Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Solution to the Israeli Palestenian Question?

The peace in the middle east seems to be extremely difficult because both Israel and Palestine are locked in a state of mutual recrimination: peace with justice means that the existing paradigm for ordering the relations between the two societies has to be reconsidered. The Ashkenazi elite from eastern Europe and Poland that is essentially the ruling aristocracy of Israel has dominated the politics of Israel since 1949 and given its long association with Zionism is unlikely to support the obvious solution to the problem: A single Palestinian and Israeli state. A decade back even the so called liberals in the State of Israel would have been aghast at this solution but now civil society groups in Israel have begun debating the single state solution. The great Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine has been a long time advocate of this new shift in Israeli perception toward Palestinians.
The central feature of this new solution is the recognition that land for peace has not provided either security to the State of Israel or peace to the Palestinians. It is necessary for those affected by the placement of Israel in the erstwhile land of Palestine to have a chance to lead a life of hope and a normal life as any signatory to the UN Charter of Human Rights will testify. An ethnically pure State of Israel has been of great moment only to the Ashkenazi and the Mizrahim sections of Israeli society with roots in North Africa, Asia and the Ottoman Empire have now willing to consider the possibility of the joint Israeli-Palestine state. This solution recognises the historical injustice of evicting the Palestinians from the land and at the same time recognises that a Jewish homeland, as promised in the Balfour Declaration is a reality. The fact that 4.5 million Palestinians are living in conditions of extreme deprivation is the real cause for terrorism in the region and if USA is sincere about a viable peace in the region it must address this issue.
For more than 2 decades the official US position as reflected in the Camp David accord and later the Oslo Agreement is the 2 state solution. While Israel is in favor of this policy it does everything to undermine the peace accords by making the living and working conditions of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank extremely difficult. These territories are so closely guarded by Israel for fear of suicide attack that both territories have become huge camps where life, to put it mildly, is horrible.
It is time for USA the major backer of Israel to put its weight behind a solution as promised by all American administrations since Richard Nixon

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Politics Without Purpose

It is time to introspect: Is the Congress, a party that took India to the horrors of Partition, serving the cause of India well. The answer is a resounding NO. Right from the time of Indira Gandhi the party has become an instrument of dynastic advancement and this violates the very purpose for which India fought for freedom. The sacrifices of millions of people have been hi-jacked by the so-called first family of India politics. Further, the Congress has presided over a highly criminalised system: the mystery surrounding the Nagarwala case has still not been solved, though Ramachandra Guha in his latest India since Gandhi has tried his best to cover up the tracks. Now we have a vote of confidence that is sought to be won by brandishing every kind of inducement possible and the same suspects are being rounded up this time round; Shibu Soren. Who has forgotten the fact that he took money from Narashima Rao in order to vote in the vote of confidence. The mystery of the disappearance of his secretary Parka sh Jha is still to be solved. And now the Manmohan Singh government is trying to give him a minister ship as reward for his support. With this kind of politics where is salvation.
The Akali Dal, forgetting the fact that the Congress was responsible for the worst post Independence massacre in October of 1984 of Sikhs in New Delhi and other parts of India even wants to extend support to a discredited regime by abstaining. I think this is totally uncalled for. Even Deve Gowda thought it was pay back time and he has decided to vote against the Government.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Fall of the UPA Regime

It is unlikely that the regime of Dr Manmohan Singh and Soniaji will survive the vote of confidence and the nation will heave a big sigh of relief to see the end of a corrupt, inefficient and arrogant government whose sole raison d'etre is dynastic fascism of the most crude kind. I normally do not have kind words to say about the vampanthis, but they have done the nation proud by setting the process of the fall of this regime. The irony is that the Congress is going with a begging bowl even to Deve Gowda whose own government was pulled down by the Congress after the PM was named nikkamma (stupid) by the then President of the party, Shri Sitaram Kesari, the late and unlamented Congressman from Bihar. The arrogance of Congressmen is still on public dispaly when the General Secretary of the Party Shri Veerappa Moily is addressing the media with venom and spit spewing from his lips in equal measure. No one has forgotten the fact that it was during Veerappa Moily's tenure as CM of Karnataka that his name sake Veerappan had a free run of the forests of Karnataka and this fellow now talks about politics after having served as a front man for Veerappan. Then comes the other pillar of secularism and dynastic fascism, Karunanidhi. It was during his regime that Kachchateevu, an island off the coast of Ramesvaram that belonged to Tamil Nadu as the Sethupathuis of Ramnad excercised suzerainty over the island, was handed over to Sri Lanka in 1974. And Indian fishermen are being killed with impunity nu the Sri Lankan navy. Why does he not remove his dark glasses and yellow shoulder rag and see reality for what it is: make the retrieval of Kachateevu the price for DMK support for the Congress regime.A cut back to the past: 1999 when Atal Behari Vajpayee faced a vote of no confidence in which Jayalalitha was the prime agent. He did not trey to purchase MPs with money power, or intimidate them with the CBI or blackmail them into supporting the government of the day. He faced the Lok Sabha like a statesman and lost by one vote and then went on to win the elections. It is pathetic to see the shenanigans of the Congressmen. Some are being offered ministerial posts in spite of a criminal record. others are being wooed with money and the asking price is anywhere from 25 to 50 crores. Nothing like this happened in the past when the NDA was ruling. Why are the so called secularists not alarmed at the fall of public values at the hands of the Congress. The best part of all this is that even god cannot save the regime in New Delhi and it will fall and as I keep saying, good riddance to a bad regime.The Congress has devalued the post of the Prime Minister making a mockery of the most important constitutional post by making Manmohan Sigh the PM without power or authority. Somnath Chatterjee, thee Speaker, has suddenly woken up to the fact that he hols a constitutional office and so does Lal Kishen Advani, who is the leader of the Opposition. He cannot say that he will not vote with the BJP. He can at best say that as Speaker he would like to be neutral and that is understandable.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Politics of Fleshtrading:The Congress struggles to survive

The newspapers call it "horsetrading". But to my mind the corrupt, corpulent, illiterate Indian politicians cannot be compared with horses that are brave, noble and beautiful. Flesh trading is perhaps a better metaphor for the game that Congressmen are playing at the moment. The minority Narashima Rao survived by the purchase of MPs both in the wholesale and retail market. Now Manmohan Singh is trawling the MP retail market having purchased the SP MPs at a wholesale rate. I am told that the going rate of an MP is 50 crores today and the Ambanis will certainly be in a position to provide the cash. Hence the meeting with the queen bee of the Congress and all the drones and workers are abuzz with excitement.The Congress regime must not be allowed to perpetuate its misrule and hence it is in the interest of the nation that this government is allowed to fall. The numbers are not in favor of the Congress and hence they will try to organise abstentions on July 22. If around 20 to 25 MPs abstain then there is a chance for the UPA regime. Otherwise it is curtains and the country will not regret the demise of this regime.There can be questions about the nuclear deal and its merits. There can however be no question about the fact that 4 years of Congress misrule has only seen a radical rise in social temperature, increase in crime and lawlessness, spiralling inflation and all round misery. India stands isolated in the region and there has been no serious improvement in the economic situation. Hence this regime must go.Dynastic fascism as is being promoted by the Congress runs against the fundamental ethos of the country.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Lazy Day

Classes began today and a few students mostly from Andaman sauntered into class. I began the course listed as Medieval Societies and I am teching this course for the first time. After class I went to the post office as I was told that a package of books from the University of Hawaii was wainting for me. I sent the dollar draft for nearly 135 US $ a year ago and only now I have received the books.
A letter from my daughter was delivered and was happy to know that she is well. But her spelling was just awful in the letter. Went home and fed the cats, dogs and the rabbits. I take delight in feeding animals as they seem to be so grateful.
Must prepare for classes in the evening and must travel to Chennai to catch up with some domestic chores.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish: A Review

Nearly a century back two young scholars from Oxford University, B P Grenfell and A S Hunt set out to excavate a site on the banks of the Nile in Egypt at a time when the tensions between the French and the British over the status of Egypt was particularly acute. Napoleon had already discovered the antiquities of Egypt and had published them in 11 volumes and Joseph Champollion had read the Rosetta's stone thereby unlocking the secrets of Egypt's past. Just at a time when the pursuit of archaeology was changing from a mere collection of antiquities, a la Indiana Jones variety, to a more scientific and systematic analysis of the material remains of the past,the explorers stumbled upon a small village with a Greek name Oxyrhynchos, which roughly translates as the City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish. Here were discovered a treasure trove of documents written on papyri and in the dry desert climate the documents survived for more than 2 thousand years opening the doors to the study not only of Egypt's past but also that of Greek, Latin, Arab and Byzantine literature. For preserved in the desert sands were literally mountains of documents and in the hands of a dedicated team of historians these documents have come to life and along with inscriptions and coins the documents from this site have become the mainstay of ancient history.
A fascinating book has recently been published based on a study of this site. Peter Parsons, a scholar who worked on the site for nearly 50 years has brought out an eminently readable account of the recovery, decipherment and publication of the papyri found at the site. Called City of the Sharp Nosed Fish: Greek Papyri beneath the Egyptian Sand Reveal a Long-Lost World book is a treat to read. This book demonstrates the dedication with which the early pioneers of the discipline of studying ancient documents went about their task. River fever, long bouts of loneliness,physical attacks,a morose work force and a obstructive Cairo administration were only some of the difficulties they faced. Even in the first season of excavation such treasures as a few lost poems of Sappho, odes of Pindar and Horace were found and this discovery along with a second century collection entitled Sayings of Jesus spurred the public interest in the project. Parsons has given us a delightful book.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Political Fallout of the Nuclear Deal: Instability and opportunism

The vampanthis, true to form, went on threatening and threatening the UPA Government of Manmohan Singh, but did little to destabilise it or even bring down the Government as they promised to do. The time the Congress Government was out on bail furnished by the vampanthis since August of last year, the congressmen as every petty criminal; out on bail is wont to do, just jumped bail and the vampanthis are left standing with filth all over their faces. The other day Veerappa Moily was on NDTV saying very badly that "we have the numbers" meaning the UPA regime can survive with the outside support of the Samajwadi Party headed by the Mulayam-Amar Singh duo. Had the vampanthis brought down the government in November itself when the SP spoke out against the Nuclear Deal, the credibility of the vampanthis would have been quite high. Now even if they bring a vote of no-confidence against the UPA regime, it is unlikely to have any immediate impact. Maybe this was the game plan right from the beginning. We will make ideologically charged and pro China based threats and you use the interim time period to organise support for yourself. The vampanthis have shown that they are indeed a "LOYAL OPPOSITION" to the dynasty obsessed Congress party.Enter the Samajwadi Party: A party that is all but wiped out, like the Congress, in the major state of Uttar Pradesh. Suddenly the two parties have discovered the virtues of "secularism" and this ever green fig leaf for every opportunistic alliance was once again invoked by the rajput chieftain, Amar Singh. He has even forgotten, quite unlike rajputs, the insult heaped on him by the queen bee of the Congress Pary, Soniaji. How long this alliance of mutual convenience will last is any body's guess. Mulayam Singh betrayed his friends in the UNPA to join forces with the discredited Congress and he and his party will pay dearly in the coming elections. He will certainly get the heads of Chidambaram and Murli Deoria as the price for extending support. Already there are signs of the Congress regime helping their new partner. Amar Singhji is known to be close to Anil Ambani and in the feud between the two sons of Dirubhai Ambani--Mukeh and Anil--the SP is clearly on the side of Anil. So the Congress regime obliges Amar Singji by launching its customs directorate at Mukesh and the 2 planes HE IMPORTED. IT IS SUCH VINDICTIVE USE OF OFFICIAL machinery that will increase due to the unholy opportunistic alliance at New Delhi.In the elections that will follow all these shenanigans will tell on the performance of the parties in the UPA. Congress will see a drastic fall in numbers and in Tamil Nadu, the DMK regime will bite the electoral dust. Pawar's NP is already cosying up to the Shiv Sena and in New Delhi the Congress will certainly lose power. All this does not mean that the BJP will sweep to power: it just means that it has a chance of becoming the single largest party and must prepare for power.