• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Book folder
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Tenth Guru Gobindsinha declared before his death i.e. 1708 that there would not be any Guru after him. His followers should consider Adigranth as their Guru.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Thanks for posting this. I have always wondered about this. Why do sikhs have only 10 gurus ?
Some googling gave me this..


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Before the end came, Guru Gobind Singh had asked for the Sacred Volume to be brought forth. To quote Bhatt Vahi Talauda Parganah Jind: "Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Master, son of Guru Teg Bahadur, grandson of Guru Hargobind, great-grandson of Guru Arjan, of the family of Guru Ram Das Surajbansi, Gosal clan, Sodhi Khatri, resident of Anandpur, parganah Kahlur, now at Nanded, in the Godavari country in the Deccan, asked Bhai Daya Singh, on Wednesday, 6 October 1708, to fetch Sri Granth Sahib. In obedience to his orders, Daya Singh brought Sri Granth Sahib. The Guru placed before it five pice and a coconut and bowed his head before it. He said to the sangat, "It is my commandment: Own Sri Granthji in my place. He who so acknowledges it will obtain his reward. The Guru will rescue him. Know this as the truth".

Guru Gobind Singh thus passed on the succession with due ceremony to the Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, ending the line of personal Gurus. "The Guru's spirit," he said, "will henceforth be in the Granth and the Khalsa. Where the Granth is with any five Sikhs representing the Khalsa, there will the Guru be." The Word enshrined in the Holy Book was always revered by the Gurus as well as by their disciples as of Divine origin. The Guru was the revealer of the Word. One day the Word was to take the place of the Guru. The inevitable came to pass when Guru Gobind Singh declared the Guru Granth Sahib as his successor. It was only through the Word that the Guruship could be made everlasting. The Word as contained in the Guru Granth Sahib was henceforth, and for all time to come to be the Guru for the Sikhs.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
More google..


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->As a last act of foresight and vision Guru Gobind Singh abolished the practice of Guruship in person and established Guru Granth Sahib as the last Guru - thereby ordaining the Khalsa to no longer accept any man or woman as the Guru. In a way this permanence of the Guru has led to the perpetuation of the institution of Khalsa. Though the Tenth Guru could not achieve his cherished goal of destroying the Mughal Empire during his life time, still he left it tottering through his legacy of the Khalsa.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
In one brilliant stroke, Guru Gobind Singh had done away with the possiblity of any future fundamental split in the Khalsa.....He must have realised that there's a possiblity that Sikh versions of Munnafeqin and pretenders may use the Guru title for personal power plays and the faith being at dire risk due to such dynamics. Pretty much like Muhammed declaring himself the last prophet....essential difference being Muhammed talked about a Caliph to head the Ummah but didn't specify a rule for settling the Caliph issue. See how the first followers of Muhammed killed each other like some Greek tragedy over this?! Guru Gobind Singh however didn't bequeath the faith to some "leader".....serendipity or far sightedness, who knows? <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Review: Maritime Heritage of India. K.S. Behera (Ed.) 1999. New Delhi: Aryan Books International. Pp. 258. Plates Col. 4; B/W 61; Figs. and Maps 37. Price Rs. 1950/- ($45).
by D.P. Agrawal and Lalit Tiwari

Behera's book is a welcome addition to the limited literature on early maritime activities. The absence of S.R. Rao among the authors seems a bit glaring, as he is the pioneer of Marine Archaeology in India. In such a compendium, it is difficult to maintain a uniform quality and therefore there is considerable variation in the standards of scholarship in different articles. Nor is there any evidence of theme-wise coherence in the arrangement of articles.

The maritime tradition of India is as old as our civilization and as vast as the Indian Ocean. This volume is a collection of essays on Indian seafaring and maritime activities. The subject matter ranges from sea trade to cultural links with the outside worlds, especially with Rome, Sri Lanka and South East Asia, and is based on textual sources and archaeological data. Some of the papers throw light on the traditional boat types with specific reference to their technique of construction and navigation.

This book is edited by K. S. Behera, Professor of History at Utkal University and Director of Orissan Institute of Maritime and South-east Asian Studies in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. He is currently conducting research into the indigenous tradition of boat building and navigation in the Indian Ocean. This volume has grown out of an international seminar on Kalingas in the Indian ocean and maritime heritage of India, held at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar in 1992-93.

The volume contains 22 articles by wellknown scholars in the field of traditional Indian maritime activities.

The first paper "Indian seafaring traditions: archaeological perspectives", was presented by I. K. Sarma. He has described the ancient Indian ship and boat building techniques with the help of historical and archaeological data. He covers the maritime activities during the Harappan, post-Buddhist and medieval times.

The second article is "Indian maritime activities: Vedic, epic and Puranic sources" by U. N. Dhal. In this article, Dhal describes the Indian maritime activities as referred to in the Indian epics, Vedas and other mythological texts. He gives many references from Rigveda, the earliest book of the Aryans.

The third article discusses the ancient trade between India and Rome under the title, "Indo-Roman trade" by K. K. Basa and K. S. Behera. Basa and Behera present a lot of archaeological evidence in support of the Indo-Roman trade in ancient times. They also describe the routes for trade and items of trade between India and Rome.

The fourth article covers 43 pages of this book, written by K. K. Basa, on ancient trade between India and South-east Asia during the period c.400 BC to 500AD. In this article, Basa has marshalled a variety of data – archaeological, literary, epigraphic and numismatic – to delineate this trade.

In the fifth and sixth articles, the writers, Haryati Soebadia and Wayan Ardikara, summarise the Indian-Indonesian cultural and trade relationship. Soebadia explains how Indian cultural influences came to Indonesia. He elaborates these with the help of historical and textual evidence. Ardikara, however, covers only the trade relationship between India and Indonesia on the basis of archaeological and textual data. According to him, forest products, spices, aromatic woods, beads, pottery, tin and probably textiles had attracted the attention of Indian traders to come to Indonesia.

In the seventh paper, the late Lallanji Gopal presents the Indian boat and ship building techniques, practice and maritime trade with special reference to early mediaeval period. In his article he uses literary references from Yuktikalpataru, Tilakmanjari, Milindapanho, Brhatkathaslokasangraha, etc.

In the eighth and tenth articles, Dhavalikar and Swamy, respectively, discuss ancient maritime activities and indigenous techniques of boat and ship-building in western and south Indian regions, with special reference to local boats and workers. Swamy's lengthy article attempts to describe traditional techniques of planking, bending etc. He also writes about some traditional crafts of Karnataka region.
In their article on Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Shivkumar and Rajmanickam focus on the oceanographic knowledge and maritime activities of these islands. They describe tribal navigation systems, climatic predictions and traditional crafts.

Next paper is "Ancient ports of the eastern coast of India" by A. N. Parida. The author makes a general survey of the ancient ports on the eastern coast and trade relationship with Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Indian Peninsula. He summarises some mythological stories also in support of his survey.

In his paper entitled "Maritime activities of Orissa", K. S. Bahera attempts to analyse the ancient maritime activities and contacts of Orissa with the outside world in the light of textual data and archaeological evidence provided by the recent excavations of sites in coastal Orissa. He also presents the evidence of ancient palm leaf manuscript of the 16th century AD about the ancient maritime activities of Orissa.

Next article is the "Maritime activities of the Kalingas and the new light thrown by the excavations at Khalkatapatna" by B. K. Sinha. The author describes ancient maritime conditions of the Kalinga area and reports on the Khalkatapatna's excavation. Khalkatapatna is situated about 11 km east of Konark in Puri district and is located on the left bank of river Kushibhadra, which debauches into the Bay of Bengal. The site was excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India. According to Sinha, most ports on the Orissan coastline, including Khalkatapatna, were not only international links in the riverine navigation of Orissa, but also occupied an important place in the international trade between Arabian countries in the west and Indonesia and China in the east.

The next article by V. Vitharana attempts to describes the earlier trade relationship between Kalinga and Sri Lanka. He gives examples of some tooth relics in his article, which indicate that Sri Lanka exported elephants to Kalinga in ancient times.

Eric Kentley summarises the findings on the boats of Orissa with special reference to building techniques of sewn boats. The most distinguishing feature of this type of boats is that its planks are not nailed to one another but sewn together with a coir rope. Such boats are built without providing a frame, and are found as far south as Karaikal in Tamil Nadu.

Bengal is gifted with a number of navigable rivers and a coastline. It is therefore natural that maritime activity in Bengal should have developed from very ancient times. N. C. Ghosh in his article "History of shipping in Bengal" describes the shipping activities of Bengal using literary, historical and archaeological evidence.

"The maritime contacts between eastern India and south-east Asia: new epigraphic data" is the next article by B. N. Mukherjee. In his article Mukherjee, focusing on the maritime commerce between north-western part of the Indian subcontinent and south-east Asia says that they used to supply inter alia Central Asian horses.

The next two articles are, "Marathas and the sea" by A. R. Kulkarni and Hermann Kulke's on the trade and politics in the Bay of Bengal. They describe Marathas'naval activities, marine forts, warships, commerce and trade activities and international trade relationship with other Asian countries. They focus specially on marine forts, naval fighters and warships of Shivaji's navy. Ray and Arunachalam deal with Chinese records and navigational landmarks respectively.

At the end, we would like to recommend that it's a very useful book for those interested in ancient India's shipbuilding technology and international trade.
Ever since I was a kid I used to hear about how hindu scriptures prohibited people from crossing the ocean and if someone did then they had to go thru shuddhi. In the recent Kanchi case Sankararaman opposed the acharya for his china visit since he was going to cross the ocean - he had no problems if the Acharya had taken the land route it seems.

How true is this ?
Check this out


Unite and rule


by Baldev Singh
This is a review of the book Bharat Da Napunsak Loaktantar ‘Vartman Ate Bhvikh (Impotent Indian Democracy: Its Present and Future)’ (Punjabi), by Professor (retd.) Amar Singh Dhaliwal Professor Dhaliwal lives in Canada and is member of the Editorial Board of Understanding Sikhism – The Research Journal, published from Montreal, Canada. --Author

Dear Professor Dhaliwal

In your brilliant analysis of several Indian election results you have demonstrated without any shadow of doubt that India’s current election system is deeply flawed. The governments elected by this system represent only the will and voice of a small minority. The election system must be reformed to represent the aspirations of all the citizens. Your solution would go a long way in rectifying the situation if the Indian rulers adopt it! I have no reservation in applauding your noble concept of “joro te raj karo (unite and rule).”

However, there are statements that I shall discuss later, which are extraneous to the main thrust of your thesis. Such statements do not enhance the value of your research rather they are distractions. Then there are other statements that don’t reflect your very distinguished academic credentials: Giani, B. A., B. Ed., M. A. (Punjabi), M. Med. and Ph.D. (Psychology). And I take issue with these views. It is surprising that neither Harhajan Singh Halvarvi,3 nor Professor Pritam Singh took notice. I don’t know Halvarvi, but I know Professor Pritam Singh and his controversial research on Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS).4,5 Since it is not possible to discuss every word let me point out the following.

On the dedication page you have stated that a commission appointed by former President R. K. Narayan and headed by retired Supreme-Court Justice M. N. Vanktachalia, will investigate whether the Indian Constitution is working effectively to achieve its desired goals. You have further asserted that the commission will make recommendations to improve the Constitution, which will usher a golden era of “unite and rule.” I think it represents wishful thinking on you part. Are you familiar with the history of commissions in India?

You must have heard of the Sarkaria commission! What happened to its recommendations? Numerous commissions were set up in India to investigate the corruption in government, police, armed forces and universities and also the atrocities committed by police on Dalits (suppressed people, the so-called untouchables) and minorities -- and the massacre of Muslims, Dalits, Christians and Sikhs by Hindu mobs. Have the findings of these commissions brought about any positive change in India?

Three commissions were established to investigate the murder of more than ten thousand innocent Sikhs all over India after the assassination of Indra Gandhi. Now the Vajpayee government has appointed a fourth commission. What have these commissions accomplished? Have the perpetrators of heinous crimes against the Sikh community been brought to justice?

Let us suppose that the Indian government does accept the recommendations of the commission and the Constitution is amended to bring about a change in the election laws to govern the country on the basis of your concept of “unite and rule.” What is the guaranty that it won’t be changed in the future? It is not very reassuring on the basis of past experience. The constitution has been amended many times. The majority community can amend the constitution and pass laws any time it wants.

Note for example, Promulgation of National Security Act Ordinance on June 22, 1984, Terrorist Affected Areas Ordinance on July 14, 1984 and the draconian Terrorist and Disaffected Area Act (TADA) in May 1985. These Black Laws gave a free hand to the police to exterminate Sikhs and to deny them justice in the judicial system.3

The constitution has been abused to dismiss elected governments headed by minorities -- Sikhs, Muslims and Christians -- in Panjab, Kashmir and the Northeastern states, respectively, on the flimsy grounds of breakdown of law and order. On the other hand lawlessness in states like Bengal, Bihar, UP, Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujrat has been ignored in spite of the fact that opposition parties in these states have called for the dismissal of these governments.

The constitution is a document, which cannot enforce itself on the people. It is the people who interpret it and enforce it. In the United States of America, it took nearly two hundred years to apply the clause “all are equal” to black Americans. In a country like India where every thing is considered from a communal angle, no constitution how perfect it may be, can protect the rights and safety of minorities until the majority sheds its communal outlook and accepts minorities as equal. Observers of Indian politics are unanimous that the Indian polity has become more and more communal and criminal since 1947.

For example, it was reported in The Tribune, (December 24, 2001) that a SSP of Lucknow had issued a circular to junior police officers that they should keep a close watch on all Muslims and Sikhs. He asked them to monitor their activities and movements because he thinks that Muslims and Sikhs may be helping Pakistani agencies to carry out terrorist activities.

Professor Dhaliwal, you have dedicated your book to former President Narayan, former Supreme Court Justice Vanktachalia, former and present Chief Election Commissioners, Dr. Manohar Singh Gill and Mr. J. M. Lingdoh, respectively, and to honest, sincere and loyal Indian citizenry. What actions these noble citizens have taken against this circular of the SSP, who considers all Muslims and Sikhs as unfaithful to India? What was the stand of President Narayan or Justice Vanktchalia on TADA?

India is not a democracy but a tyranny of majority over the minorities. More than ten thousand innocent, hard working and law abiding Sikhs were killed throughout India under the instructions of Rajiv Gandhi and his Cogress party after the assassination of Indra Gandhi. But this genocidal crime did not perturb the conscience of your rishis, munis, and noble citizens. Of course, solitary voices of sympathy were raised for the victims, but there was no outrage or protest of any significance. No resolution of condolence was introduced in the assembly of Central Government nor any State Government for the Sikh victims. The exception is Akali / BJP Government headed by Badal, which did pass such a resolution, but this was done keeping an eye on the coming assembly elections. Contrast this with the resolutions passed not only in government assemblies, but also all over the country to mourn the deaths of victims of a chemical accident in Bhopal.

You have used the words “naik-neeat, vfadar and emandar” for people to whom you have dedicated your book. These three words and other words like ‘izzat and shhadat’ have been adopted in Punjabi from Arabic and Persian languages. In Sanskrit and related Indian languages, there are no words equivalent to the words mentioned above. The vocabulary of any language is developed by a society over a long period by constructing words and phrases to express its feelings, emotions, desires, moral values, characteristics, and habits. Shouldn’t this simple fact surprise us?

You appear to be obsessed with the mythical idea of “bharat maan di akhandta (unity of mother India).” Could you point any time when the whole of Indian subcontinent was under one rule? There were four periods when a major part of the Indian subcontinent was under one rule: Ashoka the great, Guptas, Mughals (Aurangzeb) and British. It was under the British that the maximum territory was under one rule. The British used the maps from Auragzeb’s period to demarcate the boundary with China and they inherited the Northwest province from the Sikh kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Even during the British period, there were hundreds of semi-independent territories. I am not in favor of countries based on religion or race or ethnicity. But what is the solution for a country where minorities are persecuted and treated as second-class citizens and live at the mercy of the majority? I see no harm in dividing such countries. We can’t close our eyes to what is happening in the world. National boundaries have kept changing throughout human history and are changing at the present time. Then what is so sacrosanct about the “akhandta of bharat maan (unity of mother India)?

The former Soviet Union has split into about a dozen sovereign countries. The same thing happened to Yugoslavia. Most of these newly formed counties are small in territory and population. The world community including India recognizes them. India would follow the course of Soviet Union sooner or later if the majority continues to persecute and treat the minorities as second-class citizens.

Besides, there is no evidence that a big country is inherently better than a small country for the prosperity and wellbeing of its citizens. Compare India to the city-states of Singapore and Hong Kong or small nations like Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea. According to World Health Organization and the UN Development Agency reports, India remains one of the poorest country in the world -- half of its population earns less than two dollars a day and is malnourished.

Also, India has the largest number of illiterate, blind, deaf and sick people, and child and bonded laborers. It has also the dubious distinction for being number one in dowry deaths, in female infanticide and feticide, and the situation is so bad that the male / female ratio has dropped to about 10 / 7 among children below the age of ten in the Northern states. This abominable crime forced Brenda Karat, a sensitive, kind and frustrated feminine activist to remark sarcastically “For God’s sake why any female would like to be born in India?” Since 1947, the so-called democratic India has killed more of its citizens -- mostly minorities (about 90%) -- than the British colonists did in three hundred years. What have the noble citizens done to stop these heinous crimes against humanity?

On the reverse of the dedication page you have stated, “ It is my unbreakable belief that the sun of the golden age of the policy of ‘joro te raj kro (unite and rule)’, put forth by my rishismunis, peer-pagambers and Gurus is about to rise in India.” I think it is unfair to rope together rishismunis, and peer-pagambers with Sikh Gurus as their teachings are different. Besides, the ethics of the Indian rulers reflect the teachings of rishis, and munis. There is no evidence that there was any rishis, or munis who advocated the policy of “unite and rule”. On the contrary, two of the renowned rishis/munis, Manu and Kautilya (Chanakya), who are responsile for shaping the destiny of Hindu society were strong advocates of the policy of “divide and rule.”

Manu was the architect of the caste system, which divided the Indian people into four castes and myriad of subcastes. This system was designed to serve the interests of a small minority of people – Brahmins, at the expense of the vast majority belonging to other castes -- the bulk of whom belonged to the shudar caste. Lower still were the untouchables (outcastes), whose mere shadow could pollute the upper castes. Never in the history of mankind such an evil and cruel system was conceived by intelligent but devious people for the exploitation of man by man. It took away the human dignity of vast majority of Indians and subjected them to untold injustices and atrocities. The untouchables were treated worse than animals for thousands of years and this is continuing in villages across India even today.

The cunning Brahmin invoked divine sanctions to perpetuate this system for eternity. Sacred Hindu Scriptures proclaim that the caste division is a divine law. Strict observance of caste rules and regulations was made the essence of Hindu religion and transgressors were severely punished. To protect Brahmins and their defender kshatriyas (warrior caste) from the rage of inhumanely treated masses; it was declared sinful to wear arms and keep arms by people other than the kshatriyas. Even black smiths and carpenters, the so-called progeny of the mythical “super engineer” Vishav Karma, who made the weapons, were not allowed to use these weapons. They were not allowed even to fit the plowshare with an iron tip because it could injure the oxen (offspring of the holy cow).

After 1947, a large number of Sikh farmers were settled in Haryana and Uttar Pardesh. Their Hindu neighbors were surprised to see Sikh farmers using European style iron plows or iron-tipped plowshares. The agriculturist tribes -- Jats, Gujjars, Sainis, Yadavs, Ahirs, Patels, Kurmis, Kamas, Reddys and many others were allowed to keep wooden clubs (luth, lathi,soti, and dang), which they used very effectively to split each other’s heads, beat their animals, wives and children.

Next came the doctrine of Karma to desensitize people’s sense of justice and compassion against atrocities committed on the masses to enforce the caste system. According to this divine law, one reaps the fruit in this life for the deeds performed in the previous life. So, if a person is subjected to injustice and cruelty in this life, it is the due to one’s own actions in previous life, not due to the perpetrators of cruelty and injustice. By observing the caste rules strictly and serving the superior castes faithfully one can earn the reward for the next life. This exploitation of the masses reduced them to the level of dumb driven cattle.

The caste system not only destroyed the vitality and creativity of the Indian masses but also the glue of love and compassion for fellow human beings, which is essential for a healthy society. In due course of time India was like giant dead tree whose roots had been eaten by termites and was waiting to be toppled by a wind gust or in Indian parlance like a sick Brahma bull ready to be devoured by wild dogs and vultures.

In 710 AD, a young Muslim commander, Mohammad Bin Qassem led an expedition to Sindh. After defeating the Indian forces, he marched deep into the Northwest Territory meeting very little resistance, because the populace was disarmed due to the imposition of strict caste regulations, which allowed only kashatriyas (Rajputs and Khatris) to wear arms. He looted towns and temples, plundered and murdered people by the thousands and went home taking away thousands of Indian men and women as slaves. The news of his victory spread like a wild fire in the Muslim world. Muslim daredevils from Afghansitan and central Asia made their own forays into India. Small bands of Afghans and Turks carved out small and large principalities for themselves all the way up to Brahmputra and south India, and finally the Mughals established their own empire in India.

“What is painful is that, sometimes, a handful of foreigners overran vast tracts of the land without countering any sizable resistance. Shihab-ud-din Gauri won the second battle of Tarain (near Delhi) in 1192, and within fourteen years his General, Bakhtiyar Khilji had reached the bank of Brahmputra. Nadiya was occupied with an advance party of no more than eighteen horsemen and this opened the way for the establishment of Muslim rule in Bengal.” Jagjit Singh, The Sikh Revolution, 4th reprint, p 149. The Cambridge History of India, Vol. iii, p 46.

During the Muslim invasion, the Khatris and Rajputs, who used to practice their martial art on the defenseless down trodden lower castes, were nowhere to be found to defend the motherland and its people. The entrepreneurial Khatris offered their services to their conquerors, whom they called malesh (polluted ones) in private. Guru Nanak (1469-1539) rebuked the Khatris for their hypocrisy,

“The Khatris have abdicated their duty of protecting the country, weak and women, instead they have adopted the language and manners of their masters whom they call the polluted ones (AGGS, p 663).”

Commenting on the atrocities committed on the Hindu masses by Muslim rulers, Guru Nanak exposed the nexus between bigoted Muslim rulers and the Khatris and Brahmins in a beautiful political satire. It was the bigoted Muslim ruler, who was responsible for the persecution of Hindu masses, but it was the Khatri officials who executed the orders of their master, and the Brahmin priests approved the doings of the Khatris.

“The man eater is the one, who performs namaz ( Muslim prayer). Who carves out the flesh for him is the one who wears the sacred thread around his neck (Khatri). The Brahmin blows the conch in the Khatri’s house to sanctify his doings (AGGS, P 471.”

The Brahmins came up with a clever scheme to enter Emperor Akbar’s household and court through the back door. They advised the Rajput rulers to give their daughters in marriage to Emperor Akbar. It was (is) an anathema even for an ordinary Rajput to marry his daughter to a non-Rajput Hindu, what to speak of a Rajput royal marrying his daughter to a Muslim, whom he considered as malesh (polluted one). But this case was different as this matrimonial alliance was blessed and sanctified by the Brahmin.

The Rajput rulers led by the Amber family accepted this proposal without blinking an eye.7 This opened the door for Brahmins, Rajputs and other Hindus in Akbar’s administration. Many of them held prominent positions; Birbal and Todar Mal were among the jewels of Akbar’s court and Raja Man Singh was a very distinguished commander in the army. In gratitude, Akbar cancelled the jazia (tax on non-Muslims) imposed by the earlier Muslim rulers. The Rajputs played a major role in the expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire. The Brahmins coined a new mantra “Eeshvro va Dilishvro va, (The emperor of Delhi is as great as God).”8

The invasion from the Northwest continued until the Khalsa forces put an end to it. The British, who came to India as traders, replaced the Mughal Empire. During the entire British rule, there were never more than 200,000 British people at any time in India. Their administration was supported and run mostly by the Indian elite. The British left India in 1947. This is the legacy of Mahan Rishi Manu and to honor this “great Hindu thinker,” his statue was installed in the Rajput sate of Rajsthan.

You have stated on page viii that the British educated Indian leaders gave preference to the “deceptive and perverse” policy of “ paro te raj karo (divide and rule)” over the humane policy of “joro te raj karo (unite and rule)” conceived and nurtured by Indian civilization. On the contrary, the deceptive and perverse policy of “divide and rule” is the foundation of the Indian civilization as discussed earlier and in the following paragraphs. I don’t think that the policy of “divide and rule” is exclusively Western or British. All groups of people throughout human history, who have subjugated and enslaved others, have used the policy of “divide and rule.” It is happening even today – look at India!

You have used the expression “kutil niti (Machiavellian policy)” again and again in the book. Do you know who was the father of kutil niti - the deceptive and perverse policy of divide and rule? It was Kautiyla muni (Chanakya), who used to teach it to Indian rulers long before the British came out of their hovels; currently it is a part of the manual to train Indian intelligence agents.

Moreover, what about morality turned upside down where good becomes evil and the evil becomes good; In Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna urges the reluctant Pandvas, who not only gambled away their kingdom but also their only wife, to declare war against their cousins, the Kaurvas. When the Pandvas start loosing the war, Lord Krishna urges them to use all means including deception, and lies to win the war by breaking the rules, which both sides had agreed to observe before the start of the war. The Pandvas win the war through treachery.

The hard working and law abiding Kaurvas who fought fair battles up till the end are called evil. The high stake gamblers, who loose their only wife to pay their debt, and who won the war through evil means are called righteous. The lesson to learn here is that victory being everything deception, treachery and foul means to achieve it is moral.

Dropti is considered a highly virtuous woman, an idol for young girls to emulate. Her obvious virtue is that she complied with her mother-in-law’s order to be a wife to five brothers to keep peace in the family! What kind of a role model is Dropti for any young girl? She accepted to be treated like cattle and was disposed of like cattle, to pay the debt! Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace considered Gita as his most favorite scripture in spite of the fact that the battle of Mahanbharat was fought between kith and kin, and more people were slaughtered in the battle of Mahanbharat than any other battle according to the story. So Gandhi’s pacifism runs parallel to Lord Krishna’s moral teachings. No wonder, the renowned Indologist, Al-Biruni remarked, “The Hindu mind is incomprehensible to non-Hindus.”

You seem to think that ancient India was the center of human civilization as if it was the lighthouse of knowledge and wisdom when the rest of the world was groping in darkness, which is contrary to the truth. The Indian subcontinent does not have any signs of past greatness -- ancient monuments. Like the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Acropolis of Greece, Samarian and Babylonian ruins of Iraq, ruins of the Roman Empire and the massive and beautiful cities built by the Mayas and Incas in South America.

Moreover, the Muslims introduced the Persian wheel irrigation system in India, and the British introduced the canal system of irrigation by damming rivers. The Muslims also brought the know- how of paper making, which they had acquired from the Chinese. The list can go on and on. One is disappointed when one searches for ancient India’s contribution to the development of human society.

On page fourteen you have discussed village panchayts (village councils). Panchayats are not unique to Panjab or India. Primitive tribes all over the world had such tribal councils, and they are functioning quite well even today in some counties like Afghanistan. Panchayats are the product of man’s innate yearning to be the master of his destiny and it was through Panchayats that he was able to make input into the governing of his affairs. The modern secular democracies are much bigger reflections of panchayats as they include all the tribes within a country.

On page twenty-one you have stated, “The perverse and deceptive policy of “divide and rule” may convince a Western mind, however, a mind nurtured by Indian culture, especially Punjabi culture, can only be satisfied by the humane policy of “unite and rule.” This is a chauvinistic and parochial view. I think human intelligence is uniformly distributed throughout the world. People do inherit the traits of their ancestors. However, what they become as adults, is influenced by the milieu under which they grow up. Let us first look at the Western mind.

I think the Western mind to some extent has risen above the age-old prejudices. For example, West Europeans have opened their borders to each other by creating a common market under one currency. In comparison, India is at war with its own minorities since 1947, what to speak of good relations with its neighbors -- Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma and Sri Lanka. Contrary to your belief that the Indian civilization is based on the noble principle of “unite and rule” India was the villain in the dismemberment of erstwhile Pakistan and it clandestinely trained Tamil Tigers to destabilize the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka. Indian rulers since 1947 have been playing this game of “divide and rule” by inciting communal hatred among the Indian people. Look, what has been happening in the Northeast, Kashmir, Punjab and Gujrat.

Now let us look at your “specially” noble Punjabis. To say that a “mind nurtured in Punjabi culture” can only be satisfied by the humane policy of “unite and rule” is oxymoron. There is no evidence in the history of Punjabis, except a short period of Khalsa rule under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, when they were governed by the policy of “unite and rule.” More recently, the Punjabis played into the hands of non-Punjabis, Mahatma Gandhi and Mohamed Ali Jinah resulting in the partition of their homeland – Punjab, which was one of the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century. Almost one third of the population of Punjab – eleven million people lost their homes and hearths where their ancestors had lived for hundreds of years causing untold suffering and misery.

In the ensuing communal frenzy and carnage, may be as many as one million people perished and thousands of women were kidnapped and raped. No Punjabi has so far written any well-researched and well-documented account of loss of life and suffering as a result of partition, and who was responsible for it. Like small children, Punjabis keep pointing fingers at each other for the “killing fields” of 1947.

Besides most Punjabis don’t know what it means to be a Punjabi? For majority of the Punjabis being a Punjabi does not mean the same as what it means for a Bengali to be a Bengali or a French to be French. In Punjab of Pakistan, Punjabi was not taught in schools until the 1980s and it is still not the official language of that state. In Indian Punjab what Punjabi Hindus have done to Punjabi is unprecedented. They disowned their mother tongue and adopted Hindi instead. Since 1947 they have been deriding the culture of their ancestors and preventing the growth of Punjabi language, culture and the economy of the state.

Well-known journalist Kuldip Nayyar and former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral have been lately beating the drums of Punjabiat (Punjabi heritage). Notwithstanding his loud proclamation of Punjabiat, while responding to the members of the parliament, who insisted that he should speak in Hindi, Gujral said, “My mother-tongue is Hindi, so I would love to speak in Hindi. Since these proceedings are being seen and heard throughout the country, I wish I may be heard by all through English.”9 Having grown up in Jhelum (Pakistani Punjab), it is doubtful that his mother tongue is Hindi. Was he telling the truth in the parliament? Later that same year when the Queen of England visited India, she expressed her wish to pay homage at Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple) and Jallianwala Bagh Memorial. But Gujral tried his best to persuade her to cancel the visit.10

Jallianwalla Bagh Memorial was built in honor of the Punjabis who were massacred by Genral Dyer on Baisakhi, April 13, 1919 (379 were killed and over 2000 thousand wounded). Golden Temple is a prominent Sikh gurdwara and most of the victims of Jallianwala Bagh massacre were Sikhs.11 Is Golden Temple and Jallianwalla Bagh not a part of Gujral’s punjabiat?

Journalist Nayyar does not hide his feelings about Punjab and Punjabi even. He stunned the audience at the Chief Khalsa Diwan’s Annual Meeting held in Nov. 2002 by proposing that Punjabi Suba (state) should be disbanded and merged with Haryana and Himachal Pardesh.12 However, he did not make any adverse comments when very recently three Hindi sates -- Uttar Pardesh, Bihar and Madhya Pardeh were partitioned to create three new states. Neither he nor any other Punjabi Hindu has ever suggested that Haryana and Himachal Pardesh should be merged, as both are Hindi speaking sates.

On the top of page forty, you have stated that Greeks, who called “Bharat” Indstan or Sindhstan, came and went away. Not all of them went away, some of them stayed behind and ruled over western Punjab (King Menander).13 Who developed the Gandhara art? Of curse, the Geeks! If India was known by the name Bharat at that time, why would the Greeks call it Indstan or Sindstan? Is there any similarity between Bharat and Indstan or Sindhstan? Why didn’t the Bharti people correct the Greeks? There is likelihood that India at time did not have a definite name. That’s why the Greeks gave it their own name.

In Pashtu, the language of the largest Afghan tribe Pashtuns, Hindu is pronounced as Indu (h is silent). The Greeks called the Indian people Indos or Indus and hence the names Indus and India. The word Bharat may be in Hindu scriptures, but the Indian subcontinent was never known by the name Bharat. Why did Persians and Arabs, who were (are) next-door neighbors of the so-called Bhartis, called their country Hindustan? Later, the Europeans who came to trade with Hindustan used the Greek name and called it India. Even at that time no Bharti came forward to correct their mistake. Well, who can read a Bharati mind? Once a Bengali Brahmin tried to explain to me the origin of the word Hindu. He said that Hindu is the corrupted version of the word Sindhu. Well, if we use your logic then Sindh should have been called Hind and Sindhi as Hindi. Do you know any person who calls Sindh as Hind and Sindhi as Hindi? That ended the conversation.

Professor Dhaliwal on page forty you have stated that Guru Nanak’s verse “avn athatre jan stanva hor bhi uthsi mard ka chela AGGS, p 722” was composed to honor a farsighted Muslim ruler Sher Shah Suri. First of all you have quoted this verse incorrectly. Second, wherever Guru Nanak saw hypocrisy, he denounced it, wherever he saw injustice, persecution and exploitation, he condemned it and expressed solidarity with the victims. He called the rules of his time as ferocious tigers and their officials as wild dogs, who were harassing and persecuting the innocent masses who were minding their own business (AGGS, p 1288). So it is does not make any sense that Guru Nanak wrote this verse to honor Sher Shah Suri.

Additionally, there is no evidence that the Indian people regarded Sher Shah Suri as a hero. Moreover, Guru Nanak died (S. 1596), less than a year before the battle between Sher Shah Suri and Humayun (S. 1597). There is no evidence in Sikh annals or any other historical source that Guru Nanak ever met Sher Shah Suri. Furthermore, Sher Shah Suri did not drive Humayun out of the country. Humanyun was able to establish his foothold in the country and his son Akbar was able to establish the Mughal Empire in India. The verse you have quoted is from Guru Nanak’s composition (Baburi-Bani) about Babur’s invasion of India.

According Sikh traditions, Guru Nanak was an eyewitness to the battle between Babur and Ibrahim Lodhi. He has described very vividly the atrocities committed by Babur’s forces on the civilian population. In Babur-Bani Guru Nanak has dealt with the questions like: Why did Babur invade India? Why his forces committed atrocities? What caused the defeat of Lodhis? When would his rule come to an end? The verse under discussion is about the last question. “ O, my beloved people, in due course of time this rule will end – may be in twenty years (hor vIhW swlW qk). They have come in S. 1578 and may be they will depart in S. 1597 (Bikrami Era).” It is just a historical coincidence that Sher Shah challenged Humanyun in S. 1597. Ignorant and superstitious people who believe in witchcraft, astrology and soothsaying see this connection between the verse and year of the battle and interpret this verse the way you have done.

Guru Nanak totally rejected superstitious beliefs based on astrology, witchcraft and soothsaying. In Babur-Bani (AGGS, P 418), Guru Nanak has mentioned that the witchcraft of pirs engaged by the Pathans did not stop the advance of Mughal forces or save the palaces of Pathans from destruction or the supernatural powers of the pirs could not blind the Mughals. Guru Nanak’s use of the “interval of twenty years” is a figurative expression to say that the Mughal rule will end in due course of time. It reminds me of Punjabi phrases like, “satra bahatra” means an old person, not 70 / 72 years old, “babe adam vele dian galan” means old tales, not back to the time of Baba Adam and “tanu milian yug beet gae ”mean it is long time since I saw you, not a reference to any mythical period (yug).

Besides, during Guru Nanak’s time most people could not count more than twenty. Their business transactions, measurement of time and distance were done on a scale of “twenty (vih).” Even when I was growing up in my village in the 1940s, the term vih was used quite often. For example: If someone asked a farmer, “For how much did you sell your oxen?” “For four “twenties” and five rupees,” the farmer would say. Similarly, “Baba (old man), how old are you?” “Four twenties and four years,” the old man would say.

In the top paragraph of page forty-six, you have claimed, “Budhism. Jainism and Sikhism do no believe in any entity called God or God-Power. Guru Gobind Singh regarded people power as God-Power.” These statements are utterly false, unbelievable and shocking. It is unbelievable that you have not studied Gurbani as you have a Master's degree in Punjabi and you started your academic career as a Giani (Punjabi teacher in) in my village at Guru Nanak Khalsa High School Takhtupura. How could you forget the meaning of the opening verse of Aad Guru Granth Sahib, which you taught us in the divinity class: “The One and Only – the One That is Ineffable – the Creator.”

You have distorted the meaning of the verse attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind Singh did not say, people power is God-power. Guru Gobind Singh was expressing his solidarity with the downtrodden masses of India, who had been subjected to untold injustices and atrocities for thousands of years. He was rallying them under his banner for their liberation -- to make them a sovereign people. This was no different than what Guru Nanak proclaimed two centuries earlier, “I will stand by the lowest of the lowest caste rather than with the elite -- the high castes (AGGS, p 15).”

The statement on page fifty-two, sacrificial goats became martyrs “bali da bakra ban ke shhidian pa gayian ”, indicates that either you don’t know the difference between bali or shahadat (martyrdom) or you are poking fun at the concept of shahadat. Shahadt is an Arabic word and a Muslim concept. A shahid sacrifices his / her life willingly for the sake of his or her faith. In Sikhism, shahid and shhadat are used in the same sense. Guru Arjan Dev was the first shahid of Sikhs. On the other hand bali is a form of life sacrifice, which was practiced all over the world by primitive people. Bali is performed to appease, please, and thank a deity. However, a person offering a bali rarely sacrifices his or her life, some other human being or animal is sacrificed on his or her behalf.

I n the olden days human sacrifice was very common but with the advancement of civilization only animals are offered for bali and this practice is still prevalent in some religions as the bali of goats at the temple of goddess Kali in India. So, how could a sacrificial goat be considered a shahid (martyr)?

In the second paragraph of page forty you have also stated that Emperor Akbar broke bread with the Rajupts and established matrimonial alliance with them. This statement is partially true. This matrimonial alliance was only a one way affair. Rajputs did marry their daughters to Mughal rulers. However, there is no evidence that any Mughal ruler ever married his daughter to a Rajput. Regarding inter-dining between Muslims and Hindus, the story is not that simple as you have stated. It is reasonable to believe that royal Rajputs and Mughals entertained each other and enjoyed each other’s cuisine. However, sharing food with Muslims was a taboo for the upper caste Hindus. The upper caste Hindus always regarded outsiders, whether they were Muslims or Europeans as malesh (polluted). I don’t think that Emperor Akbar had any appreciable influence on the inter-dining between Muslims and upper caste Hindus.

For example, even in the Congress Party headed by Gandhi, there were some Hindu members, who did not eat in the same room where Muslims were eating. At the Congress conference held in Lahore in 1935, some non-Punjabi Hindu participants brought their own food and water because they regarded Punjab as the land of the maleshas. What does the expression “Hindu pani (water) and Muslim pani”mean?

In the third paragraph on page forty-six you have accused Dr. Ambedkar as being a coward for not taking a stand against the partition of India. How could Ambedkar have prevented the partition, when the British, the congress party and Muslim league were determined to do so? You say that Dr. Ambedkar was representing the voice of fifty million advasis (aborigines). This may be true in theory. The advasis were the poorest and the least educated people in India at that time and they were scattered all over the country. They were not a cohesive group to exert any influence. Furthermore, Ambedkar's efforts to get them recognized as a distinct group by the British were thwarted by the machinations of Gandhi.

It is a pity that Muslims, who were a vibrant community and had sophisticated and intelligent leaders, failed to see through the trickery of Gandhi. Contrary to the propaganda that Jinah was responsible for the partition, it was the Congress party dominated by the upper caste Hindus, who was the prime culprit? Upper caste Hindus, who were less than 12 % of the Indian population, wanted to usurp the political power after the departure of the British. However, an assertive and aggressive Muslim minority was an obstacle in their path to establish their “Ram Raj.” To overcome this obstacle, the Hindu elite under the leadership of Gandhi came up with a two-pronged strategy.

First, visionary Hindus like Subash Chander Bose who believed firmly in the unity of the country and its people were expelled from the Congress party. Second, frequent provocative statements by Hindu leaders like Nehru led to the exodus of Muslims from the Congress party and it polarized the communal atmosphere in the country. As a consequence, the Muslims formed their own party, Muslim League. Every time the Mulim League tried to come to some understanding with the Congress party to avoid the partition of the country on communal lines, it was pushed away by ambiguous and provocative response from the Hindu leaders. Finally, being fed up with the attitude of the Hindu leadership, Muslims under the leadership of Jinah asked for the partition of the country.

The Hindu elite congratulated Gandhi for the success of his well-planned strategy. However, Gandhi maintained a façade of Hindu / Muslim unity. When in 1946 the first wave of Hindu / Sikh refugees from Western Punjab arrived in Delhi and other towns, Gandhi lectured them to go back. He promised them that India would be divided only over his dead body. Nobody believed him except the lunatic fringe, like Gulzari Lal Nanda, Sushila Nayyar and her brother Pyare Lal. India was divided into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India on August 15, 1947. Gandhi was hale and hearty, singing prayer songs and giving sermons from his favorite scripture, the Bhagvad Gita.

The classification of Indians into advasis (native) and non-advasis s is meaningless biologically. Before the invasion and migration of numerous Caucasian tribes from central Asia, dark skinned people inhabited the Indian subcontinent. However, due to miscegenation over thousands years, there are not very many pure Caucasian or advasis people in India. The complexion of modern Indians varies from a light tan to ebony-black and most of them are quite dark. It does not matter whether they call themselves Aryans, Brahmins, Rajputs, Jats, Khatris, Aggarwals etc., they all inherit the genes from their advasis ancestors.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that interests of all the people should be represented in the government. Having said that let us discuss the statement on page fifty-six:

“Mr. Badal’s conscience, who is a product of Punjabi culture, did not allow him to impose a one party government on the people of Punjab. This farsighted, broad minded and consensus builder visionary leader invited Bhartiya Janata Party to join his government to set a precedent for multi-party governments in Punjab.”

This is an erroneous statement. First of all, Badal is one of the most corrupt and decadent politician in Punjab.14 Second, he expelled about 20 MLAs from his own party who opposed his policies. Why didn’t he try to build a consensus first within his own party? Third, he did not invite the Congress party and others to join his government. Therefore, you can’t call his government a multi-party government. Furthermore, the government headed by Justice Gurnam Singh, if my memory serves me right, was a coalition of three parties!

Moreover, Badal is not what you have described him to be. How many innocent youth did the first government headed by Badal kill during the Naxalite movement? Didn’t Badal and his Akali party incite innocent and gullible people in the name of religion for their personal political gains? Didn’t Badal and fellow Akalis start the Dharam Yudh Morcha (righteous agitation) under the dictatorship of Longowal, solely for gaining political advantage? Doesn’t this morcha (agitation) share responsibility for what happened in Panjab over the last two decades? Is Badal’s Punjabi conscience immune to the bloodbath of Punjabis during the last two decades? What about the other Punjabis, the protagonist of Punjabiat. Have they recognized Punjabi as their mother tongue? Do they still consider Punjab a bilingual state? Do they still regard Gurmukhi as a crude script?

On page ninety-three you have included Canadian government in the category of the governments of India, Pakistan, Burma and Sri Lanka. Don’t you see any difference between the Canadian government and these other governments? Pakistan and Burma have been under military dictatorship most of the time since their independence from the British. Indian and Sri Lankan democracies represent the tyranny of majority over minorities. On the other hand, Canadian government in spite of its shortcomings is a government of law, which considers a person innocent unless proven guilty, unlike the Indian democracy, which considers a person guilty unless proven innocent, and whose police kills thousands in custody and fake encounters on the order of their superiors, who get sadistic pleasure from the gory details.

Furthermore, the Canadian government does not harass the members of opposition parties or put them in jail on false charges. Canadian government has allowed the development of a humane society, which is responsible for the welfare of its citizens. Even elderly immigrants who have made no contribution to the Canadian society enjoy the fruits of its generosity.


1 Amar Singh Dhaliwal. Bharat Da Napunsak Loaktantar ‘Vartman Ate Bhvikh’ (Punjabi), Printwell, Amritsar, 2001.This book is written in Punjabi and the Constitution Review Commission, headed by the retired Indian Supreme-Court Justice, M. N. Venkatachaliah has translated it into English.

2 Professor Amar Singh Dhaliwal lives in Canada and he is a member of the editorial board of Undersatnding Sikhism – The Reseach Jouranl published by Professor Devinder Singh Chahal of Canada.

3 Harbhajan Singh, a Marxist journalist has serialized the first five chapters of this book in the Punjabi Tribune and written a brief introduction to the author and the central theme of the book

4 Professor Pritam Singh, who wrote the preface, retired as the head of the department of Guru Nanak Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University. He is also a Marxist and a Punjabi poet.

5 5 Daljit Singh, Essays on the authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir and the integrated logic and unity of Sikhism, 2nd ed. 1995, p 73-77.

6 S. Sinha, J. Singh, Sunil, G. K.C. Reddy, Army Action in Punjab: Perlude and Aftermath. R. N. Kumar, A. Singh, A. Agrwaal, J. Kaur (Committee for coordination on Disappearance in Punjab), Reduced to Ashes: The Insurgency and Human Rights in Punjab, 2003.

7 Jagjit Singh, Sikh Revolution, 4th reprint, 1998, p 213-218.

8 Gokul. C. Narang, Transformation of Sikhism, 5th ed., 1960, p 98.

9 Spokesman, May 1997, p 13-14.

10 Spokesman, November 1997, p 20-21.

11 Spokesman, November 2002, p 23-24.

12 Sangat Singh, The Sikhs in History, 4th ed., 2001, p 159.

13 J. S. Grewal, The Sikhs of Punjab, first paperback ed., 1994, p 3.

14 Parkash Singh Badal, several ministers of his cabinet and many officials associated with his government have been charged with corruption.

Copyright©2003 Baldev Singh. About the author
The book being referred to (Dhaliwal) looks interesting.. The blabber by baldev is boring and nonsensical. I couldnt read thru the whole thing and I challenge anyone to read through it in one sitting.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>The American Papers : Secret and Confidential India-Pakistan-Bangladash Documents, 1965-1973
by Roedad Khan, Jamsheed Marker

The American Papers : Secret and Confidential India-Pakistan-Bangladash Documents, 1965-1973</b>
Publisher: learn how customers can search inside this book.
Share your own customer images

List Price: $72.00
Price: $72.00 & This item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. See details
Availability: This title usually ships within 2 to 3 weeks. Please note that special order titles occasionally go out of print, or publishers run out of stock. These hard-to-find titles are not discounted and are subject to an additional charge of $1.99 per book due to the extra cost of ordering them. We will notify you within 2-3 weeks if we have trouble obtaining this title from Amazon.com

8 used & new from $48.00

Edition: Hardcover
<b>The Cold War on the Periphery
by Robert J. McMahon "DURING THE first several years following partition, the Truman administration adopted two distinct-and sometimes competing-strategies in its approach to the Indian subcontinent..." (more)</b>

rom Library Journal
McMahon (history, Univ. of Florida) examines U.S. foreign policy toward India and Pakistan from the late 1940s until the mid-1960s as a case study in Cold War politics. He concludes that "American policy-makers never succeeded in constructing a rational, effective approach" to further U.S. interests in stability for the South Asian subcontinent. In addition, he holds that the U.S. alliance with Pakistan in 1954 exacerbated regional tensions, pushing India to seek closer ties with the Soviet Union and ultimately leading to the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965. In a fluently written account, McMahon plumbs the intricacies of regional diplomacy and demonstrates the illusions through which the Cold War beclouded American diplomatic perceptions. A brief summary chapter on events subsequent to 1965 would have more fully assessed the legacy of this period of American foreign policy. Recommended for academic libraries.
James Rhodes, Luther Coll., Decorah, Ia.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Description:
Focusing on the two tumultuous decades framed by Indian independence in 1947 and the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, explores the evolution of American policy toward the subcontinent. McMahon analyzes the motivations behind America's pursuit of Pakistan and India as strategic Cold War prizes. He also examines the profound consequences -for U.S. regional and global foreign policy and for South Asian stability -of America's complex political, military, and economic commitments on the subcontinent. McMahon argues that the Pakistani-American alliance, consummated in 1954, was a monumental strategic blunder. Secured primarily to bolster the defense perimeter in the Middle East, the alliance increased Indo-Pakistani hostility, undermined regional stability, and led India to seek closer ties with the Soviet Union. Through his examination of the volatile region across four presidencies, McMahon reveals the American strategic vision to have been "surprinsgly ill defined, inconsistent, and even contradictory" because of its exaggerated anxiety about the Soviet threat and America's failure to incorporate the interests and concerns of developing nations into foreign policy. addresses fundamental questions about the global reach of postwar American foreign policy. Why, McMahon asks, did areas possessing few of the essential prerequisites of economic-military power become objects of intense concern for the United States? How did the national security interests of the United States become so expansive that they extended far beyond the industrial core nations of Western Europe and East Asia to embrace nations on the Third World periphery? And what combination of economic, political, and ideological variables best explain the motives that led the United States to seek friends and allies in virtually every corner of the planet? <b>McMahon's lucid analysis of Indo-Pakistani-Americna relations powerfully reveals how U.S. policy was driven, as he puts it, "by a series of amorphous -and largely illusory -military, strategic, and psychological fears" about American vulnerability that not only wasted American resources but also plunged South Asia into the vortex of the Cold War.</b>
I am in need of the following books for my personal collection
( AND no , i dont plan to write civil services exam after reading those)

<b>The Cholas : K.A.Nilakanta Shastri
Mauryas: Ashoka and Decline of the Maurya - Romila Thapar.
Guptas : S.R Goyal. </b>

Also any book/folk tale about the Guptas are also welcome.

Nitpick : Compare Samudra Gupta and Raja Raja Chola , you find a lot of similarities.Strange !

Academic Researchers Versus Hindu Civilisation

Relevant portion..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->British colonial roots of Cold War hostility towards India

The long-standing Anglo-Saxon critique of Hindu society and independent India has roots in the visceral British hatred of the educated Hindu elites of late nineteenth century Bengal that they themselves had originally sponsored. The resulting confluence of British imperial interests and subsequent Muslim politics in India is too well known to require detailed recounting. The British inaugurated twentieth century sectarian Islamic politics in India as a counterweight to the pan-Indian and secular Congress, which was seeking basic political rights for all Indians. They also partitioned Bengal in 1905 to vent their anger against 'native' protest at their oppressive and racist rule over all religious communities (cf. The Imbert Bill). An unbroken straight line can be drawn, from this burgeoning British hostility towards Hindus over a hundred years ago to the constant fabrications of British journalists and editors in the print media and television about India today. These contemporary lies will one day transmute into 'unassailable' archival material, cited in journals by academics to assert the superiority of their research methodology and dismiss the amateur investigator.

<b>The late nineteenth century British critique of Indians and their struggle for emancipation was to become fatefully embroiled in the anti-Communist politics of the Cold War, led by the US. As an outstanding study by C. Dasgupta (Sage, New Delhi 2002) has demonstrated, Pakistan's importance to the Cold War effort against the Soviets was recognised in the late 1940s by the British. This conviction was subsequently accepted by the US and successive administrations have subscribed to this belief ever since.</b> So sacrosanct is the relationship with Pakistan that the crime considered to be the most heinous in modern international relations, the proliferation of nuclear weapons to unstable regimes, is being accepted by resort to the most blatant lies, which will, no doubt, eventually become archived evidence transmuted into historical fact. Significantly, Dasgupta's unpolemical and measured, scholarly book has been sunk, almost without trace by the academic establishment, despite its impeccable professional pedigree, i.e. written by a Cambridge-educated diplomat.

The sustained and multifarious assault on independent India, Hinduism and all its works by the Anglo-Saxon Indian studies academic establishment must be viewed in the context of the profound US contest against Soviet communism. As a corollary, the end of this struggle may also presage a change in the largely unsympathetic representation of India. When the life-and-death struggle against communism was going on, and it was exactly that, with the palpable fear of nuclear annihilation and the possibility of total defeat in the process, issues of truth and fairness became secondary. The world of Islam and Pakistan were political and military allies, possessing oil resources and run by anti-Communist Islamic dictatorships, installed in power by US intervention. By contrast, India was considered the enemy, described by the US State Department in the late 1940s as a potential imperialist threat to its interests, akin to Japan during the 1930s (a canard repeated as late as 1992). It was also viewed as an unscrupulous Soviet camp follower.

This urgent power political calculus and the attendant purposes of the US State imbued Indian studies in the US. Its purpose was to undermine India politically by de-legitimzing its cultural and religious values. The neutering of Indian culture and its civilisation became an unthinking adjunct to the vindication of the Cold War imperative of projecting Pakistani verisimilitude. It fitted seamlessly into a deep-rooted and uncomprehending Semitic political and religious aversion towards the pagan and polytheistic. By portraying India as a vicious civilisation, riven by the racism of caste, which routinely burnt widows (Sati, described recently as if it was widespread) and brides in the bargain is a victory by default for Pakistani claims to a place in the world. Interestingly, a search of all the journals listed below* turned up one solitary scholarly article on 'Islam in India' and over two hundred directly or indirectly related to the term 'Hindu', overwhelmingly critical of either the politics of India or vehemently imputing a sectarian character to all Hindu socio-political activity. There was virtually not a single discussion of slavery in a global search of journals, presumably because it might reveal unpleasant truths about the fate of Hindus under Muslim rule. Mass enslavement has of course been the norm for Islamic conquests everywhere. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Has anybody read this ?
After googling I found this review..

War & Diplomacy in Kashmir, 1947-48

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->C. Dasgupta; SAGE; RS 250, PAGES: 240

By Romeet Kaul Watt

C Dasgupta, one of India’s most distinguished diplomats, was Ambassador to China and the European Union before retiring recently. He has done the Nation an immense service with his latest book, War and Diplomacy in Kashmir, 1947-48, largely based on documents that have now been declassified. In the words of another diplomat: “what saves Dasgupta’s story from being a twice-told tale is that he tells it from a new angle: the British perspective.”

Kashmir is beyond doubt one of the most litigious and multifarious issues in South Asia today. It has persisted for more than 50 years, which has resulted in three cruel wars in the sub-continent. This important book aims to see in new light, the origins of the problem and examines the costs of the fact that British officers commanded the armed forces of both India and Pakistan in 1947-48.

The historical mistake made by India was to refer the case to the United Nations, to which Nehru later regretted. Nehru, to begin was persuaded by Mountbatten to refer the Kashmir problem to United Nations but only with limited references. India suffered in a major way when the case was referred to the Security Council, as Pakistan not only successfully refuted all charges levied against them but effectively countered by asserting that India was hostile to Pakistan. This couldn’t have been possible without the help of 'Old Labour' minister in the Atlee government, Philip Noel-Baker.

C Dasgupta says: “In 1947, when Pakistani tribesmen invaded Kashmir, Britain decided to adopt a pro-Pakistan tilt — not because of any merit in the case but strictly in pursuit of British global interests in the belief that this was essential for her Middle Eastern policy. Unfortunately for India, the British minister in charge of executing this policy, Philip J Noel Baker, had few scruples in exceeding his instructions.” According the author, Noel Baker decided to take a totally anti-India stand in the UN instead of leaning in its favour as instructed by his government and deliberately misrepresented India’s position to his own government.

The book also gives a vivid account of how Noel-Baker misled his government on the US position too. C Dasgupta says: “In 1947-48, Washington accepted (Secretary of State George Marshall) the fact that Kashmir legally belonged to India by virtue of the Maharaja’s accession. In February 1948, the Americans informed Noel-Baker that they were disturbed by the implications of the resolution that he wanted to move in the UN, which would have allowed Pakistan to deploy its troops in Kashmir.”

When the British side argued that Kashmir was a ‘‘territory in dispute’’, the Americans disagreed, stating that they ‘‘found it difficult to deny the legal validity of Kashmir’s accession to India’’. Under pressure from Noel-Baker, the US finally agreed to float a draft resolution which would have permitted entry of Pakistani troops but only if India concurred. When his cabinet colleagues objected that India would never accept this, Noel-Baker chose to conceal his own hand in prompting the US move.” Noel-Baker tried to have Kashmir placed under effective UN control, pending a plebiscite, with Pakistani troops entering the state with a status similar to that of the Indian Army. But the US and other countries did not accept this.

John Foster Dulles, the acting leader of the US delegation in the Security Council, in November 1948, complained to the State Department that the ‘‘present UK approach (to the) Kashmir problem appears extremely pro-GOP (Government of Pakistan) as against (the) middle ground we have sought to follow.’’

In his summary of the debate in the UN Security Council in January 1948 on the Indian complaint of Pakistani aggression, Dasgupta says: “the Western Group backed Pakistan on three crucial issues: that Pakistan could take no effective action to stop the invaders until a formula was found for a solution of the Kashmir problem acceptable to her; that the Abdullah government would have to be replaced; and that the United Nations must not only observe the plebiscite but actually hold it under its authority.’’

On 27 February, the Commonwealth Affairs Committee of the British Cabinet discussed the Kashmir question for the first time where according to the author at least one minister expressed his views with great force in the British Cabinet minutes, saying the US document made no mention of the undoubted fact that the tribesmen had passed through Pakistan territory before entering Kashmir, or of the failure of the Pakistan Government to prevent this; it mentioned the possibility that Pakistan troops may be permitted to enter Kashmir.

On 16th of February 1948, Nehru had written to Vijayalaxmi Pandit, “ I cannot imagine that the security council could probably behave in the trivial and partisan manner in which……………and it is not surprising that the world is going to pieces…and the US and the Britain have played a dirty game, Britain being the chief actor behind the scenes………”

Nehru originally thought the Western bias was because of America’s search for concessions in Pakistan; but after a briefing, he realized that Noel-Baker was the ‘villain of the piece’. Nehru complained angrily to Attlee that Noel-Baker had, in a conversation with Sheikh Abdullah, dismissed as untrue the charge that Pakistan had assisted the raiders into Kashmir.

Subsequently, in December 1950, India rejected United Nation’s offer to mediate in Kashmir. “the only way to sole it is for India and Pakistan to know that the burden is upon them and no one else”, Nehru wrote to the United Nation’s.

The armed forces in both India and Pakistan at the time of conflict in 1947-48 were still led by British officers and the critical defence committee of the Indian cabinet was presided over by none other than Mountbatten. British generals in India and Pakistan maintained informal channels of communication on Kashmir developments, according to the author. General Douglas Gracey’s telegram of 24 October finds a place in every account of the history of Kashmir; less well known is the fact that he had informed ‘Indian’ commander-in-chief Gen Lockhart about preparations for the invasion even before October 24. In the early stages of the conflict, counselled by the supreme commander for India and Pakistan, Field Marshal Auchinlek, ‘Indian’ commander-in-chief Gen Lockhart refrained from sending supplies requested by Maharaja Hari Singh. He also withheld from the government intelligence received from his "Pakistani" counterparts about impending infiltration by "tribesmen". During the entire episode, the British commanders discharged their duties in a way that suited the British interests.

During the Junagadh predicament, the service chiefs in a joint letter to the Indian defence minister declared their lack of ability to participate in the operations should an Indo-Pak clash ensues. India reacted harshly to this incursion of political sphere by the armed forces and the letter was withdrawn.

The process of management was soon taken over by Whitehall, who over the period of time had come to the conclusion that on greater tactical considerations "a tilt towards Pakistan" was necessary. Mountbatten, it is believed was required to act as go-between between India and Pakistan and when these attempts botched he, acting in knowledge with Lockhart, sought to frustrate India’s plans to take the war to Pakistan’s border with J&K.

Thus the book examines the dubious role played by the British, spearheaded by two persons—Mountbatten and Philip Noel-Baker.

Observers and analysts believe that C Dasgupta has sent a strong message to the Indian establishment through his book: don’t rely on the Western powers, Britain and America, in our fight against terrorism in general and cross-border terrorism in particular.

India has to ensure that in its fight against global terror, it will do what ever it feels necessary to safeguard its national and security interests, irrespective of whether America or other Western powers like it or not.

A senior diplomat observes: “the UK and the West generally continue to refract the issue of terrorism in Kashmir through the prism of their extraneous interests in West Asia and Central Asia. This is, of course, no longer focused on the Great Game of containing Russia but accessing the greatest reserves of natural gas in the world — Central Asia generally and Turkmenistan in particular. Afghanistan is the first transit country on the route. Pakistan is the second. India is not needed. Which is why the ‘global war on terrorism’ has co-opted the principal source of terrorism as its principal ally.”<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Observers and analysts believe that C Dasgupta has sent a strong message to the Indian establishment through his book: don’t rely on the Western powers, Britain and America, in our fight against terrorism in general and cross-border terrorism in particular.

India has to ensure that in its fight against global terror, it will do what ever it feels necessary to safeguard its national and security interests, irrespective of whether America or other Western powers like it or not.

A senior diplomat observes: “the UK and the West generally continue to refract the issue of terrorism in Kashmir through the prism of their extraneous interests in West Asia and Central Asia. This is, of course, no longer focused on the Great Game of containing Russia but accessing the greatest reserves of natural gas in the world — Central Asia generally and Turkmenistan in particular. Afghanistan is the first transit country on the route. Pakistan is the second. India is not needed. Which is why the ‘global war on terrorism’ has co-opted the principal source of terrorism as its principal ally.”
Identity and religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India,
By Amalendu Misra,
Sage, Rs 520

<b>Anti-Islamism as a political ideology was not invented by the modern
Hindutva forces. </b>A huge corpus of post-colonial studies on Indian nationalism indicates that Indian nationalists were a sceptical lot when it came to Islam's contribution to Indian history. Even a secularist like Nehru and a staunch moralist like Gandhi had problems in integrating that specific segment of history into the Indian way of life and thinking.

In Identity and Religion, Misra selects four great nationalist thinkers and analyses their views on Muslim rule and their assessments of Islam. Vivekananda, writes Misra, was a Hindu revivalist who wanted to blend the spiritual dimensions of Hinduism with the physical prowess of Islam to bring forth a new nation that had "the body of Islam and mind of Vedanta". Gandhi, according to Misra, was opposed to Vivekananda on this. He did not believe in
such a superficial amalgamation which would lead to the Islamization of Hinduism. Rather, he stressed on the commonalities between the two religions but still ended up propagating a Hindu supremacist position. Nehru was more of a Hindu inclusivist than a hard-core secularist in the Western sense of the term.

One would also agree with Misra when he brands Savarkar's punyabhumi - pitribhumi theory as an alternative version of Jinnah's two-nation theory.

Misra also tries to show how the Hindu perceptions of Islam and the Muslim rule were influenced by tendentious interpretations of the same by British historians like Alexander Dow, James Mill and Mountstuart Elphinstone.

Misra's views, however, elude certain crucial points. He does not pay adequate attention to the emerging secular culture in colonial India. The secular was an autonomous space, but it was closely linked to religion. As a result, there was a regular exchange of myths and images between the two domains. Once imported, the religious myths were often demystified and re-invested with secular meanings. The Hindu vocabulary of nationalist thinkers
consisted, more often than not, of these transferred myths attached to secular

Misra is also oblivious of Muslim nationalist ideologues of the colonial era. One wonders why readers should be left in the dark about their construction of Muslim nationalism. Misra's book, thus, fails to refute the structural biases which, he thinks, has plagued Indian nationalism since the moment of its inception.

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam
by Tariq Ramadan "The word "Islam" has often been translated as "submission" to God, or "entering into the peace" of God, for these are indeed the two senses..." (more)

From Publishers Weekly
Ramadan, named by Time magazine in 2000 as one of the 100 most important innovators of the coming century, argues that Islam can and should feel at home in the West. He takes stock of Islamic law and tradition to analyze whether Islam is in conflict with Western ideals; Ramadan is emphatic that there is no contradiction. He then spells out several key areas where Islam's universal principles can be "engaged" in the West, including education, interreligious dialogue, economic resistance and spirituality. Ramadan raises interesting issues about Islam's inherent critique of consumerism and its demanding spirituality, which "touches all the dimensions of life."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description:
In a Western world suddenly acutely interested in Islam, one question has been repeatedly heard above the din: where are the Muslim reformers? With this ambitious volume, Tariq Ramadan firmly establishes himself as one of Europe's leading thinkers and one of Islam's most innovative and important voices.

<b>As the number of Muslims living in the West grows, the question of what it means to be a Western Muslim becomes increasingly important to the futures of both Islam and the West. While the media are focused on radical Islam, Ramadan claims, a silent revolution is sweeping Islamic communities in the West, as Muslims actively seek ways to live in harmony with their faith within a Western context. French, English, German, and American Muslims--women as well as men--are reshaping their religion into one that is faithful to the principles of Islam, dressed in European and American cultures, and definitively rooted in Western societies. Ramadan's goal is to create an independent Western Islam, anchored not in the traditions of Islamic countries but in the cultural reality of the West.</b>

He begins by offering a fresh reading of Islamic sources, interpreting them for a Western context and demonstrating how a new understanding of universal Islamic principles can open the door to integration into Western societies. He then shows how these principles can be put to practical use. Ramadan contends that Muslims can-indeed must-be faithful to their principles while participating fully in the civic life of Western secular societies. Grounded in scholarship and bold in its aims, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam offers a striking vision of a new Muslim identity, one which rejects once and for all the idea that Islam must be defined in opposition to the West.
R Jagannathan: Why Mani Aiyar is wrong
Rajeshji, the article deserves to be quoted in full.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->R Jagannathan: Why Mani Aiyar is wrong  


R Jagannathan / New Delhi December 14, 2004

Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar’s book Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist illustrates just what is wrong with Indian secularism. 
<b>It seems to call for an extreme variety of secularism that—in bottom line terms—would mean only the majority community will be held accountable for the success or failure of secularism.</b> 
No one else. <b>In Aiyar’s utopia, every religious community would try to be secular internally (that is, viciously self-critical), but would seek to be “liberal” (that is, uncritical) when it comes to other communities. </b>
This formulation would be all right if all Aiyar is trying to say is that all communities will have the right to change at their own pace. <b>But as we all know, in India this has effectively meant that only Hinduism will be targeted for open attack</b>—whether it is by atheists like Aiyar and the Communists (Brahmins all) or by victims of casteism (Dalits and neo-Buddhists). 
Aiyar’s prescription of secular fundamentalism is, in fact, a recipe for reviving precisely the kind of anti-Muslim hatred that he claims to despise. If more Indians start becoming secular fundamentalists, the Hindutva lobby will receive a fresh lease of life. 
Aggressive Hindutva emanates from a low sense of self-esteem among sections of Hindus. <b>Gandhi understood this better than anyone else. Thus, even as he left himself open to good ideas from all religions, he tried to cultivate a sense of pride in Hindus by promoting reforms from within. </b>Swami Vivekananda did the same, and so did other reform movements in the previous century (Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj). 
The Ayodhya movement gathered steam in the late 1980s primarily because India’s card-carrying secularists became aggressive critics of Hinduism in a way no other religious reformer would have dreamt of. But their vicious criticism also needs to be understood in its context. 
Hindu critics of Hinduism are victims of their own low sense of self-esteem—they have internalised western criticisms of caste and turned their anger against their own people by being destructively critical of Hindus and Hindu organisations.
A question I would like to ask all secularists is this: can you reform a people by attacking them, and destroying all sense of pride in their past? Aiyar’s secular fundamentalism is evidence that he hasn’t understood the roots of the problem. His venom can only ignite Hindutva passions once again. 
Secularism is not something that Aiyar invented. <b>In fact, Hindus can claim as much ownership of the concept of secularism and pluralism as ancient Greece can of democracy.  </b>
<b>Intolerance and illiberal attitudes are often associated with monotheism, where the key to political power is the supremacy of one god, especially my god. In contrast, polytheistic communities are much more accommodative of different ideas, different religions. 
When people accept the legitimacy of other gods beyond their own, it is the first step towards the acceptance of pluralism in political life. In this sense, India, which is still one of the last bastions of polytheism in practice, can claim to be an early exponent of the idea of pluralism. Aiyar is preaching liberal values to the people who actually practise it. </b>
Another reason why Aiyar’s tract makes no sense to me is its acceptance of the basic sorting of society into majorities and minorities. <b>In reality, all majorities and minorities are temporary and contextual.</b> In India, Muslims may be in a minority today. 
In Kashmir, Hindus are so. Within Hindu Kashmiris, a gay individual may be a minority and also needs protection. <b>The only way to discuss rights is to focus on inalienable, individual human rights. </b>
All other rights—minority or majority—are offshoots of this, and hence secondary in nature. <b>Secularism is of value only in the context of our fundamental commitment to human rights, and not as something independent of it. </b>
Aiyar’s secular fundamentalism is thus a fraud. We can see this from the examples set by two outstanding secular fundamentalists—both of whom failed India. Jinnah and Nehru were two leaders who were genuinely secular and non-sectarian in their outlook. 
Nehru had no great admiration for Hinduism; the same can probably be said of Jinnah and Islam. That should have made both of them kindred souls, but Nehru had nothing but contempt for Jinnah; the latter saw that he had no political future in an India where Hindus voted for Gandhi and Nehru. 
<b>Jinnah and Nehru had more differences with Gandhi—who professed his Sanatani Hindu identity to all comers—and practically none with each other on ideas of modernity and secularism.</b> And yet, it was these two gentlemen who ultimately sacrificed principle in the pursuit of power. They divided India. Left to himself, Gandhi would have gone as far as to let Jinnah rule, but Nehru and Sardar Patel would have had none of it. If this is the example set by two of the country’s greatest Secular Fundamentalists, we can’t invest great hopes in the likes of Aiyar and Arjun Singh, can we?

Book reviews..

(1) Valuable social history
Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam since 1850, by Ayesha Jalal, OUP India, 2000 - Reviewed by Yoginder Sikand

(2) Dissecting the American Desi
The Karma of Brown Folk by Vijay Prashad, University of Minnesota Press, 2000 - Reviewed by Tarik Ali Khan

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> GOVERNANCE AND THE SCLEROSIS THAT HAS SET IN: Arun Shourie; Rupa & Co.,

7/16, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002. Rs. 395.

THIS IS a book that could be written by only one man named Arun Shourie — passionate, intelligent, opinionated, totally consumed by his own self-image as the only man who knows what is wrong with the Indian system and how that system can be repaired.

He regales the reader with miles and miles of details of stupid babus, stupider politicians, and stupidest ministers, all of who engage in this benumbing, time-consuming, energy-sapping, creativity-draining charade called "governance". He calls it a "mindless, endless shuffling in slow motion;" it is now a collective habit and has come to infect every aspect of governance.

For an `enabling state'

The system is almost beyond redemption; the only thing that can be done to save it is by debunking it. His moral is that "the way to reform this system is not to tinker with this procedure or that institution, but to just jettison the function, to hack away the limb where this is possible."

The rub is defining "where this is possible" because politicians and bureaucrats pitch in (often on behalf of the unwholesome economic forces) to prevent the "possible" from taking place.

Status quo has its rationale as well as its beneficiaries. Rather passionately Shourie points out the cumulative effect of the sclerosis that the country earns a "reputation", an image that slows down and even discourages the foreign investor. This has to change. The very nature of the Indian state has to change; it must become an "enabling state."


Shourie was a minister for nearly five years in the National Democratic Alliance Government. In that capacity he was privy to a zillion files, documents — secret, confidential, official — useless papers, which routinely get stamped "confidential". He is thus well armed with reams of details from which to pick and choose to make his indictment of the Indian political system.

And, like an experienced polemicist, he chooses the convenient facts to make a good and impressive case. The reader feels overwhelmed, but not necessarily becomes any wiser.

This would have been a far more useful, even insightful book if the author had opted to name the names or given a flavour of some of the celebrated policy fights he was involved in, in the Union Cabinet. We must perhaps wait for another book, a less hurried enterprise from him.

Politics and power

He was part of a political crowd that saw itself different than the Congress-oriented regimes that allegedly mucked up the governance. But he gives no insight if his government tried to do things differently or had any idea how to fix it. The problem is that governance is about power — its most deadly manifestation being economic power — and political parties and their disputes are used to camouflage this unvarnished fact.

Political leaders who claim to be infused with ideology, ideals and idealism often turn out to be front-man for this or that economic interest. A bad, ungovernable system survives because those with economic clout invariably manage to cut the corners, bend the rules, slow down the procedures, or simply abuse the procedure, or define the issues and set the agenda as to what the public servants and political leaders should do.

Those with economic power control the levers of public discourse; and, soon, "enterprise" is confused with bribing the babu, hosannas are sung in honour of those who built fortunes by bending the rules and corrupting the system. Shourie does not share with the reader his experience in the government of how the powerful corporate interests would defeat the very purpose of de-bureaucratisation and would not permit the transition to a regulatory regime.

Even the intelligence agencies are used to manufacturing "security concerns" in order to prevent/promote foreign investments in this or that "strategic sector". Alas, he does not offer any insight on this count. Nor does he acknowledge the difficulty in bringing about drastic and dramatic changes, especially in the context of prevailing political disputes and disagreements.

Culture of accusation

A culture of accusation — beginning perhaps with the Bofors episode — has made everybody wary of doing things differently, because there is nobody to defend the honest against a frivolous and motivated accusation. We have neither had strong nor stable prime ministers who would inspire the government- administrators to be creative.

Strong economic interests do not prefer strong and stable governments. What is even worse is that the Indian political class has achieved a near "consensus" — that debilitating instrument of the status quo — that it would not look too deeply into cases of leaders' corruption and malfeasance.

The government, of which the author was a part, has destroyed a myth that it takes only a handful of dedicated deshbakhts to turn things around. This passionate book, then, invites a question. Supposing there were a dozen honest, hard working, sincere, intelligent Arun Shouries available to a prime minister, would they have been able to make a dramatic difference? Perhaps.

HARISH KHARE <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)