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What Modi has not recognized about Pakistan

Thorough Pro

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A nice article on Modi's failed policy on Pakistan.

A friend of mine from Pakistan, who literally spends his time 24x7 attempting to build a constructive relationship between his country and ours, was in Delhi the morning after Rajyavardhan Rathore and Manohar Parrikar had displayed, if not their 56-inch chests (which they do not have, whatever their hashtag), but, at any rate, the hair on their chests, in an infantile effort to prove that if we can intrude a few kilometres into the wilderness of the west Myanmar jungle, Pakistan (and China) had better watch out.

The Chinese have dismissed this childishness with the contempt it deserves. Pakistan has reacted with outrage. After all, that part of China where Rathore and Parrikar are threatening to ingress is where, as Pandit Nehru memorably and accurately put it, a region "where not a blade of grass grows". Much of the India-Pakistan border, unlike the India-Myanmar border, is heavily populated. Little wonder the Pakistani reaction has been so sharp.

My friend shook his head sadly and remarked that in the face of Modi's hostility, space was rapidly shrinking for Pakistan's peace constituency, which, under Manmohan Singh's regime had grown exponentially, notwithstanding 26/11. The tone now, he said, is being set by the Jama'at-e-Islami, a party that has never won more than a couple of seats in any election but disproportionately influences public opinion when animosity is provoked.

Coincidentally, the week that saw the rumpus was witness also to the launch in India of Christophe Jaffrelot's magnum opus, The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience. Jaffrelot, French by nationality but with academic positions at the Sorbonne, in London and in Princeton, is increasingly being recognized as the West's foremost scholar of politics and society in contemporary India and Pakistan. This work is 700 pages long but to understand its essence, it is not necessary to go beyond the three words of its sub-title: Instability and Resilience. No one needs to be educated on Pakistan's chronic instability, but Jaffrelot's innovative angle lies in also recognizing Pakistan's amazing "resilience".

Jaffrelot, in another work, spiritedly described the ethos of Pakistan as "Nationalism without a Nation"! Here he argues that notwithstanding all the problems of nation-building that have beset Pakistan since its conception and, increasingly, since its sudden and blood-soaked inception as an independent state in 1947, unlike numerous other emerging nations, particularly in Africa, the Idea of Pakistan has repeatedly trumped fissiparous tendencies, especially since Pakistan assumed its present form in 1971. And its institutions have withstood repeated buffeting that almost anywhere elsewhere would have resulted in the State crumbling. Despite numerous dire forecasts of imminently proving to be a "failed state", Pakistan has survived, bouncing back every now and then as a recognizable democracy with a popularly elected civilian government, the military in the wings but politics very much centre-stage, linguistic and regional groups pulling and pushing, sectarian factions murdering each other, but the Government of Pakistan remaining in charge, and the military stepping in to rescue the nation from chaos every time Pakistan appeared on the knife's edge. The disintegration of Pakistan has been predicted often enough, most passionately now that internally-generated terrorism and externally sponsored religious extremism are consistently taking on the state to the point that the army is so engaged in full-time and full-scale operations in the north-west of the country bordering Afghanistan that some 40,000 lives have been lost in the battle against fanaticism and insurgency.

"And yet," as was said on a more famous occasion, "it works!" Pakistan and her people keep coming back, resolutely defeating sustained political, armed and terrorist attempts to break down the country and undermine its ideological foundations. That is what Jaffrelot calls its "resilience". That resilience is not recognized in Modi's India. That is what leads the Rathores and the Parrikars to make statements that find a certain resonance in anti-Pakistan circles in India but dangerously leverage the impact on Pakistani public opinion of anti-India circles in Pakistan. The Parrikars and the Saeeds feed on each other. It is essential that both be overcome.

But even as there are saner voices in India than Rathore's, so also are there saner - much saner - voices in Pakistan than Hafiz Saeed's. Many Indians would prefer a Pakistan overflowing with Saeeds to keep their bile flowing. So would many Pakistanis prefer an India with the Rathores overflowing to keep the bile flowing. At eight times Pakistan's size, we can flex our muscles like the bully on the school play field. But Pakistan's resilience ensures that all that emerges from Parrikar and Rathore are empty words. India is no more able than Pakistan is to destroy the other country.

Except by resort to nuclear weapons that will destroy both. Musharraf bluntly recognized this when he threatened nuclear war in response to Parrikar's boasts. Fortunately, most Pakistanis dismiss their Musharrafs as hollow vessels making the most noise. There is, nevertheless, a real danger - for it would take only one madman, a Muslim or a Hindu Dr. Strangelove, to turn forever the world's most populated region into a nuclear wasteland.

We must settle, not aggravate, our differences. Of course, there are formidable hurdles in the way. But no more formidable than between the West and the Communists in Korea or Vietnam, or Cuba or Nicaragua, or apartheid South Africa or Namibia / Angola / Mozambique, or Iran and the US, or Iran and Saudi Arabia, or Syria, or Palestine. In all these cases, including with the Taliban in Qatar, the negotiating table is the last field of battle.

We have been to war with Pakistan three times in seven decades. Skirmishes have been almost continuous. The rhetoric against each other is high-pitched. The trumpets of hate have prevailed over the pleading for peace. Yet, if Kissinger and Le Duc Tho could talk while blasting each other to smithereens, or Kennedy and Khrushchev negotiate their way out of the Cuban missile crisis, what stands in the way of India having the courage to trade charges face-to-face with Pakistan rather than oratorically firing from the shoulders of the Rathores and the Parrikars?

The ending of hostility has never been a condition precedent for effective negotiations. Our insistence on the desired outcome being guaranteed before we even begin to talk is not a sign of strength but a form of cowardice. A real 56-inch foreign policy does not consist of dramatically inviting the enemy to the swearing in, then swearing that talks will be resumed, and then swearing at him for following a practice with the Hurriyat that has been par for the course for the last 15 years. However, that, alas, has been our Pakistan policy in the first year of the Modi government.

I am ashamed, not proud, of a Prime Minister who ostentatiously reads a journal when the Pakistanti PM is passing behind him on his way to the podium at SAARC. A truly courageous Prime Minister would grasp the proffered opportunity and say what he has to say face-to-face, not thunder from an isolated bunker, as Modi and his cohort have been doing. Traipsing around the world is no substitute for earnestly tackling India's most stubborn foreign policy problem - Pakistan.

(Mani Shankar Aiyar is a Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha.)

What Modi Has Not Recognised About Pakistan
 

HariPrasad

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Ohhhhhhh No, It is Mani once again.

First he insulted Modi so many time, He called him Blood man, Water man, Chaiwala, He told that chaiwala can not be the prime minister, if he want to sell tea, i will arrange a tea stall. After talking all nonsense and uncivilized, now he is doing his duty by writting this type of article.
 

Thorough Pro

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If you focus on what's written rather than "who's" written it, you might appreciate the mature logic.


Ohhhhhhh No, It is Mani once again.

First he insulted Modi so many time, He called him Blood man, Water man, Chaiwala, He told that chaiwala can not be the prime minister, if he want to sell tea, i will arrange a tea stall. After talking all nonsense and uncivilized, now he is doing his duty by writting this type of article.
 

HariPrasad

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How many of you know he has enjoyed Hotels facility and hospitality of ISI world wide including US. ISI pay for his trip and expenses?

If you focus on what's written rather than "who's" written it, you might appreciate the mature logic.
Logic of you guys is beyond our comprehension. Be happy. You won't find much of such articles.
 

trueINDIANpatriot

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I hate congress for many reasons...this Mani is one among that...:agree:feel Dig Vijay is better than this "mature-educated" thug..:crazy:
Damn I wasted my precious data by even writing his name...
 
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Styx

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Pakis need to realize that mani etc and the leftists are history, it's going to be all Modi for the next 9 years at least, and after that Amit Shah sarkar for another 10

no point wasting your mani on feeding these guys kebabs ;)
 

Roybot

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tl;dr Pakistanis are a resilient nation so we should just let them do whatever they want and not retaliate.

What a cowardly attitude. No wonder India has been such an underachiever with these "leaders" "leading" the country.
 

Rau

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tl;dr Pakistanis are a resilient nation so we should just let them do whatever they want and not retaliate.

What a cowardly attitude. No wonder India has been such an underachiever with these "leaders" "leading" the country.
What can you expect from such boot-licker.....
 

kakathiya

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A LETTER TO MR. AIYAR
Dear Mr. Aiyar,
I don’t know if I can even address you, as I have not studied in St. Stephen’s, I was born in a small nursing home in Tirunelveli, my great grandmother sold Idlis to make ends meet, my father-in-law was just a teacher, my husband didn’t have shoes when he went for his first job interview, I had just two pairs of clothes while growing up, I studied upto my 2nd standard in a school that no longer exists, Krishnan’s school also is no longer in existence, my father wrote accounts in a temple so he could fund his education and eat one meal, both my father and father-in-law started working at the age of 14… My husband and I currently live in a suburb of Delhi called Gurgaon, I am very worried if you won’t let me be here because we don’t “fit”, we aren’t from Doon school, Tripos college besides being from St. Stephens, we also have not been in the Indian Foreign Service for 26 years and we certainly don’t count Nehruji’s grandson amongst our friends, I don’t think we can speak English as well as you do, we will have to manage in Tamil, the local language and your forgotten mother tongue, in your constituency, Mayiladuthurai.

Some things that we might have in common, either your friend’s family or your daughters would have used a L’Oreal shampoo, my husband Krishnan was part of the team that launched L’Oreal in India… Hmmm, I am racking my brains for some other connection. Krishnan started his career with Cipla, the Indian pharmaceutical company, setup on the behest of Gandhiji, the original Mahatma, not your friend’s father and you might have taken some medicine that they manufactured, but I doubt that. So we will continue to worry about not being in the same league.

Mr. Aiyar, did you know that our second prime minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri was almost adopted by a milkman ? I guess by your standards he should not have become the PM, but should have supplied milk perhaps to all the Congress party workers. Mr. Aiyar, am sure you have travelled to Uruguay as you are a well travelled person, so I would like you to read about their president on this link

World’s poorest president..

Shocking, how can a former revolutionary become the President of a country and on top of that remain poor?? Giving away 90% of his earnings – maybe if he was in India, you would have wanted him to grow the vegetables that Congress party workers could eat.

Mr. Modi unfortunately didn’t know that if he sold tea in his younger days, he should have just continued doing that and not ever dream of being the PM of this country. Forgive him, Mr. Aiyar, he didn’t study in Doon school, he didn’t serve in the IFS, so he doesn’t know the protocol – that only one family, that of your esteemed friend is deserving of being the PM of this country because they don’t sell tea in their growing up years, they study in Doon school, and they have the ability to reduce a Cambridge educated man into a puppet PM, they also marry into families that are mysterious, they have fat Swiss bank accounts, and well, they probably don’t drink tea even. Mr. Modi, did you get it ? Don’t worry Mr. Aiyar, someone will translate this blog into Hindi or I can even, as I speak and write Hindi very well, it is my first language. I wrote it in English so you would understand. Mr. Modi understanding or not doesn’t matter, he after all can just supply tea to Congress party workers.

Mr. Aiyar, a question for you, can a person like me, who didn’t sell tea, or milk or any other food product, dream of being the Prime Minister or President of India ? Now that I think of it, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, one of our well known Presidents, also is from the non-existent school that Krishnan studied in and so is President V V Giri. Guess, both were mistakes according to you.

Now Mr. Aiyar, if you still drink coffee that your forefathers drank at home, smell it, and find the first flight out to a country of your choice, because Mr. Modi will sell tea to the Congress party at a premium and from 7, Race Course Road as the PM of India soon, if not him, some other “chai wallah” or “jhadu wali” will be the prime minister, not the twit that your friend had for a son !! Just get out – we have had enough of your snobbery, and your corrupt party’s ways and really enough of your friend’s family. Maybe they can sell Cappuccino in Italy and try becoming the PM there and leave India to tea drinking and tea selling Indians.

With best regards
Bindu

Incase anyone was wondering which Mr. Aiyar I refer to in this letter, it’s Mani Shankar Aiyar.


Mani Shanker Iyer - Stupid, Arrogant, Shameless, Thankless
Mani Shanker Aiyer is the mouth piece of Congress. Whatever he says are considered to be the view point of the party. Nobody in the party dare to speak against him. The congress President and Vice President expresses their view points through Shri Mani Shanker Aiyer. His comment on the attack on the daily in Paris has spilled out the mindset of the party. Mr. Aiyer stated that the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as an "obvious backlash" to the "war on terror". He also stated that "there is no war in which the enemy does not hit back and what we are seeing is that terror groups are hitting back in the war against terror that was unleashed after the 9/11 attacks." These statements envisages the sympathy of Aiyer in support of the terrorists. The day is not far when we will come to know that Aiyer has betrayed this country for the sake of Pakistan.

While he was justifying the attack on the journalists and the media house and talking against the freedom of expression, he never said anything like that when there were incidents of hurting the sentiments of Hindu community through pictures, articles, cinemas, et al. The response of congress in the incident of a suspected terror boat from Pakistan carrying terrorists to India to strike like 26 / 11, was just a fuel to Pakistan to deny and blame India. Congress is well known for its comments in favour of Pakistan. The morons like Mani Shanker Aiyer was always more than happy to do it. The statement of Aiyer is to be condemned strongly and he has to be shown the doors of exit from the political arena and stop him from commenting against this country in which he is living shamelessly and thanklessly.

Mani Shanker Aiyer can be equated with former Uttar Pradesh minister and BSP leader Haji Yakub Qureshi who has today sought to defend the terror attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying whoever shows disrespect to the Prophet will invite death and announcing Rs 51 crore reward for French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo attackers. This kind of statement by Aiyer is made when, even Muslim community has condemned the attack. The imam of the Drancy mosque in the northern suburbs of Paris, Hassen Chalghoumi, addressed the shooters as "barbarians". "They want terror, they want fear. We must not give in. I hope the French will come out in solidarity and not against the Muslim minority in Europe," he told AFP.



Mani Shankar Aiyar was born 10th April 1941and is a former Indian diplomat turned politician. He is a member of the Indian National Congress. He has served as the Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, as the Union Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. He was also the first Minister for the Development of the North East Region. (DONER). He was defeated from Mayiladuthurai in 2014 Lok Sabha election where he finished fourth and lost his deposit. A prominent leader and many times minister getting defeated and losing the deposit gives the picture of the person's reputation in the constituency.

Mani Shanker Aiyer known for his stupidity and arrogance, is a spineless chaprasi in the kitchen backyard of the first familly of Congress. He is a person with no dignity or self respect except to just do anything to please the first familly of the party. The very acts of this moron of the party gives the real picture of the person.

As the Cabinet Minister in the latter part of 2004, Aiyar was quoted as saying at the Cellular Jail there that there was no difference between the radical right-wing revolutionary Veer Savarkar, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, as they shared a 'divisive' philosophy.
According to Amar Singh, Aiyar insulted Mulayam Singh Yadav and remarked: "Oh that bloody Mulayam -- he looks just like me. It could be because my father visited Uttar Pradesh at some point. Why don't you check with Mulayam's mother."

Late Shri Bal Thackeray, quoted journalist Dhiren Bhagat's book the Contemporary Conservative and accused Aiyer that "when Indians were donating money and jewellery - even sweaters - to sustain India's fight against the Chinese in 1962, Mani Shankar Aiyar, as secretary of the Cambridge unit of Communist party, was busy collecting funds for Chinese soldiers".

In the Rajya Sabha in August 2013, Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal accused Aiyar of being a Pakistani spy, when he refused to discuss the murder of 5 Indian soldiers by the Pakistani Army and instead suggested discussing rising gas prices. Aiyar reacted sharply and tried to assault Agarwal.

The above incidents gives the correct picture of Shri Mani Shanker Aiyer. His conducts were arrogant and does not match with the educational background he has. He is a shame for the institution where he has done his education. There are many instances where his true culture has come out.

During the election trail the same arrogant and stupid Aiyer stated, at the venue of the AICC meeting “I promise you in 21st Century Narendra Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country. …But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him”.

He is never concerned about this country, instead he always took every opportunity to help and support Pakistan which is waging proxy war against India. Recently a delegation comprising of 12 Pakistani parliamentarians has visited on an initiative taken by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency and their visit to Parliament House was arranged by Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar. These parliamentarians who are brought by Mr Aiyer has made derogatory statements against India in the soil of India. This is what Mani Shanker Aiyer is.

By Premji

 

kakathiya

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India's Worst TV Panellists

If you haven’t watched this particular episode of the CNN show ‘Crossfire’ I recommend that you do. It was the American version of Left and Right which made the unfortunate mistake of inviting film actor and satirist Jon Stewart as guest. Stewart not only exposed the hacks but accused the hosts of dividing the country with their mindless ‘theatre’ and ridiculed them so badly that the show had to be pulled off the air. That is the unfortunate truth. There is a great difference between good debates and ‘theatre’. And it is always easier to imitate evil than it is to replicate the good. The Indian TV channels and their daily debates are mostly nothing more than absurd theatre. Usually, the panellists on the show are picked not for their independence but for their political persuasions. Kicking and screaming, talking over each other, hurling insults is the kind of theatre that our media dishes out as ‘shows’ rather than sensible debates that can unravel facts. There are panellists like Soli Sorabjee or Harish Salve who hold strong views but express these with decency and respect for others. Not so the usual suspects who are handpicked for the divisive agenda of the media.
The Lokpal bill is obviously the flavour of the week. Far from discussing the contents of the draft bill or its clauses our media crooks were busy helping the govt divert attention by focussing excessively on the quotas and the comedy of Laloo Yadav. It is only Arvind Kejriwal from TeamAnna who talked about specific clauses in a presser. So, on December 22 I asked fellow tweeple who they thought were the worst TV panellists and the response was near unanimous when it came to naming those.
Thanks to the responses of Mark Tully, the renowned British journalist, who is as Indian as you can get stated it best:Primetime debates an excuse for doing cheap TV: “Well, as someone who is sometimes on these panels, frankly I am amazed that there are so many of them. There is a stage army of people really who come on to these panels….And I think this is largely an excuse for doing television on the cheap. I personally believe that we should have other ways of presenting the news, discussing the news than endless panel discussions…”. So here are India’s worst panellists. (They are listed randomly and not in any ranking)


Vinod Sharma – He’s the political editor of Hindustan Times. Yes, the one with that permanent smirk on his face which is eerily similar to the smirk that child molester S.P.Rathore sports. His boss is a Congress MP in Rajya Sabha and his newspaper itself is seen as a Congress mouthpiece. If he is on a panel you need not have a spokesperson from the Congress at all. At best, he will grudgingly concede the gaffes of the govt but will quickly come around to defend them by any and all spurious arguments.


Mani Shankar Aiyar - Foul-mouthed, intemperate and vicious he probably considers it a goal scored if he manages to infuriate viewers. From his comment about Ajay Maken’s command of the English language to the most recent diatribe against Anna Hazare he is the best example of ‘theatre of the absurd’. As substitute for genuine argument he lately asks Anna to go back to Ralegan Siddhi and flog drunkards. And in intended pun he thought it was funny to state that we have heard the “Annas and paises” enough. Personal attacks and insults are his favourite form of healthy debate.



Teesta Setalvad – Think Gujarat and she will crawl out from anywhere and on every channel you can think of with that permanent scowl of hers. She is the favourite of our TV channels when it comes to bashing Narendra Modi and when required also trash the BJP. Not surprising, considering that she was funded by the likes of the Congress and CPM to campaign against them. The SIT that investigated Gujarat riots is on record stating the affidavits she engineered were mostly fake and her own associates have now turned against her. And because she is so tainted it makes her all the more endearing for channels like NDTV andCNN-IBN. The agendas match! Has sought anticipatory bail and none less than the Supreme Court has rapped her on the knuckles for frivolously attempting to internationalise what are matters for Indian courts. Of course, for all her services the Congress govt honoured her with a Padma Shri award.


Renuka Chaudhury – Whosoever coined the phrase “insult to intelligence” must have pictured and heard this woman light years ago. If sheer cacophony were to win awards in a debate she would have a roomful. And, of course, the nation owes it to her for enlightening everyone that Rahul Gandhi isn’t a “parrot”! I still maintain that if the Congress wants to lose a battle or a debate or cut a sorry comic figure Renuka Chaudhury is any day a reliable bet. To her goes the credit of reducing of any debate to bickering and throwing her ‘weight’ around. I doubt if you would want her as a neighbour, one as shrill and senseless as her.


Shoma Choudhury – She sure gets paid for ‘telling the truth’ as her rag called ‘Tehelka’ proudly claims as their tagline. Mind you, she is not your kicking and screaming types but an intelligent smooth-talker who will find great malleability with facts. Recently crossed swords withSubramanian Swamy on a channel discussing his controversial article in DNA for which his courses were cancelled at Harvard. She suggested the article was hate-speech but did not directly confirm if she had read it thoroughly when Swamy asked her. A rare one who can form opinions on people without reading what they have written. Her magazine is another one that resurrected itself after the UPA came to power in 2004. Her greatest moment must have been ‘THINK’, but I wish she would do that before speaking.


Sanjay Nirupam – Last heard he is STILL a member of the Congress. Imagine a thousand empty vessels tumbling down a rocky mountain cliff and the sounds they would make. There, you have Nirupam! Loud-mouth who considers TV debates as election campaigns. What more can one say about him than cite Ashutosh of IBN7 who recently asked him to leave a debate if he could not tolerate the views of others. Maybe he should attend SriSri’s AOL courses or Dr.Phil’s art of being subtle. But knowing Nirupam he is not likely to learn new tricks in a hurry.

Tushar Gandhi – He is not a frequent traveller on TV debates but springs up every time there is a discussion of Mahatma Gandhi. You would not be wrong in thinking he isGandhi’s gift to God. At other times, he is the sole authority on what is “Gandhian” and what is not. Didn’t think too much when he considered selling out rare images of Gandhi to a corporate entity for commercial campaigns. To his credit, he is soft-spoken, mild mannered and not as belligerent as some of the other panellists that are frequently on display. But the world would be better off if he weren’t dishing out too many sermons in the name of Gandhi. Lately, this nation is getting a bit tired and restless with all the other Gandhis.



Nandita Rao – It is one thing to be kicking and screaming. But it gets worse when you have a bad voice too. The shrill lawyer is a favourite of CNN-IBN when it comes to Anna bashing. How she came to be a panellist on TV shows is a mystery that only CNN-IBN can answer but I’m sure quite a few strings, nay ‘ropes’, must have been pulled to get her there. Thankfully, her appearances have reduced and one hopes it stays that way. It is fair to oppose Anna and team on issues but to take a war-like, belligerent approach to debates is what makes up Nandita Rao. But she provides the kind of theatre that our TV channels desperately seek. Logic or sense be damned!


Manish Tiwari – He is one of my all-time favourite panellists. If he is on a show he is bound to leave you spell-bound with some quote or the other. And he’s a lawyer too. His comment “Corrupt from head to toe” about Anna Hazare was made as a spokesman of the Congress and not as a panellist. Irritating, belligerent he could easily be the saint of lost causes. Since that comment on Anna he was gracious enough to apologise only to goof up again in parliament. Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition, had to caution him with advice on being a first-time parliamentarian and to learn decency. Will he learn? Time will tell!

There were other names suggested like Suhel Seth, Mahesh Bhatt, Chandan Mitra and more and all of them deserve a place in this post but the list could go on and on and on.
Here is something that is disturbing about these panellists. Umesh Aggarwal, a documentary film maker, who has been exposing the underbelly of the media had this to say: “Every aspect of news be it political, business, sports or entertainment had a price tag. Even panel discussions on an important national issue were ‘fixed”. Guests were invited to give the discussion a particular slant. Selection of guests wasn’t dictated by the editorial policy of the group but there were other considerations”. That says everything about India’s worst panellists.

Mani Shankar Aiyar calls Congress a 'circus', blames Rao for Babri demolition
NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has said that former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao was to be blamed for the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid, as the act occurred when he was in office.

Talking to media persons in New Delhi on Sunday, Aiyar said that Rao had a conflict with Congress party over secularism.

"He (Narasimha Rao) was the one who was responsible for what happened in the Babri Masjid, he proved that death is not a necessary pre-condition for rigor mortis to set in. It was the biggest disaster that overtook this country because the rift valley in politics is not between right wing economic policies and left wing economic policies, it is over the nature of our nationhood. Are we a secular nation? An inclusive nation? Or are we any new nation?" he added.
He said that years ago during his Ram Rahim yatra (rally) Rao had told Aiyar that he did not understand his definition of secularism, as the former Prime Minister believed that India was a Hindu country.

The demolition of the 16th century Babri Mosque by Hindu zealots on December 6, 1992 had triggered widespread religious riots across the country.

Aiyar also said to be a part of this party, one has to be a part of the circus that goes on at the Congress committee office.

Aiyar said: "We all are there and a kind of fair is held at the 24, Akbar road and if you want to be a part of the Congress, then you will have to join that circus, then only you can be a part of it. Sometime you achieve success and sometime you may fail but you always keep faith that one or the other day, you will definitely achieve something."

Aiyar said unlike other parties, which are based on caste, position, state, language or society, Congress has people who hold different viewpoints and live harmoniously with faith in variety.

"This is a party where people of different opinion can live harmoniously but from that, there is one base point on which they always stand and it is that we have faith in variety and we celebrate variety. We feel very happy if we have various varieties of people between us and this is a truth about our party other parties are formed based either on caste, position, state, language or society. But Congress is one party, which is the mirror of the country," said Aiyar.

Talking about the new economic policies, Aiyar said the pattern of economic policies adopted by the government has resulted in 8 per cent growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 0.8 per cent growth of poverty.

"The Congress party has wrestled with the question of the new economic policy in such a manner that those who have serious reservations about it, people like me, are marginalized. The party as a whole is behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh . I don't know what the question you are asking is? The fact of the matter is that what were concerns of the Congress party from the days of Mahatma Gandhi onwards continue to be for 80 per cent of our people, the concerns today. This pattern of economic growth that we have adopted has resulted in 8 per cent growth of GDP and 0.8 per cent growth of poverty," said Aiyar.

Aiyar said the economic growth pattern has resulted in country's position to remain at 134 from the last 17 years in United Nations Human Development Index

"This economic growth pattern has resulted in India's position on the UN Human Development Index which was 134 in 1994, 17 years later, being in 2011, exactly there 134," he added.

Mani-Talk: The Controversy About My Remarks On Charlie Hebdo Attack
(Mani Shankar Aiyar is a Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha.)

I was on my way to the airport to catch a flight to Bahrain, where I had been invited to speak on the one hundredth anniversary of Gandhiji's return to India from South Africa, when my family rang to say that the usual suspect had gone bonkers on his TV channel lambasting me for something I had said to a TV agency earlier in the day in connection with the terrorist attack in Paris. As I hold this hysterical humbug in the uttermost contempt, I have not bothered to find out what the anchor was screaming about, but I do believe that in justice to myself, I should clarify my position to readers who may have been misled by what he has distorted and misrepresented.

I was as horrified as you to hear of 12 lives being lost in the armed assault on a Paris satirical weekly for their repeatedly sneering at the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and running cartoons denigrating him and the religion he has brought to hundreds of millions of families the world over. That such horror at terrorism was not just my reaction as a non-Muslim to the Paris outrage, but widely shared by Muslims too was brought home to me by a statement issued by a collegium of Imams and preachers of Bahrain who said: "Violence and extremism have always been - and still are - the biggest enemies of Islam, and contravene its teachings, tolerance and genuine precepts. All countries should take unified stances against terrorism. We call for the need to devise a unified international strategy to combat its forms and manifestation everywhere."


That precisely reflects the position taken by the Dar-ul-Uloom. It precisely reflects my own personal position. To go by the Congress President's reaction, it also reflects my party's position: "The Congress President, Smt Sonia Gandhi, has condemned the cowardly and dastardly terror attack on Media in Paris. Shocked at the audacity of the gruesome act, Smt Gandhi said that extremism and intolerance will never be able to curb freedom of expression and will only result in perpetuation of violence."

What then is the controversy about? It is about my describing the incident as a "backlash" to the War on Terrorism. That is not a justification of terrorism. It is an explanation. The distinction is important. I condemn terrorism. I do not commend it. If, however, war is declared on terrorists, it is stupid to imagine that the terrorists will take it lying down; inevitably they will hit back - that is a consequence we have to be prepared for.

Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly, was so obviously on the hit list that it was virtually inviting a reaction week after week. The threat to the Editor was so palpable that he had been personally provided with just about the highest level of security that France could offer. Why the magazine's office was not protected with an adequate posse of armed security is being investigated. But it also reflects the mind-set that thinks the West can mount a war and get away with little or no loss to themselves. The West is so militarily powerful and so technologically superior that it is able to unleash an unequal war in which their resources in money and machines cannot be matched even remotely by those whom they are combating.

Therefore, terrorists resort to an asymmetrical response. They target non-combatants by way of avenging themselves on those whose war machines kill - daily - scores, hundreds, even thousands of the non-combatants in whose midst the terrorists live and shield themselves.

A dead innocent is a dead innocent. Terrorists deliberately target the innocent. The War on Terrorism does not target innocents. It kills them indiscriminately by way of what is delicately called "collateral damage". But the loved ones and the community are equally affected - whether the killing is deliberate or incidental. The rage is the same. The urge to revenge is the same. For, as Gandhi said - and I quoted him to the TV agency - "Violence begets violence".

The West is near perfecting the art of killing their enemies (plus "collateral damage") without risking their own lives. When eight American body bags returned from Somalia, Bill Clinton immediately called off the operation "Black Hawk Down". When eight Pathan bodies of helpless mothers, hapless children, and innocent by-standers lie in the midst of the carnage wrought by a Drone attack, the wailing families do not react differently. They seek justice, each in his or her own way. The Drone wins out because even if it is downed, as it is unmanned, no American family is left with a tear in its eye. When terrorists attack, they know they are going to be killed - or kill themselves. They take the vicious consequences of their vicious action. The Drone just flies away - to come back another day.

Till even the First World War, war was fought on the terrain of war - the battle-field. Those who died or got injured were soldiers.

Civilians only accidentally got in the way. That changed when the Germans started assassinating mayors of towns where snipers shot at German soldiers. It horrified the world and contributed more to Britain coming in against Germany than perhaps any other single action. Not even into the Thirties had men been desensitized to the atrocity of civilian beings killed in armed attack. Picasso earned eternal fame because his painting captured and symbolized the horror experienced by all civilized people at the aerial bombing of the Spanish village of Guernica.

But by the Second World War, these niceties were abandoned. The terror opened by the Nazis through their Blitzkrieg on England, followed by their merciless genocide of Jews in the East European countries they occupied, started the process of desensitizing the hitherto-unknown horror of innocents being mown to death.

Stalingrad finally dulled sensitivities to the point where Churchill could order the bombing of Dresden and kill more innocents in a single night than all the terrorist attacks since 9/11 and after.

Truman's atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki removed the final constraints on sparing non-combatants the terrible fate of the battle-field. Since then, it has been open house for those with the military means to do so.

I was posted as a young diplomat to Hanoi in the middle of the US-Vietnam war. Day after day, twice a day, US Air Force planes would pound the city without regard to civilian habitation or military target, shooting to death and severely injuring any living being - man, woman or child - they could fit into their sights. Uncounted millions died. Many were non-combatant civilians. A young British colleague said to me that American U-2s flying at such speed that they could cross the country in 10 minutes at a height of 60,000 feet could take a photograph of the saucer I held in my hand that would be more accurate than my naked eye could see. "How," he asked, "do you think these guys on bicycles will ever drive them out?" The bicyclists did; they won. But only after millions of civilians had been slaughtered.

I condemn what happened in Paris with all the strength in my voice. It was dreadful. But I regard all forms of terrorism, especially by armed force that takes the lives of non-combatants as equally - perhaps even more - terrible. That is why my heart bleeds when 1,500 Palestinians are killed in their homes by bombs rained on them from the skies because they have the temerity to ask for the right to return to their homeland. The Modi government had little or nothing to say about that outrage. It is this lack of balance in the BJP's approach to terrorism that fills me with dread and despair.

Most of us Indians, except the fringe lunatics of the BJP-RSS-Sangh Parivar, have learned millennia ago to live with diversity, indeed to celebrate our diversity, for out of it is forged our unity as a nation.

For the West, however, diversity is a totally new experience. They have been compelled for economic reasons to import millions of Third World labourers, and since an arc of Arab countries lies immediately south of France on the other littoral of the Mediterranean, most of France's imported labour comprises Muslims from the Maghreb. France wants them to become Frenchmen as if the Arabs had fostered 1789 and never been subjected to colonial rule. The Arab Muslims wish to remain themselves, notwithstanding their having emigrated to France for the same economic reasons that have led to France and other Western countries importing them in such large numbers. Hence, stupid measures like insisting that no Muslim schoolchild in France may wear the hijab that her sisters wear in their home countries will result in a backlash.
 

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