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Book Review in Pioneer, 3 Sept 2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indian Armed Forces: In need of a Revolution

Indian Army: Vision 2020 comes as a timely reminder for decision makers and the military leadership to wake up and vitalise the Indian Armed Forces which essentially involves changes of mindset and doctrine as well as updating and replacement of weapons and equipment, says Anil Bhat

<b>Indian Army Vision 2020
Author:Gurmeet Kanwal
Publisher: HarperCollins with Observer Research Foundation
Price: Rs 495</b> 

The Indian Army over the past six decades has evolved from being an entity put together by the British from armies of various kingdoms in Indian history to a professional fighting force which has experienced conflict in all forms, terrains and temperatures. In fact it has set new records of fighting at altitudes and weather conditions never experienced by other armies in military history, but with one common factor - of "making do" with whatever it has had, which was never enough or new enough, compared to most of its adversaries. Stark examples are the first two wars after India's Independence; the first India-Pakistan war of 1947 and the Chinese Aggression of 1962, both of which were fought with an over half a century old rifle, with clothing far too inadequate for temperatures falling short of minus 50 degrees Celsius and redefined mountain warfare by battling at heights of up to at least 14,000 feet above sea level. Because the Western concept of mountains is limited to 8000 feet or so. Later, in the Siachen Glacier it learnt how to survive at up to 22,000 feet and in the Thar desert, how to move over fine sand with few roads and scant water as the mercury rises up to short of 50 degrees Celsius.

Thanks to a couple of hostile neighbours, the Indian Army has been in a state of some sort of conflict or the other, or long term deployment, at least for all the six decades so far. In addition to the external, it has also been actively involved with internal disturbances owing to the inability of state and central police organisations to tackle insurgencies and major flare-ups or also because some of the internal problems have external roots. Besides these, every year there are floods and other disasters, which the Armed Forces are always involved in reacting to, not only within the country but in neighbouring ones including, ironically, the hostile ones as well as distant countries. In the field of United Nations peacekeeping, India has been one of the most regular and substantial contributors. Since the early 1990s when the Indian Army was probably stretched to the maximum, the only commitments struck off are Sri Lanka, 'Khalistani' terrorism in Punjab and Nagaland, where a tenuous ceasefire has been on for over a decade. The peace process begun with Pakistan since early 2004, only reduced the daily border and Line of Control skirmishes, still often violated by Pakistan, but the terrorists trained or operating from there, are still very active not only in Jammu and Kashmir but spread throughout the country.

Despite the vast infrastructure under the Defence Ministry, including the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), public sector undertakings and Ordnance factories all over the country, all three Services have remained dependent, earlier on Soviet Russia for up to 70 per cent of their requirement of weapons and equipment, and now on other countries.

The further irony is that lack of strategic consciousness of the political leadership coupled with bureaucratic apathy, tight fisted and ever decreasing budgetary allocations, short command tenures of senior commanders along with a "play safe and no risk" attitude as well as the sheer inertia of decision makers have led to a degradation of fighting potential of an otherwise professional army with the best of soldiery.

Scientific progress, particularly in information technology on the one hand, fundamentalism and bigotry on the other as well as a global arms race gone "mad" (mutually assured destruction) with nuclear options as "deterrents", when "disarmament" remains but only a fashionable term in the academic and international relations circuit, new terminologies and forms of warfare have emerged with prefixes like cyber, psychological and asymmetric. Nuclear (also often clubbed with biological and chemical warfares), in addition to those already mentioned require for the armed forces of a country like India, facing two neighbours not only hostile as mentioned but nuclear armed too, to adopt new tactics, techniques and procedures.

Chapter 2 of the book, 'Threats, Challenges and Vulnerabilities,' spells out what all these three aspects amount to externally and internally for India. With all three prevailing in ample measure and the kind of responses, or sheer lack of appropriate ones, recent events in Kashmir Valley and Jammu should not come as a surprise, particularly following major changes in Pakistan since early 2008. Such kind of developments are all the more reason that the Indian Armed Forces should be properly and amply equipped as these are the kind of circumstances which increase the possibility of a war erupting. And God forbid, should that happen, no amount of blame-gaming or instituting of inquiry commissions is going to help.

The book comes as yet another timely reminder for decision makers and the military leadership to wake up and vitalise the process which essentially involves changes of mindset and doctrine as well as updating or replacement of weapons and equipment. While at least two decades of fighting increasing asymmetric counter insurgency/terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir and almost six decades in the North East have honed the Indian Army personnel - never found wanting in blood and guts and valour - their capabilitiy as seen in mechanised and mobile operations as in 1965 and 1971 has not been similarly tested again, except in limited forms during Exercise Brass Tacks and the unfought Operation Parakarm.

The political leadership and bureaucracy should be quite clear about the fact that a nation of India's size and diversity not only aspiring to be a regional power, but one which is rising as an economic one also, needs a very sound well-armed modern hi-tech war machine for sheer survival. If India is aiming for the big league, it better have the muscle to do so and with a mind to make good use of that muscle whenever and wherever necessary.

Gurmeet Kanwal has, over the next few chapters, enumerated and elaborated on the changes in various military operations, procedures and other aspects of warfare that have occurred in the past few decades and those which are expected to happen in the next decade or so at least. And having done so, he discusses options that India can and should go in for, provided of course that the necessary measures towards Revolution in Military Affairs have been implemented. The one major change from the mindset of the past six decades recommended for India is for it to adopt the offensive approach, rather than, almost always, defensive. (Examples of political will to exercise the offensive option - and succeeding - in 1971 against Pakistan; in the case of China, forceful retaliation at Nathu La, Sikkim, in 1967 and in Sumdorong Chu, Arunachal Pradesh in 1984 has stood India in good stead. It was only after such a retaliation that India could consider annexation of Sikkim, eventually done in 1975). Kanwal's analyses and recommendations merit serious attention and, better late than never, early implementation.

-- The reviewer is Editor, WordSword Features & Media

Book Review in Telegraph, Kolkota, 5 Sept 2008



Under liberal regimes 
<b>Arvind Panagariya’s latest work is arguably the most comprehensive and incisive book written on the economic history of post-independence India.</b> A distinguished professor of economics at Columbia University, the author is familiar to the lay readers in India through his columns in a leading financial daily that tackle complex economic and social issues.

<b>The book divides the period between 1951 to 2006 into four phases based on mean growth rates: 1951-65, at 4.1 per cent, is titled “Takeoff under a liberal regime”, 1965-81, at 3.2 per cent, is “Socialism strikes with a vengeance”, 1981-88, at 4.8 per cent, is “Liberalisation by stealth”, and finally 1988 to 2006, at 6.3 per cent, is labelled “Triumph of liberalisation”.</b>

The first phase witnessed massive public investment in industry, infrastructure, agriculture and social sectors. <b>This was made possible by running down the huge sterling balances inherited from World War II and through liberal foreign aid. But as Jawaharlal Nehru found to his dismay, the prosperity could not be sustained and two droughts, war with Pakistan and the consequent suspension of foreign aid resulted in economic ruin in 1965.</b> The second phase, with garibi hatao as Indira Gandhi’s clarion call, was a nightmare so far as the economy was concerned, with the growth rate of gross domestic product shrinking to 2.6 per cent and per capita growth becoming almost nil as a consequence. Moreover, poverty was not reduced. In an interesting exercise, Panagariya demonstrates how apparent growth during the Rajiv Gandhi years had only weakened the macro economic condition and it is the growth since 1992 that is genuinely sustainable.

The chapter on the economic and social evolution of India and Korea makes interesting reading. Both countries were in a post-colonial phase in the 1950s with a growth rate of around 4 per cent and similar per capita GDP rates. Thereafter, Korea switched to export orientation while India remained devoted to import substitution. Korea became a miracle economy with a GDP per capita of $198,624 in 2007 — which is 20 times India’s $965. <b>The delay, till 1991, in the opening up the Indian economy resulted in myriad problems that India today finds difficult to cope with.</b> The recent reforms make it evident that the number of people living below the poverty line or without basic education is strongly related to the GDP per capita. <b>So the cost of the delay in the opening up of India till 1991 has to be measured in terms of the hundreds of millions of people left below the poverty line, an equal number left without access to healthcare and around half a billion deprived of primary education.</b>

No book on the Indian economy can be complete without the author having a crack at poverty and inequality. Panagariya is no exception. The topic is highly contentious since official sample surveys, which form the empirical basis of the debate, changed definitions of poverty a number of times. As such, there is no continuous series of study on which everyone can agree. Panagariya has done a commendable job in painstakingly describing the subtle changes in the definitions of poverty, thus bringing about some order in this field.

<b>He argues convincingly that policy focus on equality often weakens the fight against poverty.</b> This is what has happened in the case of India. The current debate of using foreign exchange reserves to fund infrastructure investments is discussed and policy directions suggested. <b>Not surprisingly, Panagariya relates poor industrial progress to restrictive labour laws dissuading the organized sector from entering labour-intensive industries.</b> The ways of providing basic health facilities, education, water and sanitation to the people living in remote areas are dealt with in detail and pragmatic solutions offered. The subject of tax reforms, with necessary subsidies to the poor, and the methods of their implementation are also addressed. <b>Panagariya laments the mistake committed by a poor country like India in ignoring the importance of international trade.</b>

Although the book deals with a period ending in 2006, one wonders whether Panagariya could have introduced another phase with a growth rate of 8 per cent. He could have suggested the ways of using the additional revenue. And what would have been his prescription for tackling the present situation of high growth coupled with high inflation? A follow-up is eagerly awaited.

Couple of books reviewed in Pioneer, 6 Oct., 2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Phoenix Phenomenon: The Rise and Rise of India

<b>India Express: The Future of a New Superpower
Author: Daniel Lak
Publisher: Penguin Viking
Price: Rs 499</b>

<b>The Indian Renaissance: India's Rise After a Thousand Years of Decline
Author: Sanjeev Sanyal
Publisher: Penguin Viking
Price: Rs 499  </b>

Debraj Mookerjee journeys through two recent books on the great Indian story and discovers fresh approaches to a truism that is almost becoming self evident these days. The deeper contexts, the hidden narratives and the leaps of faith that underline the miracle this country is witnessing come alive in Daniel Lak's India Express and Sanjeev Sanyal's The Indian Renaissance --

<b>What is the one defining feature of India today? All manner of people are asking, and more importantly seeking to find answers to, this question. For the reviewer the answer is rather obvious.</b> Fifteen years back, every bloke on the road meekly bleated out the same lament: "There's nothing that can be done to save this country" ("Is desh ka kuch nahin ho sakta"). <b>Today everyone</b>, from the guy on the street, to the retired BBC correspondent, to a top international bank's chief economist, <b>has great hope for this country's future. Along with that hope there is the desire to understand the process by which this new reality has come to be; more significantly, questions are now being asked about how close to the top of the heap this once great nation will be thirty years on.</b> Will this century be the one <b>India has been waiting for since the erasure of the Harappan civilisation?</b>

One story; two narratives. One hope; two different explorations. India Express: The Future of a New Superpower by Daniel Lak, and The Indian Renaissance: India's Rise after a Thousand Years of Decline by Sanjeev Sanyal, are two recent works that are best read together.

Daniel Lak, a Canadian, covered India for over 20 years for the BBC. His tribute to India follows perhaps in the trajectory of his predecessor Sir Mark Tully, whose No Full Stops in India (1991) was an immensely insightful read. Sir Mark followed the 1991 work with the more flattering India in Slow Motion (2004). Even the latter text, while praising the achievements of post-liberalisation India, was still trying to make sense of "a country at odds with itself" (blurb). Daniel Lak sheds some of Sir Mark's diffidence to actually call the dice. Witness <b>Chapter 11 of Lak's book is titled 'Becoming Asia's America - The Next Liberal Superpower?'</b>

Sanjeev Sanyal took the Delhi University, Rhodes Scholar route to corporate success as the Singapore based Chief Economist for the region with Deutsche Bank, but accumulated strong views on what made the Indian economy: <b>India crawled up to 1991 and galloped thereafter</b>. And yet he explores ideas beyond economics and from a time much before modernity overtook the world. Whereas Lak's work is marked by the impressionistic brush of a pair of western eyes meandering though the crazy kaleidoscope of the Indian tamasha, politically engaged yet neutral, Sanyal's journey is more textbook like, studded with figures, propped up through close analyses, and driven by a systemic dislike for Nehruvian socialism. Read together however, they offer a rounded introduction to the India of the future.

<b>Lak clears the pitch early on in his introduction when he writes, "In this book I argue that India has arrived at the world's top table, and is awaiting due recognition."</b> Whether the recently signed Nuclear Deal is a sign of the times is debatable, but the churning has begun. To see India's awakening merely in terms of the economy is to narrow the focus a little too much.

<b>The economy is the more visible face of India's march into the future. It is not however the only barometer for judging India's transformation. Indian writers are fattening the purses of the top publishers, Indian activists have hit the big league with the likes of Arundhati Roy having gained cult status among placard holders, and Indians are joining the league of global leaders in diverse fields.</b>

Lak begins by taking stock of the new economy, beginning with the Y2K debugging boom and moving on to suggest how the work Indians are doing is slowly moving up the value chain. But he also stops to register the anxiety of the other side of the software boom in the chapter 'Silicon and Slums - new economy, old problems'. He garners the views of a certain JP Natraj in Bangalore, "An unapologetic leftist and trade unionist," who chides the author for being "another one of those IT worshippers." <b>That slums exist cheek by jowl with the steel and glass towers of the new economy is a problem that will not go away in a hurry. However, there is also the dhobi from Chennai Lak writes about, who laboured to successfully put his two kids through IT education, indicating the sort of social mobility now possible in India.</b>

Lak records other voices as well, like Professor Ashish Bose's, India's leading demographer, the man who first theorised the BIMARU concept, and who makes a great case for empowering women to improve social demography. Prof Bose also introduces him to Nathi Devi, a Rajasthani activist headed (then) for Honk Kong to participate in a WTO meeting to, in the words of Bose, "give them a piece of her mind" about how "agricultural subsidies in rich countries kept small poor farmers like her trapped in rural poverty."

<b>After profiling British rule in India as one that was totally deleterious to the economy, he also makes a short presentation on the transition from foreign yoke to freedom, before again profiling those smaller voices that have brought about social change, like Dr Bindeshwar Pathak's (who started Sulabh International). Lak's final hypothesis is encapsulated in the chapter where he sees India becoming a great liberal powerhouse of a nation in the years ahead. "The world's largest democracy is thinking big," Lak seems to conclude, underscoring his assertion with the conviction that not only does India have every right to do so, but that indeed the world needs it to.</b>

Sanjeev Sanyal is an economist, and it shows. <b>For him, posterity will view the year 1991 in the same light as 1947. It is the year when a new India was born, when Indians gained freedom "from a cultural attitude embodied in the old inward-looking regime." Three things stand out in Sanyal's book for going beyond received opinion" a) that India has been backward looking for a thousand years, and to blame its woes on either the Mughals or the British is to take a limited view, b) that most economists miss the exponential opportunities India will enjoy due to the 'second demographic' shift that will peak by about 2020, and, c) that urbanisation is inevitable, and will ultimately offer the solution out of the labour surpluses and underemployment the rural economy faces.</b>

<b>India's inward looking mentality stifled culture, language and the spirit of enterprise. Nehruvian socialism merely helped cement this lethargy by institutionalising a client-patron relationship in politics and rent seeking by the apparatchiks of the state.</b>

Sanyal's views are extreme but worth pondering. They run against the grain of nationalist histories; which is exactly why they force us to examine our civilisation decline though the prism of the present, the extant reality that is witnessing the shaping of a different India by the young and the talented.

These young people, more numerous than in any other country of the world, are the new workforce. <b>India's skilled labour force, and the contribution of a parallel school education system, will throw up opportunities unthought-of, like very high savings that will provide capital for indigenous investment.</b> The new workforce will scavenge the by then labour-deficit manufacturing base of China, just as that country scavenged Taiwan, and Taiwan scavenged Japan. <b>India's demographic shift will be the next big story, the manufacturing story we are unable to see, bedazzled as we are by the services sector boom. The services sector has created pockets of affluence, especially for the children of the elite. The manufacturing boom with mark the next phase of urbanisation that will create an entirely new middle class; the existing middle class numbers at present, accordingly to Sanyal, merely 50 million and not the inflated figure of 200 million people rave about.</b>

<b>Both Lak and Sanyal essentially believe India has a great future ahead, and they both give credit to the Liberalisation Policy of 1991 for the great burst of energy that is pulsating through the nation of the future.</b> Perhaps they could have dedicated their efforts to the incumbent Prime Minister of India.


Thursday, 23 October, 2008 , 03:20 PM

I have just finished reading masterpiece of a book titled ‘<b>INDIA A Cultural Decline or Revival’? by Bharat Gupt.</b> The so-called educated people in India—usually pseudo-secular Indians with Western Education—take it for granted that Independence from the British Rule also ushered an era of cultural and social freedom in India. Bharat Gupt in this beautifully conceived and written book has carefully examined as to whether this is true or whether a dark age of cultural decline and barbarism descended on India after Independence.

To quote the brilliant words of Bharat Gupt from his preface: ‘It is further imagined that in spite of its poverty, India is admired by the richer nations of the West as a culturally evolved nation. This self-congratulation, lingering from the euphoric days of our freedom struggle, sounds now like the thunder on distant mountains shedding not a glimmer of hope on our present lives. For most of us our memory is enough to be a lived-through account of the cultural decline that set in barely within a decade after freedom. Any analysis is sufficient to counter the smug belief, still fostered in schools and political speeches about the superiority of our culture, once voiced in Iqbal’s song, ‘Saare Jahaan se acchaa Hindustan hamaaraa’. Very insidiously this rhyme nurses a misplaced conviction that while many other ancient civilizations were wiped out in time, India alone is indestructible.... The song takes special pride in stating that while the Greek and Roman civilizations, the so-called predecessors of the West, lost to ravages of time, Indian civilization alone remains immortal’.

Bharat Gupt

According to Bharat Gupt such headiness was excusable during the struggle for freedom but is hardly justified after half a century of self-misrule. Our name and significance (naam-o-nishaan) are now ‘under gradual but marked erosion, fading faster than anything witnessed in the last millennium’. The ravages of technology are greater than even those perpetrated by Islamic misrule for more than thousand years. Bharat Gupt argues and proves with force that in every sphere of life it is now obvious that India has not been able ‘to internalise European technology to march its own civilization concepts, the foreign techno-kaayaa into its traditional dharma-kaayaa’.Bharat Gupt, Reader (Associate Professor) in English, at the College of Vocational Studies, University of Delhi, holds two Master’s degrees, one from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and another from Toronto.

He did his doctoral research at the M.S. University of Baroda. His Doctoral Dissertation was on ‘A Comparison of Greek and Indian Dramatic Theories as given in the Poetics and the Natyasastra’. Bharat Gupt was taught Sitar and Surbahar by Pandit Uma Shankar Mishra and musicology and classics by Acarya Brhaspati. Trained both in modern and traditional educational systems, he is also on the Visiting Faculty of National School of Drama, Delhi. For his interest in media studies he was awarded a fellowship to work at the McLuhan Program, University of Toronto. Author of several research articles, he has presented many papers at various international seminars. He has also published critical editions and translations of ancient Indian books on music and drama (Natyasastra, Chapter 28: Ancient Scales of Indian Music, Natyasastra, Chapter 17: A Critique of Theatrical Polyglossia., Natyasastra, Chapters 29 - 36, and Dibbuk).

In a breezy manner, in his preface, Bharat Gupt has traced the process of cultural and spiritual decline of India after Independence from decade to decade. He argues that after Independence, each passing decade, excepting perhaps the first (1947-1957), ushered in an uncomfortable, dislocating and deranging change. Only the decade of the 1950s was characterised by hope and optimism, within India, and as well in the minds of her well wishers in India and abroad. She was expected to perform by leaps as a developing nation by the international community. The optimism of this decade was symbolised by our first Prime Minister, called ‘Chaachaa Nehru’ by his sycophants who spent his every Birthday, November 14, with school children as a State ritual. He projected the expectation that the nation was going to grow big and strong like its children. To quote the caustic words of Bharat Gupt ‘Every year in the capital of the reborn nation, international exhibitions connected its people to the big and small nations of the world. Perhaps in the fifties only the country like its kids and their Chaachaa could smile hopefully’.

In the sixties, things continued to take some shape as schools and colleges expanded. ‘Temples of modern India’ – a term coined by Nehru to describe the New Factories and Dams—gave employment to many. Yet the less lucky but more enterprising started moving away to far off lands in large numbers. The present prosperous lot of the Indian diaspora in North America and Europe left the country at this time. By now the stagnation in the economic growth of Socialist Order imposed upon the country in a dictatorial manner began to extract its price. Nevertheless, on account of strong nationalism, in spite of strong bullying by China in 1962 and a grievous injury by Pakistan in 1965, India was able to defend most of its territory and reaffirm its identity.

The seventies, in their first half, witnessed another triumph of nationalism when ‘Indira Gandhi played midwife to the birth of Bangladesh terminating a horrendous genocide of the Bangla Muslims and Hindus by the Punjabi Muslim army of West Pakistan. But giddy from her success, Indira Gandhi unheedingly consolidated the Socialist agenda to prune it of all liberal intellectual and democratic vitality that Nehru would not have liked to disappear’. By the mid seventies, darker days set in. Indira Gandhi introduced emergency. External support to terrorism and internal regional factionalism cast their net around the nation. As Bharat Gupt puts it, ‘Both were promoted under many garbs by a pernicious propaganda masterminded in the bastions of Western subversive agencies and academics as well. To contain the politically centrifugal forces, Indira Gandhi, flushed with her earlier success, made the pendulum of State governance swing from the dictatorial Socialism at the Centre to conspiratorial manipulations in the regions, thus seriously eroding democracy’.

The period from 1970 to 1980 was marked by a great illusion of all at the Left of Centre. They imagined that Socialism could be poured from the top like flowing river waters and that changes at the grassroots would automatically follow. This kind of make-believe Socialism created a class of corrupt and unscrupulous politicians who acquired total control over national wealth and perpetuated a licence-permit-control-quota Raj that killed personal enterprise and initiative, while very little from the State percolated to the poor.

Bharat Gupt rightly concludes that on the cultural front, in the name of Secularism, religious regression was promoted not only among minorities, but more so in the Hindu majority. Under the shadow of nurturing parochial minions for Centrist manipulations, regional outfits were promoted to such an extent that they went out of control. By the end of the decade in 1980, both the Socialist State and Nationalism came to be discredited.

The period from 1980 to 1990 was marked by the escalation of terrorist wars, caste polarisation and withering of Socialist State that revealed the himalayan corruption operating beneath. A proxy war against us was started by Pakistan in Punjab and Kashmir. A section of Indian policy-makers from Tamilnadu, started sympathising with the terrorist and separatist outfit of LTTE in Sri Lanka. But the final blunder of sending the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to eliminate LTTE was beyond belief and gave a severe blow to nationalism. The consolidation of the middle castes, which had acquired enough economic muscle to translate their cultural identity into a political clout, was subverted by cheap politicians like V P Singh, ‘under the impact of Western notions of ethnicity and compensatory discrimination under the garb of affirmative action for the so called OTHER BACKWARD CLASSES’. Thus V P Singh gave a deathblow to the process of integration of Hindu society. The slogan of ‘social justice’ has become another name for Social stagnation riding rough on the backs of the lowest castes. Reiteration of the caste identities has subverted Indian Nationalism. Every political party, for a handful of votes or a momentary alliance, pampers the regional, religious, or caste identities.

Thus Bharat Gupt rightly concludes that the new millennium has opened with glaring entropy in the Indian political system and social institutions. The ruling elite of legislators and bureaucrats is unable to handle even every day governance let alone crisis situations that are routine as sunrise. National interest seems to have been totally sacrificed at the altar of power struggle and corruption. In such a scenario there is a temptation to throw cultural matters into the background and focus on enforcement of law and defence of national territory. As Bharat Gupt brilliantly puts it: ‘But this is not an age of territorial invasions. It is the age of cultural invasion and subversion. Political territories are altered after the cultural landscape has been reordered from within. There are three distinct forces that have at present laid a strong siege of India after the Cold War and the fall of her politically supportive though hardly economically beneficial ally, namely the Soviet Union. They are, COMMERCIAL GLOBALISM, JEHADI ISLAM AND EVANLEGICAL CHRISTIANITY. India needs a new leadership to counter these three. This requires strategies born of a cool and analytical mind and least of all an emotional retaliation of the momentary kind that seems to be the fashion of the day’.

Bharat Gupt is indeed a renaissance man in every sense of the word. He clearly brings out the fact that the levelling down of the first rate, the excellent, and the noble has been a very crucial part of the destruction of our national life after our Independence. Destruction of cultural history has proceeded, step by step, with the destruction of all the traditional, social, cultural and familial institutions in our ancient country. Bharat Gupt’s brilliant book brings to my mind the following words of Matthew Arnold (1822-1888):

‘Culture is nothing but sweetness and light. Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human sprit’.

(To be contd...)
(The writer is a retired IAS officer)
e-mail the writer at

<b>The Failure Factory: How Unelected Bureaucrats, Liberal Democrats, and Big Government Republicans Are Undermining America's Security and Leading Us to War </b>(Hardcover)
by Bill Gertz
The Failure Factory reveals:

• The shocking, previously untold story of the partisan bureaucrats who completely undercut the U.S. position on Iran’s radical Islamist regime
• Barack Obama’s disastrous national security policies—and his stable of advisers who have already put America at risk
• The recent showdown in the Pentagon that laid bare the U.S. government’s ongoing failures to tackle the threat of Islamist extremism
• Flagrant cases of sabotage by top State Department officials that have emboldened dangerous states like Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Communist China
• Stunning new intelligence failures—including one that may have allowed a terrorist group to penetrate the FBI and CIA
• How even the Bush White House was overrun with Democrats and liberal Republicans
• The legions of “Clinton generals”—top military brass whose careers blossomed during the Clinton administration—who make the United States more vulnerable
• How Democrats are exploiting the antiwar movement for political gain, with little regard for the potentially devastating consequences
• How the defense secretary’s public defiance of official U.S. policy could have gotten him fired—but instead went unchallenged

Based on scores of exclusive interviews and displaying the groundbreaking reporting that has made Bill Gertz’s previous books smash bestsellers, The Failure Factory offers a chilling look at the threats to our national security that exist within our own government.
For our Tamil brothers and sisters:
Dr Ali Sina's book exposing PBUH:

Ali Sina is the owner of the site in green below.
Faithfreedom.org has received 12 million unique visitors in 3 yrs!!! <!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Crimes Against India: and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition
1000 Years of Attacks Against Hinduism and What to do About It.
by Stephen Knapp</b>
_www.stephen- knapp.com_ (http://www.stephen- knapp.com/)

<b>Review by David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)
_www.vedanet. com_ (http://www.vedanet. com/)</b>

Hinduism remains the most attacked and under siege of all the major world
religions. This is in spite of the fact that Hinduism is the most tolerant,
pluralistic and synthetic of the world's major religions. Hindu gurus have
more than any other religious teachers in the world tried to find an
underlying unity of religion to create peace in humanity. Yet though Hindu gurus
have called for respect for all religions, leaders of other religions have
not responded in kind by offering any respect for Hinduism. Instead they
have continued to promote their missionary agendas and plan the conversion
of India to their beliefs.

Why is Hinduism still so much a target of missionaries and the media? It
is really very simple. Hinduism is the largest of the non-conversion,
non-proselytizing religions and so offers the greatest possibilities for
conversion. It is the vulnerability of Hinduism that makes it a target, not the
fact that Hindus are trying to convert or conquer the world for some hostile

After Christianity and Islam, Hinduism is the world's largest religion and
the largest of the non-Biblical traditions. India, where most Hindus
reside, has the most open laws allowing in foreign religious groups. While
missionaries are virtually banned in China and in Islamic countries, in India
they are often tolerated, respected and given a wide scope of activity. Since
Christianity is in decline, particularly in Europe, it has a need to find
new converts for which India is one of main potential locations,
particularly as a comparatively high percentage of Hindu converts are willing to
become priests and nuns. Pope John Paul II in a trip to India some ten years
ago spoke directly of looking for a "rich harvest of souls in the third
millennium in Asia", specifically India.

Yet most Hindus and groups sympathetic to them are not aware of this
"siege on Hinduism" that continues unrelenting as part of the multi-national
missionary business. In this context, the book of Stephen Knapp, Crimes
Against India: and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Tradition, is very
timely, well written and well documented. The siege on Hinduism has been going
on since the first Islamic armies and Christian missionaries entered India
as he clearly delineates and has continued in various forms, violent,
subversive or even charitably based.

While people know the history of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis, the
greater and longer genocide of Hindus by Islamic invaders is hardly
noticed. Even the genocide in the Bangladesh War of 1971, in which most of the
several million killed were Hindus, is not acknowledged as a religious
genocide. While people know the history of the Inquisition and the burning of
witches in Europe and the genocide of Native Americans by Christian invaders,
they don't realize that India has a similar history in parts of the country
like Goa. Knapp fills in these gaps and makes these connections.

More importantly, people don't realize that questionable conversion
tactics are still being used in India today, where in the South, the rate offered
for conversion is around twenty thousand rupies, going up and down with
the economy! They also don't realize that it is now American Evangelicals of
the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson line -- the religious right that
brought George Bush to power -- that is spearheading conversion activity and
church building in South India, pouring billions into the country.

Yet Knapp's book is not just written to make us aware of this assault on
Hinduism and its many dangers. He also provides a way forward, showing how
Hindu Dharma can be revived, better taught, better communicated and more
widely shared with the global audience, which is becoming progressively more
receptive to Hindu teachings of Yoga, Vedanta and respect for nature. He
documents the Hindu renaissance and the modern Hindu movement, which though
small is growing rapidly as a Hindu response to this denigration of its
venerable traditions. He shows that Hindus are not responding in terms of
becoming another intolerant, exclusivist missionary cult. They are organizing
themselves in terms of teaching, service and spiritual practices.

The book is well worth reading and will show any open minded
person the Hindu side of a millennial debate on religion that has so far
largely excluded the Hindu point of view. That Knapp is a western born Hindu
adds to his credibility and conviction. He is not simply defending a
tradition handed down by his family or his culture, but one that he has embraced
from deep spiritual conviction and profound inner experience.
One hopes that readers in India will listen to his voice and that those
outside of the country will recognize the Hindu plight along with the other
forms of oppression going on in the world. Religious minorities at a global
level are still under the assault of religious majorities, which have long
been armed with petrodollars, high technology and control of the media. Yet
as the book demonstrates, the tide is beginning to turn.

Crimes Against India: and The Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Traditions
Available from iUniverse.com:
_http://www.iunivers e.com/Bookstore/ BookDetail. aspx?BookId= SKU-000115147_
(http://www.iunivers e.com/Bookstore/ BookDetail. aspx?BookId= SKU-000115147) .
Or Amazon.com: _
http://www.amazon. com/Crimes- Against-India- Tradition- Hinduism/ dp/1440111588/ ref=sr_1_ 2?ie=UTF8& s=books&qid= 1232214548& sr=1-2_
(http://www.amazon. com/Crimes- Against-India- Tradition- Hinduism/ dp/1440111588/ ref=sr_
1_2?ie=UTF8& s=books&qid= 1232214548& sr=1-2) <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Great that Ali Sinha's book is available in Tamil. I used to visit FF for sometime in the past. I suspect he has deep Christian connections, his stance on Obama is very surprising. We need to treat him with some skepticism, but hopefully the book is good.
This is from the Great Gamesman himself!

Russia in Central Asia By Lord Curzon.

Will post in e-books thread also.

Replace Russia with PRC to get current picture.
Google Book written in 1921

New World of Islam

by Lothrop Stoddard
[url="http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Jihad-Islam-Sabotage-America/dp/1594033773/ref=pd_ts_b_33?ie=UTF8&s=books"]The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America Andrew C McCarthy (Author)[/url]

Quote:The real threat to the United States is not terrorism. The real threat is Islamism, whose sophisticated forces have collaborated with the American Left not only to undermine U.S. national security but also to shred the fabric of American constitutional democracy—freedom and individual liberty. In The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, bestselling author Andrew C. McCarthy offers a harrowing account of how the global Islamist movement’s jihad involves far more than terrorist attacks, and how it has found the ideal partner in President Barack Obama, whose Islamist sympathies run deep.

For years, McCarthy warned of America’s blindness to the Islamist threat, but in The Grand Jihad McCarthy exposes a new, more insidious peril: the government’s active appeasement of the Islamist ideology. With the help of witting and unwitting accomplices in and out of government, Islamism doesn’t merely fuel terrorism but spawns America-hating Islamic enclaves in our very midst, gradually foisting Islam’s repressive law, sharia, on American life. The revolutionary doctrine has made common cause with an ascendant Left that also seeks radical transformation of our constitutional order. The prognosis for liberty could not be more dire.

Same applies to Indian leftist.

This is my first post. I am sure most people must be aware of Rajiv Malhotra's fresh book Breaking India. Just formally bringing it into the thread-

[size="3"][url="http://www.breakingindia.com/"]Breaking India : Western Interventions In Dravidian And Dalit Faultlines[/url][/size]

by Rajiv Malhotra,Arvindan Neelakandan

Quote:Book Summary of Breaking India : Western Interventions In Dravidian And Dalit Faultlines

India's integrity is being undermined by three global networks that have well-established operating bases inside India:

(i) Islamic radicalism linked with Pakistan

(ii) Maoists and Marxist radicals supported by China via intermediaries such as Nepal

(iii) Dravidian and Dalit identity separatism being fostered by the West in the name of human rights.

This book focuses on the third: the role of U.S. and European churches, academics, think-tanks, foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering separation of the identities of Dravidian and Dalit communities from the rest of India. The book is the result of five years of research, and uses information obtained in the West about foreign funding of these Indian-based activities. The research tracked the money trails that start out claiming to be for “education,” "human rights," “empowerment training,” and “leadership training,” but end up in programs designed to produce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity.

The book reveals how outdated racial theories continue to provide academic frameworks and fuel the rhetoric that can trigger civil wars and genocides in developing countries. The Dravidian movement’s 200-year history has such origins. Its latest manifestation is the “Dravidian Christianity” movement that fabricates a political and cultural history to exploit old faultlines. The book explicitly names individuals and institutions, including prominent Western ones and their Indian affiliates. Its goal is to spark an honest debate on the extent to which human rights and other “empowerment” projects are cover-ups for these nefarious activities.



FYI, following contains Chapter 9 on demonization, elimination, and appropriation of Native American:


Rajiv explains that there are distinct stages in monotheist expansion. Old Testament is the propaganda (or "imagery") model used during expansion, and NT during consolidation. These same types propaganda were used in Bharat by colonizers: AIT and Christianity/Moralism/Secularism.
[quote name='dhu' date='13 May 2011 - 01:41 PM' timestamp='1305273835' post='111570']


FYI, following contains Chapter 9 on demonization, elimination, and appropriation of Native American:


Rajiv explains that there are distinct stages in monotheist expansion. Old Testament is the propaganda (or "imagery") model used during expansion, and NT during consolidation. These same types propaganda were used in Bharat by colonizers: AIT and Christianity/Moralism/Secularism.


Thanks for the link.
[url="http://www.cultuurwetenschap.be/VCW/files/publications/Heathen_in_His_Blindness.pdf"]The Heathen In His Blindness[/url] by SN Balgangadhar

Quote:Today, most intellectuals agree that (1) Christianity has profoundly influenced western culture; (2) members from different cultures experience many aspects of the world differently; (3) the empirical and theoretical study of both culture and religion emerged within the West. The present study argues that these truisms have implications for the conceptualization of religion and culture. More specifically, the thesis is that non-western cultures and religions differ from the descriptions prevalent in the West, and it is also explained why this has been the case. The author proposes novel analyses of religion, the Roman `religio', the construction of `religions' in India, and the nature of cultural differences. Religion is important to the West because the constitution and the identity of western culture is tied to the dynamic of Christianity as a religion.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTL8eUvQGFE&feature=channel_video_title"]Youtube videos of lectures and discussions by shri SNB[/url]

I have gone through about 30% of the book. Shri Balu has done excellent job of dissecting the western history vis a vis xtianity, however his understanding of Hinduism is still somewhat murky. Nonetheless, an extremely thought provoking work. I guess shri Acharya has mentioned his work on this thread as well- http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index....t__p__1552
Show your muslim friends you care, get them what they need - not what they want:

Ibn Warraq's "Why I'm Not a Muslim" book

(Link found via http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com)


For free download.

In fact, give it to all your secular Indian friends.
**Edited as I felt it was irrelevant**
[url="http://beingdifferentbook.com/dl/8-pg%20color%20-%20sept%2012.pdf"]Being Different[/url] by Rajiv Malhotra.


India is more than a nation state. It is also a unique civilization with philosophies and cosmologies that are markedly distinct from the dominant culture of our times – the West. India’s spiritual traditions spring from dharma which has no exact equivalent in Western frameworks. Unfortunately, in the rush to celebrate the growing popularity of India on the world stage, its civilizational matrix is being co-opted into Western universalism, thereby diluting its distinctiveness and potential.

In Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism, thinker and philosopher Rajiv Malhotra addresses the challenge of a direct and honest engagement on differences, by reversing the gaze, repositioning India from being the observed to the observer and looking at the West from the dharmic point of view. In doing so, he challenges many hitherto unexamined beliefs that both sides hold about themselves and each other. He highlights that while unique historical revelations are the basis for Western religions, dharma emphasizes self-realization in the body here and now. He also points out the integral unity that underpins dharma’s metaphysics and contrasts this with Western thought and history as a synthetic unity.

Erudite and engaging, Being Different critiques fashionable reductive translations and analyses the West’s anxiety over difference and fixation for order which contrast the creative role of chaos in dharma. It concludes with a rebuttal of Western claims of universalism, while recommending a multi-cultural worldview.

[url="http://www.harpercollins.co.in/BookDetail.asp?Book_Code=2845"]Publisher Link[/url]

[url="http://beingdifferentbook.com/"]Official Site[/url]
Decision Points - President George W Bush

Very good read, one can understand decision making process and inside of administration. Pakistan issue came couple of times, between 205 page till the end of chapter is interesting read.
Sri Aurobindo's complete works:


This link contains the downloadable links for Sri Aurobindo's complete works. They can be downloaded without worrying about copyright. It's free and legal to download.

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