenship and given no right to return to Iraq. They would then have to rely on others taking them in.

    Having said all that, Palestinians should of course be given citizenship in Lebanon and whereever else they are residing. Hopefully, they can also get citizenship of some country in West Bank and Gaza.

    In the Arab world, Palestinians are given pretty amazing care, considering the fact that millions of them had to be absorbed. In Libya, where I visited, Palestinians have free home and education; same in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iraq. True that anytime there is a massive influx of refugees, there are tensions, but compared to other exodus, Arabs have done a great job of absorbing them. Lebanon is complicated. I think if one is raised only on U.S. media, it would be hard to get an understanding of that.

    THAT said, there is no doubt that a home is a home is a home. Palestinians do not usually have citizenship because they are considered displaced. They are also, obviously, fighting for a homeland.

    Have you read this excellent book called Iron Cage: the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood by Rashid Khalidi. It is one of the best ones on the subject. If you are in the U.S., check out one of his talks.

    – Off topic, Here are two videos on how U.S. media completely perverts Middle East coverage. Video was funded by Media Educated Foundation, and put together by academics (who have gone to the area–not read a couple of books on the issue) and human rights advocates. It is called Peace, Propaganda, and the Promise Land.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCL6WdnuNp4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo2HW4T7wK4&feature=related

    SM admins, don’t ban me for going off topic! I had to respond to the flippant side comment made about this serious matter.


    Peace. My condolences to the victims of the attack today. I will stay away from the site because I foresee a tsunami (sorry, South India, no disrespect meant) of Muslim-bashing coming.

  21. They have been instances here, when the party whip has directed to vote for a particular issue along the party line. During New Gingrinch’s time, and I think later during Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceeding, there were instances, when party whip intervened. Sure, here cross voting is so common, that nothing disciplinary happens (I do not know of instances). However, the very role of party whip is to rally around.

    Not that it matters :) , but just to set the record straight, there is no concept of a party whip issuing a ‘binding’ in either house of the US Congress because the Party whip cannot bind any member of Congress to vote a certain way. The Party Whip is course a vote counter/enforcer but he does not issue a ‘binding’. Also Party Whips intervene all the time because intervention is one of their primary job duties.

    Anyway, thanks for the info. on the history of cross voting in India.

  22. 121 · Nesha said

    Rahul, don’t respond to my posts. Let me guess, you are a desi who grew up in America, with very little consciousness of the outside world. 9/11 happened. You realized a deep-seated anger/hated towards Muslims and the Arab world. You set about educating yourself on how to hate them more than reading manifestos from neocons and Israeli right-wing. At dinner parties, you self-hate your people and brown-nose your neocon friends by telling them how the Muslims are destroying the world. Your posts are the kinds I see from rabid Zionists. I am familiar with them and your ilk. Educate yourself about BOTH sides of the issues, travel to the occupied territories, and then spew your right-wing, one-sided mantras–at least then I may–may–have some respect for you. For now, you sound like those kids from two-year colleges with an Associate’s degree in Economics trying to argue with an MBA with 15 years field experience by spouting things out of a textbook. One textbook at that.

    You can’t say something that is factually incorrect and close your ears and say “No don’t respond”. Your responses as the worst sort of arguments that I have seen, all they involve is a rampant hatred for anyone who disagrees with your point of you.

    I’m a Hyderabadi, who grew up in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh was a part of ABVP and switched to NSUI. My grandfather was a founding member of the Brahmo Samaj in South India and my father is an old school socialist. My family is in the Armed forces in three different countries and they stay up in Gilgit and Sianchen so that you get to spout your pseudo-intellectual views. I went to a Catholic school and learned Urdu and later Arabic as a second language, I can say the azaan and have walked around many Id’s for haleem without goat meat. I’m not in the Indian Army because I loathe the war in Kashmir which should never have been a part of India and a part of Pakistan due to its Muslim majority. Now I’m an American and Marine. Don’t ******* make assumptions you know nothing of.

    Touting academic credentials is nothing, having a “15 years of MBA experience” doesn’t matter if the only skill you have a developed is an academic point of view and responses to debate by pandering an ononistic point of view. And I will go to dinner parties with my neocon friends who have brothers dead in Iraq. I don’t think I have an option with my brown nose, I was born with it. Now go and have discussions with people who can chant “imhotep” with you and write a critical review on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. People like you disgust me.

  23. 124 · Nesha said

    In the Arab world, Palestinians are given pretty amazing care, considering the fact that millions of them had to be absorbed.

    How about the nearly 500,000 Palestinians expelled from Kuwait for being ungrateful for all the Kuwaiti help by embracing Saddam’s troops? If Israel expelled even 10,000 Palis for supporting Hamas, the Arab world would be in flames. Let’s not forget King Hussein invading Pali refugee camps and expelling them to Lebanon for trying to overthrow the monarchy. I’ll admit that Saddam and Ghaddafi took good care of the Palestinians, but that was to further their status in the Arab world, a move that ultimately failed as Saddam is now dead and Ghaddafi is widely regarded as a lunatic by other Arabs(and not without reason).

    As for the Right of Return, a poll among Palestinian refugees showed that the overwhelming majority of them have no desire to return to a Jewish state and have their children speak Hebrew. In this respect, a valid analogy can be made to those Hindus who immigrated from present-day Pakistan who have no desire to live in a Muslim state or vice versa. The refugee question is similar to the issue of Jerusalem in that neither are pressing for most Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. More legitimate grievances include settlements, checkpoints which make travel next to impossible, and the ongoing blockade of Gaza.

  24. Your neocon friends’ brothers would not be dead if they weren’t in Iraq. They shouldn’t even be there. They shouldn’t have been there in the first place. So, feel free to send my warmest regards to Paul Wolfowitch and Richard Pearl and thank them for your friends’ brothers deaths. Does Wolfowitch have children? Did they go to Iraq?

    I have no desire to have a discussion with you because you believe that Palestinians don’t exist. What’s the discussion supposed to be about? There is no middle ground here whatsoever. People like you disgust me and people like me disgust you. Exactly. There are nonexisting people dying everyday in West Bank and Gaza because of the lack of basic necessities–like clean water or any water–while the exquisite settlements reserved for a chosen few WATER their lush lawns. Imaginary people cannot starve, so I am sure you can sleep well at night. And your proof of right to abuse: point to revisionionist history and a work of fiction (the old testament) to find some concocted divine right.

    Also, I didn’t tout any academic credentials. I was simply using an example. I could have used an example about some guy who grew a chia pet telling an award winning horticulturalist how to grow a garden. You need to pick up some critical reading skills.

    Regardless, since our exchanges started from the previous posts, my advice to you: instead of spending so much time defending a country with the third most powerful military and with the largest influx of U.S. tax dollars, spend a little time speaking up for less fortunate Indians when they are picked on or yelled at by obnoxious visitors to your country. Maybe the Elders of Zion should have put something about proper etiquette in someone else’s land? But then, isn’t all the world the land of Zion?

    Your background makes your position sadder.

  25. Your background makes your position sadder.

    I sorta agree with this, it is strange that folks with a Hindutva bend support Israel, when the Israelis don’t care a hoot about Indians, and abuse Indians while visiting India. Hear it from the horse’s mouth:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=412551&contrassID=1&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y

    I wonder why the sorry SIMI folks don’t throw their bombs at the Tel Aviv Beach or the Israeli addas in Manali, instead of killing and maiming the poor and already suffering folks in Bangalore and Hyderabad?

  26. The Merneptah Stele is an Egyptian Stone, found in Egypt and is now in the museum of Cairo. It was decoded by experts in heiroglyphs from many cultures. It talks about a tribe called Israel who lost their land but not their seed. It is dated to 1230 BC

    I thought I made it clear that I didn’t say that the Palestinians don’t exist now…I said that there is no evidence in History beyond the past century or so that has the “land of the Philistines” or places the Philistines to be Semites.

    You want to bleed your heart? Focus on Uganda, learn about Kony and the contemporary midnight children. Not the products of a society that would rather spend their money on funding a $250 million global insurgency. Not the Hamas that is the most charitable of all organizations in Palestine but only spends less than 3% of its donations on the upkeep of the people and spends the rest on cross training with the Hezbollah to develop IEDs to kill civilians.

    As a Hindu, it is my legacy that I accept the views of those who absolutely despise my point of view, so I will accept yours.

    Focker – Out.

  27. JohnnyWalker,

    You are right that Arabs have not treated the Palestinians well. In my travels, however, I have found a tremendous amount of goodwill that has allowed millions of Palestinians to live displaced with relative humanity. I hear Zionist neocons always say that because Arabs treat Palestinians so badly, they should be able to as well (which was the assumption of your own argument, actually). No, they should not be treated badly period. There are many reasons why that angle of argument is a way to justify ongoing occupation by obfuscating the main point.

    Of course Palestinians don’t want a right of return to ISRAEL. Why do you think there is even talk about the West Bank being the site of a PALESTINIAN STATE? It is a right of return to a Palestinian state.

    I appreciate your points about the more pressing issue of the settlements. Right of return is important to Jews in the region. Remember, most of Israel is founded on the right of return from centuries ago. One is pressing (settlements, oppression) and the other is foundation for a state. Both are critical issues.

    One of the reasons why 2000 offer was such a joke is because there was no right of return, no dismantling of the most egregious settlements, no shared capital, no contiguous state–etc. When I hear settlers and neocons say that it was a great offer, it is hard to not laugh out loud.

    Thank you for your response.

  28. JohnnyWalker,

    You are right that some Arab countries have not treated the Palestinians well. In my travels, however, I have found a tremendous amount of goodwill that has allowed millions of Palestinians to live displaced with relative humanity. A vast majority have welcomed them into their homeland. On this issue, I hear Zionist neocons always say that Arabs treat Palestinians badly, so, by extension, it negates or even justifies their ill treatment (which was the assumption of your own argument, actually). are many reasons why that angle of argument is a way to justify ongoing occupation by obfuscating the main point. My point earlier is that I was touched by the amount of care with which a vast majority of Arabs have taken in Palestinians. From state support to the everyday one-on-one support.

    About right of return: Of course Palestinians don’t want a right of return to ISRAEL. Why do you think there is even talk about the West Bank being the site of a PALESTINIAN STATE? It is a right of return to a Palestinian state. Why would Palestinians want to return to Israel?

    I appreciate your points about the more pressing issue of the settlements. Right of return is important to Jews in the region. Remember, Israel is founded on the right of return from centuries ago. One is pressing (settlements, oppression) and the other is foundation for a state. Both are critical issues.

    One of the reasons why 2000 offer was such a joke is because there was no right of return, no dismantling of the most egregious settlements, no shared capital, no contiguous state–etc. When I hear settlers and neocons say that it was a great offer, it is hard to not laugh out loud.

    Thank you for your response.

  29. sorry for the double post. The last one is revised–I wanted to make my words clearer.

    Anyway, looks like there is a strong pro-Israel contingent here on this site.

    Listen, everyone, however heated this argument gets, please know that I have nothing but a desire for a peaceful world. I am simply trying to speak for those who cannot speak. That’s all. I work around the world for refugees. So my heart goes out to the most disadvantaged of people. The pain is unbearable to see oftentimes.

    Again, sorry for the double post, which looks like I am spamming. I am not!!! Sorry to the SM Admins!

  30. 132 · Nesha said

    Zionist neocons

    HAHAHAHAHA…yea those Evangelical Jews…

    A striking feature of the recent debate on Southeast Asian policy has been the distinction that is commonly drawn between “responsible criticism,” on the one hand, and “sentimental,” or “emotional,” or “hysterical” criticism, on the other. There is much to be learned from a careful study of the terms in which this distinction is drawn. – Noam Chomsky, The Responsibility of Intellectuals

  31. 130 · CameRoo said

    I sorta agree with this, it is strange that folks with a Hindutva bend support Israel, when the Israelis don’t care a hoot about Indians, and abuse Indians while visiting India.

    Boorish youths aside, the Israeli govt. does have an amicable relationship with India, most notably in the joint training among the armed forces and intelligence services. For some unexplained reason, the CBI’s website even mentions this joint training lol.

    Inside Israel, there is an odd fascination with Indian culture, including “shanti clothing” which is basically Indian clothing right down to the bindi.

  32. Boorish youths aside, the Israeli govt. does have an amicable relationship with India, most notably in the joint training among the armed forces and intelligence services. For some unexplained reason, the CBI’s website even mentions this joint training lol.

    It is not just the youth, Indian immigrants from Kerala are treated equally badly in Israel. Almost every Israeli I’ve met is racist.

    Israeli govt wants to sell their stuff to India, so they are chummy. BTW, know that while India was fighting the LTTE is Sri Lanka, the LTTE was being trained by Mossad, even as they were training Indian commandos. So training means nothing, they even trained Osama’s boys during the good old days.

    They are good at making use of people, right now it is the Hindutva boys who are being made use of.

    Inside Israel, there is an odd fascination with Indian culture, including “shanti clothing” which is basically Indian clothing right down to the bindi.

    Means nothing, there is a fascination for Indian culture in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh too. Even in China.

  33. 136 · Johnny Valker said

    govt. does have an amicable relationship with India, most notably in the joint training among the armed forces and intelligence services

    You are right on about that.

    When I visit to visit my uncle in MHOW and later in Assam, there were Israelis who were training with Indians. It is usually because India has some of the best troops for desert warfare along with the Brits. That was why the US so badly wanted Indian troops both for Afghanistan and Iraq. Recently in Special Ops training exercises, Indian Special-Ops beat out several more well funded units, Israelis included and came out on top.

    Whats funnier is Saudi and Israeli officers training together stateside.

  34. 133 · Nesha said

    About right of return: Of course Palestinians don’t want a right of return to ISRAEL. Why do you think there is even talk about the West Bank being the site of a PALESTINIAN STATE? It is a right of return to a Palestinian state. Why would Palestinians want to return to Israel?

    A large chunk of those qualifying for the Right of Return are the 1948 refugees whose ancestral homes are in Israel proper- land that is not up for bargaining. They would not regain their homes by a Pali state, and they have no desire to live in a Jewish one, which is why this issue is not at the forefront.

    I do agree with you about the 2000 offer being a joke for both sides. Barak would probably have ended up like Rabin had he given up most of the Palestinian Territories and Arafat would have been lynched for not resolving the settlements issue.

  35. Nesha said

    JohnnyWalker

    No. Sorry, but. JohnnyWalker is a whisky. Johnny Valker is our colleague, posting comments here.

  36. 119 · Kush Tandon said

    I meant: However, in practise, in India, one cross votes against the party directive, those members get expelled by the party (Mind, they do not loose their MP seat). The entire breakaway of Janata Party was engineered by a series of cross voting, and subsequent defections. Expulsion is not mandated by any Indian law.

    Kush and Pagal_aadmi:

    Surprisingly this has been incorrect for a while now. The examples you use are correct, but they helped bring about a change in law. In 1985, Rajiv Gandhi, fearing that he would lose his seat due to defections passed the Fifty-second Amendment aka the Anti-defection law. A MP/MLA of a party to quote “… would be disqualified on the ground of defection if he voluntarily relinquishes his membership of such political party or votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction of such party or is expelled from such party. “

    Ya gotta love a system where you can still be a member of the parliament or if you get convicted of murder, but you get booted if you exercise your free will or that of your constituents when you vote.

    The text and more info on the relevant con law here

  37. big picture (in terms of decades, macrotrends, etc.):

    1. congress is on the decline, bjp is on the rise; regardless all politics in India is corrupt.
    2. corruption is not as big a deal as a lot of other things (like what kind of corruption it is and how it actually impacts society outside the magic world of neoclassical economics…south korea’s famous high growth economy was highly corrupt as well), despite what the world bank / imf (where manmohan singh still gets a pension from, from what i hear) has taught you / india’s upper classes.
    3. bjp/rss/vhp/etc. has scary scary wings and more congress-like wings, and they work together. vote for them/oppose them with this in mind ;)
    4. about 80% of indians are extremely poor and pretty much excluded from the high growth economy; the rest are divided into the tiny percentage of uberrich, the 8-10 million people in the “middle class” (which is really rich by indian standards), and the intermediate classes (think of the guy who owns a shop in an urban setting or a not-rich, not-poor farmer).
    5. THIS poverty is the foundational political problem of India, not corruption (the economic corrolary being the slow industrialization); imnsho, it will now bring down every government that continues to pursue pro-rich policies until they have enough of a tax base to provide people with a welfare state and buy off pissed off groups. Which you can see from the anti-incumbent voting of the last two general elections, except it’s going to be even more severe now (see below). This is probably also what feeds the possibility of Maoism/naxalism/etc., to which more honest memberse of the Indian public will say “good” because 80% of the population has been extraordinarily poor by global standards for the past 60 years.
    6. but the politicians (at least at a national level) haven’t decided to figure this out until the results of the food crisis, inflation, global financial crisis make them figure it out (i.e. the age of neoliberalism is over…the sooner indian politicians wake up to this, the sooner they will figure out how to win elections in an upcoming age of even more social chaos, when even more than 15-20% of the land in India is inaccesible to the government of India (e.g. see here))
    7. This then begs the question of whether in the future whether we will see fascist / nationalism or fascist/leftism, or a real social democratic party (and where that will come from – congress revitalizing itself, a low-caste, working class alliance, or the left not being doctrinaire anymore, or some combination of the three) or something else entirely will emerge. your suggestions welcome. remember that last time india was plunged into political chaos/economic stagnation the prime minister decided to impose authoritarian rule for 2 years at the end of that period.

    and there’s some global context which i don’t really understand, and would love to be enlightened on (i.e. how global capitalism influences india’s domestic politics).

    Stuff to read if you’re interested in where I’m cobbling together this analysis from: Writings of Mushtaq Khan (why corruption is endemic in developing countries; why this is less immportant than how the money actually gets used and something of a false representation of the issue given that political buyoffs happen in every country–earmarks anyone?); Barbara Harriss-White (have just started reading India working, haven’t read a lot of other stuff, but she does economic anthropology on the way the Indian economy works in practice rather than how cheerleaders say it works); “India’s common people…” an EPW article by Arjun Sengupta and others about who the bulk of India’s people actually live (actual link at EPW here); good article by e sridharan on why india’s party politics works the way it does and the rise of the bjp as a political party; atul kohli on liberalisation and pro-rich v. pro-market policies from 1980 to 2005) (which applies to congress AND BJP..not to mention cpi(m) now).

    There’s other stuff if you’re interested; e-mail me if so.

  38. Actually, expulsion is mandated by the anti-defection law passed in the 1980′s by Rajiv Gandhi’s govt. I also agree that Prime Minister Singh has finally shown that he has played a nice political game on this nuclear deal, and that the BJP has lost credibility on this matter altogether (cynical manipulation of a policy measure that they initiated). However, I do think that the Congress party (and the UPA) are going to lose in the general elections, primarily due to the current economic conditions. I doubt the strategy of propping up Rahul Gandhi is going to help at all, especially given what happened in the recent elections in U.P. In any case Mr. Singh is not particularly cleaner than his party members because I am pretty sure that his party did spend a lot of money to win the vote (something that his predecessor Mr. Rao did on a much smaller scale).

  39. And your proof of right to abuse: point to revisionionist history and a work of fiction (the old testament) to find some concocted divine right.

    Good to know that. Are you an atheist?. or do you think some books (or the ONE and ONLY book) are divine and some other books are works of fiction?.

  40. Nesha’s arguments are not without considerable merit overall, although those charges may not apply wholesale to individuals in this particular community.

    I don’t see anything wrong with mandatory expulsion from a party, under the Rajiv Gandhi government’s anti-defection law, of members who exercise their parliamentary vote against party principles. That is pretty extremely random and self serving behavior. There are limits to crossing the one and only aisle over here as well, even when presenting as an independent and even if you’re just proposing to address another party’s national convention about your support for their various positions.

    Permitting random voting in India would certainly be allowing chaos to prevail. OTOH, there absolutely should be be a way for opposition parties to examine and pronounce upon the activities of the government, esp, with respect to foreign affairs, if only because the opposition may in some form win forthcoming elections and form future governments. That the opposition to the Congress Party could some day form a government was not even considered a possibility at the birth of the nation.

  41. You want to bleed your heart? Focus on Uganda, learn about Kony and the contemporary midnight children. Not the products of a society that would rather spend their money on funding a $250 million global insurgency. Not the Hamas that is the most charitable of all organizations in Palestine but only spends less than 3% of its donations on the upkeep of the people and spends the rest on cross training with the Hezbollah to develop IEDs to kill civilians.

    RahulD: The reason a lot of us leftists (not speaking for all Palestinian supporting leftists) speak up for Palestinians even though far fewer Palestinians have been murdered by Israelis than lets say the people murdered by Mugabe or the Afro-Arab militias in Sudan is that we dont see otherwise reasonable people in the United States defend the murderous regime of Mugabe or the Sudanese Janjaweed.

  42. 137 · CameRoo said

    Almost every Israeli I’ve met is racist.

    when the first dreamer of your state envisions it as an outpost of Western civilization among savages, and early waves of non western-european immigrants are welcomed with DDT (instead of Golda Meir’s honeyed words, “you are the TRUE Israelis”), I’d say one could be set up for a jolly spot of racism or two.

  43. 148 · Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery said

    we dont see otherwise reasonable people in the United States defend the murderous regime of Mugabe or the Sudanese Janjaweed.

    Mugabe’s regime carries on a brutal one-sided crackdown on largely unarmed dissidents, and as far as I know, the Darfur rebels do not take their war into Khartoum pizzerias.

    The Palestinians lost the high moral ground after their repeated attacks on shopping areas, buses, and nightclubs-attacks designed for maximum civilian casualties. Numerous Arabs have also died in suicide bombings. You cannot shoot AK-47s to celebrate a suicide bombing and then b*tch when Israel carries out targeted assassinations.