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Re: A call for a Social Revolution



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Continuing on with my reply to Naveenkj and his notions of
the rise of "radical extremists" in India.

>     I for one would love to see the two countries join again, and would
have 
> done anything to prevent separation in 1947.  But not having been born at 
> time, nor forseeing such unification in my lifetime, I would at least
like to 
> see a better relationship between India and Pakistan.  Although we both
need 

  You would love to live in a 'unified' India, would you? Exactly
  what would you be 'unified' with? Your neighbors who despise
  every fibre of your being?

  Want to have a taste of that? I invite you to come stay for a
  week at Ballygunge Circular Road in Calcutta. Starting at 4:30
  AM you will be woken up by no less than 3 loudspeakers calling
  the faithful to prayer. And this will go on throught the day
  from time to time. Although noise ordnances exist, no one has
  the balls to enforce them. Any attempt at enforcing anything
  civil against your neighbors would erupt into a conflagration.

  Incidentally, if there is no difference between the people of
  Pakistan and the people of India, how do you explain the
  radical difference in the two societies? 

  For all those who long for India to be united, I have a simple
  solution: you don't have far to go. Live in Calcutta for a few
  months. That would cure one of any romantic notion of how we
  are all the same. 

  What would you say to a person who owes his allegience not to
  the country of his birth but to a foreign land? Whose
  fundamental belief system says that you, a non-believer in his
  eyes, are to be despised if not killed outright? Who sees you
  as an enemy to be either converted or put to death? And it will
  not be any ordinary death--your skin will be stripped and you
  will be given new skin so that it can be stripped again. And
  again and again. Ad infinitum. Don't believe me. Read for
  yourself the word of god as revealed to his prophet.  And
  who will be doing this for your pleasure? His all merciful god
  himself!

  I am not a religious person. But it puts the fear of god in me
  to realise that that is what living in a Muslim society is
  like. Have you heard what is going on in the holy land of the
  Taliban? Recently they punished a corpse with 100 lashes
  because his beard did not meet the standard set forth by the
  7th century prophet. Would you like your sister to live in the
  land of the Taliban? No? Do you know what the next logical step
  for Pakistan is in its glorious path to the Islamization of the
  world? It is the Talibanization of Pakistan.

>     This is the mentality our peoples in both countries need to have.  We 
> both need to have equal respect for one another, and end acts of
terrorism.  

  Equal respect for each other? Are you sure you even know what
  you are talking about? I assume that you are not a Muslim. Do
  you know that that makes you literally beneath contempt to a
  devout Muslim? Can you show me anything in the Indian ethic
  that treats non-believers in this way? 

  Your statement above implicitly accuses India and Indians of
  acts of terrorism. Those are fighting words. EITHER
  SUBSTANTIATE IT OR RETRACT THAT STATEMENT WIH AN APOLOGY.

  I am serious about this.

> This will go a long way at home, where Hindus don't demolish mosques and 
> Muslims don't kill the holy cows.  We have to realize that we are
neighbors, 
> and we have to love thy neighbor.  I'm sure that's what Gandhi wanted, and 
> that's what Gandhi wanted to preach in both countries, but was cruelly
killed 
> by a Hindu fanatic.

  This is way beyond belief. Do you care to tell me the number of
  mosques that have been demolished in India? Approximate figures
  will do. Go ahead, I am waiting. Remind me of the systematic
  destruction of mosques (and other non-Hindu places of worship)
  in the last 2000 years. 

  Now do the same exercise for the temples destroyed. Use
  scientific notation to save space. 

  Your facile statement about Hindus demolishing mosques is
  sickening to the core. Do you realize that if indeed Hindus
  were into demolition, mosques would be a rarity in India? 

  Your naivete would have been touching were it not for the fact
  that ignorance inspired policy can be fatal. Have you heard the
  slogan "hindi-chini bhai-bhai"? That was what Nehru believed in
  till the chini woke him up with the bumboo in his behind. 

  The glorious Nehruvian head-in-the-sand tradition was well
  followed by Gujral (and his shairi) and Vajpayee with his
  bus-diplomacy. Read the consequences and weep. 

  Read up on history, my friend, before you advice policy. Heard
  of Prithvi Raj Chouhan? What is he famous for? He loved his
  neighbor to death--literally--his own death. 

>     Another area of reform is with trying to promote more interactions 
> between different castes in the predominant Hindu population.  I think the 
> government needs to provide incentives to people who marry between castes.  

  Ah, that is so wonderful. As if we have not had enough
  government already, we need government to tell us who we can
  marry. When do you think we should appoint the government
  official in charge of wiping our butts? 
  
  I get the distinct impression that you are quite averse to
  freedom. You should live in an Islamic theocracy where the
  government tells you what you can do and what you read and what
  you can think. 

> This is the only to be diverse and be unified.  We need to come together as 
> one melting pot.  We have to change people's minds to see beyond their 
> castes.  Marriages between religions should also be encouraged.

  Again religion crops up. Why the heck can't one just get on
  without reference to religion? How about the government getting
  out of the friggin' business of discriminating on the basis of
  religion? 

  Has it ever occurred to you that if religion were strictly a
  private matter much of the misery of the world would not exist?
  What religious beliefs you profess must not in any way affect
  the way you expect others to treat you. That should be the
  fundamental tenet.

>     We also need to greatly improve the conditions of women in India.
Indian 
> women are amongst the lowest in employment in the world.  Indian women are 
> also abused and have gone unnoticed by their husband and families.  This 
> needs to be ended.  We have to abolish the dowry system, that has made
women 
> property and promote a society where women are given their equal respect.
 We 
> also need to have more crisis centre's for rape victims, who are also on
the 
> rise. (Only the ones that are reported not the ones that aren't reported, 
> since families fear ridicule.)  Affirmative action programs should be in 
> place, to give preference to female candidates over male candidates in all 
> government work places and initiatives.  
>     These are some of the major social changes that need to take place, in 
> the minds of our people, and in our society and we as descent human beings 
> ought to promote this.  We can only do this with education and mainly
proper 
> scientific education.  We need to be a people of progress and unification.  
> We needed to keep in our minds not to fear.  We need to keep in our minds
to 
> accept positive changes, embrace them, and design them for a better
future.  
> 
> - Naveen

 Simple-minded homilies apart, we need to inform ourselves of the
 reality first before we can hope to affect positive change.
 Policy prescriptions based on a foundation of ignorance lead to
 actions that do more harm than good. Like the monkey said to the
 fish, "Let me save you from drowning", as he put the fish on the
 tree. 

 As this is a list where policy is debated, let me outline what
 to me appears must be at the core of any government of a people
 as diverse as India. That core is that of absolute equality
 before the law. The law must be completely even handed and
 totally blind to caste, creed, religion, color, ethnic origin,
 sex, sexual preference or whathaveyou. If we cannot agree on
 this, there is scant little we can do to create a just and
 equitable society. 

 So far, vote bank politics have precluded laws that provide
 equality to various sections of society. On top of this, the
 licence-permit-quota raj has seen that some people are
 privileged. Whether it is the steel producer or the producer of
 scooters or the procurer of import licences. All designed to
 favor someone over someone else. This has to go. 

 Equality before the law has to be the linch-pin of the whole
 machinery of any manifesto that seeks to remedy the faults of
 our society. If that is missing, we may as well close shop and
 save ourselves the trouble.

 Atanu


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