Archive for November, 2019

TONS #3 – Who is a terrorist?

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

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Day 98 of the continued brutal crackdown and in its response mass civil-disobedience, strikes in Indian occupied Kashmir.  Graphic novelist Malik Sajad’s Op-Art has been published by the New York Times.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists last week published an article by nuclear experts, including Alan Robock and Hans Kristensen that presents one of the many possible nuclear exchange scenarios in the near future when “each country will possess about 250 nuclear weapons. In the end, Pakistan will use all its weapons, while India will reserve 100 of them to defend against future attacks from China.”

They predict close to 10 crore deaths within weeks and”a nuclear winter would halt agriculture around the world and produce famine for billions of people… Also, ozone would be destroyed as the rising smoke absorbs sunlight and heats the stratosphere, allowing more ultraviolet light to reach the ground and creating negative effects that we have yet to study.”

On the legitimacy of nuclear weapons and deterrence, they write that “the existence of enormous arsenals of nuclear weapons during this time has not prevented terrorism or countless regional, territorial, and politically motivated military actions, taking in aggregate a terrible human toll. It would be foolhardy, of course, to suggest that an effective way to stop warfare would be to arm all nations with nuclear weapons as local deterrents. Contrarily, we understand, in the 21st century, that establishing mechanisms for conflict negotiation and resolution on a global international basis is the only safe and practical way to end the carnage. We are not Pollyannas. But it should be the mission of every concerned citizen, particularly those in positions of influence, to work toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, within the context of global peace and security mechanisms”

The threat of nuclear weapons (besides, only, climate breakdown) poses the question of cosmic significance: will organized life survive? No terrorist organization or armed insurgency comes anywhere close to posing such a threat.

Nissim Mannathukkaren in The Hindu writes that, “an analysis done by political satirist Ramit Verma showed that of the 202 popular prime-time news debates across four major Hindi channels till October 19, at least 79 were about attacking Pakistan; 66 about attacking the Opposition; 36 about praising the Prime Minister and the ruling party; and 14 about Ram Mandir. There was not a single debate on the economy, unemployment, education, health, gender, farmers or the environment. This is simply staggering by any measure.” He could have added the menacing nuclear threat to the list.

Mannathukkaren also points out that “in 2018, terrorism/militancy killed 400 civilians and security personnel. Compare this to the fact that 1,02,677 children (under five) died from easily preventable diarrhoeal diseases in 2017, or that 8,75,659 children (under five) were killed by communicable, neonatal and nutritional diseases. Or consider that while the number of terrorism/militancy-related deaths have come down substantially to around 500 from 2011 onwards, the burden of deaths from diseases like cardiovascular ones has drastically increased from about 13 lakh in 1990 to 26.32 lakh in 2017.”

Yet in the 2018-2019 Union Budget of India, we spent Rs 1,14,915 crore on Rural Development, Rs 41,765 crore on Housing and Urban Affairs, Rs 54,600 crore on Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Rs 71,000 crore on Road Transport and Highways, Rs 22,357 crore on Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Rs 85,010 crore on Human Resource Development.

While we spent Rs 4,04,365 crore on “defense”.

The monster that is the Indian state is swallowing up its own population for the health of the war machine, with 10 crore life under its fingers, it is one of the biggest terrorist organization in world history. Kashmiris are bravely resisting and fighting this mammoth.

TONS #2: Lesson in Doublethink

Monday, November 4th, 2019


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All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your memory, “Reality control” they called it; in Newspeak, “doublethink”. – Orwell (1984)

On Oct 31st, PTI in its report on Modi’s “National Unity Day” speech noted that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that Patel’s dream of a united India had been realised.” Modi further goes on to glorify colonialism in his speech. But did Patel dream of a “united India” with Jammu and Kashmir?

Patel was not only open to the idea of parts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir to become part of Pakistan but also to give up parts of Indian occupied Kashmir to Pakistan on the condition of keeping control over regions of strategic interests.

“The Indian leadership was even open to the possibility of relinquishing its claim on parts of the State under Pakistani control. In 1948 Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s home minister, considered the possibility of partitioning Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Patel suggested that India would be willing to give up parts of Kashmir where local sentiment was pro-Pakistan, so long as India could retain areas it considered essential to its strategic interests”. (Daniel Haines, Indus Divided, pg 63.)

But in the unending exercise of “victories over our memory”, these uncomfortable facts must go into the memory hole. That there was a time when India’s extreme hawks were open to the idea of India without Kashmir does not fit well with the interests of the current holders of power – so the past must change to secure the future. But even Patel wasn’t open to the idea of a free Kashmir or interested in listening to what people in Kashmir wanted – just rearranging the region’s strategic role in the newly formed State’s plan for regional supremacy.

The article further adds, ““centuries ago, India was united by Chanakya (the ancient philosopher who is said to be the adviser of emperor Chandragupta Maurya), and after that Sardar Patel did it,” Modi said”.

The term “unity” also has a technical definition: Annexed or hold by force or coercion. The “feeling of unity” is the feeling of fear or helplessness and those unsatisfied with this unity are the “national security threats”. And, if an unfriendly state, like China,  engages in act of uniting some people its called “aggression”.

The same day IANS posted an interview with Air Marshal (retd.) C. Hari Kumar of Western Air Command “supervised the planning and successful execution of the IAF strikes in Balakot.” The piece raises many questions. Let’s take the validity of “successful execution”.

India claimed that in response to the 14 Feb suicide bombing attack in IOK that killed 40 CRPF personals, it bombed the JeM launchpad in Balakot, Pakistan. Indian government officials first claimed that around 300 “terrorists” have been killed in the attack, while Amit Shah maintained a conservative 250 estimate. This was soon refuted by reporters on the ground from Associated Press and later by the European Space Imagining agency. In fact, according to some western military analysts, JeM camp had been abandoned in 2005 after a major earthquake. IANS’s repetition of the state’s official line is yet another victory over our memory.