Archive for October, 2008

What to do with the Hindu – demonize or reconstruct?

Posted on October 30, 2008. Filed under: Hindu, India, Politics, religion, terrorism |

A leading web search engine flashed today the news of a serial blast in the far-eastern province of Assam in India, perhaps better known to most of us in the west as a label appearing on certain brands of tea. The blasts killed perhaps at least 65 people. Blasts are becoming an acceptable part of the common Indian’s life, so it no longer raises shockwaves. Indians go on about their daily business, and there is little reflection of ripples in the remote corners of the country. It is perhaps how Indians went on with their daily business when the Islamic hordes overran the north, in search of food, wealth, and women which their rapacious lifestyle had already denuded from the hinterland of India, in Persia and Central Asia. But what caught my attention was the casual mention of “possible involvement of suspected Hindu extremists” also in the recent blasts in India, along with the general statement and reference to Indian governmental claims of Pakistani secret service involvement along with suspected separatists and Islamic infiltrators. Just as the alleged attacks of the “Hindu” King of Kashmir, Harsha, on some “Hindu temples” is repeatedly shouted about by the Thaparites as claim that “iconoclasm” was of the same scale between Hindus and Muslims, while quietly suppressing the comment that the source of this claim Kalhana the chronicler makes  – that in doing so Harsha was behaving like a “Turushka” (Turk – a generic name used by early Indian chroniclers for Muslims, which the Thaparites twist into trying to exclude “Arabs” from the records of Islamic barbarism) – the authors and editors of this web-piece have been careful to try and associate “Hindus” also as potential terrorists at par with “Muslim” terrorists.

It is understandable that a for a lot of people, it is urgent to demonize the “Hindu”. It is crucial for political elite in India who are dependent on divisions of the “Hindu” vote. It is crucial for Islamic organizations who follow the Quranic and Hadithic injunctions to utilize the divisions in “unbeliever’s” attitudes towards Islam to utilize support or sympathy of one “unbeliever” group against another, until all “unbeliever” groups are weakened and assimilated or conquered – typically, the best and preferred method being execution of adult males,  and enslavement of children (pre-puberty males) and the women, and taking over all lands and wealth of non-Muslims. It is also crucial for the ideologically committed and therefore of limited statesmanship in the Left, for possible reasons ranging from a cynical recognition that the “mainstream” Indian society still abhors “communism” based on their loose “Hindu” religious identities, or a secret admiration and attraction for the colonial period reconstructed claims of “Islamic brotherhood and community feeling” , or as some scholars have speculated, may even have its origins from the failure and frustration of the Bengali “armed anti-British insurrectionists” (who dominate among the founding fathers of  Indian Communism) to mobilize the Muslims of Bengal in their anti-colonial cause.

For long I have had my own debates with myself about the “Hindu”. In my study of the “Hindu” sources, I have increasingly come to the realization that at least at one level the Thaparite criticism that the “Hinduism” of today did not exist in the past, is correct. For the Thaparites, this non-existence is confirmed by what they interpret as (1) lack of a unified centre and presence of sects (2) lack of surviving records of the term “Hindu” (3) literary evidence of practises that are taboo in modern “Hinduism”.  Although I do find a severe and crippling lack of logical clarity on the part of the Thaparites, I agree with their conclusion – that many of the features of “modern Hinduism” never existed. Where the Thaparites stop short, for obvious reasons of their political agenda and affiliation, are the exploration of historical causes behind introduction of “such features” into the philosophy, ritual and practice of the survivors of pre-Islamic Indians among Islamic state authorities.

I am going to raise a few simple ideas that the “Hindus” can possibly consider. I will justify where I feel direct justifications exist from within “Hindu” literary sources, and where no such justifications exist, I will simply ask that the proposed idea be considered as an extension or interpretation of an idea contained within the basic philosophical and logical texts of the Upanishads.

My proposition consists of four basic and simple ideas :

(1) Replace the use of the word “Hindu” with the word “Bharatyia”. The word definitely does not exist in the core literature, and although occuring early among the Islamic scholars the earliest references from the “Hindu” side appear only in certain royal inscriptions in the medieval period in Central and South India. Almost certainly the etymology of the word comes from a corruption of a root derived from the Sanskrit “Sindhu” and transformed by the tongue of foreigners, especially foreigners who have been associated beyond doubt with the “Hatem” divide of “Satem/hatem” linguistic divide in the Indo-European – and therefore a distinct region beyond the immediate neighbourhood of the Indian subcontinent. The Bharatyia is a better description of the body of the nation as it connects solidly and consciously with the geographical territory of the subcontinent, as mainly established in the highly political tract of the epic Mahabharatam. I will later give my commentary on the Mahabharatm as embodied political ideology of the “Bharatyia” nationhood, and here only mention my suspicion that the name of “Bharat” was deliberately chosen by the constructors of the epic not as a mere name of  king or emperor – but for very specific features and actions by this mythical king which set him apart from other mere royalty and made him a representation of an ideal of “statehood” or “nation” (Bharat disinherited his biological heirs, and gave the reign to someone outside royal birth, because he valued the “nation” and its interests higher than his own personal feelings or attachments).

(2) “Varna” is a descriptive attribute and not a classificatory one and not an inherited one.  Each person should be considered as having all the four “Varnas” inside him or her, and depending on the context, each person can and should manifest features of all four “Varnas” as and when required. The same individual when a student or participating in a ritual is a “Brahman”, when fighting a war is a “Kshatryia”, when carrying on “trade” or commerce is a “Vaishya” and when doing physical labour is a “Shudra”.  At different time points in life, all these roles can become important and necessary for the single human being.  I will give both textual justifications for this more elaborately later, as well as my own interpretations and justifications.

(3) Give the formal symbol of “Yognapobita” (the “sacred thread”) to all students of “Bharatyia darshan” (Bharatyia philosophy) irrespective of origin, class, region, gender. Once given the symbol could be worn also when participating in a ritual, but only in these cases of being a student or participating in a religious ceremony. This definitely does have precedence in the literature.

(4) Make the Upanishadic concept of “Charaibeti” – “never become stationary – move on” as the central concept of “Bharatyia Darshan”. The continuous “quest” for understanding, revisiting previous understanding and requestioning continuously as and when new understanding or knowledge is achieved. All else, rituals, practises, laws, injunctions, should be subordinate to this central concept. Only the act of “quest” should be the permanent feature and all else should be taken as transitory and temporary, and understood as an imperfect response to current conditions and limitation of knowledge. Views of the world, including that of any supra-human conscious authority controlling all processes, or the absence of any such, should be treated the same – subordinate to the quest. This can seem a bit too strong on the agnostic or atheist side, but there are substantial references to the basics of this concept in the Upanishads. Moreover, as stated, the concept is far from pure agnosticism (the concept does not rule out searching or questing the possibility of existence of such an “authority”) or pure atheism (it does not rule out any current understanding by some of what they experience or what some in the future may experience as “God”).  However, as I have said in the introduction, I see no reason to be limited by the exact wordings of a text, and we can extend or interpret – for it is the human mind which thinks of the text, it is the human hand which writes it or gives words to it, and it is another human mind which reads it or hears it.

I think these four basic concepts can be worthwhile to explore, having foundational basis in the preexisting philosophical and religious texts and therefore not completely alien or rejectable by those who need the reassurance of continuity – as tools for moving forward, for unifying the people of the subcontinent into a forward looking nation, the ultimate dream of the ultimate statesman in the Mahabharatam – Krishna.

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Finance looks grim – but capital is there, growth can be, only foresight and will is not there

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: economy, financial crisis, microcredit, Politics |

Who is hit the worst in a liquidity crisis? Not those who never had really any access to capital – the vast majority in any system who are deemed to be too “risky” by the dispensers of capital, the banks and the financial institutions. Not the big corporates, who hold sufficient capital stock or have sufficient power over policy-makers to “bail” them out with more “funds” filched from the public through the compulsory extraction process of taxation. It is the small producer, manufacturer, and the employees of such small production processes, who suffer the most, together with those employees at the bottom income segment of larger concerns who have little or no negotiating powers with their “fett Katz” bosses.

If it is the Government which needs to use public money, then where should this money go? This money should go the people who never really had access to capital. This should go to the small manufacturers and producers, either to established businesses or to promote new entrepreneurs. This money should go to form new community development and self-sufficient urbanization programs with built in agrarian, small-scale industries, and power generation components.

We can use this great opportunity to build a new way of living. At the moment we live in a world of super specialization, not only in industrial production or professions, but also in our lifestyles. Conditions of business, commerce and economic production processes ensure that professions define completely and entirely what the lifestyle, source of income, and culture of a person or his/her immediate network would be. Contrary to popular academic sociological representations of a “networked” society, all our societies, are deeply divided – with closed “networks”, giving rise to class and deeply resented social fractures. Such closing off of “subnetworks” also means inefficiency in terms of the economy and productive forces or development, since opportunities and stimulating exposures to alternatives are not available to increasingly large portions of the society, and the society overall loses out on “brains” and “innovations”.

On the other hand, socio-economic groups can monopolize items or entities of broad demand in the society. Thus in many economies, agrarian producers are completely “disjoint” from industrial producers, and financial services are disjoint from both, all these interact only through the “market” or pure process of exchange, and each can try to exploit the others. This is a different kind of “monopoly” – a social kind, where these self-closed networks ensure that the corresponding economic basis of their negotiating power remains within the network, and that “outsiders” do not have access to it. This means “departure” from “free market” conditions in the social situation, and is bound to be “inefficient” in the social sense.

What I visualize may appear to be a fantasy for many, but it is possible to go along this way. I visualize a world where human settlements are both agrarian and industrial with living conditions driven by “urban” concepts – the agrarian-industrial city.  Each such settlement recycles its waste, produces most if not all of its energy, contains the entire spectrum of habitats from managed forests, water bodies, farms and industries. Crucially the residences should never be far from farms, as well as industries, and that both “farmers” and “industrial workers” share the same living locations. This increases energy efficiency, by cutting down on transport and storage requirements, and increases financial efficiency as system loss due to the intermediaries who live off on the pure process of circulation or movement of commodities. There are obvious health benefits too. Ideally, people from both sectors should have some direct participation in the other sector, for example it would be crucial for industrial workers to have access to farming jobs on a part time basis, or small plots of land on their own to cultivate. Similarly “farmers” should have access to small scale industrial jobs, or access to trade-sheds to carry out small-scale industrial or processing works. Hands on experience on economic processes of vital importance but not of personal specialization, provides two important buffers – (1) increased negotiating power with these “other” sectors in the larger economy (2) a fall back option to produce the bare essentials if the larger economy fails to provide it.

All these can be done within well-experimented frameworks of small-credit, or “micro-credit”, and cooperatives. Financially it makes sense, as the capital is spread around in “many baskets” rather than one small “basket” which has shown time and again to lead us into “crises” like the present one. Especially in conditions when huge capital accumulation has taken place, and therefore comes under the effects of the “law of diminishing returns”, spreading this capital around in micro-credit raises the overall capital appreciation rate (rates in micro-credit are astronomically higher than in conventional “lend only to those who already have” practises of banks).  This will also produce a much broader base for economic growth and distribution of “prosperity”.

I am limited here in how far of “academic exposition” of my vision in economic terms I can give. Formal models will involve meso-economic processes, and interactions both at the macro as well as the micro.  However, the broad sense of what I am implying and its consequences can be worked out by readers on their own, based on their own personal understandings and experiences, without going through mathematical models. Political will to carry out and implement such a program is lacking, as even in “full fledged democracies”, the political “power” elite form semi-closed “subnetworks”, from which the general electorate are forced to choose what appear to them to be the best instantaneous “choice”. These subnetworks of necessity develop economic “contacts” and mutually enforceable ties with the corporate world – sometimes out of the sheer necessity of dealing with the corporates as the dominant force of the national economy. The corporate sector will desperately and ruthlessly try to hog the share of public funds, and it is the task of the “electorate” to see to it that they do not get it without at least some compromise to allow a portion to be released into programs of the sort I have described above. In the end even the corporates will benefit from the overall deepening and broadening of the “market” arising out of such redistribution of capital.

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Mumbai Anti-Terror Squad’s sudden discovery of “Hindu terror blast” is “secularly” believable- the same ATS whose discovery of “Islamic terror” was “secularly” doubtful!

Posted on October 23, 2008. Filed under: Hindu, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Muslims, Politics, religion, terrorism |

In my previous post on the latest series of blasts in India, at Malegaon, I had raised three possible scenarios –

” ….(1) If Islamic terrorists did this, why would they want to have Muslims killed in the blast? Or is it that this was the safest place to carry out blasts, given that deep cover was necessary now when the security forces would be combing the whole country – and such cover could only be provided by a sufficiently large and entrenched Muslim community, and therefore the momentum of Jihad could only be maintained by continued explosions but now only within a smaller feasible radius around the base of the cover. It could also be punishment to the local Muslims at large, who might have shown reluctance or lack of sufficient enthusiasm to join the Jihadi network – there is strong disapproval in the Quran for those Muslims who show “reluctance” in joining militant Jihad or providing material support for such Jihad.

(2) A second more sinister aspect could be a tactical calculation that, these attacks could be attributed to the so-called “Hindu Right wing”, and thus help in the current apparent campaign of the UPA to try to equate “Islamic terror” with “Hindu Right”. If true this would be a very subtle and cynical tactic on the part of the Jihadists, as it achieves many objectives – (1) this makes Jihadi terror appear more “palatable” (2) helps the Congress in its desperate fight to utilize minority support in the coming elections and attempt at delegitimizing the BJP  (3) makes the vacillating among the “secular” Hindus shaky in identifying with or leaning  towards the “Hindu Right”.

(3) A third possibility could be a copy-cat retaliation from among the non-Muslims of India, as a part of making Muslims share the pain of Jihadi and Islamic terror. This could be an increasing possibility if the Islamophile state policy of India continues. The reaction to Islamic terror is coming, in spite of my deep reluctance to accept the reality of such reaction which will tend not to distinguish between the barbaric theologians of Islam and the common brainwashed followers who in the case of India will be descended from the most unfortunate of pre-Muslim Indians, and one day it will sweep Islam away and deposit it in history’s garbage heap.”

The Mumbai Anti Terror Squad (ATS) has apparently suddenly found “evidence” of possible “extremist Hindu” groups in the Malegaon blasts. This is the same ATS whose “evidence” was severely questioned and doubted by the so-called “right-minded” secular “intellectuals” and “activists” when such “evidence” concerned “possible extremist Islamic” groups. The so-called secular forces fail to realize that by dismantling the credibility (in India, such issues are usually decided by trial by the media, who appear to be under strict compulsions to always portray the “Hindu” as “fascist” – for example in a documentary on the Kandhmal incident, I saw the commentator consistently describe tribals converting out of Christianity and describing their reasons for  “disillusionment” openly on the camera as evidence for “conversion into Hinduism out of terror”, or another commentator with great reluctance mumbling briefly about “the general atmosphere of fear” when she discovers on camera that the tribal family hiding out in the forests every nightfall away from their homes was actually “Hindu” as obviously this would be a “blot” in the overall representation of a “one-sided” Hindu “assault”) of the ATS when it “went against Muslims” it leaves the door open to raise similar doubts when the ATS “goes against Hindus”.

Those who would want to see a pattern, could perhaps easily find a pattern of “finding” evidence of implication of “Hindu extremism” in those parts of India, where either the BJP is dominant, or is likely to be a strong contender for state power in the upcoming general elections. There is now increasing symptoms of what is possibly a very cynical political tactic – try to equate “Islamic terror” with an invented “Hindu terror”, and thereby try an prevent “Hindu consolidation” as a political force. This is only the result of extreme panic on the part of portions of the political elite who have thrived on maintenance and strengthening of fissures in Indian society (some of which like caste by birth, are of dubious historical authenticity although declared by historians to be of endemic and ancient in nature) that the processes of “Hindu consolidation” are accelerating.

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Future scenario for the Indian subcontinent – 2 : Bangladesh and transformation of Islam

Posted on October 22, 2008. Filed under: Army, Bangladesh, Hindu, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Muslims, Pakistan, Politics, religion, terrorism |

In my previous post I have written about the current political situation in Bangladesh, where I have expressed my serious concerns about the role of the army in consolidation of the Saudi theologian led radicalization of Bangladeshi Islam, and Islam’s agenda for the subcontinent as a whole. But in the introduction I have also promised visions of revolutionary and positive changes for the “immensely significant periphery”.  In this post we will look at the potential for “positive changes” for Bangladesh.

Historically, Bengal (the undivided province) was one of the richest areas of the subcontinent, with a thriving agrarian and “industrial” economy – with records and evidence for a flourishing trade link with Egypt, South East Asia, as well as the Roman empire, in commodities like sugarcane molasses, cotton and fine cotton textiles. The province was sufficiently rich to support independent Sultanates against the nominal control of the Delhi Sultanate, and whenever the central-Northern Indian empires weakened, this tendency of the region to secede politically revived. The same pattern emerged when the Mughal empire weakened, with the Subahdars, and the Nawabs emerging as semi-independent rulers of the region (the highly emotional claim in Bengali literature of the “last independent” Nawab is fallacious – technically and formally, the Nawabs were “vassals” of the Mughal emperors, and Siraj was not the last Nawab either, as he was “legally” followed by Mir-Jafar and Mir Qasim who were “formally” endorsed by the Mughal emperor). The revenue and the products of the province supported and provided a substantial portion of the income of Aurangzeb, towards the beleaguered dusk of his reign.

Bengal was also the first rich Indian plum in the East India Company’s pocket, whose looting of the province and its economy is far better recorded (and less suppressed than the records of destruction and denudation under Islamic rulers). The cumulative effect of Islamic looting for 600 years and British looting for 200 years  could be seen in the Bengal famine of 1943 – as official records indicate that by this period, this once rich, net exporter province had become a net importer of its staple food -rice, and any obstruction in the flow of such imports could land up Bengal in severe famine. The previous notorious large scale famine of 1769 can be tied up very well with extreme taxation at the hands of tax-farmers employed by the Company, but once the tax regime normalized the province regained its vitality to a certain extent, although it never regained its pre-Mughal or pre-Islamic prosperity.  The extent of Mughal and Sultanate period extraction and impoverishment of Bengal is well attested to by foreign travellers, [see my series on How Islam came to India…economic decline], but systematic British exploitation brought Bengal to its knees.

After Partition from India, Bangladesh was virtually treated as a semi-colony by west Pakistan, and the issue was partly a motivator for the independence movement. Even after independence and a tremendous growth in its productive capacity, population pressure has ensured that Bangladesh is still crucially dependent on imports of essential commodities from its neighbours, and mainly from it’s supposed nemesis-India. The main export earnings of Bangladesh comes from its historical main commodity of export – cotton textiles. Since the ethnic and cultural (in spite of religious divides) composition of Bangladesh is essentially similar to that of  neighbouring Indian province of West Bengal, we should expect cultural biases in favour of intellectual and technological achievement. Thus with proper modern and widely accessible scientific and technological education, Bangladesh can achieve the potential it originally enjoyed before the advent of Islam or the British.

While most of Indian populations have had greater success with modern education and technological elevation, the main obstruction in the progress of Bangladesh has been the grip of Islam over its society. On the one hand Islam prevented the majority of Bangladeshi populations from joining the secular and modernizing trends within British India, and led directly to their subservience to Pakistani exploitation without any benefits of modernization. On the other hand Islam of the Arabic version had never had it easy with the ingrained traditions, beliefs and culture of the Bangladeshis – and nowhere in the subcontinent are syncretic tendencies between Islam and Hinduism so vividly apparent as in Bangladesh. This second largest community of Islam remained quite consciously distant from the Wahabi versions of Islam and the Islamic theologians are forced to tolerate the indignities of hearing the appearance and peaceful coexistence of Hindu Krishna or Radha together with calls towards the God of Islam in the ever-popular songs of Hason Raja (descendant of converted Hindu elite).

With the realignment of Bangladesh elite under pressure from the army to the Islamic axis, this struggle between syncretic Bengali Islam and the revivalist, orthodox, and extremely retrogressive Sunni Wahabi Jihadi Islam has been gaining virulence since the formation of Bangladesh. The Islamic Jihadi theologians are quite worried that left to its own wiles, Bangladeshi Islam will forget the Arabic Islam’s agenda of Jihadi expansion and total liquidation of all non-Muslim cultures. This is the reason there has been increasing flows of funds to strengthen the Islamic propagation networks of the madrassahs and maqtabs or “charitable institutions” – the net effect of all such efforts being visible in the increasing militancy of overground and underground Islamic organizations in Bangladesh. In spite of all propaganda as to the early “peaceful Sufi” converters of Hindu Bengalis, the general pattern on the subcontinent is also found with Sufi or other modes of conversion – that their “huge” success almost always coincides with the presence of Islamic military forces in close proximity – and just like other Sufis, the more famous Sufis of Bengal show fondness for direct military action to win converts or wives.

If the Bangladesh army’s command core, and the elite whose networks give support to this core, can be prevented in this agenda of Wahabi Islamization of Bangladesh, the natural tendencies of this emotional and spirited community will move against Islamic retrogression – the socio-cultural aspects of Arabic Jihadi Islam being completely alien to this more diverse, productive, and flexible Bengali culture. Bangladesh can realize its full intellectual, economic and technological potential only if it is no longer burdened with Islam – the creed that most violently suppresses all “quests”,  “quests” that are the key towards progress. Modernization and technological upgrading of the productive forces would also bring in a fundamental change in the historical dynamic that at least partly fuelled Islamic conversions – the hunger for land in a highly productive agrarian economy, that forced Hindu elite to convert to preserve land ownership in the face of Turko-Afghan or Mughal aggression, or tempted the landless to convert and use the Jihadi sanctions to grab land from non-Muslims. In the process of this  national redirection, such a liberation from the authoritarianism of retrogressive Islam, will also transform or redefine “Islam” as represented by the Bangladeshi Muslims, and could be a way forward or an example for other Islamic communities not under direct and total control of Wahabi Sunni Islamic theologians.

Part 1

Part 3

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Future scenario for the Indian subcontinent – 1 : Bangladesh elections hopefully

Posted on October 19, 2008. Filed under: Bangladesh, Bengal, Hindu, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Muslims, Pakistan, Politics, religion, terrorism |

The future scenario for the subcontinent is intricately linked with what happens in what we can loosely call the “greater” Bharatavarsha – the original Sanskritic name in literature for not only the subcontinent as we understand today but also including adjoining areas currently in Afghanistan, Iran, and central Asia. India derives from Graeco-European corruption of possibly Persian rendering of Sindhu [the Satem/Hatem divide in Indo-European] and is used mostly in European colonial terminology.

I am starting this series with what I choose to call the “immensely significant periphery”,  the countries of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. I feel that the force of historical development is accelerating now in all the countries of the “immensely  significant periphery” and the future trends are dangerous, revolutionary on the one hand and hold also tremendous possibilities for positive change on the other hand and at the same time.

I will deal with the case of Bangladesh first, as it has been going through a peculiarly significant phase in its tumultous political history. I have already written about my analysis of the balance of forces in Bangladesh society as developed through its separation from India during the Partition, and its separation from Pakistan in 1971,  previously in this blog. I see no reasons to change my estimate, that forces of modernization and Bengali nationalism is slightly weaker than Islamic retrogression. The 1971 war against Pakistan was an anomaly in the sense, that apparently this weaker force managed to get rid of Pakistan’s grip on Bangladesh. However, we can see, that this tilting the balance in favour of the nationalists and modernizers was essentially due to the long covert and finally short overt support given by India. The two forces within Bangladesh fought under their respective leadership which however as in most Asian nationalist struggles, were mostly derived from the same social elite class networks. Factions within the elite fight it out for their personal ambitions and look for support among potential social groups whom they can manipulate to bolster their personal claims for state power. Thus, at the upper levels of this political contest, dividing lines of ideology tend to get blurred. As members of elite have the same social networks tugging on their sentiments, leanings and deep hidden inclinations.

It is critical to understand and identify this distinction between supporting social groups and their leadership to understand the evolution of subcontinental politics. In Bangladesh for example, the “nationalist” faction leadership originally evolved out of the Indian Muslim League (both radicalized under and radicalizing Jinnah), and contained leaders like Suhrawardy (a great hero of “nationalist” Bangladesh) whose role in the Calcutta riots has remained questionable. The core elite leadership around Mujibur Rehman, managed to retain elements like Khondokar Mushtaq, and representatives of the strong force of Islamic fundamentalism which in the case of Pakistan or Bangladesh is usually only expressed in ethnic cleansing of Hindus or Buddhists, or abduction, rape and forced marriages of non-Muslim women, and grabbing non-Muslim property. Mushtaq later turned out to be the figurehead of a coup by officers of the Bangladesh Army that assassinated Mujibur and his entire family then present, in classic Islamic style reminding us of the great traditions of Caliphate – wipe out even the toddlers, so that no male descendants can turn up later to become focus and claim for political power (another sign of the medieval Islamic thought patterns of the Bangladesh elite that dominated the Army).

Subsequent history of Bangladesh has shown clearly that its armed forces are dominated by an Islam leaning leadership. The Army managed to liquidate “left leaning” army officers and members, (like Col. Taher) but brought to power commanders with overt, distinct, and explicitly Islamic agenda – like Gens Jiaur Rahman and his successor H.M.Ershad. These army regimes protected, and revived the Islamic fundamentalists represented and regrouped under the Jamaat e Islami, an organization openly against the nationalist liberation movement and many of whose leadership are also implicated in genocide, organized rape, and torture of people they considered “pro-India”, Hindu, and anti-Pakistan or anti-Islamic. The military regimes saw to it that war-crimes accusations were never seriously taken up, promoted Islamic education and propaganda machinery primarily through the madrassahs, and began to steer the country back towards the Islamic axis of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan.

Popular discontent with the political and military regimes have erupted from time to time, which were most likely to have been prompted and utilized by elite factions desperate in their “prolonged” lack of access to state power. But the character of the social elite that thrived on Islam, in their early land-grabbing from Hindus under the Sultans or the Mughals (or conversion of Hindu elite to preserve their land), and Islam sanctioned Jihads or Ghazwas to loot women and property of non-muslims, never changed. This elite is obsessed with possession of land, (the only country in the subcontinent that maintained and justified looting of non-Muslim land and property under an “enemy property act” was Pakistan, and Bangladesh continued to enjoy this law long after its independence from Pakistan – a clue to the mindset of the Bangladeshi elite) and they need Islam to complement and maintain the semi-feudal rural social structures that ensure elite control (just as in Pakistan).

The latest feather in the cap of the Bangladesh army is what is popularly mentioned in the Bangladeshi media as “1/11”  (1/11/2007) in that the army engineered what can only be seen as a coup – with possibly active involvement and covert support from a host of Western powers – a formal replacement of the “caretaker” government with a group that quite ruthlessly moved towards dismantling the established political power centres. The military elite quietly and quickly eliminated the captured alleged leaders of extremist Islamic outfits, in total secrecy from the media – possibly to suppress any potentially damaging leaks of connections to the elite itself, and we cannot completely rule out the possibility of covert connections between military intelligence and the so-called Islamic extremist as part of a much broader pattern of connections and support of the military of Islamic countries provided to hardline Islamic militant organizations like that of the ISI in Pakistan.

The military continues to be extremely shy of appearing to be “hard” on the Jamaat, or any Islamic organization – the latest parody being the “inability” of the police to arrest the secretary general of the Jamaat, who freely roams the country and the capital giving speeches or meeting politicians from the Right side of the political spectrum.

The army had managed to chastize the existing politicians under corruption charges, and given the history and record of Islamic armies or secret services, it is safe to assume that substantial doses of torture and ruthless psychological manipulation was liberally applied to neutralize the leadership or make them sufficiently pliable – the favourite method of dealing with those whom the Bangladesh Army finds unpleasant was recently illustrated by the fate of an expat Bangladeshi barrister from London by Air Force personnel. What the army is aiming for is quite clear : it wants the ruling social-military  elite’s interests protected. Given the close alliance the Bangladesh army has developed over the years with the Islamic axis, this also means forwarding the agenda of Islamic absolute control over the subcontinent.

The army needs the two main factions within the ruling class to converge to this overall agenda, and for this it is prepared to sacrifice or coerce individuals from among its own class who have become more a liability than an advantage – as it eliminated Jia or sent Ershad to jail, and turned the “next generation of political inheritors” either “physical wrecks” like Jia’s sons or ensure Haseena’s son’s virtual exile in the USA.  Political legitimacy independent of Islamic control and dependent on charismatic tradition is an obstacle in the army’s overall plans, and it appears that the army is desperate to ensure subservience of the two elite factions into a national “consensus” framework, and in this a key role will be played by the hardcore Islamic faction led at least superficially by the Jamaat. The Jamaat’s involvement in crucial “dark episodes” of Bangladesh’s history ensures its continued influence within the elite including perhaps even the core driving the military – with mutual dependence and “sensitive knowledge” about each other. The Jamaat is the hidden trump card to “soften up” one faction and “threaten” the other, and will be used by the military to enhance its agenda for Bangladesh.

The promised elections in December will not be held unless concrete commitments are obtained from both elite factions to follow and toe the line given by the army, and this will involve the strengthening of the Jamaat’s role in Bangladeshi politics, as well as overall gradual manifestation of the agenda of Islam for the subcontinent. In its turn it means continued sheltering of Islamic militants for infiltration into India through the border state of West Bengal ruled at present by a sympathetic “Left”, continued protection and enhancement of the madrassah system of education, continued attacks on cultural items deemed “un-Islamic”, and providing a second base for the flourishing and operations of the Islamic theologians hell-bent on returning the world to the looting, raping, genocidic, ethnic cleansing ideology of 7th century Arabic Islam.

The media has had a field day in blaming the politicians for this situation. But in reality the politicians were never strong enough to override the military, and the nationalists who emotionally fought for a “Bengali culture” as distinct from the “Urdu-Pakistani” Islamic state were of necessity too humane to match the cunning, ruthlessness and pathologically Sadistic upbringing of the Islamic elite of Bangladesh. It was only a matter of time, before the Islamic leadership panicked sufficiently that if they delayed any further they might never recoup their agenda at all.

Part 2

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Time to reciprocate Islam’s attitude towards non-Muslims – counter apostasy laws in Islamic countries with laws against conversion to Islam in non-Muslim countries

Posted on October 11, 2008. Filed under: Islam, Islamic propaganda, Muslims, Politics, religion |

On October 03, 2008 Barnabas Fund reported that, ‘The Iranian Parliament has given provisional approval, by a majority of 196 to seven, to a bill that mandates the death penalty for apostasy from Islam. Until now Iranian judges could impose the death penalty in such cases only on the basis of Islamic law and fatwas, not on the basis of Iranian law”.

The bill prescribes a mandatory death sentence for any male Muslim who converts from Islam to another religion, and lifelong imprisonment for female converts from Islam. It also gives the Iranian secular courts authority to convict Iranians living outside the country of “crimes relating to Iranian national security”. This could be used against the many Iranian Christians who live outside Iran but are involved in evangelism within it. The bill, which was drafted earlier this year, is now being reviewed in parliament, giving MPs the opportunity to amend it. Before it becomes law the bill will also be vetted by the Council of Guardians, a twelve-member legislative body with the power to veto any bill that does not conform to Islamic law and the constitution.

Killing ex-Muslims who have converted out of Islam is never explicitly given out in the Quran. This is usually added to by the various Muslim interpreters and commentators of the Quran, based primarily on the authority or citation of certain Hadiths, where the Prophet of Islam is explicitly shown as executing or ordering the execution of an ex-Muslim who had “apostasized” – the Sunnah route for justification of all sorts of barabarities aimed essentially at keeping tight biological control over a captive population under the class of most retrogressive and biologically greedy, fanatical, male Islamic theologians.

We can debate a lot about the legal validity of death penalty for apostasy in the core texts of Islam. Some Muslims, concerned about maintaining the “humane” face of Islam for propaganda purpose until Islam gets militarily strong enough to obliterate all other cultures by Jihadic violence, would try to shout that it is the Quran which is the supreme authority and the Hadiths are dubious, and any contradiction between the Quran and the hadiths should always be settled in favour of the Quran. The problem is the Quran does not rule out death penalty for apostasy explicitly either. So technically, Islamic countries can bring in this law.

However debating about this in academic fora will never stop these increasing hardcore tendencies within Islamic countries. This tendency will increase as the Islamic theologians are realizing that their grip over their flock is growing increasingly tenuous – given the growing penetration of modern scientific knowledge and a much greater awareness of the violent and almost primitive, biologically greedy basic agenda of Islam, among the non-Muslims. I believe, that due course of history will remove these Muslim theologians in bloody revolutions of the Jacobin type – where the fanatical head of Robespierre that chopped off the heads of Danton or Marat, itself rolled off soon after. This process should be encouraged and helped so that Muslims forced to live under these Ulemas and Ayatollahs decide to get rid of them.

However, until that happens, there should be a concerted agreement among the non-Muslim national legislatures that behaviour towards Islam should be determined by the attitudes, laws and behaviours in the worst offender among the Islamic countries. Thus until a single Islamic country remains that awards death penalty for apostasy out of Islam, all non-Muslim countries should award the maximum penalty possible under their respective laws for conversion into Islam. Until a single Islamic country remains that forcibly separates couples and annuls marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims, no marriage should be allowed between Muslims and non-Muslims in non-Islamic countries.  As long as there is evidence of destruction of non-Muslim cultural sites in any Islamic country, no new Islamic cultural sites should be allowed to come up in non-Islamic countries. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights should be amended to incorporate reciprocality clauses. Only under such concerted non-Islamic efforts would the OIC and other fronts representing Islam at the governmental and international level feel sufficient pressure to stop the persecution of non-Muslims.

The non-Muslims should begin to learn from the Muslims what to do with those among the non-Muslims sufficiently “seduced” to submit to Islam – be it the attraction of “exotic charms” of “kohl marked eyes” and harem fantasies [a huge erotica industry in the West flourishes on extreme Harem fantasies], “oil wealth”, the religiously sanctioned and enjoined possessiveness of Islamic males misinterpreted by non-Muslim females as “love”,   or the simplification and certainty of “rules” of behaviour and faith for those in severe need of submitting to an authority and not finding it within Christianity [perhaps the danger of bringing up children in extreme rule based and authoritarian implementation of Christianity, and not encouraging independent questioning, or not giving proper unrestricted exposure to all scholarly research on the origins of the revealed traditions without suppression of uncomfortable aspects ].

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Global financial meltdown or golden opportunity for a healthier future?

Posted on October 10, 2008. Filed under: economics, microcredit, Politics, USA |

The influential central banks of influential national economies of the world have cut down interest rates. President George Bush has struggled but succeeded to get a moth-eaten financial bail-out package approved. The British have gone one step further, taking a page out of their historical experiments with “socialism of the right-wing kind” and started processes for nationalizations. But the apparent “confidence” of “investors” appear to slide. I have already talked in these pages about why and how, the national governments of the so-called “super economies” cannot shake off their responsibilities about allowing this to build up.

The financial smoothies can blabber about smugly in technicalities on the media – about a “system collapse”, and how “surprisingly” and “otherwise sound” financial system seems to “puzzlingly work no more” – and that the “governments” must do something “drastic” and “do more”. It sounds like a wayward teenager’s pout, that she has crashed her mom’s convertible, and dad should do “something” to clear this “puzzling accident”.

The main problem has been building up for a long long time, explicitly in the manipulation of the world market to ensure fat profits for the controllers of these markets. The process had started before the second world war, and after the war simply consolidated as the Euro-American control over the world markets adpated itself to the more efficient extraction of profits through transnationals compared to the less efficient and politically increasingly costly or risky direct colonial form of extraction of capital and profits for the benefit of the Euro-American home nations. Without going into jargon and technicalities, the original source of this departure from free market conditions can be understood in very simple terms.

Suppose two countries A and B are engaged in international trade. A is capital rich, held in currency reserves in a dominant currency [a currency against which the currency of country B is pegged, or fixed, so that changes in the face-value of this dominant currency immediately forces corresponding changes in the currency of B]. For example, the south east Asian currencies involved in the 90’s crash were all typically pegged or fixed as a predetermined weighted combination of Euro-American currencies, and the effect of the transition of the Euro zone in triggering the south-east Asian currency crisis is still being debated. Country B on the other hand was an ex-colony, and therefore had been sucked dry of all capital, or capital producing economic elements, and is trapped in  a low-surplus production process.   Further  as part of the transition from colony to ex-colony let us suppose that country B has inherited elements of dependent capitalist production and market systems, which are dominated by the capital and market control mechanisms of the ex-colonizer which is either A or a third country having mutually interdependent and mutually profitable capital and financial exchanges with A.

By the market and hence the indirect political control required to maintain such market control, country A can extract surplus from country B by marking up prices of commodities on which the economy of B depends – as B’s colonial inherited production systems had been deliberately kept dependent on primarily “high-value” capital goods produced in country A or its allied colonizer economy. This sort of profiteering is a kind of “investment”. In financial terms there is no problem with this as long as the rate of such profit is not very “large”.

But it all gets out of hand, if the profit rate exceeds a certain critical value determined by the conditions of the economy of country A. Beyond a certain value, any excess profit cannot be balanced against commodities produced by country B and of value to the consumers of A, and will then have to be balanced against the purely financial commodity aspect of “money” – that is against the currency of A. This can mean either printing of money which will not immediately appear as “inflation” as accounts are being balanced formally against external trade. However, over time this excess profit translates into a fictitious commodity, that of pure currency reserve, which cannot be balanced at fixed and adjusted prices against the real commodity production of country A. This means either prices of commodities in A have to be marked up or there is excess monetary capital that cannot be balanced against the surplus production of the economy of A  at constant prices.

To a significant extent, the current crisis was ultimately triggered formally through the collapse of the housing finance sector in the USA. There will of course of be thousands of papers published in the finance journals over the coming months justifying extension of tenures – but with little real insight or corrective prescriptions. The fact is that the excess accumulated capital under the control of the US economy, as well as excess capital flowing in from growing economies like China or the demand-fuelled monetary super-profits of the oil-rich Gulf countries, have been super-inflated due to conversion of capital as balanced against real commodities in demand into fictitious purely numerical monetary commodities.  The financial wizadry of the type of Wall-street flyers, have simply devised more and more elaborate forms of “exotic” fictitious commodities in the form of options to absorb this excess currency in circulation or held in the accounts books of the investor chains. As the profitability of the capital rich economies decline internally, there has been a systematic  tendency towards preying on the essential commodities within their domestic economies – commodities like housing, or health care, or insurance which are also typically lucrative because of government legislations that make them compulsory and therefore convert the domestic populations into captive markets. This makes it obvious, that surplus monetary capital would prey on the most vulnerable consumer in order to extract higher profit rates using the weaker negotiating power of the consumer. This being risky, government legislations that require compulsory protection of such “risks” which provide opportunities to other financial service providers to put their teeth into the fat profits being made by marking up their own prices as coverage of risks, and this then gets spread around by the financial wizards through their exotic fictitious commodities.

There will now be a huge hue and cry to nationalize, conversion of deflated assets into public liabilities, and maintain minimal profits or high levels of conspicuous consumption by the controllers of the financial systems. But this will simply restore the power of the controllers of the financial system and will retain the highly manipulated market system under heavy control by the few.  For a truly free market, all economic agents have to be empowered. This means that the small consumer too has to have greater power in the markets. Instead of concentrating capital in the hands of a few managers who have shown how “unfree” the “free” market can be made to be, the task of the hour is to give access to capital to those who have least access to it. Basic housing, education  and healthcare are important components of empowerment  in addition to access to capital and means of production.

It will be crucial to develop local markets, and for communities to try and be self-sufficient in the basic commodities. As far as possible, communities should not only stress on pure urbanization but also try and develop the agrarian and small-scale industrial potential of lands and facilities surrounding them. Production, production and more production of the basic necessities through a process in which everyone in the community or the local system participate. Production and consumption on site is more efficient in energy usage and infrastructure, and over specialization should be discouraged. There should be government policy and legislation now that requires urbanization to be also concurrently agriculturally productive, and such urban-agrarian land usage to provide sustainable energy and housing generation – such as managed forests within the defined urban area that provide renewable fuel, power and building material.

This does not mean that international commerce or trade and capital formation or exchange has to be abandoned. But what it means is to reproduce national economies in ever smaller scales within larger and overlapping economic systems, so that all financial “eggs” are not put in one “investment” basket. This will provide a basic safety net within the “free market” system so that people have their fundamental requirements for sustenance satisfied, and risks entailed by investments of large capitals cannot then affect or damage lives to the extent they can do now. The multifarious sectors and aspects of these local economies can provide sufficient diversifications to cushion communities from large scale financial blows. This will also mean much more efficient and clean resource usage, and less dependence on distant economies mediated by those who concentrate capital in their own hands through the pure process of  managing exchange and capital circulation. In its turn this will lead to capital formation that cannot leave real production processes and commodities far behind in “value”. Strong local economies will also serve to increase the number of “free” economic agents and factors in national as well as global markets, leading to the results expected of efficient market clearance, and sustainable growth equilibriums.

Try to grow something in your back garden, in empty and unused patches of land, in a corner of your window in an urban high-rise, get together with your community to start a small farm with the help of local administration, form small cooperatives or companies to produce items needed in the community, absorb and use as many of the population in these production processes, teach yourself about economics and the financial system, try to organize a basic local healthcare system, invest in a child or teenager to become a doctor with clear legal commitments to practise at reasonable compensation for a period of time as part of the healthcare system, try to ensure education so that generations of producers can keep abreast of technological change.

At the global level, the tendency will be towards global financial system consolidation and homogenization, with greater regulation at the international level. However, political expediencies and persistent racial, religious, and xenophobic fractures will desperately fight against this consolidation, as just like within national economies these fractures are crucial in extracting profits from the pure circulation of capital for those entities and transnationals who own large amounts of capital.

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Karazai guarantees safe passage and return for Mullah Omar – a game foolishly started by NATO that the Taleban will win

Posted on October 3, 2008. Filed under: Hindu, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Muslims, Pakistan, Politics, religion, Taleban, terrorism, USA |

Hamid Karazai has offered safe passage and “safe return” to one of the founders of the Taleban – “the students” – Mullah Omar. This is perhaps based on the assumption that the Taleban leadership is still roaming freely and safely somewhere in the grey zone in North West Pakistan and North Eastern Afghanistan. Hamid Karazai would not have made this offer, unless NATO and primarily the USA approved of it. What are the tactical calculations behind such monumental blunders?

(1) NATO and the USA thinks that they have to somehow lure the Taleban leadership out of the “protection” of the Pakistani ISI establishment, into Afghanistan where they can have a greater freedom in dealing with the Taleban. This calculation is asinine – even if the Taleban agrees to this truce, they will leave their bases in Pakistan intact under the protection of the Pakistani army top brass and the ISI. None of the real military strength of the Taleban will be compromised. The Taleban and the Al Quaeda will hold on to this strategically crucial area between Afghanistan and Pakistan as the new base of expansion for their brand of Islam. One just has to look at Google earth to see how militarily important this particular region is – and together with Syria-Anatolia-Turkey, has been crucial in the overall Islamic expansionist plans since its inception in Arabia in the 7th century.

(2) An even more stupid idea would be thinking of luring Mullah Omar and his cronies in Taleban to come and share some form of political power in Afghanistan, and thus gradually soften them up a bit in standard politics. Mullah Omar’s brand of politics is that laid down in the Hadiths, the Shariah and the Hidaya – where politics is simply following the orders of “higher ups”, doing everything as dictated by the existing Islamic texts which claims to be word of a supra-human authority beyond any questioning or negotiations by mere human beings – and these higher ups typically are the Mullahs and the Imams – most of the time whose qualifications do not rise beyond a learning of the Arabic texts by heart, and the various compilations and addendums accumulated over the centuries facilitating and justifying the most horrible of inhuman measures to be applied on society to ensure control by these demented, perverted and self-serving megalomaniac theologians for the satisfaction of their biological needs. A modern democracy will be beyond their personal control, and will require rights to be given to people not allowed under Islam, and a modern technologically and knowledge-based sophisticated society can throw up severe questions on the fundamental premises of Islam itself. Mullah Omar’s entry into Afghan politics will mean beating up cloth-entombed women for imaginary infractions of Islamic virtue, or the public execution of rape victims for adultery, a rolling back of science education, and the imposition of Islam’s barbarity that is always trying to drag us back to the darkness of  the male founders of Islam and their essential greed for wealth, women, and the sadistic enjoyment of the pain of those under their power.

(3) With the Bush presidency at its fag end, those Islamophile elements within the USA or the European countries behind NATO, who are ever-willing to compromise with Islam are trying to reassert their position of tactical as well as strategic co-existence – the same strategy that has led to the flourishing  of Islamic Jihad over the better part of the twentieth century. Islam’s agents would convince western decision-makers that it is possible to tackle Islam through democracy and that all we need is “love” and “peace” – it is only a few disgruntled Muslims who are to blame, and not Islam as a whole. These disgruntled Muslims can be bought over with “power” and “luxury” just as the Saudi Royal house could be – most of whose young princes while being educated out in the “decadent West” had shown consistent and wide departures from Shariati “Islamic purity”. But the fundamental problem is the complete lack of understanding of Islam itself, and the convenient overlooking of the fact that the “buying” was only successful in a land and system on which Islam had no influence or ideological control, where the state was not a totalitarian Islamic state, and which therefore placed limitations on the satisfaction of the immense biological greed that drives the male-centric ideology of Islam. Where an Islamic state has already successfully established itself, no buying is successful.

Mullah-Omar or his representative’s return will only mean re-emergence of the Talebani-Al-Qaeda power base back in Afghanistan, and it will have then formally expanded from its current power base within the state of Pakistan, into Afghanistan again. Hamid Karazai and his “Mujahideen” were very effective against the Russians, but will be no match against the Taleban without US help – as the Taleban and Al Qaeda follow the Sadistic and cynical [and therefore highly effective against modern “civilized” military forces] military theory proposed in the core texts of the Islam and as reported to have been practised by the prophet of Islam himself. It is always, deception, deception and deception – probably very closely matched by the infamous Dantonist slogan of “de l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace”.

Pakistan has been the refuge of the worst forms of Islamic fundamentalist theologians right from its inception. On the Indian subcontinent, this Muslim theologian class is mostly descended from imported “foreign-born” adventurers, who had little cultural or educational qualifications beyond that of the few injunctions of the Quran or the Hadiths. The “real” Muslim intellectuals, mostly descended of pre-Muslim Persian and Afghan-Hindu or Buddhist elite, visited or were “forced to visit” (like Al Beruni) but did their best (like Ibn Sina) to stay away from the Islamic invaders and marauders like the Turks, Mongols or earlier Arabsinto Persia, outer India (Afghanistan/Seistan) and the Indian subcontinent itself. It was the nearly criminal British colonial policy that revived this Islamic theologian class through the so-called colonial law reforms, which ignored and overturned the syncretic and modernizing trends that had evolved in interaction over centuries of successful defence by the Hindus of their traditions and more liberal polity, and simply asked the theologians to dust-off their copy of the Sharia or the Hidaya (just as they did damage the Hindu modernization process by naively supporting the clamour by certain Brhamins that their copy of the  Manu-Smriti/Samhita was the sole repository of “Hindu” law – a mistake obviously committed by AlBeruni too who reports textual claims of “caste” but shows no awareness of “sects” which were typically never recognized by Brahminical texts).

With the legitimization of the existence of Pakistan, the British and the Congress under Nehru, who appeared to swallow all pride and shame and had not a single strong word to utter against the Islam inspired Jihadi outrage perpetrated on the common woman, child and man of the Sikhs and the Hindus, in his eagerness to slip into the “Indian vice-regal throne” with British blessing, connived to protect and give shelter to Islamic Jihad. Muslims deciding to remain in India were not “encouraged” to leave India for Pakistan as the Hindus in Pakistan were repeatedly “encouraged” to do, as the very clear calculation of the British and hence of Nehru dependent on their tutelage was that if Pakistan failed to become the centre of Jihad and Islamic proselytization, the remnant Islamic populations within India as nurtured by Nehru could be used to further continuing British designs on the subcontinent given that the middle-east was coming increasingly under US control.  All this also tied in nicely with the then prevalent paranoia and the “neo-crusade” against Communist Russia, as some dimwit with typical European shortsightedness had  decided that Islam would be the best antidote to Marx, and the Islamic worldview should be protected and encouraged and its spread through the Mullahs and Imam’s ensured and encouraged.

This sort of Islamic insurgency, as in most insurgencies, utilizes the ruggedness of the terrain and terror to survive or flourish. If we look at historical commanders (like Alexander) who succeeded in subduing these regions, we can see that they were relentless in liquidating centres of resistance, typically after complete and absolute encirclement, by first cleaning up the plains surrounding the rugged lands and then cornering and trapping the insurgents and liquidating them giving no quarters . This whole area, including that of Pakistan can only be rid of the menace of Islam, by a similar military doctrine, that emphasizes tight encirclement and complete liquidation.

But the west will continue in its muddled understanding of Islam, trying to model it by their own religions and failing to understand its predatory and sadistic essence. The perhaps secret sadistic tendencies in some of the males, and masochistic tendencies in some of the females among the non-Muslims are expressed in their outward defence and sympathy for Islam, and provides support for the shrewd observation in the Quran and directly from Muhammad as reported in the Hadiths, that the “unbelievers” are themselves divided over attitude towards Islam, and that the Muslims should use this tactically to finish off one group after another using this division of opinion.

It is time to identify this fifth column in our societies, and try and expose their ideological dishonesty and opportunism or simple befuddlement. If non-Muslims do not consolidate and come to tactical and strategic understanding for ultimate erasure of Islam as an ideology and re-humanization of ex-Muslims as modern human beings, the fate of civilization is Islamic barbarity, injustice, superstition and darkness over all knowledge and quest.

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Bailing out the free market – but was it really free to start with?

Posted on October 1, 2008. Filed under: economics, USA |

President George Bush refuses to be beaten. He will push for his bailout plan for the financial industry of the USA, and in an era of increasingly networked international finance, therefore for the financial industry of the whole world. 700 billion dollars of money is a lot of money. Why has the bailout amount to be this large? The answer is simple, this is the amount which simply did not exist in real economic terms – this was the monetary difference between reality and speculation – 700 billion dollars did not represent any real commodity, but a tentative value put on expectations of people. When there are no checks and balances on expectations, assessment of expectation in monetary terms can be quite tricky, and mostly imaginary.

The simplest check on such speculative assessment of expectations is supply of money to fuel such speculations. In the US economy for example, if the total money supply remained constant in real terms, or increases in money supply were proportionate to increases in commodity production at constant prices, any diversion of monetary funds into the housing market would have to have been balanced against lowering of prices of commodities or products not involved directly with housing. Since this did not happen, it meant that there was sufficient money to play around with over and above that could be balanced against the products of the US economy.  This could happen in only one of two ways.

The first possibility is an accumulation of unbalanced surplus money from within the US national economy in dollars, which would therefore implicate the US treasury and the government. The second possibility is that of an accumulation of surplus money provided to balance demand for dollar in the international economy, to either pay for speculations in globally “essential” commodities like oil, or to balance profits from pure speculation undertaken by managers of US capital in the global financial market.

This accumulation of unbalanced surplus money from within the US national economy is an important departure from “free-market” conditions, as in ideal free market conditions, even the supply of money would have been balanced by the net national or international income in real terms. At some stage US capital has indulged in speculative profiteering, either within its own national borders or internationally in exchanges with other national economies. Such exchanges can no longer be formally traced as mostly such exchanges would have been taking place through transnational entities, and there are few existing controls over the functioning of transnationals comparable to those that exist within national boundaries.

If US capital could make speculative profits not balanced against real production in the international markets, then it means that “free market” conditions were not existing in the international markets. This was to be expected because much of the post WWII world economy was under the shadow of the Bretton Woods regime, with the US dollar imposed as the monetary pivot. Many currencies in Asia or the Latin Americas, were pegged with the dollar or closely related and financially tied currencies in Europe, until the last decade of the 20th century long after the Bretton Woods regime was weakened and supplanted by monetary regimes aimed at facilitating transnationals.

If US capital could make speculative profits within its own national borders in “peculiar” commodities like land and housing, this also means that “free market” conditions did not exist within the US domestic economy. Essential commodities like housing maintain sustained demand in any economy, given non-decreasing populations, and can usually be balanced by provision of sufficient economic capabilities on the populations. The US has pretty strong anti-trust and pro-competition laws, but the scale and reach of these laws are not sufficient to cover the entire economy at all levels and at all scales. An excessive concentration of capital in the hands of the few implies indirectly manipulation of and departures from “free market” conditions even in the domestic economy. Such excessive concentration of capital would behave as excessive accumulation of a “commodity” in the hands of a few, raising speculative profits even on capital as a commodity.

Like many other countries, the US has to bring back competition and free market conditions even within its own boundaries, by raising the economic capabilities of all its people. This economic empowerment of its citizens entail wide ranging reforms in development, starting from education and healthcare to access to capital and rights to land or shelter – as only economic agents with sufficient power and resources to influence economic outcome can ensure the vitality and “free”dom of the market.

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