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SACW - 5 Feb 2013 | India - Pakistan: Keep hawks out / Bangladesh: Jamaat-e-Islami Mobs / Pakistan: Democratic resilience / India: Ashis Nandy's corruption theory? / Wole Soyinka on Mali / The Gulag After Stalin

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire - 5 February 2013 - No. 2769 ... Contents: 1. Pakistan: Lal Masjid facts won’t go away (Khaled Ahmed) 2. Pakistan: Democratic
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2013
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      South Asia Citizens Wire - 5 February 2013 - No. 2769
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Contents:

      1. Pakistan: Lal Masjid facts won’t go away (Khaled Ahmed)
      2. Pakistan: Democratic resilience (S. Akbar Zaidi)
      3. Bangladesh: Jamaat-e-Islami Mobs Triger Violence and Mayhem Over War Crimes Tribunal
      - Jamaat Warns of Civil War
      - Violent Protests In Bangladesh Over War Crime Trials - Afp
      - Jamaat targeting police: Take suitable actions to deter
      - Jamaat springing a surprise! (Brig Gen Shahedul Anam Khan)
      4. Sri Lanka: Govt Debars Fact Finding Mission of International Bar Association Led by Former Indian Chief Justice Verma From Entering Sri Lanka
      5. India: Verma committee report & the road ahead (Pamela Philipose)
      6. India: President urged not to Sign the Ordinance by Women’s Organizations - Text of statement
      7. India - Freespeech: A Candy or a Nanny for Intelligentsia's enfant terrible Ashis Nandy ?
      8. India: selected posts on Communalism Watch
      9. India - Pakistan: Let’s Avoid Television Wars (Arun Prakash - former Indian Navy Chief)
      10. India: Manmohan Singh’s Abject Surrender (A. G. Noorani)
      11. Books:
      (i) Pakistan: The Garrison State: Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947–2011) by Ishtiaq Ahmed
      (ii) The Long Road To Social Security edited by K.P. Kannan and Jan Breman
      12. Mali Needs More Than A Call To Arms (Wole Soyinka)
      13. Former Soviet Union: The Gulag After Stalin (Wilson Bell)

      =======================================
      1. PAKISTAN: LAL MASJID FACTS WON’T GO AWAY
      by Khaled Ahmed
      =======================================
      (The Express Tribune, 16 December 2012)

      Today, the Lal Masjid Operation is owned by no one. General (retd) Pervez Musharraf may regret he ordered it. But the facts will not disappear.

      On July 6, 2008, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) observed the anniversary of the operation by killing 19 people in Islamabad through a suicide bomb, 15 of them policemen. An al Qaeda videocassette marked the first anniversary of the destruction of Lal Masjid in which revenge was sworn.

      Amir Mir, in his book Talibanisation of Pakistan from 9/11 to 26/11, states: “Before the bloodshed, the Mosque had a reputation for radicalism, mostly attracting Islamic hard line students from North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and tribal areas where support for the Taliban and al Qaeda is quite strong. Much before the military operation code named ‘Operation Silence’ was launched by the Pakistan Army, the Lal Masjid had become known to the outer world as a centre of radical Islamic learning, housing several thousand male and female students in adjacent seminaries.

      “As the Operation Silence unfolded, it was discovered that elements from jihadi groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkatul Jihadul Islami were present inside the seminary … carrying Kalashnikov rifles, LMGs, hand grenades, petrol bombs and rocket-launchers”.

      Zahid Hussain, in his book The Scorpion’s Tail: The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan and how it Threatens America (2010), noted: “Lal Masjid clerics Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid had learned their militancy from their father, Abdullah Ghazi, who received funding and guidance from the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies for jihad. After the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, Abdullah Ghazi became closely associated with al Qaeda.

      “In 1998, he travelled to Kandahar to pay homage to Mullah Omar, and took his younger son along. During this visit, Abdul Rashid Ghazi became radicalised. He met with Osama bin Laden alone for an hour. At the end of the meeting, he picked up Bin Laden’s glass of water and drank from it and said: ‘I drank from your glass so that Allah would make me a warrior like you’.” (p.112)

      Two months after the Lal Masjid siege, an 18-year-old boy blew himself up inside the high-security base of Zarrar Company, the elite commando unit responsible for Operation Silence; 22 commandos were killed. It was an insider job. Zahid Hussain writes: “One of the officers identified was Captain Khurram Ashiq, who had served in Zarrar Company” (p.121). Captain Khurram Ashiq died in Helmand fighting on the side of al Qaeda. His brother, Major Haroon Ashiq, too, worked for al Qaeda, killing SSG commander Major-General Feisal Alvi in Islamabad. He has been acquitted this year by an antiterrorism court in Adiala Jail.

      British journalist Owen Bennett-Jones, in his lengthy study Questions Concerning the Murder of Benazir Bhutto (London Review of Books, December 6, 2012), refers to one of the assassins of Benazir Bhutto named Husnain Gul, who joined the killer gang because of Lal Masjid: “Husnain Gul was a madrassa student who in 2005 had received small-arms training at a camp in North-West Pakistan. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report says that when he was arrested, he had a hand grenade and clothes belonging to his friend Bilal.

      “In his confession, Gul described how a friend of his had been killed when Musharraf ordered an assault on the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July 2007… Gul decided to avenge his friend’s death and persuaded his cousin, Muhammad Rafaqat, to join him”.

      Operation Silence was disowned by the ruling PML-Q government. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman was reprimanded by the madrassa network into opposing it. The media sided with Lal Masjid during the operation.

      The writer is a director at the South Asia Free Media Association, Lahore khaled.ahmed@...

      =======================================
      2. PAKISTAN: DEMOCRATIC RESILIENCE
      by S. Akbar Zaidi
      =======================================
      Tahirul Qadri’s sudden emergence on the political stage of Pakistan has been correctly interpreted as one which was intended to derail democracy for many years to come rather than to cleanse the government of corrupt practices. The fact that the Allama has failed is a strong testament to how much Pakistan’s democracy has evolved in the last five years and the extent to which Pakistan’s establishment has been on the retreat. Inadvertently, the Allama’s sponsored intrusion may have actually strengthened democracy, not weakened it.
      http://www.sacw.net/article3638.html

      =======================================
      3. BANGLADESH: VIOLENCE AND MAYHEM BY THE JAMAAT-E-ISLAMI MOBS OVER WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL
      =======================================

      JAMAAT WARNS OF CIVIL WAR
      Calls nationwide hartal today; passenger killed as bus torched
      http://tinyurl.com/aanmpc5

      VIOLENT PROTESTS IN BANGLADESH OVER WAR CRIME TRIALS - AFP
      http://tribune.com.pk/story/499827/violent-protests-in-bangladesh-over-war-crime-trials/

      o o o

      http://tinyurl.com/ax66ol8

      The Daily Star - February 4, 2013

      EDITORIAL - JAMAAT TARGETING POLICE: TAKE SUITABLE ACTIONS TO DETER

      There could not have been a more graphic illustration of how the Jamaati mobs have targeted the law enforcing agencies, particularly the police, than the front-page picture [see: http://edailystar.com/index.php?opt=view&page=1&date=2013-02-03] appearing in this newspaper on Sunday. The picture demonstrates the bestial attitude of the party cadres who incessantly beat up a helpless policeman doing his duty.

      We condemn the act in the strongest possible terms. It is absolutely unacceptable, and given the ratcheting up of the level of targeted violence of Jamaat since November of last year, we are constrained to say that this has taken terroristic character.

      Admittedly, the police have been known for its highhandedness and ham-handed handling of a situation from time to time, but they have never had to face a situation like this. What we are witnessing now is a completely new phenomenon, to go after the police as a deliberate tactics. Or it might be also a strategy of Jamaat to provoke the police to take precipitate actions that would result in the loss of life and provide them with the opportunity to indulge in the politics of the dead body.

      It is also, perhaps, their idea to show how easy targets the police are, and this will, we are afraid, apart from sapping confidence of the public on the police as the keeper of law and order, might also have a demonstrative effect, and other criminals might subject the police to the same form of attack. This is a dangerous scenario to contemplate.

      While we commend the police for displaying a remarkable degree of restraint till now, the risk is that under such circumstances restraint may be short-lived and the reaction from the police may be violent too, which should not occur.

      We suggest that the police should assume such policy, short of firing to kill, that would deter anyone targeting them for attack. And they must also revamp the operational procedures so none of their members is left singly at the mercy of a violent mob. There cannot be a more morale-sapping scene, both for the police and the public than that of the police seemingly helpless at the mercy of a violent mob.

      o o o

      http://tinyurl.com/b39lbyj

      The Daily Star - January 31, 2013

      JAMAAT SPRINGING A SURPRISE!
      Brig Gen Shahedul Anam Khan ndc, psc (Retd)

      What hap-ened last Monday was reminiscent of an August morning of 2005 when near simultaneous explosions in all but one of the districts in the country, took everyone by surprise. It was a rude awakening to the reality, which the then government was unwilling to acknowledge, that we had come face to face with a phenomenon that many of our neighbours, and many other countries in the world, had long been afflicted with -- terrorism. Our shock was enhanced by the pitiful lack of preparedness of our security agencies, even more of the poor intelligence capability, that were caught completely off balance.

      Last Monday was for us another shocking demonstration of the utter ineptitude of the intelligence agencies to forecast a likely incident and the inability or unwillingness of the relevant agencies to put in place adequate security measures to address the situation. And that can happen when the law enforcing agencies either do not give adequate importance to the intelligence inputs or feel too smug about their competence and give little credit to the capability of the trouble mongers to wreak havoc. Even the police bosses will have to admit, even grudgingly, that their forces were caught off guard last Monday.

      Last Monday saw a serious breach of public security, where violence was perpetrated by a political party. And the damage in terms of property was much more than what was caused by the 500 blasts on August 17, 2005. And that day there were some visiting dignitaries in town as was this time too. No coincidence except a feeling of déjà vu. And the public by and large has been overtaken by a sense of eerie apprehension that anyone can be confronted with a violent Jamaat-Shibir mob anywhere and anytime.

      What we are concerned about are the contradictory statements regarding police preparedness that have come from very high sources of the government. Who amongst them should we believe? When the finance minister in his traditional demeanour blames intelligence failure for the violence perpetrated by Jamaat, and the home minister in his inimitable style and characteristic attitude of defending the indefensible, is quick to dismiss the finance minister's statement, then one can only assume that there is a serious systemic flaw.

      And to that add the police chief's assertion that they did indeed have prior information that the Jamaat and Shibir were up to something. And if after having advance knowledge, more than 200 public and private transports are destroyed or damaged in the capital alone, and if Jamaat-Shibir combine can show their muscles in several major town and cities of the country, one can say very little about police preparedness to address the situation. Or are there any reasons for which they are unwilling to come down hard on Jamaat?

      Let us be clear that the violence committed by Jamaat last Monday was neither a spontaneous outburst nor clandestine (choragopta) attacks on the police and public and private property. Theirs were well orchestrated and well planned actions without which it was not possible for them to bring out so many large and violent demonstrations in so many places in the country simultaneously.

      It was disconcerting too, to see the police on the defensive. Rather inexplicable and unacceptable were scenes of the police on the retreat or cornered by the mob, desperately trying to fend off the stick wielding Jamaat cadres.

      There are not one but several intelligence agencies, and I find it hard to believe that their combined efforts could not anticipate the violence. To say that the incidents are manifestations of Jamaat's predisposition to violence, and that intelligence failure has nothing to do with it is quite baffling. The home minister's explanations give little comfort to the public. It appears to be a poor attempt to hide police failure, particularly of its inadequate human intelligence capability. Not only in the capital but also in all other places the police were caught off guard too.

      The home minister's assurance that violence would be suppressed with all force and everything would be done to ensure public safety cuts little ice with the people. And when he says that the police must be careful that no innocent person is harmed sounds abjectly cynical when one recalls the way the harmless private school teachers were peppered with a new crowd disposal device which has the potential to cause bodily harm if not death.

      A few things have become very evident. That Jamaat's ability to organise at grassroots levels and create violence has once again been reconfirmed. Further, inability of the police or their lack of preparedness to preempt political violence is causing public confidence in the law enforcing agencies to sap. This is something the administration can ill afford to have.

      Spurt of violence by Jamaat, which started several months ago, is not unexpected. They stand against the trial of war criminals and they stand to lose their leadership as a result of the trial. Their very existence is at risk. But to see the government not only unprepared but also on the defensive when it comes to tackling Jamaat's violence is baffling.

      The writer is Editor, Op-ed and Defence & Strategic Issues, The Daily Star.

      =======================================
      4. SRI LANKA: GOVT DEBARS FACT FINDING MISSION OF INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION LED BY FORMER INDIAN CHIEF JUSTICE VERMA FROM ENTERING SRI LANKA
      =======================================
      (http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/15699)

      1 February 2013

      An International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) delegation has been forced to postpone a planned visit to Sri Lanka to assess the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary due to the last minute withdrawal of permission to enter the country.

      The IBAHRI delegation consisting of distinguished jurists was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka from 1st to 10th February 2013. A visa had been issued to one member of the delegation on 18th January 2013 and was revoked on 29th January 2013, while approval to enter the country was suspended in the cases of other delegates on 29th and 30th January 2013.

      The Delegation was led by Former Indian Chief Justice Jagdish Sharan Varma and consisted of UK House of Lords Cross bench member Baroness Usha Prashar, IBA Human Rights Institute Program Lawyer Shane Keenan, and British Barrister working with the IBA’s Human Rights Institute Sadakat Kadri.

      The high-level delegation had intended to conduct meetings and consult a wide diversity of stakeholders in regard to the development of the legal profession, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka, including members of the legal profession, government, media and civil society.

      The IBA commissioned fact-finding team was also planning to investigate and determine whether the Sri Lankan Government’s move to impeach Chief Justice Bandaranayake, in violation of rulings by the two highest courts of the land that the process was flawed, was an attempt by the regime to curb the independence of the Upper Judiciary.

      The IBAHRI has expressed its serious concern to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London regarding the revocation and suspension of entry approval for its high-level delegates and looks forward to working together with the relevant authorities in ensuring a speedy and satisfactory resolution.

      =======================================
      5. INDIA: VERMA COMMITTEE REPORT & THE ROAD AHEAD
      by Pamela Philipose
      =======================================
      (Women's Feature Service, 1 Feb 2013 - WFS Ref: INDM121)

      If the gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a Delhi bus on December 16, 2012, led to a sense of both outrage over and despair about the entrenched violence women experience in India, the report of the Justice Verma Committee – emerging exactly five weeks after that incident – came as a heartening glimmer of hope for reform and justice.
      The response of women’s activists to the Report was unanimous: It is, potentially, a game-changer and transforms the manner in which the issue has been framed thus far. Human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover puts it this way, “It marks a major paradigm shift in the understanding of violence against women in the country. It is quite rightly termed a women’s bill of rights and roots violence firmly within the framework of inequality.”
      Many of the arguments made in the Report had been voiced by the Indian women’s movement. Both Sudha Sundaraman, General Secretary, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), and Suneeta Dhar, director of the women’s resource centre, Jagori, see it as a reflection of the concerted work done over decades.
      Observes Sundaraman, “Women across the country have spoken out on this concern. Take just one issue we have fought against – the general refusal of the police to register cases and their overall gender insensitivity, which translates into the low conviction rate. We are, therefore, delighted that the Verma Committee Report lambasts the police for its failure to prevent such violence and makes the non-registration of FIRs (first information reports) a punitive offence.”
      Dhar points out how women’s activists have routinely been portrayed in the most negative way – as home-breakers and westernised harridans. “But what we were fighting for all along was really for our constitutional equality – something that has just been reiterated by the Verma Commission,” she says.
      She points to the systematic way in which women’s activists, academics and lawyers last year had suggested changes in The Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2012 and made representations to the Justice Verma Committee. Reveals Dhar, “We argued that the everyday violence women faced was part of a continuum, ranging from harassment to aggravated sexual assault and the close attention the Verma Committee paid to the submission we made before it recently was truly heartening.”
      The rising graph of crimes against women, perceived internationally as a blot against India, arises out of a culture of impunity and apathy within the system. The Justice Verma Committee Report recognised this when it observed: “While we acknowledge and greatly applaud the concerns of feminists and various persons who have spoken in support of women, we still feel distressed to say that all organs of the State have, in varying degrees, failed to fulfil the promise of equality in favour of women.”
      Farah Naqvi, women’s activist and member of the National Advisory Committee, believes that what makes this Report unique is the language it adopts, “It is one of the most progressive reports to emanate from the government system. It sees the crime of rape and sexual assault, not as driven by lust but as part of an exercise of power and control. The spotlight is on masculinity and the social construction of masculinity in India.”
      Nothing short of a thorough reform of the criminal justice system has been envisaged in the Report. Not only has it recommended the discontinuation of anachronistic and deeply offensive practices like the two finger test, it has broadened the definition of sexual assault to include hitherto unrecognised crimes like stripping and stalking.
      Marital rape – a demand first raised by women activists in the Eighties – is also deemed a crime for the first time. “It was sheer joy to hear Justice Leila Seth reading out that section of the report. It marked a fundamental shift in the recognition of a woman’s right to her bodily integrity,” remarks Grover.
      Justice Verma Committee has also voiced the concern that “systematic or isolated sexual violence, in the process of Internal Security duties, is being legitimised by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which is in force in large parts of our country” and recommends wide-ranging measures to address this reality.
      This stance is of utmost significance given the tragic history of assaults on women by members of the armed forces. No justice has been done in the 1991 Kunan Poshpora incident in Kashmir’s Kupwara district, where 36 women were allegedly gang raped by the 4 Raj Rifles.
      It is also difficult to forget the desperate protest that a group of Manipur women staged in 2004 against the alleged rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama by personnel of the Assam Rifles, when they stripped in front of the Kangla Fort in Manipur, holding up a banner that read, ‘Indian Army Rape Us’. As Sundaraman puts it, “Greater accountability from the armed forces has been a long standing demand and we are extremely reassured to learn that the Verma Committee has also taken note of it.”
      Precisely because the Justice Verma Committee Report is a path-breaker there is disquiet over its silences. Says Asha Kowtal, General Secretary, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, “The Report holds up hope of change so it is disappointing that dalit women again find that they don’t figure in the recommendations. We had hoped crimes against dalit women would figure in the section on aggravated sexual assault. Have we been left out because we are deemed to come under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act?”
      Naqvi agrees this is a major oversight, “The absence of communal and caste violence as a category of aggravated sexual assault under Section 376, is very troubling.”
      Muralidharan, Assistant Convener, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled, is similarly disappointed to find that sexual assault against physically or mentally disabled women has not been classified as an ‘aggravated sexual assault’, a crime that invites a more rigorous sentence.
      There are other concerns, too. According to Grover, the use of the term ‘person’, with reference to the victim of rape, could camouflage the issue of violence against women. She says, “Victims should have been clearly disaggregated into categories of women, men and transgenders. This is important given the specificity and intensity of the violence that visits women. I also find it difficult to understand why the Report has made stalkers gender neutral when all evidence suggests that it is women who are stalked by men in India.”
      Even as women activists savour this moment of achievement – some in Delhi even gathered for a celebratory picnic to mark it – they know that the gains spelt out in the Justice Verma Committee Report could prove elusive unless the political system takes ownership of its recommendations and translates them into laws, policies and practices.
      Ayesha Kidwai, Associate Professor, Centre for Linguistics, of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and a long-time women’s activist, was categorical, “We know that our struggle cannot end with this Report. We will now take it to every political leader in the country and to every party and state government.”
      The message from the women’s movement is clear: On this long and tortuous road to a violence free future for women, there can be no turning back. (Women's Feature Service)

      =======================================
      6. INDIA: PRESIDENT URGED NOT TO SIGN THE ORDINANCE BY WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONS - TEXT OF STATEMENT
      =======================================
      We, as representatives of women’s organizations, civil society groups, and activists committed to women’s rights, convey our strong opposition to the Government’s decision to move an Ordinance on the criminal law amendments related to sexual violence. We call upon the President of India to not sign such an Ordinance.
      http://www.sacw.net/article3637.html

      =======================================
      7. INDIA - FREESPEECH: A CANDY OR A NANNY FOR INTELLIGENTSIA'S ENFANT TERRIBLE ASHIS NANDY ?
      =======================================
      India: Ashis Nandy in shit for making clumsy casteist claims at the Jaipur literature festival 2013
      by Harsh Kapoor
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/01/ashis-nandy-in-shit-for-making-clumsy.html

      A thoroughly biased report [on Ashis Nandy controversy at Jaipur Literary Festival] - Letter to Communalism Watch
      by Akeel Bilgrami
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/01/a-thoroughly-biased-report-on-ashis.html

      Let us defend everybody’s right to free speech, even Ashis Nandy’s
      by Ania Loomba
      http://www.sacw.net/article3627.html

      The Ashis Nandy Affair | "Without doubt, a casteist slur" says K. Satyanarayana
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/the-ashis-nandy-affair-without-doubt.html

      Ashis Nandy’s corruption theory is a load of bull
      by R Jagannathan
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/heres-real-reason-why-sociologist-ashis.html

      India: Dr. K Satyanarayana responds to Prof. Ashis Nandy’s comment
      http://www.sacw.net/article3631.html

      Ashis Nandy's views on caste and corruption must be debated and challenged
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/ashis-nandys-views-on-caste-and.html

      Nandy’s Nadir - Editorial, The Telegraph (29 Jan 2013)
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/01/nandys-nadir-editorial-telegraph-29-jan.html

      No room for nuance in this fragile republic
      by Harsh Sethi (January 28, 2013)
      http://tinyurl.com/bea9uyx

      Call it censorship, not social justice
      by Yogendra Yadav : Mon Jan 28 2013
      http://tinyurl.com/aerwv5k

      Free speech, everything decent, under attack
      by Kamal Mitra Chenoy
      http://tinyurl.com/a3pv2qa

      Unfair to ask me to choose my words cautiously: Ashis Nandy
      http://tinyurl.com/9wl7auu

      Ashis Nandy’s Predicament And Ours
      by Shuddhabrata Sengupta
      http://tinyurl.com/aryj4b3

      The Nandy Bully: The sorts of corruption that matter are a purview of privileged
      by S. Anand (Outlook Magazine, Magazine | Feb 11, 2013)
      http://tinyurl.com/akwub22

      The politics of protest
      by Urvashi Butalia
      http://www.timescrest.com/coverstory/the-politics-of-protest-9683

      =======================================
      8. India: selected posts on Communalism Watch
      =======================================
      BJP kowtowing to the RSS
      by Praful Bidwai
      Has the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decided to drop even the pretence of being organisationally autonomous of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)?
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/india-bharatiya-janata-party-bjp-drops.html

      Sangh plots Ram return | BJP and VHP meet
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/sangh-plots-ram-return-bjp-and-vhp-meet.html

      On popularity of Nazi symbols in Burma (and Thailand, Korea and India)
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/on-popularity-of-nazi-symbolism-in.html

      India: Why 2014 polls could be a communal hate fest
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/india-why-2014-polls-could-be-communal.html

      The connections between Malegaon 2006 to Modasa 2008 - the role of Hindutva extremists
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/the-connections-between-malegaon-2006.html

      Bharatiya Janata Party using the 'Kumbh Mela' mass gathering to reaffirm its Hindutva
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/bharatiya-janata-party-using-kumbh-mela.html

      In the Aftermath of Pakistan India Spat: Ghulam Ali's Bombay Concert Scuttled With Organisers Recieving Threats From Xenophobic Nationalists
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/in-aftermath-of-pakistan-india-spat.html

      Attack by Hindutva Goons on Dalit College Teacher in Dhule, Maharashtra - Statement by JTSA
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/attack-by-hindutva-goons-on-dalit.html

      India: Shiv Sena - MNS patch up ? - cartoon in The Hindu
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/india-shiv-sena-mns-patch-up-cartoon-in.html

      Jyoti Punwani: Indefensible, any which way
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/jyoti-punwani-indefensible-any-which-way.html

      Dhule Victims And Anhad Files A PIL in Supreme Court Demanding SIT and Compensation
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/01/pil-filed-in-dhule-case-by-victims-and.html

      Choose another temple? An Open Ramble to Madhu Kishwar
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/01/choose-another-temple-open-ramble-to.html

      India: Art exhibit on the Nude at Delhi Art Gallery under attack from Hindu Right Durga Vahini
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/india-art-exhibit-on-nude-at-delhi-art.html

      Sangh Singh Song (Poornima Joshi)
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/sangh-singh-song-poornima-joshi.html

      Kashmir girls rock band going underground facing fatwa and threats
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2013/02/kashmir-girls-rock-band-going.html

      =======================================
      9. INDIA - PAKISTAN: LET’S AVOID TELEVISION WARS
      by Arun Prakash (former Indian Navy Chief)
      =======================================
      If the incipient Indo-Pak crisis of the past fortnight had any lesson to convey, it was that the road to perdition is lined with shrill, hysterical TV anchors, bloodthirsty politicians and a seemingly somnolent national security establishment. In the dangerously incendiary atmosphere that was allowed to build up recently, the last thing the subcontinent needed was a chest thumping xenophobic verbal exchange between the leadership of India and Pakistan – civil or military
      http://www.sacw.net/article3613.html

      =======================================
      10. INDIA: MANMOHAN SINGH’S ABJECT SURRENDER
      by A. G. Noorani
      =======================================
      It was the hysterical campaign by the electronic media that led the Prime Minister to change course on the India-Pakistan dialogue after the LoC hostilities
      http://tinyurl.com/anlpwza

      =======================================
      11. BOOKS
      =======================================

      (i)

      PAKISTAN: THE GARRISON STATE: ORIGINS, EVOLUTION, CONSEQUENCES (1947–2011)
      by Ishtiaq Ahmed

      Description
      This study seeks to solve the following puzzle: In 1947, the Pakistan military was poorly trained and poorly armed. It also inherited highly vulnerable territory vis-à-vis the much bigger India, aggravated because of serious disputes with Afghanistan. Defence and security were therefore issues that no Pakistan government, civil or military, could ignore. The military did not take part in politics directly until 1958, although it was called upon to restore order in 1953 in the Punjab province. Over the years, the military, or rather the Pakistan Army, continued to grow in power and influence, and progressively became the most powerful institution. Moreover, it became an institution with de facto veto powers at its disposal to overrule other actors within society including elected governments. Simultaneously, it began to acquire foreign patrons and donors willing to arm it as part of the Cold War competition (the United States), regional balance-of-power concerns (China), and ideological contestants for leadership over the Muslim world (Saudi Arabia, to contain Iranian influence). A perennial concern with defining the Islamic identity of Pakistan, exacerbated by the Afghan jihad, resulted in the convergence of internal and external factors to produce the ‘fortress of Islam’ self-description that became current in the early twenty-first century. Over time, Pakistan succumbed to extremism and terrorism within and was accused of being involved in similar activities within the South Asian region and beyond. Such developments have been ruinous to Pakistan’s economic and democratic development. The following questions are posed to shed further light:

      1. What is the relationship between the internal and external factors in explaining the rise of the military as the most powerful institution in Pakistan?
      2. What have been the consequences of such politics for the political and economic development in Pakistan?
      3. What are the future prospects for Pakistan?

      A conceptual and theoretical framework combining the notion of a post-colonial state and Harald Lasswell’s concept of a garrison state is propounded to analyse the evolution of Pakistan as a fortress of Islam.
      About the Author / Editor
      Ishtiaq Ahmed was born in Lahore on 24 February 1947. He received a PhD in Political Science from Stockholm University in 1986. He taught at Stockholm University from 1987 to 2007, and was then invited as Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Research Professor by the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, during 2007–2010. He is now Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University and Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He has published extensively on Pakistani and South Asian politics. His research interests cover fields as diverse as political Islam, ethnicity and nationalism, human and minority rights, and, indeed, partition studies.

      [The Oxford edition is for the whole world minus India. For India, it would be published soon under a different title: The Pakistan Military in Politics: Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947-2011) and the publishers are Amarlyiss, Delhi.]

      o o o

      (ii)

      THE LONG ROAD TO SOCIAL SECURITY
      Assessing the Implementation of National Social Security Initiatives for the Working Poor in India

      edited by K.P. Kannan and Jan Breman

      About the Book
      The Indian economy is characterized by a vast informal sector dominated by self-employed as well as hired labour without any employment and/or social security. This book is about social security, or the lack of it, for the labouring poor in this country. It is a critical study of the workings of two flagship national social security schemes initiated by the Government of India—the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (the national health insurance scheme).

      Fresh contributions made by senior scholars and researchers in the field, the essays provide rich data and analysis on social security schemes at work in five Indian states—Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Odisha, and Punjab. They are the outcome of local level studies capturing the conditions and responses of the labouring poor in these states. Some essays also assess the implementation of pension schemes for the aged, and cash benefits for single women and the handicapped introduced by the Central and state governments. The volume reveals the limitations of these schemes, both in terms of design and implementation in the current neoliberal setup in India. The studies combine macro- and micro-level as well as qualitative and quantitative data, which lend them a multidisciplinary quality.

      Contributors
      K.P. Aravindan • Jan Breman • Amarendra Das • N. Jagajeevan • Varinder Jain • Satyakam Joshi • K.P. Kannan • Rathi Kanta Kumbhar • T.P. Kunhikannan • Darshini Mahadevia • D. Narasimha Reddy • Sukhwinder Singh • Jaswinder Singh Brar • Sucha Singh Gill • G. Vijay

      Readership
      This volume will be of interest to students, teachers, and researchers of development studies, and to policymakers, rural and labour welfare institutions, NGOs, international agencies, social and media activists.

      About the Author
      K.P. Kannan is Chairman, Laurie Baker Centre for Habitat Studies, Trivandrum, India, and Visiting Professor, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi.

      Jan Breman is Professor Emeritus, Comparative Sociology, and Fellow, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


      INTERNATIONAL
      =======================================
      12. MALI NEEDS MORE THAN A CALL TO ARMS
      by Wole Soyinka
      =======================================
      (The Guardian - 1 February 2013)
      West Africa's al-Qaida clones are neither religious nor political. The world is facing viral mutations of the human psyche

      Timbuktu residents celebrate after Islamist militias, who imposed a harsh form of sharia law, fled as French-led troops advanced. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

      My mind, frankly, was on anything but peace as I entered the United Nations conference hall to participate in a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence event. On that same day – 21 September 2012 – yet another UN resolution had been released on the crisis in Mali. I felt overwhelmed by the ponderousness of the UN machine. That the UN, in association with African political leaders, recognised the danger posed by fundamentalist aggression to the Sahel and west Africa was not in doubt. The sense of urgency, however, lagged so far behind my own that it was a marvel I did not invade the conference hall with a banner, screaming: TAKE BACK MALI – YESTERDAY!

      The security council had already set out a "roadmap" for a west African force of intervention in the Sahel – it required the secretary general to report back on "progress" a few months later. This, it struck me, was an instruction not to the secretary general, but to the fundamentalist invaders to report to the world on the progress they would have made in destroying the ancient libraries of Timbuktu; amputating the arms of a few more Malians; and stoning to death deviationists from their "moral code".

      It was an invitation to Ansar Dine's allies Boko Haram to nudge a few more terminators into Nigeria; demolish a few more educational, cultural and religious institutions; eliminate what was left of the UN presence after its bomb attack on the UN HQ in Abuja; and continue its project of unleashing death and destruction in southern Nigeria.

      Before the conference, I had button-holed senior Nigerian officials at every opportunity. None needed any persuasion about the danger to west Africa if the fundamentalist menace were not contained, rapidly. President Jonathan himself, I was assured, was sensitive to the ramifications of Mali's northern takeover. So were a number of African heads of state. What was lacking was the practical preparedness for action. To any student of the fundamentalist temperament, this imperative of urgent response should be second nature. Africa's political leadership should be in a state of permanent consciousness – and responsiveness. We are not novices, after all, to the ruthless nature of fundamentalist insurgency, its territorial desperation and, above all, its contempt for humanity.

      Logically, Mali's neighbours should have taken the initiative – and within weeks of the expansion of what had been a local, opportunistic insurgency into the global arena. As it was, evidence accumulated that northern Mali had been infiltrated by al-Qaida fighters dislodged from Libya, Somalia and other former sanctuaries, as was acknowledged by the Nigerian government.

      Nevertheless, in the end, it took a former colonial power to seize the leadership. Humiliating? Not quite. This invasion was not just a Malian affair, or even an African one: it was a global challenge. It had become clear that a few more weeks of inaction would have empowered Mali's invaders and, by extension, the murderous campaign of Nigeria's own Boko Haram.

      Unlike most commentators, I confess that I find it impossible to regard these al-Qaida clones as either political or religious movements, even of the extremist kind. That their ability to recruit footsoldiers is a reflection on society's failures is not in doubt; nonetheless, it is naive to attribute this solely to unemployment, marginalisation and other social inequities. The world is facing viral mutations of the human psyche. Take Joseph Kony, the Christian warrior of Uganda whose idea of "resistance" is child conscription, abduction and rape, spiced with the slicing off of lips, ears and noses of unbelievers. People such as he belong to a special category that is part-criminal, part-psychopathic – hence my warning to that UN meeting:

      "Let us recall that it is not anti-Muslims who have lately desecrated and destroyed – and with such fiendish self-righteousness – the tombs of Muslim saints in Timbuktu … The orientation – backed by declarations – of these violators leaves us with a foreboding that the invaluable library treasures of Timbuktu may be next."

      The truth, alas, is that the science fiction archetype of the mad scientist who craves to dominate the world has been replaced by the mad cleric who can only conceive of the world in his own image, proudly flaunting James Bond's 007 credentials – licensed to kill. The sooner national leaders and genuine religious leaders understand this, and admit that no nation lacks its own dangerous lunatics, be they Ansar Dine of Mali, or Terry Jones of Florida, the earlier they will turn their attention to the issues truly deserving priority.

      The treasures of Timbuktu appear to have been saved from total destruction. Mali, finally, is being restored. For Africa's leadership, however, it is yet another wake-up call – and one that goes beyond a mere call to arms.

      =======================================
      13. FORMER SOVIET UNION: THE GULAG AFTER STALIN
      by Wilson Bell
      =======================================
      (Dissertation Reviews)
      A review of Khrushchev’s Gulag: The Evolution of Punishment in the Post-Stalin Soviet Union, 1953-1964, by Jeffrey S. Hardy.

      There can be no doubt that Gulag studies is a burgeoning sub-field of Soviet history. An annual, peer-reviewed journal with the title Gulag Studies first appeared in 2008, and just the last several years have seen numerous high profile publications on the topic, starting with Anne Applebaum’s Pulitzer-prize winning monograph (Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History. New York: Doubleday, 2003), and continuing to very recent publications including Fyodor Mochulsky’s memoir Gulag Boss (Fyodor Mochulsky, Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir. Trans. and edited by Deborah Kaple, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), Steven Barnes’ insightful re-examination of the Gulag (Steven A. Barnes, Death and Redemption: The Gulag and the Shaping of Soviet Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), the first oral history of the camps (Jehanne Gheith and Katherine Jolluck, Gulag Voices: Oral Histories of Soviet Incarceration and Exile. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and many others. Hardy adroitly carves out a niche for himself, however, by focusing on reforms to the Gulag system in the post-Stalin era, a topic that has received only limited scholarly attention. He takes seriously the notion that the reforms resulted in real changes, changes that were never completely rolled back even with the conservative shift of the early 1960s.

      Hardy himself has burst on the scene like few other young scholars. His articles have already appeared in Kritika and the Russian Review (and elsewhere), two of the field’s top journals. The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) just awarded his dissertation the prestigious Tucker-Cohen prize. And, finally, he is well into his second book project, an ambitious study of the Gulag in a comparative, global context.

      It is not difficult to understand the appeal of his work or its value as a dissertation. “Khrushchev’s Gulag” is in many ways a model of dissertation writing, with manageable chronological parameters (roughly 1953-64) and an engaging narrative arc, which begins with Stalin’s death, moves dramatically through a period of extensive reform, and ends with incomplete counter-reforms. Most importantly, however, each chapter brings something new and important to the historiography of the camps during this period.

      Hardy begins with a provocative comparison to the present-day U.S. penal system, citing the high incarceration rate in the United States as evidence that “imprisonment in America today bears more than fleeting similarity to the Soviet Gulag of the early 1950s” (p. 1). Comparisons with other prisons are made frequently throughout the dissertation, as Hardy argues that many Soviet penal practices—including forced labor and reeducation/rehabilitation—were also prevalent in most modern penal systems. His first chapter provides an overview of penal policy from Stalin’s death in 1953 until 1960, when a period of counter-reforms began. This chapter mostly serves as background information for the more in-depth analysis that follows, but nevertheless includes a wealth of information on the scale of the decrease in size of the Gulag, the attempts to reform the camp system by transferring its jurisdiction from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Ministry of Justice (and back again), the process of release, and the attempts by Nikolai Dudorov, Khrushchev’s appointee as head of Internal Affairs, to decentralize the system—attempts that were only partially successful.

      In Chapter 2, on the “mission” of the Gulag, Hardy notes that most modern penal systems have three goals related to economics, control, and reeducation, and that the relative weight of these goals can shift. Hardy discusses all three of these goals as they relate to the early Khrushchev era, arguing that the “orientation of change in this period was decidedly toward re-education,” (p. 126) although noting, rightly, that reeducation was difficult for the authorities to measure, resulting in persistent emphasis on economic production figures.

      Hardy examines the “Institutions of Oversight and Control,” (p. 131) in Chapter 3, focusing on attempts to make the local camp procurators—ostensibly representatives of the Procuracy (office of the Public Prosecutor)—independent of the camp administration, and with some success. In general, camp oversight (local procurators existed in the Stalin era, too) is a neglected topic in Gulag historiography, and this chapter is a fascinating discussion of the issue under Khrushchev. Aside from the Procuracy, Hardy also looks at commissions and sponsoring organizations, provincial and republican courts, local Party and Komsomol cells, labor unions, and even the family as other oversight institutions. He argues that these institutions served to “eliminat[e] the conditions of isolation and autonomy that defined the late Stalinist Gulag” (p. 176) and helped to reduce, drastically, instances of violence within the camps. These institutions are indicative, in other words, of the success of the Khrushchev-era reforms.

      Chapter 4, “Visiting the Gulag,” has been published in a revised form in The Russian Review (Jeffrey Hardy, "Gulag Tourism: Khrushchev's 'Show' Prisons in the Cold War Context, 1954–59." The Russian Review 71 (2012): 49-78). It is worth noting that some of the strengths of Hardy’s dissertation really shine through in this chapter. Here he links Khrushchev’s Gulag reforms to broader Cold War goals by focusing on how the authorities prepared certain camps and prisons for official visits from foreign delegations, hoping to create a favorable impression in the foreign news media. This chapter thus also illustrates Hardy’s persistent efforts to place the Gulag within a global context, and also represents an almost complete break from the historiography of the period, which focuses primarily on issues of resistance and release.

      Finally, Chapter 5 looks at the period from 1960-64, seen by Solzhenitsyn and others as a continuation of—or return to—the repressiveness of the Stalin-era system. Hardy rightly notes that while historians such as Miriam Dobson and Marc Elie have added considerable nuance to this characterization, the overall narrative of counter-reform remains intact (Miriam Dobson, Khrushchev’s Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime, and the Fate of Reform after Stalin. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009; and Marc Elie, “Khrushchev’s Gulag: The Soviet Penitentiary System after Stalin’s Death, 1953-64.” In Denis Kozlov and Eleonory Gilburd (ed.), The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture during the 1950s and 1960s. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, forthcoming). Hardy himself does not do away with the narrative altogether, either, but argues essentially that scholars have placed too much emphasis on repressive measures. As he writes, “one should not be surprised to still find oppression, corruption, confusion of aims, and disparities between rhetoric and reality, for such are the realities of virtually every system of incarceration.” (p. 224) In short, Hardy argues that many of the 1950s reforms remained in place even in the 1960s, and while there was certainly a renewed emphasis on incarceration as punishment during this period, this did not mean a return to Stalin-era repression, especially as “a few of the more onerous provisions of the 1961 statute [on Prisons and Collective Labor Colonies] were reversed in the following years, and Gulag administrators were often lax in applying the new strictures called for by the statute” (p. 259).

      As should be clear from this brief overview, Hardy’s dissertation is highly significant in relation to the historiography at almost very turn. “Khrushchev’s Gulag” mostly sidesteps the well-worn topics of the post-Stalinist Gulag, including the uprisings and strikes in such places as Norilsk and Vorkuta, and the reintegration of prisoners into Soviet society, except where these topics intersect with the issue of post-Stalin reforms. The decision not to focus on better-known topics serves an important function. Hardy can turn his attention almost exclusively to a topic that has not received significant attention in the literature: the actual process of reform, from debates at the upper echelons of the Party and the Gulag hierarchy, to the effects these reforms had on the ground. Most scholars dismiss Khrushchev’s efforts as superficial at best, especially given the shift in the early 1960s. But Hardy’s significant contribution is to take seriously this process of reform. Furthermore, his frequent comparative remarks place the Gulag in a global context of penal reform, and it is surprising how well Gulag practices of the Khrushchev era fit within broader discussions concerning penology.

      Wilson T. Bell
      Department of History
      Thompson Rivers University
      wbell@...

      Primary Sources

      Archive of the History of Political Repressions in the USSR (1918-1956), Memorial Society, collection 2: Memoirs and literary works
      Branch of the Estonian State Archive (ERAF), multiple collections
      State Archive Branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine (GDA MVS), multiple collections
      State Archive of Magadan Province (GAMO), collection R-23 (Dalstroi)
      State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), multiple collections

      Dissertation Information
      Princeton University. 2011. vii+298pp. Primary Advisor: Stephen Kotkin.

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      South Asia Citizens Wire
      Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), on
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      Asia. Newsletter of South Asia Citizens Web:
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      DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
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