(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Who visit India most? Bangladeshis. And I am not talking about illegal immigrants which are vote banks in Bengal and Assam, for instance. Most take the visa route, mainly for shopping or medical care but quite a few have work visas and they overstay.
All of this would have been routine but for the news that Bangladeshis who work abroad are acquiring fake Corona Virus negative certificates through a friendly specialist hospital and zipping off to their destinations. They of course don’t mind putting their lives at risk—or spreading infection in countries who are their hosts.
On Wednesday, the Bangladeshi authorities had one Mohammad Shahed arrested at the India border who had disguised himself as a woman and covered himself in a back burqa from head to toe.
The authorities didn’t swoop down on Shahed because he had a long criminal record—which he did have—but for the repugnant act of issuing fake Corona certificates to anyone who could cough up $50 per person. He could do this because he ran a hospital in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
Millions of Bangladeshis work in Europe and elsewhere.
Malaysia, for instance, was willing to pay visa fee, airfares, medical recruitment agency commissions and levies for Bangladeshi workers before the Corona-induced break didn’t allow pen-to-paper over the agreement. Malaysia has as many as eight lakh Bangladeshis working in their country.
In Europe, it’s a common sight to see them filling up the grocery stores, cleaning tables, cooking in Tandoori restaurants or just selling bottled water on the streets. While walking in Florence last year, I saw a stream of Bangladeshis on the road leading up to iconic Duomo cathedral. Most of the stuff bore the mark of world-famous Italian brands which of course were fake.
The makers of such duplicates are once again seeking out customers now that roads have begun to fill up and shutters are going up in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. They require the affable Bangladeshis to return, who are all keen to oblige, and are circumventing the rules through such men of compassion as Shahed.
Many of such workers of course are a great help to their mother country, bringing in billions of dollars of remittance but Corona Virus pandemic has been a body blow, most who came back home haven’t been able to return and live the good life again.
Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, makes up for 20 percent of India’s all foreign visitors. Last year, the Indian embassy in Dhaka issued 15 lakh visas to locals. So much so that Dhaka alone has three of seven Indian visa centres in Bangladesh. These are legal visitors and must not be confused with millions of illegals who sneak into India, your proverbial car-cleaner or maids whose presence in home chores keep your wife in good humour.
Then there are factory workers who you would think India doesn’t need having an abundance of poor and destitute men of their own. Yet they come, like Mohammed Saidul Rahman (22), Mohammed Abdul Wahab (28) Mohammed Emdadul (35) and Mohammed Alittan Ali (42) who were arrested in Kollam, Kerala in the midst of Corona Virus in May for continuing to work in a cashew nut factory even though their visas had expired.
Having such an obliging neighbour like India, you would think, keeps Bangladesh grateful. Not the least. Bangladesh foreign minister A.K. Abdul Momen cancelled his visit to India just before lockdowns on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Interestingly, the argument by the VVIP was not the exclusion of his native Muslims from acquiring Indian citizenship, it was to contend that India was awarding citizenship to minorities even though they were not persecuted in the Islamic republic of Bangladesh, as they were in two other Islamic neighbourhood nations, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Corona certificate scam should sober up those who clamour that India is discriminating against Muslims under CAA. Leave aside Rohingya Muslims for whom copious tears are shed, Corona carriers on fake certificates from across the border could be a serious health hazard emanating from such compassion.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Let’s say you are confused and scared.
Confused, because you read the cure of Corona Virus is imminent. Call it tablets, vials, plasma, vaccine—all would knock at your door with the good news soon. But then the World Health Organization (WHO) or The Lancet would pour a bucket of ice water to leave you stone cold.
Scared, because if the Aarogya Setu App flashes a “high risk” alert on your mobile, the sequence thereafter would be somewhat this: 1-Scan down the hospital of your choice; 2-Hope your testing is shown negative after a mile-long queue; 3-And if positive, worry if you have a home or hospital quarantine in front; 4- If latter, wave your near-and-dears a tearful bye-bye; 5-Multiple tests and X-rays of lungs, hearts, brain etc roll of the tongue of paramedical staff; 6-And, hopefully a fortnight-later return into the arms of your family with your bank account a few lakhs lighter.
In this madness, you of course won’t remember that a month ago, there was this Dexamethasone tablet/injection, which was hailed a breakthrough by the medical community. A few researchers in the United Kingdom had tried it on over 2,000 patients and found that it reduced the death risk by over one-third. It essentially is a steroid since 1977, available over the counter world over, and costs a pack of a cigarette. The common-sense approach was, if Dexamethasone reduces inflammation, and Corona Virus inflames its victims to the point where they are choked to death, why not give it a try? And it worked.
This week, Cipla, an Indian manufacturer, rolled Remdesivir vials into the market. It’s being hailed as a Corona Virus breakthrough. But Ganesan Karthikeyan, a professor of cardiology at the All-India Institute of Media Sciences (AIMS) writes that all it does is to reduce the duration of hospital stay by four days without any significant effect on dying from Covid-19. Yet Remdesivir is being accorded a hero’s welcome. If it was a movie star, the entire country would be at its gate. A course of treatment would cost tens of thousands of rupees.
Then there is Satyendra Jain. Now come on, don’t say that you haven’t heard of Delhi’s health minister. He literally has put a Plasma Therapy in the midst of gods in his puja room. He was detected as positive and today credits the Plasma Therapy for his life saved. All it does is to take the blood of recovered patients and inject it in patients under care. Again, like Remdesivir, it’s not a cure. It just boosts your ability to fight the virus. Karthikeyan says it’s an expensive proposition.
Who do you think you should opt for if, god forbids, Corona makes you its home? Dexamethasone of course. It’s cheap, is vindicated by trials, and even the World Health Organization (WHO) doesn’t fault it. As per WHO website, “the (Dexamethasone) treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one-third…it’s been on the WHO model list of Essential Medicines since 1977…Dexamethasone is generally safe and is not generally associated with side-effects.”
Now why do you think Dexamethasone is not even discussed on national prime time television and media? It’s been simply wiped clean of our collective memory. It’s not in public discourse. Now before you jump to the logical corollary of Big Bad Pharma, I want you to consider a few facts.
The US pharma industry, the daddy of all, is bigger than all the nations and their GDPs barring the top 20. It’s touching $600 billion. Every year, millions are spent on pharma breakthroughs in research labs and fields. Those big research centres, filled with futuristic pipes and flasks and scientists bent over them in tons of protective clothing and face shields, peering through a microscope, dissecting the future of human race.
These millions of investments in research and salaries are backed by even bigger expenditure of millions on Direct-To-Customer Advertising (DTCA) in which a pharma company is allowed to reach the consumer directly through advertising, bypassing prescriptions and doctors at the bend of your colony. These medicines are shown to be of magical proportions on the broadcasting waves and newspaper print. It gives you a sell on how to grow your hair (when a smart Rs 500 hat would do the job); how to increase your libido (when all you needed was to relax in a mating session) and how to increase your hearing (when a sustained brush of an earbud could suffice).
Before long, the sustained noise has got you. You either buy over the counter and insist your physician gives the prescription of drugs you desire. Not that this physician minds. One of big Pharmas marketing expenses included hiring those attractive medical representatives who come to a physician with the new wonder drug and a prescription pad. The top guys get a free ticket to Hawaii, a golf course voucher, and accompanying fun in the evenings after the Seminars around the world which of course are hosted by these big pharmas under the cloak of some moral compass. That’s how pharmas are growing bigger even in country with the best healthcare system. What is saved from a patient’s pocket is paid by the insurance company.
So if you are confused and scared, there is a rationale. Big Pharma expenses are met by your pockets. India of course doesn’t allow direct advertising by Pharma, and thank god for it, but your billion-plus fellow citizens are in the eye of the Pharma sharks. Cheap solution to Corona Virus is not in their interest. So, god forbids, if you have tested Positive and found yourself on your doctor’s couch, ask him this simple question: Why he thinks Remdesivir or Plasma Therapy is better than Dexamethasone? Perhaps, knowledge is the best cure.
Incidentally, India supplies over 50 percent of generic drugs which the world needs. It’s 40% of all generic demand in the US and 25% of all medicine in the UK. It also supplies 50% of global demand for various vaccines. It’s a robust sector for India, an export worth $21 billion. India’s pharmaceutical sector is expected to cross $100 billion by 2025. Yet its media is busy rubbishing Covaxin and Coronoil, two home-made breakthroughs. Perhaps we are the suckers they think we are.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
I guess there is little avoiding the anti-CAA protests once Corona pandemic goes as unannounced as it came in 2020.
A Shaheen Bagh here, a state assembly in ferment there, Jamia and JNU on boil, Cars and buses in leaping flames, narrowed eyes looking for that saffron or skullcap which could comfort or disorient in equal measure.
One morning, European Union is making front page in Muzaffarnagar. The other dawn would acquaint Ferozabad how human rights warriors in the august US Congress are brothers in spirit. Someday Turkey’s strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan would talk of “massacres of Muslims in India.” The other would’ve Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warning of “serious implications” if India doesn’t look after its Muslims.
And there would always be an Imran Khan, Asaduddin Owaisi, Sitaram Yechury or a Rahul Gandhi who would recall Godse in prime minister Narendra Modi, their bloodied hearts in front of camera an act worthy of Oscars.
Such solidarity aligns a Muslim from Kashmir to Kuwait, Moradabad to Morocco, Shahjahanpur to Saudi Arabia, Lucknow to Lebanon, Hyderabad to Hamedan. Islam binds them; a pact of faith and piety; a soldiering spirit which revisits the pages of history and underlines how Jihad never loses.
It stops them from recoiling when illustrators are gunned down in Paris on seeing a cartoon in Prophet Muhammad; a Salman Rushdie driven to the end of the world on Satanic Verses. Islam pervades the world, overrides governments, the rod of God which spares no one.
But what happens to this global brotherhood when a million Muslims are locked up, their women sterilized, their children snatched from parents and made strangers to Islam in their growing years. What explains the silence of 57 Islamic nations which make up OIC, or EUs and US Congress, the Erdogans and Mahatirs and Imran Khans; the Owaisis and Yechuris who are a Muslim-Left global pact in miniature. Why in this case MuslimLivesDon’tMatter?
I of course am referring to China and its repression of Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang province which is one of history’s most evil, heinous, barbaric pogrom a State has carried on its citizens ever. For over a decade, the Uighurs are being kept in suffocating controls, their neighbourhood infested with the influx of Han Chinese and their religion and culture systematically wiped out.
Internal Chinese government documents leaked in late 2019 have revealed that such is the fate of a million Muslims detained without charges or legal access; and 11 million Muslims outside who are made to renounce Islam, learn Mandarin and sing the virtues of Communism. Satellite imagery show that these detention camps are roughly the size of 140 soccer fields.
It goes without saying that if even a millionth of this was to happen in India, the nation would go deaf by noise at home and abroad. It could even be kept hungry or wounded by economic and military actions. Yet not a word comes China’s way by way of criticism on its Uighar pogrom. Not those champions of Islam who sit in Riyadh and Tehran. Who are the Iraq and Egypt of our world. The Islamic State (IS) who are torching the European capitals. Muslim lives suddenly don’t matter to them. Moolah over Mullah zips their lips courtesy the riches which flow through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by the totalitarian China.
The hypocrisy of these champions would become stark to Indian Muslim in coming weeks. It so happens that on Monday, two Uighur exiles groups have gone to International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Beijing’s genocide and crimes against humanity.
This is first-ever global attempt to hold China accountable for its merciless crackdown on Muslim minority of Xinjiang. A team of London-based lawyers are representing East Turkistan Government in Exile and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement. Since China is not a signatory of ICC, these activists have opted for a roundabout way to bring China to heels.
In 2018, ICC had censored Myanmar, even though the latter wasn’t its member, by citing the instance of its member-state Bangladesh who was reeling due to Myanmar’s “deportation” and “crimes” against Rohingya Muslims.
Likewise, in the present case, Beijing is being drawn in ICC ambit through its unlawful actions in Cambodia and Tajikistan who are members of this international body. The petition states that thousands of Uighurs are being unlawfully arrested and deported from Cambodia and Tajikistan. The complaint against Beijing includes evidence of forced deportations and extraterritorial arrests by the Chinese agents.
It may take months before the ICC makes a formal move. But it would be interesting for Indian citizens, more so its Muslim minority, to watch how the developments are hidden from their views by India’s Leftist media. You won’t hear a word in solidarity from Owaisis and Yechurys. Their heart won’t bleed at the plight of Muslims. But once Corona pandemic passes, you would see them clearing their throats and exhorting the protestors on-their-bums. An Arundhati Roy would emerge from her closet.
So use your judgment, my Muslim brethren. Pay heed to what Supreme Court rules on the CAA matter. Modi’s Centre has time and again invited a meeting across the table to clear your doubts and anxieties. Your cause is a contortion by the voices which din in your ears ceaselessly. This is your country, it’s future is your concern. When you don’t come on the negotiating table, you are holding the country to ransom. Sooner or later, the Centre or majority, or both, would push back. You not only are burying the future of your children but are also alienating the majority who view this petulance as inimical to India’s wellbeing.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
In filing a FIR against Ganga Ram Hospital in the Capital, and accusing them of “black-marketing” Arvind Kejriwal could’ve appeared a concerned chief minister of Delhi but for a condemnable transgression—he saw a few “political” contacts behind it.
Taken to a logical conclusion, Kejriwal seems to be implying that Corona patients are not given due care and are being turned away as the hospital is secure in its political contacts. That is, if Delhi buckles under Corona’s weight, it would help a few of his political opponents.
If it wasn’t so, Kejriwal could have just limited his diatribe to the conduct of the hospital which doesn’t pass his muster. A FIR and accusation of “blackmail” is bad enough. The accusation that the hospital is not following the due norms is contestable. But to give it a political colour is wildly unnecessary.
One, it’s suspicious for in the past Kejriwal had made many wild accusations against other political heavyweights and then, with his tail between his legs, offered unconditional apology. In effect, he is loose-tongued and makes accusations when it politically suits him – only to flush it down the drain after it has served its purpose. Two, it raises the spectre of fear that Delhi is sinking and pretexts are being manufactured. Both are not good.
The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) duly has sent a stinging reply to Delhi’s chief minister. They feel it’s an “insult” to paramedical staff who are “risking their lives;” and are being “penalized” for their tireless work of the last few months. They feel an “overstressed” medical staff is being “threatened” and “intimidated.” For good measure, DMA has mentioned its 15,000 members as being the ones who are being put “under pressure” by the “diktats (farmaans)” of the Delhi government.
The DMA, for good measure, has made a few demands which, if true, reveal the immense pressure under which medics are performing their duty. For one, they are explicit that testing facilities are inadequate. There are not adequate labs. The DMA has made two other relevant points which deserve close attention of readers.
One is that there is need for timely transfer of grave patients to higher care centres. Two, in case of Covid-19 deaths, a prompt and efficient system to transport and cremate the body as per guidelines is urgently needed. It points to an overwhelmed medical system in the Capital. There are multiple issues with Corona pandemic where hospitals are being subjected to sorting their patients; bring additional requirements for those “quarantined” including supervision and in case of worsening patients virtually dictated to keep them within confines instead of shifting them to better care Centres.
Further, a peeved Kejriwal has banned the test on suspected Corona patients by the hospital since June 3. Implying that they be admitted without ascertaining if they are Covid patients or not. It’s leading to the situation of over-congestion and chaos which the DMA has outlined in its letter. It would overwhelm the system and not help anyone—neither the hospitals nor the unsegregated patients nor Delhi for that matter.
Delhi needs a chief minister with hands on burning deck—not one who is blaming everyone but himself for at least one of his oversight: Remember Tablighi Jamaat? The last thing we need is to put the ones on the dock who are India’s real saviours. If they go, so would Delhi.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The riots in United States have spread across the nation. From Minneapolis to Dallas, Los Angeles to Atlanta, New York to Portland, 40 cities are under curfew. National Guard have been called out in Washington DC and 15 other states. Today is just one week since Floyd George was murdered.
Innocents are confused at the clockwork precision of multiple riots. All four concerned police officers were fired the next day. The offending police officer with his knee on George’s throat has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is holding its own investigations. Yet the violence has bubbled over.
The United States suffers from racial discrimination. That’s a truth. Blacks might be up to 40% of the entire population but they carry little weight. That’s a truth. Most jailed in the US prisons are blacks. That’s a truth. But could we call it spontaneous riots when pallets of bricks, of same size and standard, shape and colour, are spotted across the rioting cities?
Donald Trump’s government has gone public in naming the alleged conspirator. Trump has blamed the riots on “Antifa and the Radical Left”. Attorney General William Barr, in a statement, has claimed that the “violence (is) instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups.” National Security Adviser Robert O’ Brien has told CNN that the violence “is being driven by Antifa.” Anti-Fascists in short is Antifa.
The principal funding of Antifa, and Black Lives Matter groups, is by George Soros and his Open Society Foundations in which he has stuffed $38 billion for operations in 120 countries. He has been funding terror activities and disruption of government around the world for decades. He pledged one billion dollars last year against “resurgent nationalism” and openly named India’s Narendra Modi as the man on his radar. This was in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Everything you want to know about George Soros you could find in this article of mine I penned early this year. His alleged role in overthrowing elected governments; the prime ministers and presidents who have openly accused him of coup d’etats; and his control on media as revealed in Wikileaks, among others. This man, in essence, is part of global cabal which through bankers control the world governments and sees existential threat in “nationalism” which runs counter to their “profits and profits only” agenda of free trade. They fear the likes of Modi and Trump, like darkness would to light.
Invariably they succeed. They succeeded in Libya and Iraq; Ukraine and Egypt; those Arab Spring revolutions; countless Latin American and African countries; and nearly succeeded in Syria. The “pro-democracy” movement in Hong Kong is one such manifestation. The “anti-CAA protests” in India, before it was halted by Covid-19, is another.
The standard method is to bring people on streets, make police duck, splash it in media they control and bring the elected government on its knees. This is what’s being attempted against Trump now. This is what surely would be resumed on Modi after Covid-19. They work on a country’s faultlines which exist in every country of this world. In US, its’ Whites vs Blacks. In India, it’s Hindus vs Muslims. Before long the country is torn asunder.
Trump has moved swiftly. He has announced his intention to declare Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. Barr has announced a similar resolve. Once done, Antifa and Open Society Foundations would be prosecuted and the assets of their backers seized. The international banking system could be cut off to Soros and his octopus of affiliated groups.
More importantly, the alleged tie-ups between Antifa and the Democrat party could be laid bare in public. It’s apt to remember that Minneapolis is run by the Democrats. And that Democrat-candidate Joe Biden and his campaign staff have made donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. The group donates to pay bail fees for those who are arrested in Minneapolis, a city of Minnesota. President Trump’s campaign finds it “disturbing” that Biden’s team “would financially support the mayhem.” He has called upon Biden to condemn the riots. Biden incidentally is for free-trade or is pro-China compared to hawkish Trump who openly berates the Middle Kingdom
The US presidential elections are slated for November 3. Minnesota is critical. In the 2016 elections, Hillary Clinton had won narrowly by a 1.5 per cent margin. Trump had struggled to attract African-American voters. Only 8% of this group had voted for him in 2016.
Knowing how Trump is raising trade barriers against China; and how it could win him another presidential term this year; and how Modi could follow his best friend in raising the stakes against China; which is important for these pirates of “open trade” there is little wonder that US cities are burning.
Or that similar would be the fate in India after Corona Virus.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
India is worried on count of Maharashtra. The Western state appears to be losing the battle against Corona Virus. There are three matters which suggest we haven’t seen the worst yet.
One is a measure by the Mumbai Police. While imposing Section 144 till June 8, it prohibits any attempt on social media to incite mistrust against the government officials. It’s a loosely worded order which empowers the state machinery to take punitive measure on what it doesn’t like and considers as creating “mistrust” in public against it. It’s censorship otherly-worded.
Second is Rahul Gandhi going public in distancing himself from the Maharashtra government of which his party Congress is a part. In a video message, Gandhi said his party doesn’t have a say in key matters in running of the state.
Third is an Indian Express report which claims that there is “resentment in the cabinet” over Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s reliance on the bureaucracy who virtually are running the state’s Corona strategy and are “keeping ministers in the dark.”
Further, the Indian Express claims that the three partners in coalition—NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena—differ over lockdown. While Thackeray prefers an extension of lockdown, Pawar (NCP) “is keen on granting some relaxations.”
In plain terms, Corona is like a mad dog on the leash which is taking its master, the Maharashtra government, all over the place. There is no firm hand to keep the canine on its trajectory. The Maha Aghadi (The Great Development Front) is a grumpy house where a key partner has distanced itself, the cabinet is sore over the bureaucracy and there is bickering on the lockdown strategy.
A few side issues haven’t won Maharashtra government many friends. The harassment of media personality Arnab Goswami is viewed prejudiced. The Palghar Lynchings of Sadhus is hanging fire. Then we had a few barons in the Yes Bank scandal, sought by state agencies, moving without intervention in their caravans amidst the lockdown. We now have reports where Shiv Sainiks (Shiv Sena cadre) have vandalized shops of individuals who allegedly didn’t have complimentary words for Thackeray. A FIR against the owners, two individuals, has added insult to injury.
Predictably, BJP has mounted pressure. The Railways minister Piyush Goyal has run hourly tweets on how Maharashtra government is doing nothing to avail Shramik Trains for stranded migrants. Now there are reports that a few BJP functionaries have met the governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari raising speculation over the President’s Rule. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, on his part, has stated that they don’t need to win over any sitting MLAs as “they (Maha Aghadi) would collapse under its own weight.”
Meanwhile Loksatta, a Marathi news outlet, ran a twitter poll on whether the state should have President’s Rule. Within five hours, the voters leaned in favour of dissolution of assembly. Though the regional newspaper promptly dropped the poll, the twitteratis went to town on the mood of the people in Maharashtra.
Politics and power is small price compared to the catastrophe which is unfolding in the state. Cynics would say that it perhaps is the reason why Corona is spiralling out of control. So far up to 40 per cent of India’s numbers and deaths to the pandemic are accounted by the state of Maharashtra. The prized city of Mumbai has been gripped by the curse. The commercial capital of the country is bleeding and no end is in sight. It’s not good for state, definitely not for India. Besides, there is this question: How long could you keep the people locked out. How long would they watch the rest of india limp back to life while they are sealed between their four walls?
The alliance of convenience in Maharashtra must show itself as an alliance of saviours. Or give way to those who could get the job done.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The very headline demands a comparison. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had his own view of India, not the one he shared with his mentor Mahatma Gandhi. Views on science was one thing, Hindus were another. Gandhi’s India was more than just Hindus, often at its cost. Nehru’s India could do without Hindus. For their own reasons, almost a century they shared between them (1869-1964), never made Hindus a political question. Hindus, “the bloodiest story in human history” as historian Will Durant put it, remained unattended.
Indira Gandhi didn’t burden herself with the weight of ideology. Power was all that mattered. Two notables which she is credited with, probably owed little to her. The liberation of Bangladesh was an Indian army’s gift. Indeed, New Delhi held back the permission to storm Dhaka well beyond the expiry date. The storming of Golden Temple, and clearing of Sant Jarnail Bhindranwale and his proverbial 40 henchmen, was the outcome of her own experiment which went horribly wrong. Between the imposition of the Emergency and her butchering of Constitution–“secular” and all–it’s difficult to say which was worse.
Rajiv Gandhi, the reluctant politician, was terrible on Sri Lanka’s Tamil issue. He paid with his life in the end. He also apparently had a blood-streak in him which his velvety profile hid well. Ask the survivors of 1984 Sikh Progrom, it’s justice in perpetual limbo. He also carried on the tradition of Muslim appeasement which under Mahatma Gandhi had cost India its western and eastern arms. He upturned the Supreme Court verdict on Shah Bano which had granted the divorced woman the right to alimony. Sharia Law had trumped democracy. India was rightly perceived to be a soft state by fundamentalists. It gave wind to separatists in Kashmir.
Thereafter, terrorism became the headlines. Hindus were shown the chimera of independence as lakhs of them were driven out of Kashmir Valley. Atal Behari Vajpayee favoured peace with Pakistan and got Kargil in return. Vajpayee was no ordinary leader though. He made India nuclear. It was a game changer in India’s security doctrine. Vajpayee also did bold reforms in education and infrastructure.
Manmohan Singh was an economist at the service of politicians. He was a dummy prime minister, an accidental one, who turned a blind eye to scams dancing -under his chair. Pamphleteers give him credit for opening up the Indian economy. In essence, he only carried out the dictates of his prime minister Narasimha Rao who didn’t belong to Nehru-Gandhi clan. His has been a pursuit of power, of communal bias— “Muslims have the first right on India’s resources” – and between visits to hospitals, he is presently panting for a Rajya Sabha seat.
In all these pre-Modi years, India wrestled with hunger, wars and terrorism as its three key moments. In the 60s, India was without food. Wars bloodied its earth virtually every decade. Terrorism brought death to cities after 1990. Mumbai’s 26/11 was as big a psychological scar to India as battles of Panipat from Babur to Ahmed Shah Abdali. Rich made the best of licence raj; poor couldn’t even enter a park. Police and bank accounts were out of bounds. Subsidies were for the middlemen. Entrepreneurship a sin and a road to suicide. Mandal Commission–oh we forgot VP Singh–created regional satraps in Mayawati and Yadavs on the plank of Dalit politics.
Modi now has completed six years in office. His both terms secured with a resounding vote from 1.35 billion Indians. He chose demonetization against black money and Indians became friends with the digital world, an offshoot nobody had foreseen. India took halting steps towards one-tax regime in Goods and Services Tax (GST). India’s unseen people today have electricity, cylinders, health coupons, bank accounts, direct subsidies, Mudra loans and gifts of sanitation etc. These benefits don’t choose Hindus over Muslims.
Yet, this is not what makes Modi India’s greatest prime minister ever. It’s about vision–which is not ideology–where he seems to be up against the world. He dreams of a safe, prosperous and united India but not at the cost of Hindus. It upsets a hell of a lot of people.
Let’s begin with Kashmir. He has restructured the former state which was manipulated by Nehru-Gandhi clan to ensure Kashmir Valley always wins. In due course, it became a personal fiefdom of Abdullahs and Muftis. Now the assembly seats, whenever elections are held, would see a balance in proportion to size and population. There is not an ounce of evidence to suggest it is against Kashmiri Muslims. But there is plenty to suggest it would hurt the entrenched regional dynasties who had turned a blind eye, if not aided and abetted, the terrorism from across the border. Muslims in Kashmir Valley were in pits in all these years. They could only look up.
An impartial history would judge Modi as an Indian who saved India’s borders which Prithvirajs, Gandhis and Nehrus couldn’t do in a thousand years. Kashmir was a lost case. In 2047, it would’ve been hundred years to that thorn. It was not a matter of if, but only of when, India would become the rest of Kashmir. In the age of Islamic State (IS) and its known cahoots in India this was given. My children, and their children, and their children, have been blessed with that one ring of security which is Modi’s offering at Mother India’s feet.
Then, we have Ram Janmabhoomi. This was hanging fire much beyond our independent years. Nothing had been in doubt: That the Babri Masjid had been built over a temple; that it was a mosque in disuse; and that mosques are routinely removed in Saudi Arabia. Yet, Hindus were denied a home for their supreme deity in their own land. Modi has managed it without resorting to unconstitutional norms.
One half of India’s 200 Muslims, their womenfolk, had a constitutional disadvantage due to a practice which isn’t objected to by Sharia Law even though the Holy Book probably doesn’t sanction it. A husband could take away his wife’s investment of her life and career in him by simply pronouncing triple talaq. This was slavery within homes. It hurt Muslim women, their kids, the family, the society and the nation. The Triple Talaq Act 2019, which had been approved by Supreme Court but stuck in Parliament on numbers, was finally enacted within days Modi assumed his second term. This was the first definite step towards Uniform Civil Code (UCC) which is desired by the Constitution.
It’s said Muslims are unsafe in Modi’s India. Lynchings are cited as proof. I remember so clearly the early days of Modi’s first term when this word was repeated ad nauseam. A few scribes and newspapers worked in lockstep on this agenda. You couldn’t pick up a newspaper where “lynching”, real or fake, wasn’t mentioned. Lynchings have always happened in rural India where cows are wealth and people would give life to protect them. It’s no different to how anti-CAA and now migrants have been picked for propaganda though they couldn’t care less for Muslims or poor.
This anti-India lobby of journalists, politicians and their foreign handlers see an existential threat in Modi. He is a Hindu in thought and action but they would rather portray him as anti-Muslim. It’s easy to sway millions of Muslims for most are uneducated and poor; and have a latent fear of Hindu’s rise. This frenzy would again be on us once Corona Virus recedes in the background.
Modi’s position is secure in history. His real test would be coming four years. Anti-India lobby, which includes Jihadis, Communists and imperialist forces, won’t give him a moment’s respite on Muslims. Modi is a nationalist and nationalists are always a threat to these global forces. I predict an anarchy on streets where police would be immobilized. Any action they take would have screaming headlines and images in next day’s daily. It in turn would bring pressure groups such as the United Nations, European Parliament, George Soros etc. into play. Police would freeze; the anarchy would bring in violent mobs in a bid to overthrow him. This is a script I am reading it out to you in advance. How Modi responds, we would see.
We haven’t touched how painstakingly Modi has invested his time and energy to be a world leader of considerable respect. Or how, if we beat Corona, he would invite books of gratitude. He doesn’t part with national coffers easily which is a leeway we must grant to a Gujarati. But the sum is always greater than the parts and it’s the whole which makes Modi the greatest ever.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
There is a chorus around the world that it’s “wet markets” of China which has sunk the world through Covid-19 pandemic but closing them is easier said than done.
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, blames “wet markets” where pathogens jump from animals to humans while the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has asked them to be closed where live animals are slaughtered on the spot for consumption. The origin of Covid-19 were laid to rest in January itself when the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said: “The origin of the new Corona Virus is the wildlife sold illegally in a Wuhan seafood market.”
“Given the strong link between illegal wildlife sold in wet markets and zoonotic diseases, the United States has called on the People’s Republic of China to permanently close its wildlife wet markets and all markets that sell illegal wildlife. I call on all ASEAN governments to do the same,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key figure on the White House coronavirus task force, said of China’s wet markets: “It boggles my mind how, when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we just don’t shut it down.” Some 70 House and Senate lawmakers have sent a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) urging it to support the closure of the markets.
If this causes an outrage worldwide, the statement from World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accused of favouring China, has only added fuel to the fire. The WHO chief supports the reopening of wet markets. An exasperated Morrison has said,: “I’m totally puzzled by this decision (of WHO).”
Covid-19 is only the latest in the long list of troubles which originate from so-called “wet markets”: AIDS, SARS, MERS, Ebola and the swine flu have happened in too rapid succession for us to ignore the lessons. SARS, the closest relative to the present pandemic, is suspected to have originated from civets sold in wet markets of China. MERS came from camels.
Such appeals from the world nudge China into a coercive action but before long “wet markets” spring back to life as if nothing had happened. In the wake of SARS outbreak, China had briefly banned the sale of wild animals in 2003. Now again, it has outlawed the sale of wild animals—no one knows for how long.
Damningly, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan (see image), the alleged ground-zero of Covid-19, was reopened this month having been first closed in January. It’s a widely-held theory that Covid-19 came off bats, before spreading to pangolins and making the jump to humans inside the Huanan wet market–said to have stocked 120 wild animals across 75 species, including bats, dogs, pangolins, turtles and snakes.
Why China is reluctant to shut the damn “wet markets”?
The problem I guess is in the terminology of “wet markets.” Wet markets are different from wildlife markets. The majority of wet markets don’t sell wild animals. They largely sell perishable food: vegetables, fruits, fish, fresh meat etc. Not just China, but “wet markets” are common in most of Southeast Asia. Indeed, it’s been a way of life through millenniums. You stumble upon them not just in China or Southeast Asia but in most of Europe, such as Italy, and even in American cities with large immigrant populations. It’s not wildlife markets. By design or by ignorance, today wet markets are being equated with wildlife markets.
It’s the market for wildlife animals which is the source of humanity’s troubles. It’s a live animal market where vendors slaughter animals upon customer’s demands. At a customer’s behest, the stall-owner would pull out, say a snake, from a cage by the back of its head, skin and gut it and drain it off fluids, both blood and one of spine, and draw It into a cut where mixed with some tonic it’s gulped down by the customer.
In Chinese culture it’s a belief that the body fluids of animals hold key to several human’s health problems. Thus the testicles of a Siberian tiger or powdered Rhino horn all carry, in their belief, some cure for some ailment. There are said to be curative powers in Lizard’s oil. China runs commercial tiger farms for traditional medicine and bear’s bile extraction is almost an industry, not just in China but also in Southeast Asia. It’s called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in normal parlance.
Chinese have been practicing such medicines for close to 2,000 years. It’s a cultural belief that ingesting plans and animal parts keep people safe from illness and restore their inner energy balance. On an average, the TCM uses about 1,000 plants and various organs and fluids of 36 animal species.
Thus there are tiger bones to treat arthritis and other join ailments, bear bile for liver ailments and headaches, seahorse for getting rid of impotence. Tragically, many of these animals are on endangered species list. Yet a demand persists for their magical healing power. It’s belief, and not scientific evidence, which sustains wildlife markets in China.
It’s not helped when WHO has endorsed TCM now. Chinese are apt to treat this validation as a proof of their long-held beliefs and practices. It grows a demand for new TCM markets for the revival of great Chinese nation. Why, even in the midst of Corona Virus, China has been heavily promoting TCM, claiming that it has cured Wuhan virus patients without putting forth any clinical trial proof.
In such an endorsement, poor sanitary conditions are ignored. It becomes a ripe ground for close contact between humans and life and dead animals. It thus turns into a breeding ground for infectious diseases. Belief in TCMs and consumption of wild animals without evidence is surely a problem.
It’s said that bats would now face a backlash from humanity. It would be a mistake. The better option is to let them be where they are in their natural habitat. Bats have unique immune system and carry a lot of viruses around them which could hurt others but not them. They are believed to have played a role in the transmission of at least 12 viruses, counting Covid-19. Scientists believe bats carry a reservoir for a lot of viruses that are hugely dangerous to humans. Yet, the also hold answer to curing various health conditions, such as cancer or diabetes. Wet markets, on the other hand, are integral to Chinese culture and way of life.
Its’ unlikely advocacy groups, politicians and health experts could demand and China would shut down its wet markets. A typical day for a Chinese housewife begins with a visit to wet market. It’s been a practice since the days when there were no supermarkets or fridge to keep food consumable. It’s just a part of life. Not just cultural it has psychological reasons as well. You get to chat with friends and neighbours or develop new acquaintances. Asking price, checking the freshness of items, bargaining with the vendors is a daily experience in such wet markets. Both customers and vendors enjoy such exchanges.
A typical wet market in China doesn’t sell exotic animals. These are expensive stuff which is normally beyond the reach of a common buyer in wet markets. There is no way China could shut down the typical traditional wet markets.
Yet a way has to be found and lessons from Corona Virus must not be lost. Globally, there is a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which has more than 180 countries as members. It must come down heavily on dubious wildlife markets and animal farms. The illegal international trade in such wildlife exports must be closed. There ought to be a penalty stiff enough to deter exploitation of protected wildlife species. Inspections must get more intense.
Or else world would say that Chinese have food habits which kill millions of people.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
People-on-the-street is citizenry against the State. It affected the United States from continuing the Vietnam War. It brought down Charles de Gaulle in France in the 1960s as students came out in droves. Arab Spring had millions on the streets and toppled many governments in MENA (Middle East North Africa) region. “The Maidan” revolution in Ukraine bears a similar testimony. And Hong Kong hasn’t faded from memory in so-called “democracy” protests. India was in the grip of a similar meltdown on CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) before Corona Virus took the matter in its own hand.
Why people-on-the-street are a nightmare for the State is easy to understand. It could encompass a whole range of emotions: Anger, Violence, Hunger, Grief, Helplessness etc. It’s moving at a human level. Images connect the rest with the misery rolling on the roads. Slowly the whole citizenry gets on the back of the moving vulnerable.
It’s known States can’t do much if people rise against it. They either freeze themselves into inaction which only brings a domino effect on the “volume” of protests. Or if they resort to violent curbs, the matter goes out of hands and the world is up in arms. Stark images make headlines worldwide. United Nations, European Union parliament, rival nations, human rights groups pile on the pressure. Political rivals within the State smell blood in the pool. The State staggers. The nation stops.
It’s now well known that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has made countless enemies on his nationalist agenda. Nationalism upsets powers of the world. These powers have swindled the world in the name of “globalization” and “free trade.” Their maxim is “World without borders”. In nationalism, they see a phenomenon where a State is putting Nation first. That’s why they hate Modi. That’s why they have an angst against Donald Trump. That’s how they see an existential threat in Putin. That’s why Xi is an elephant in the room to them.
Who are these powers? Well, elaborating on it would take my focus away from this piece. Nevertheless, a passing mention is in order. These powers are the ones who control money. If you control money, you control governments, control media and movies, which in turn allows you to control humanity. Money in our world is controlled by Federal Reserve and City of London and a clutch of international bankers. You don’t see much of them in our newspapers. But if you are aware of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), you get the picture. George Soros is the only name I could suggest for the uninitiated.
Such forces were in work to hurt India on the pretext of CAA. But then Corona Virus happened. It threw a spanner in their machinations. The issue of migrants then fell in their lap. Migrants on the road served the same purpose as the CAA protestors did. They couldn’t care less about the cause or misery. “People-on-the-street” was good enough.
We would never know how lakhs of migrants gathered at a bus station in the Capital even as the lockdown was in place. Or how a similar movement thronged railway stations in Mumbai. It’s these pictures which anti-National forces feed on; if they don’t create it in the first place.
Western media described it as the “biggest movement of people since the Partition.” Indian mainstream media led the frenzy. The incidence of Tablighi Jamaat didn’t hold them back for long. They are again back on “migrants” theme. Harsh Mander, Barkha Dutt and their likes are busy with their poisonous pens. Indian Express isn’t letting it go. Nobody has died but a Front Page story a day is their staple diet. To them, Migrants is bigger than deaths and infections caused by Tablighi markaz.
Make no mistake that migrants is a real issue. They want to go back home. Either to be with their family. Or attend to their farms. But it’s also a fact that Indian states have made resources to feed and house them. Migrants are closer to medical help under states than they would be in villages. Isn’t it practical? What if they carry infection to villages where medical help of the scale seen in districts would be impossible to replicate? Everyone is going through hardships. Migrants are no exceptions. Nobody has died out of hunger. Or neglect. These are the days of lockdowns. For the larger good. Personal inconveniences are the least Indians could suffer for the nation.
As things stand, migrants would move towards homes from April 20 onwards. Such arrangements are being made. Still trust the Lutyens Media not to let it go in a hurry. Already some are evoking the image of “detention centres” with the venues where migrants are being put up. Images would still do the rounds. You see, “People-on-the-road” is their design in Modi’s second tenure. They would persist with it in rest of Modi’s tenure.
Dear Folks, you have been warned.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred)
India panicked. The world broke into a sweat. A man had died in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, to the ever-so growing shadow of killer Corona Virus pandemic last week.
No, he isn’t the only victim India has had in the past few weeks. Nor was he a celebrity or a billionaire. Indeed, he was just a garment seller. But he happened to live in one of Asia’s biggest slums, Dharavi, which houses one million people in a little over two square kilometer land. Lives are packed like stacked hay. And we know hay fires break out without even a spark—just being baled and moist is enough.
In no time a team of doctors and volunteers swooped on to the area. Cops were in tow. They fanned out and stayed till midnight. Family was isolated. Some 2,500 neighbours were stamped for quarantine. The deceased’s movement of last two weeks was retraced with the help of his people. A list of his acquaintances was mapped and alerted. His shop, and some 100 others, including the nearby 330 flats were put under barriers. Common spaces between the buildings were sprayed. A posse of policemen now guarded the area to enforce no violation.
The world watched. It’s fears found a shape in headlines. Dharavi is not unknown to humanity. Thanks to power of Hollywood, Dharavi was made famous through Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009. It topped the worldwide box office. Best-ever grosser for Fox Searchlight Pictures. “Visually dazzling and emotionally resonant” was the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie celebrated human spirit through the eyes of a child, growing up amidst faeces, open sewers, violence and murder.
The Unknown Dharavi
The world knows little more on Dharavi. Not just the world, even Indians don’t know that half of Mumbai’s waste is recycled in Dharavi. That everyone has a roof over his head, there is no homelessness. Nor any caste, creed or religious divides. Mosques, temples, churches share boundaries. Dharavi just accepts everyone; and supplies the sprawling Mumbai its faceless workers and helpers.This gritty humanity, and its small factories, pottery, plastic, textile, bakery industries etc, generate an annual turnover of $1 billion, 30% of which is paid as taxes. A 600 sq feet apartment costs half a million dollars in Dharavi! It’s in demand.
It’s not to say that Dharavi is not potentially explosive in the light of Corona Virus. It has a long history of epidemics. It was devastated in a 1896 plague which killed half of Mumbai’s population. Other epidemics gripped it for next quarter of a century. Mortality was high. Dysentery, cholera, typhoid, leprosy, polio have made lives fall like flies. IN 1986, a cholera epidemic showed up most of its victims hailing from Dharavi. It has a poor-protection record: Those who survive viruses, are often consumed by fires and floods which are recurrent.
India girds up loins for challenge
Thus anxiety of the Indian officials is understandable. It has counted the elders in the locality and put them under extensive testing. Fortunately, the country is now equipped with antibody blood tests which take only 15-30 minutes. India has an Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) for a decade and half now. It’s data allows health authorities to scan cases from Public Health Care (PHC) level upwards. It can spot clusters of a community outbreak of diseases. It’s following a geographical quarantine strategy. Movements, to and from, is interrupted in such clusters. Testing is ramped up. So is surveillance. Environment, heat and humidity, is factored in.
Indian authorities, for the moment, have identified around a dozen hot-spots. Dharavi is not one of them. Fortunately, cases have increased in Dharavi since. Mumbai, and Maharashtra, continue to be the most worried state in India. Officials are doing whatever best they could. A Containment Officer (CO) is co-ordinating with the police, the municipality and healthcare workers to ensure residents get essential supplies of food, milk, water and medicine round the clock.
Dharavi isn’t used to world’s concerns. Even “Slumdog Millionaire” had just a couple of shoots from within. It’s used to keeping homes and roads clean; water supply and essentials running of 20-million plus lives in the megapolis every day even as their own lanes, alleys and hearths escape the world’s attention. Once in a while, a Hollywood or a Virus brings it back into human consciousness. To be forgotten, as soon as the event is over.