Blog Censoring by the Goverment of India

“Somebody must have asked for some sites to be blocked. What is your problem?”

I can just hear the derision in that question. That is what Shivam Vij was told by Dr Gulshan Rai, director of CERT-IN, which is the organization which is authorized to issue orders to ISPs. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) of the Government of India asked that certain domains be blocked (but does not reveal exactly which though it is clear that the list includes *.blogspot.com, *.typepad.com and geocities.com/* .)

Like the imperial rulers they are, they did not bother to explain why this attempt at censorship. I write “attempt” because on the internet, you really cannot censor anything. The net treats it like it were the failure of a link and routes traffic around the failed link, as anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the internet knows. Continue reading

Democracy

“When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
H L Mencken * Baltimore Sun (26 July 1920)

It would appear that the more perfect the democracy, the more its leaders reflect the inner soul of the people. India, I am told, is a great democracy. Looking at the leaders of India, one does wonder about the inner soul of Indians.

Jihad Watch – 1

India’s development is not insulated from global forces shaping the world. Islamic terrorism is a global reality that only the seriously deluded can deny. Its bloody hand reaches deep inside the global human breast daily and wrenches the heart out.

The world spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year trying to protect itself. The security apparatus we go through at the airports is in place largely to dissuade jihadists. Soon I guess the local train stations in Mumbai will have to have some sort of security in place.

Islamic terrorism impedes the free flow of law abiding people, it hurts commerce, it hurts development, and most importantly of all, it destroys lives and families. Around 200 dead and a thousand injured in Mumbai last week was just one more the hundreds of incidents of jihad the world suffers each year.

Jihad is a regular feature of our world. Jihad Watch will be a regular feature on this blog. Why? Because we must understand the enemy if we wish to prevail. We need to understand what motivates them and why. I will highlight articles and viewpoints which I believe can help inform our understanding of jihad. Continue reading

On Being an Armchair Intellectual

A comment on this blog is worth highlighting because it is too important to be buried among the comments. It is from Gulab Singh who wrote:

What have you done to amend the situation, oh armchair intellectual ? Cribbing about the status quo is pointless, if you don’t follow it up with action. If you don’t have a way to put into practice the ideas you espouse, then your ideas are not practical. You seem to have spent a lot of time thinking and writing about “what should be done”, but what have you really done?

I cannot respond to the accusation of being an “armchair intellectual” because I am not sufficiently vain to call myself an intellectual, armchair or not. However, I would like to speak in defense of armchair intellectuals first, then admit that I am basically an armchair critic, then argue why critics are important in the overall scheme of things, and finally explain what I am doing to move beyond just being a mere critic. Continue reading

The Right Response

As I have held before, there should be a special hell for those who forward inane stupid emails with the breathless admonition to “forward it to all your friends.” The terrorist bombing of Mumbai locals has inspired one such idiotic email which is making the rounds.

It is addressed to the terrorists with the endearment “Dear.” It basically says (I will spare you the details, in case you haven’t already seen it) that we don’t care to be bothered by the bombs and we don’t really care about the hundreds killed; we are Mumbaikars and we just get up, and go about our business earning our next buck. Continue reading

This is surreal

The surreal does not shock.

Pakistan is buying US$5,000 million worth of military hardware, including F-16s from the US. India is subsidizing that purchase to the tune of US$25 million in cash. I am sorry about India’s niggardly gesture — it should be giving Pakistan at least US$ 100 million. After all, dhimmis have to pay jizya and at US$ 25 milllion, it works out to be a very low per capita. [Here is the relevant news item. And here is the explanation of what I mean.]

The jizya tax is traditionally imposed on non-muslims (dhimmis) living in a Muslim majority state. The dhimmis can avoid the tax by converting and many did and still do. A tax is a negative subsidy; a positive subsidy to induce conversion is also effective in many instances. So, if being a Muslim were to confer benefits that would not be available to non-muslims, it would induce conversion.

Arjun Singh is giving an incentive to non-muslims to convert into Islam. The poor family in my neighborhood are thinking of converting to Islam because it would help their son get into college on the Muslim quota that Mr Singh is establishing.

I strongly believe that the government should not be in the business of converting people. But I guess Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s government, because it is secular, has to prove its secular credentials by converting the kuffars.

The Better, Faster Way to Help Rural India

India has been singularly unlucky in the sense that its movers and shakers don’t seem to get what it takes for the economy to prosper. Therefore it comes as a terribly pleasant surprise when one comes across a M&S who apparently gets it. Not only does the man get it, he gets it in spades and how.

Mukesh Ambani apparently gets it.
Continue reading

Mumbai Serial Bomb Attack

The terrorists have struck once again. This time it appears to be a series of bombs on the Western line of Mumbai locals. So far reports indicate about half a dozen bombs during rush hour.

Assumption: lots of people killed. Islamic terrorism in action.
Prediction: More ineffectual inane statements from the politicians. Especially the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the supreme leader of India Ms Sonia Gandhi. More security will be assigned to them and other politicians. Dr Singh may increase the number of bus and train services between Pakistan and India. The border between Pakistan and India will be made less secure so that Islamic terrorism can have less resistance.

I think that it is time my suggestion that leaders be held accountable for acts of terrorism be taken seriously. Unless the leaders feel the pain of terrorism, they will not have the slightest interest in preventing terrorism. See “Terrorism–A Way Out” on this blog.

Post-script: If the media calls this one “7/11”, I swear I will puke. The rate at which Islamic terrorism is going, it makes no sense since surely the entire calendar will be filled in the next couple of years: 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, … , 12/30, 12/31. To my mind, only 9/11 has some legitimacy when it comes to naming Islamic terrorism with a date. The rest are too late.

PS: 9:44 PM

Prime Minister Singh makes his inane statement: “The series of blasts in Jammu and Kashmir and in Mumbai are shocking and cowardly attempts to spread a feeling of fear and terror among our citizens.”

Yes, indeed so. The politicians, are on the other hand, totally unconcerned because they will never have to take public transportation and will not have to die in terrorist blasts.

Ms Sonia Gandhi, Dr Singh’s boss, expressed shock. Why? Even an ordinary citizen like me has figured out by now that Islamic terrorism is the order of the day and unless one has been hiding under the rock for the last few decades, it should be expected and not shocking. Or is the supreme leader so out of touch with the daily occurrences around the world that it is shocking to note terrorism?

The PURA Meeting in Delhi

I was invited to attend a meeting at the Ministry of Rural Development at the Krishi Bhavan in New Delhi on the 7th of July. (Here is a note which I wrote while waiting in the lobby.)

The meeting was chaired by Renuka Vishwanathan, Secretary, Mininstry of Rural Development. Largely the meeting was attended by secretaries from various state governments such as Chattisgarh and Orrisa. There were a couple of people from President Kalam’s office; Dr PV Indiresan, the architect of PURA; Dr PS Rana, Chairman and MD of HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation); a couple of people from the Council of Indian Industries (CII); and a few others.
Continue reading