Advice for Peace Missions to Pakistan

After the Mumbai massacre, 13 Indians went to Pakistan to promote peace and friendship.

The delegation includes eminent Indian personalities like former Indian diplomat and journalist Kuldip Nayar, renowned filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, social activist Swami Agnivesh, historian and academician Prof KN Panikar, former diplomat Salman Haider, human rights activist Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy, journalist Seema Mustafa, Sandeep social activist Pandey, social scientist Kamla Bhasin, etc. [Indian delegation in Pakistan to promote peace ]

The same set of people, in various permutations and combination, have been holding candles at Wagah for peace since India was a floating landmass in Pangea. Sometimes they forgot the candles, but people forgave them; there are not many stand up comics in India.

These peace missions tell us that Pakistanis too are mango men (aam aadmi) like us, thirsting for peace. These peace missions also tell us that we need more P2P (people to people) contact. But if such P2P contacts happen a lot, it would violate the first law of P2P which states that the total amount of Peace in the universe must be constant. To maintain equilibrium, alternate P2P events like the Mumbai Massacre and Kupwara happen.
Besides increasing entropy, there is another problem with P2P missions. The candle holders on this side meet candle holders on the other side. Over a platter of Kabab and Rooh Afza, they agree on everything, except on whether they should use scented candles or not.
What they should do instead is visit some mango men from Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab’s village. Then chat about a few things: weather, water issues, candles, and maybe, if time permits, on what they think of terrorist training camps.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ could have been inspired by the high regard shown to him by the people in his village.
Police sources have indicated that when Ajmal returned home from his training camp, he saw that he had risen in stature in the eyes of his fellow villagers and that they respected him.
So, when a group of trained cadre was allegedly presented the option of becoming fidayeen, seven youths raised their hands; Ajmal was among them. These seven, joined by three others who had already been part of combative action, came to Mumbai on November 26, 2008. [What motivated Ajmal ]

Looks like that Rooh Afza is not always sweet.
(Hat tip: Ranjith)

"Alleged" News Agency

Here are the pictures of the Pakistani terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kasab, roaming around in CST with a machine gun. Here is the video of their encounter with police in the railway station , captured on CCTV. Still the headline on CNN reads, Alleged Mumbai attacker seeks Pakistani help.
They say, a picture is worth a thousand words and a video clip, a gazillion words. Still CNN can’t get the important word right.

Hey Ram! Hey Sitaram!

After blaming (a) the country for creating disgruntled Muslims and (b) Hindu right, for the Mumbai terrorist attack, we have a new theory – this time from the folks who worship Joseph Stalin.

“What brought the terrorist outfits to our shores? With the Indo-US nuclear deal you are seen as an ally of the US, a strategic partner. There seems to be a total lack of appreciation of this thought from the government’s side,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. [CPM links Mumbai attacks to Indo-US nuke deal-India-The Times of India]

In the interview with the media the terrorists never mentioned the Indo-US nuclear deal. In the letter sent to the media too they never mentioned it. Going by Mr. Yechuri’s theory, if the Indo-US nuclear deal was not signed, the terrorists would be sitting in Muridke watching re-runs of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.
Maybe it had nothing to do with Indo-US nuclear deal and those misguided boys just came to eat some chaat and have a darshan of Shah Rukh Khan.

My op-ed in Mail Today: It's a war on India

(this op-ed was published in Dec 12 edition of Mail Today)
“There are a lot of very, very angry Muslims in India, The economic disparities are startling, and India has been very slow to publicly embrace its rising Muslim problem. You cannot put lipstick on this pig” – That was Christine Fair, senior political scientist and a South Asia expert at the RAND Corporation offering insta-advice on the Mumbai terrorist attacks. This  was printed on Nov 27th in the International Herald Tribune even before the identity of the terrorists were known.
It was not just Christine Fair who had such sound bites. Maria Mishra wrote in the Times, “The extreme poverty of many Muslims in India, whose status, according to a recent report, was below that of the “Untouchable” caste of Hindus, has increased frustration.” This untouchables meme was carried forward by Asra Q. Nomani in an Op-Ed in Los Angeles Times. Appearing on Larry King Deepak Chopra said, “We cannot, if we do not appease and actually recruit the help of this Muslim world, we’re going to have a problem on our hands.”
As per these experts, poverty of Indian Muslims, the institutional discrimination and lack of appeasement caused terrorists belonging to Laskhar-e-Taiba to take a boat from Karachi, land in Mumbai, and shoot indiscriminately at Indians and Westerners in railway stations, five star hotels, and hospitals.
The second category of experts had the Hindu right to blame. If only the Gujarat riots and demolition of Babri Masjid had not happened, such ill fate would not have fallen on India, they claimed. Most prominent among them, Martha Nussbaum, who wrote in an Op-Ed in Los Angeles Times about the Gujarat riots and the attacks on Christian churches skilfully ignoring other violent incidents in India like the rampage of the Congress party on Sikhs following Indira Gandhi’s assassination or the Naxalite terrorism rampant in many states.
These two theories fail to convincingly explain the Mumbai attacks: why did the terrorists murder Americans, Britons, and Israelis.? They also ignore the elephant in the room – the stated goals of Lashkar-e-Taiba. There is, hence, a need to balance these by certain obvious points which have been left out during the sound bite generation.


The image, presented by these both these categories of commentators, is of an India resembling the Europe of the crusades while it so far from the truth. The great Indian middle class is approximately 300 million, which means that about 700 million Indians are not doing so well. The entire Muslim population in India is around 150 million and so the oft repeated claim that Muslims alone are not getting the share of India’s prosperity does not stand.
India, the land of  contradictions, mocks generalizations. It is the country where Azim Premji can be one of the richest people, Shah Rukh Khan, one of the highest paid actors, and A. R. Rahman, the most sought after music composer. It also the country where Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam, who was responsible for India’s missile program and the 1998 nuclear tests can become the President of India. These people are never mentioned because it upsets pet theories.
The coalition government that is in power in Delhi currently consists of two Muslim parties – the Indian Union Muslim League, a party formed “with an object of achieving the constitutional rights of Muslims, other backward and minority people of India. ” and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen which means All India Council of United Muslims.
Muslims sensitivities have played an important role in Indian foreign policy since independence to the Iraq war. A profound example is the relationship with Israel. In 1947 Albert Einstein, who had declined an offer to be Israel’s President, wrote a letter to Prime Minister designate of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, asking for support in establishing a Jewish state. Nehru wrote back saying that he was aware of the Jewish suffering, but did not like the idea of building a nation on Palestinian land. He also wrote that due to the large Muslims minority and the support required from Arab and Muslim states in the fight against Pakistan, he could not support Israel.
Since the start of the Iraq war, there was pressure on India to send troops. The war, which was unpopular in India, was unanimously deplored by the Lok Sabha. Still President Bush spoke to Prime Minister Vajpayee about how much he would “love to have Indian troops in Iraq.” The nation, as well as the ruling NDA administration, was divided on this issue but after the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting in July 2003, India rejected the American request. In his statement India’s Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha mentioned “our concern for the people of Iraq, our long-standing ties with the gulf region as a whole” for staying away. In short, India did not want to be seen as an occupational force among Muslim nations.
As the dead bodies were being cleared from the Taj, Nariman House and CST, it became evident that supporting the Palestinian cause, showering Yasser Arafat with various Nehru/Gandhi awards, and keeping away from Iraq did not differentiate us from the Americans, British, and Israelis. Also, as terrorist sprayed bullets at CST and Metro Cinema, they did not exclude Muslims for whose cause they claimed they were fighting.
In an interview with a TV station, two Mumbai terrorists mentioned Gujarat and Babri Masjid, among a list of other events against which they were reacting. Though they were trying to sound like Indians, these terrorists were not desperate Indian Muslims, but members of a Pakistani terrorist group banned by India and United States. In a letter sent to the media, the terrorists stated they they were avenging the atrocities committed by Hindus against the Muslims since 1947, much before Babri Masjid and Gujarat, and would stop only after each incident has been accounted for.


To understand why any future Deepak Chopra style appeasement will fail against such terrorists, one has to look at “The Ideologies of South Asian Jihadi Groups”, written by Husain Haqqani, the current Pakistani Ambassador to United States.The section on Laskar-e-Taiba lists United States, Israel and India as enemies of Islam and their goal for jihad is to “to eliminate evil and facilitate conversion to and practice of Islam.” They would like to wrest control of not just a small part of India, but “All of India, including Kashmir, Hyderabad, Assam, Nepal, Burma, Bihar and Junagadh”, since they were all part of the Muslim empire.
While India is not involved in Iraq, it is actively involved in Afghanistan, not as an occupier, but as a partner financing irrigation projects in Northwest Afghanistan, power projects in Herat and Kabul and building roads like the one connecting Delaram on the Kandahar-Herat highway to Zaranj near the Iranian border. The name of an intelligence service which would be upset by the loss of strategic depth in Afghanistan due to Indian presence is left as an exercise to the reader.
This is a war against India by a brutal enemy with a nefarious goal – one which Christine Fair, Maria Mishra, Asra Q. Nomani and Martha Nussbaum have not emphasized in their articles. As for Deepak Chopra, we only hope that he writes a book thicker than “Why Is God Laughing?” so that we can use it to deflect bullets during the next terrorist attack.

A Commando and a Politician

The Commando: Sandeep Unnikrishnan

He was a Major in the Indian Army serving in the elite National Security Guards (NSG) who was killed in an encounter with terrorists in November 2008 Mumbai attacks. “Do not come up, I will handle them.” These were probably the last words which Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan told his men as he was hit by bullets while engaging terrorists inside the Taj Hotel, Mumbai during the Black Tornado operation.[Help For Linux: I Salute You Mumbai…. & Your Heroes]

The Politician: Kerala’s Chief Minister Achyutanandan (CPI-M)

A day after Sandeep’s father heaped scorn on the chief minister and Kerala’s home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who visited his Bangalore home on Sunday, Achuthanandan retorted that “not even a dog would have visited the house” had it not been the martyr’s. [Kerala CM insults slain Major’s dad-India-The Times of India]

Meanwhile in Maharashtra

Among the assorted horrors that we as a nation have been subject to over the past few days, one more was added as Ram Gopal Verma, Riteish Deshmukh (son of the Chief Minister) and Chief Minister were given a guided tour through the wreck of what used to be the Taj hotel. So let me get this straight. What is essentially still a crime scene has now been officially transformed into a “house of horrors” where VIPs can take their sons and influential filmi people for guided tours so that they may enjoy the vicarious chills that the glimpse of human misery gives some [The Way Forward at Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind]

Nov 26: We Knew, but..

Our coastal areas are coming under increased threat from terrorist groups, which have decided to use the sea route to infiltrate into India. They also plan to induct arms and ammunition through the sea routes” – that is Shivraj Patil addressing the directors general and inspectors general of police in November 2006. “We understand they (the terrorists) have been collecting information regarding location of various refineries on or near the Indian coastline… Some Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives are also being trained specifically for sabotage of Oil installations. There are plans to occupy some uninhabited islands off the country’s coastline to use them as bases for launching operations on the Indian coast…”[Govt knew about the threat, did nothing: Arun Shourie (email from Atanu)]

Of course, Shivraj Patil knows all these things. The problem is that the terrorists don’t tell him the the date and time. This time he almost caught the terrorists, but they did not wait for his handshake.