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How Orientalism Pitted Hindus against Muslims in India?


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The most outstanding feature of Islam is its history; if you study Islamic history, you would come to realize that Islam did not spread by force alone, it was the superior moral appeal of its peerless ethics that won the hearts and minds of medieval masses. For instance: Mongols conquered most of the eastern lands of the Islamic Empire during the thirteenth century, however, the Muslims of those lands did not convert to the religion of the conquerors: that is, the Mongolian Shamanism. Instead, the conquerors adopted the religion of the vanquished, i.e. Islam. Not only the Mongols, but several Turkish tribes also voluntarily converted to Islam. Such was the beauty of Islamic teachings and its sublime moral appeal in ancient times.

During the medieval times, when Europe was going through an age of intellectual and moral regression, Islamic culture thrived and flourished under the Abbasids, Ottomans and Mughals. Muslims ruled over India for more than six centuries; despite that, at the time of the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, Hindus outnumbered Muslims three to one (there were only 100 million Muslims in the population of 400 million Indians in 1947). That’s how tolerant and inclusive Islamic culture was back then. By comparison, the Red Indians of America and the Aborigines of Australia were reduced to a tiny minority of those continents after the European invasions.

The Sultanate of Delhi and the Mughal Empire were regarded as benevolent rulers by ancient historians. But when India was conquered by the British Empire, their Orientalist historians deliberately propagated the myth of supposedly “savage and rapacious” rule of Muslims in India in order to sow the seeds of dissension between Muslims and Hindus. In the nineteenth century, the newly established British education system in India deliberately portrayed Muslim rulers of India as marauders, rapists and looters in order to malign them. By contrast, the British rule in India was portrayed in a positive light: that the British Empire built roads and railways and established schools, colleges and hospitals in India.

If we were to compare the British and Muslim rules in India, the Muslim rulers at least resided in India and shared their wealth and fortune with their subjects. The British rule, on the other hand, was a foreign rule; the affairs of the state were run by viceroys and governors on the behalf of the monarchs of England who resided thousands of miles away in London. A small number of European colonizers in India treated their subjects as untouchables; they traded raw materials for pennies and sent finished goods back to the Indian market with huge profits, thus enriching themselves and the British Empire.

Up until 1857, the Hindus and Muslims of India were united enough to rise up in arms together against the British colonizers under the nominal command of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar. But after that, the British education system introduced by Lord Macaulay in India entrenched communal divisions and made it virtually impossible for Hindus and Muslims to understand each other, even though both religious communities were the victims of exploitation of foreign rule.

Regarding the notion peddled by the Orientalist historians that Muslims or Islam were somehow foreign to India, we need to settle on the definition of nativity first. If an Indian settles in the US, for instance, how would you define such a first generation immigrant? Since he was brought up in India and subsequently migrated to a Western country, therefore such a first generation Indian-American would have more in common with Indians than Americans, as such. But how would you identify the children of an immigrant who have been brought up and educated in the West? The second generation Indian-Americans, for all practical purposes, would be more American than Indian in their outlooks.

Similarly, although I concede that the invading armies of Muslim rulers from Central Asia, Afghanistan and Iran were foreign to India; but once they settled in India, made Delhi their seat of governance, intermarried and gave birth to Indian children, then how come the descendants of such benevolent rulers be labeled as foreign invaders? Excluding a few odd adventurers, like Mahmud of Ghazni, who had his seat of government in Afghanistan but plundered the wealth of India by conducting raids on Somnath, the Muslim rulers of India, particularly the Sultanate of Delhi and the Mughal Empire, were as much native to India as the Hindu and Sikh rajas and maharajas.

Notwithstanding, the only true sociological definition of nation is ethno-linguistic group. The concept of modern nation state, particularly in multiethnic federations like India and Pakistan, is an artificial construct which is predicated on nothing substantive but on myths, fables and symbols. Rather than monolithic communities, the Hindus and Muslims of India were more parochial and tribal in character.

The astute Orientalist historians of British India debunked the myth of six centuries’ old Muslim rule in India by calling them “marauders” and substituted it with the fables of the pre-Christ Maurya Empire in order to forge and reify Hindu identity against Muslims. The primary concern of impoverished Indian masses was to earn bread and butter for their families. The metanarratives of Hindu and Muslim nationalism were taught by the British rulers, Hindu elites and Muslim ashrafiya to their subjects in order to distract and exploit them.

Here, let me clarify that I am not giving a free pass to the Muslim rulers of India. Their rule must have been as tyrannical as any other undemocratic, elitist rule throughout the history has been. I am only contending that the Muslim rulers were deliberately singled out and vilified in order to sow the seeds of dissension between the two communities.

After all, if the British rulers who resided in England and ruled over India can be hailed as saviors who built roads and railways and established schools, colleges and hospitals, not by academics but by common Indian citizens, then why can’t the Sultanate of Delhi and the Mughal Empire that ensured peace and stability in India and built architectural wonders in Delhi, Lahore and Agra be granted a similar level of deference?

By the British divide-and-rule policy in the Indian context, it is generally assumed by Indian historians that the British rulers used the Muslim minority against the Hindu majority by giving the former preferential treatment, separate electorates etc. but the fact is often overlooked that the British imperialists in equal measure used the Hindus against the Muslims by vilifying the latter’s culture, rule and religion.

Moreover, the partition of Bengal on religious lines in 1905 was another classic instance of the British divide-and-rule policy through demographic change. In this case, the British imperialists cleverly partitioned the Hindu-majority Bengal province into the Muslim-majority East Bengal and the Hindu-majority West Bengal. As a consequence, the Hindus felt aggrieved and launched a mass movement against the partition; the Raj obliged the Hindus by accepting their demand of reunifying Bengal in 1911 which created a sense of alienation and deprivation among Muslims.

This time around, however, despite unifying the province along linguistic lines, at the same time the British rulers split up Bihar and Orissa province to the west and Assam province to the east; thus, reducing the initial Hindu majority (pre-1905) that included Bihar, Orissa and Assam, in favor of Muslim majority (post-1911) in the reunified Bengal. Additionally, the British rulers also devised separate electorates for Muslims in 1909; thus, pitting one community against the other which had lived peacefully for centuries before the arrival of British in India.

Finally, rather than cultivating inclusive Indian nationalism that would glorify Hindu, Muslim and Sikh identities and histories in equal measure, the British rulers maliciously nurtured exclusionary Hindu and Muslim nationalism in order to divide the communities and prolong the British rule. As several contemporary Indian historians have contended that Muslim nationalism in India was a reaction to exclusionary Hindu nationalism.

The political leadership of India was the product of British education system that forged artificial identities and entrenched communal divisions, therefore it was not possible for them to rise above their communal prejudices and work for the betterment of all Indians as a nation. This self-serving, divide-and-rule policy by the British rulers and their Hindu, Muslim and Sikh collaborators eventually led to a carnage and mass exodus of people on the eve of independence the likes of which history has seldom witnessed.

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RSS Agenda: India, Again, Threatens Surgical Strikes


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Image result for INDIA LEADER CARTOON

By Sajjad Shaukat

In the aftermath of the terror attack at a military base in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC)

with Pakistan, India has been deliberately increasing war hysteria against Pakistan in accordance with the agenda of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The situation developed after the Uri base assault has clearly proved that with the help of Indian

intelligence agencies, particularly RAW, India has itself arranged the attack not only to defame

Pakistan, but also to achieve a number of sinister aims.

After the Uri episode, without any investigation, India’s top civil and military officials, including

their media started propaganda against Pakistan by accusing that the militants who target the Uri base came from Pakistan’s side of Azad Kashmir and the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba controlled by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were involved in it. Under the mask of the Uri base

assault, India started mobilization of troops near the LoC to wage a limited war with Pakistan,

while considering surgical strikes on the Azad Kashmir.

New Delhi claimed on September 29, 2016 that it carried out surgical strikes on terrorist launch

pads across the LoC in Pakistani side of Kashmir.

On the other side, in a statement, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) rejected Indian

claims by saying, “There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated by India. Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC…the notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being

deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects…to create media hype by rebranding

cross border fire as surgical strike is a fabrication of truth.”

Meanwhile, the representatives of The Washington Post and The New York Times, who visited

the villages adjoining LoC in the disputed Kashmir region have reported that the people they met

there told them that there were no surgical strikes.

Reports suggest that myth of Indian surgical strikes was exposed. Hence differences existed

between the civil and military leadership—as to how cover the falsehood. In this regard, Indian

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and country’s former Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhaag had

decided to prepare a ‘fake video’ of surgical strikes so as to pacify the Indian public and media.

In this context, Indian Express wrote on October 5, 2016, “Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay

Nirupam on Wednesday attacked BJP even as he continued to face flak from several quarters for

suggesting army’s surgical strikes could be “fake” Unfazed by the heat, even from within his

party, Nirupam fired a fresh salvo accusing BJP of trying to extract political mileage out of the

national security issue with eyes set on ensuing elections in the state to be held next year.”

It is mentionable that since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader

Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in wake of

continued sieges and prolonged curfews, Indian forces have martyred more than 150 innocent

persons who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan Wani.

In wake of new phase of uprising in the Indian Held Kashmir, pressure on the BJP-led Indian

government of Modi has been mounting both domestically and internationally.

But, setting aside the internal and external pressure, days after being named the new Indian

Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat said on January 3, this year that so-called “surgical strikes”

against Pakistan were meant to deliver a message. While threatening Islamabad, Gen. Bipin

Rawat told NDTV in an exclusive interview that the possibility of similar action in the future

could not be ruled out by adding, “If there are terrorist bases across and if they continue to

disrupt the situation on our side of the Line of Control then we have a right to take action against

the terrorists.”

In response, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on January 5, 2016 rejected claims

by his Indian counterpart Gen. Bipin Rawat about “so-called surgical strikes” and their possible

recurrence.

According to ISPR, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa made it clear that “Pakistan Armed Forces

were fully geared to respond to any aggression by India.”

However, like the BJP-led Modi government, Indian new army chief is also following the RSS

agenda which is, the real controller of Indian internal and external policies, based upon anti-

Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach.

Taking cognizance of various developments such as unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism,

persecution of minorities, forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus, ban on

beef and cow slaughter, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum and creation of war-

like situation with Pakistan, analysts have still been opining that being the leader of the BJP,

Indian Prime Minister Modi is implementing the fundamentalist agenda of his party with the

support of other Hindu fanatic outfits. But, a Mumbai-based writer, author and lawyer, A. G.

Noorani in his article, “Modi’s loyalties,” published in a Pakistan’s leading daily, on October 10,

2015 proved with authentic events and arguments that Hindu fundamentalist party, RSS is the

real controller of India and BJP is only a show piece.

In the article, A. G. Noorani said, “It was an unprecedented journey; but caused little surprise.

On September 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Nagpur, the headquarters of the

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, to present himself before the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Almost his entire council of ministers and the BJP’s parliamentary board were there to

demonstrate their accountability to the RSS. On Oct 2, a dozen or so junior ministers of state got

into a huddle with senior RSS functionaries in New Delhi in what was described as a regular

review meeting. A press release issued thereafter revealed: The prime minister said he was proud to be a Swayamsevak and he had reached where he had because of the values he had imbibed as

a member of the RSS.”

A. G. Noorani elaborated, “Modi is a lifelong RSS activist (pracharak), having left his family to

dedicate himself to the organisation. It, in turn, ensured his rise to the post of the highest

executive of the country. The entire exercise was a flagrant violation of the fundamentals of the

parliamentary system.”

The writer pointed out, “The BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is an RSS man who was

seconded to the BJP along with many others—recently the RSS model is unique. It has a parivar

[family] of 40-plus organisations. The RSS is their ideological fountainhead. It is also the BJP’s

muscle; it provides the cadres and foot soldiers who are indispensable at election time. Bhagwat

disapproves of the personality cult which Modi and his men have built up ever since he became

prime minister.”

He wrote, “The stark reality is that the BJP can never be a right-wing party in the traditional

sense. Its ideology binds it to the RSS which also controls it organizationally.”

He explained, “The word ‘fascist’ was aptly chosen. As Donald E. Smith says in his classic India

as a Secular State—The leader principle, the stress on militarism, the doctrine of racial-cultural

superiority, ultra-nationalism infused religious idealism, the use of symbols of past greatness, the emphasis on national solidarity, the exclusion of the religious or ethnic minorities from the

nation-concept—all of these features of the RSS are highly reminiscent of fascist movements in

Europe. A responsible correspondent reported in August that the RSS membership is growing at

10,000 to 15,000 recruits every month and says it has reached every district except parts of

Kashmir and Assam. The RSS influence on governance was obvious when Atal Behari Vajpayee

was prime minister. It successfully vetoed Jaswant Singh’s appointment as finance minister. The

RSS shadow lurks ominously on issues dear to it. Ram Madhav specifically mentioned Kashmir

as one of them; which implies also relations with Pakistan.”

Nevertheless, these new revelations prove that all the extremist parties like VHP, Bajrang Dal,

Shiv Sena and other extremist outfits including his own ruling party are subsidiaries of the RSS,

while under the influence of RSS; Prime Minister Modi has been rapidly radicalizing India.

While, the constitution declares India to be a secular state, granting equal rights to the religious

minorities, but in practice, ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails. Hindu politics and culture dominated by the fundamentalist parties—under the control of RSS have been

propagating Hindutva. Provocative utterances of their extremist leaders have resulted into

unending violence against the Muslims and Christians including other minority groups.

In fact, Modi who was also a volunteer worker of the extremist Hindu terrorist outfit RSS since 8

years of age is a natural born Hindu extremist, while RSS involved in Muslim genocide, rape of

women, demolition of mosques and alive burnings of the innocent persons.

It is noteworthy that especially, on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans, BJP got a

land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014, and enabled BJP hardliner, Narendra Modi to

become Indian prime minister who was so far seemed to be implementing his party’s extremist

agenda by giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism—not only against other minorities, but also

against Pakistan, as under his direction, New Delhi has intensified unprovoked firing at the Line

of Control in Kashmir and Working Boundary across Pak-Indian border. Now, these latest

revelations clearly indicate that the Indian Prime Minister Modi follows the instructions of the

RSS which is the main decision-making party and real controller of India.

In this respect, some reliable online sources have disclosed that a secret meeting of RSS took

place under Mohan Bhagwat, Chief of RSS which was also attended by Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi,

serving 3 rd  term as General Secretary of RSS, Sureshi Sony (Secretary), Krishna Gopat, Majoj

Biyani and Dr Subhash Bhambre (Minister of State for Defence). Important details reported

about the meeting are—RSS wants BJP to be more aggressive towards Pakistan. Across Line of

Control/Working Boundaries/International Boarder operation has been planned against Pakistan in the near future, most likely before UP election to favorably impact the outcome of elections.

These reports also revealed that RSS wants BJP to build Ayodhya Temple after forming

government in UP. Prime Minister Modi has made important appointments recently including

COAS, RAW and IB Chiefs. BJP/RSS now have their “own men” to lead these organizations.

Modi with ambitious newly appointed Chief’s and DGMO may resort to some limited action

against Pakistan which can be used for political gains through inflated projection. Possibility of a

“False Flag” act of violence followed by a limited cross LOC/WB/IB action by Special Forces or

infantry will be high until the elections are over.

Indian new army chief has been portrayed as an expert of “Surgical Strikes” to domestic

audience, as Corps had conducted “cross border strikes” against Naga rebels in Myanmar.

Para-drop practices have been conducted recently in Kishtwar in Indian Occupied Kashmir

(IOK)—Samba, Jammu and Bhatinda. Practice of “Surgical Strikes” was conducted by D Force

RRF in Batote (IOK). Possible objective of these exercises could be—make videos/ photographs

which can be used to add credibility to a future fake activity.

New Delhi can use any pretext to obtain its sinister designs against Islamabad. In this

connection, Kashmiri freedom fighters attacked on General Res Engineers Force (GREF) Camp

in Batal (Akhnoor) on January 9, 2017. In this connection, Indian media reported that 3 x GREF

employees were killed in an attack by terrorists on January 9, 2017 at GREF camp, located 2 km

from LOC in Batal village. Indian media also stated that the attackers came from across the

LOC. The exact number of attackers is still not confirmed contrary to that, actual facts are GREF

is a subordinate organization of border Roads Organization (BRO).

The Indian authorities have been quick to link them to Pakistan. Indian media is not giving it due coverage, as has been done in previous incidents. Because, Indian Army might be making the groups for launching another surgical strikes—Indian designs to use such fake incidents to

malign Pakistan and to use them as a justification for any surgical strikes may be exposed.

Nonetheless, the Modi government and its new army chief who are acting upon RSS agenda by

considering surgical strikes in Azad Kashmir or limited war in Kashmir in wake of intermittent

firing across the LoC by targeting the villages of Azad Kashmir are badly mistaken, if they

overestimate India’s power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. Pakistan’s Armed Forces are

fully prepared to give a matching response to any such an attack by Indian forces. So, our forces

are ready to conduct a real strike on an opportune moment.

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India’s Man-Made Economic Calamity


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India’s Man-Made Economic Calamity: How Many Will Die from Starvation, Malnutrition and Disease as a Result of Modi’s Demonetization?

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At this point, every sane and responsible person in India should be asking:  How many tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of people in India are going to die from hunger, starvation, malnutrition and disease as a result of Modi’s demonetisation?

Reports from the rural and semi-rural areas of India, from towns and villages, already indicate that hunger is widespread because of the nonexistence of cash.[1][2]  This artificial crisis was created on November 8, 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arbitrarily declared 86% of the nation’s currency worthless as legal tender—a draconian diktat taken without any prior discussion with his cabinet, Parliament, or the people.

The so-called demonetisation policy has had devastating effects across all sectors of Indian society, crippling businesses and farmers, causing retail stores and vendors to shut down, increasing unemployment, and forcing ordinary people to lose billions of man-hours and woman-hours waiting in endless queues at banks to exchange unusable currency notes or to withdraw the meager cash allowed.

But the worst-hit are the poor, the day-laborers, and the rural and semi-rural working class who make up around two-thirds of India’s population—over 650 million people.  The majority of these people have no bank accounts or credit cards.  Nationwide, only 53% of Indians have bank accounts, and more than 300 million people have no government-approved ID which they needed to convert their hard-earned cash into approved denominations.[3]

Ironically, those worst-hit are the people who helped vote Modi into power, believing his populist rhetoric.  Now, while they and their families go hungry, they outwardly give lip-service approval to Modi’s dictatorial scheme, which was supposedly designed to root out “black money”, ie, money that the rich and well-off hide from the tax authorities.  But inwardly, they are seething with anger at what is being done to them.[4]

It is clear that India’s corporate-controlled mainstream media will continue to grossly underreport the havoc that Modi has wreaked upon the nation with his disastrous, ill-conceived experiment in social engineering.[5]  It is also clear that the opposition parties in India are weak, divided, corrupt, and unable to come together and put an end to this unfolding tragedy.

Massive relief efforts should be underway to help all those who face shortages of food, medicine, and cash.  Whether this means an immediate reversal of demonetization or interim measures, they should be carried out nationwide.  But this is not happening.  Instead, Modi arrogantly and defiantly defends his suicidal policy, while his party has launched a huge propaganda campaign extolling the benefits of India’s supposed transition to a digitalized cashless society.  This is insane, as over 95% of the country’s transactions are done in cash.

Many more months will elapse before the government prints up the replacement currency and before the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have been recalibrated with the necessary new hardware and software.  Right now, almost none of the ATMs work, despite the government/media lies and misinformation.  While the bureaucrats and banks dither, how many people will die from hunger, starvation, or preventable disease because they and their children couldn’t get food or medical treatment?[6]

Perhaps it is time for intervention on a global scale.  This issue should be brought before the attention of the United Nations.  If necessary, resolutions should be passed condemning India’s government for its monumental negligence, inhumanity, and murderous scheme which affects one-sixth of humanity.  Other groups that monitor human rights worldwide should be involved as well.

Notes

[1] Harsh Mander, “Crisis of cashlessness: Demonetisation is hurting rural India, drying up wages, household supplies and food”.  Indian Express, Dec. 24, 2016. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/demonetisation-crisis-of-cashlessness-4442343/

[2]   Right To Food Campaign, ” Demonetisation Undermines The Right To Food And The Right To Life”.  Countercurrents.org, Dec. 28, 2016.  http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/12/28/demonetisation-undermines-the-right-to-food-and-the-right-to-life/

[3] Amit Varma, “Narendra Modi takes a great leap backwards. Mao would approve”.  Times of India, Nov. 22, 2016.  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/all-that-matters/Narendra-Modi-takes-a-great-leap-backwards-Mao-would-approve/articleshow/55517238.cms

[4] Vanita Akhaury, “Demonetisation effect: Hungry stomachs are making poor seethe to the point of silent revolt.” Firstpost.com, Nov. 19, 2016.  http://www.firstpost.com/business/demonetisation-effect-hungry-stomachs-are-making-poor-seethe-to-the-point-of-silent-revolt-3114038.html

[5]    “Demonitization 2016: Arrogance, Audacious & Atrocious”.    Nov. 30, 2016. http://nharshakumar.blogspot.in/2016/11/demonitization-2016-arrogance-audacious.html

[6]   A petition calling for the reversal of demonetisation and for Prime Minister Modi to step down can be found at:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Prime_Minister_of_India_Say_Sorry_and_Resign/?cznTtlb

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Weekend Reader: Examining India’s Demonetization: Social Impact, US Backing and Global Implications


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India’s “War on Cash”: The Demonetization Blitzkrieg. The “Ice Nine” Solution

By Sridhar Chakravarthi Raman

The demonetization blitzkrieg of the NDA government was served to the unsuspecting Indian public as a moral crusade to destroy the twin evils of black money and counterfeit notes. But as the days went by the stated objects of the demonetization fell apart and the government did a series of embarrassing flip flops to put forth the view that the object was to usher in a cashless society where the digitally baptized citizens would swipe their plastic cards and waft to and fro in digital wallets with consummate ease.If the overt objectives of the demonetization, i.e eradication of black money and counterfeit notes were indeed laughable, then other concerns about its covert objectives gave rise to legitimate concerns. What then is the hidden agenda of the demonetization exercise?

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The Social Impacts of India’s Demonetization: Banks Threaten Impoverished Farmers…

By P. Sainath

The bank has “decided to use Gandhigiri to try and recover the loans [from you].  For this the bank has decided to do one of the following: 1) Put up a tent opposite your house to protest, 2) Make use of a band, 3) ring bells. “Due to these actions, your standing and image in society are likely to be in danger.” That is the Osmanabad District Central Cooperative Bank (ODCC) promising 20,000 of its clients public humiliation and ridicule.

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Cash Is No Longer King: Currency Wars, The Phasing Out of Physical Money Has Begun

By Shaun Bradley

As physical currency around the world is increasingly phased out, the era where “cash is king” seems to be coming to an end. Countries like India and South Korea have chosen to limit access to physical money by law, and others are beginning to test digital blockchains for their central banks.

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Video: #Humans Of Demonetized India: Why We Poor Have To Suffer?

By Akhil K Prabhakar and Chidhambaram

The victims of Prime Minister Modi’s Demonetization Program, tell their story. Their lives are destroyed.  What was the purpose of this devastating process ordered by the Indian government. Was it a policy blunder or a deliberate intent to undermine and destroy small scale retailers and producers across the land.

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India’s Demonetization Policy Triggers Famine In Rural Areas

By Rahul M

“We can eat only if we work every day,” D. Narayanappa said after returning to Bucharla from Bengaluru on November 4. Like many other Dalits in this village, he migrates to the city to work on construction sites for most of the year, coming home every now and then for a few days.

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India’s Demonetization Undermines the Right to Food and the Right to Life

By Right To Food Campaign

The right to food campaign is dismayed by the Indian government’s reckless attempt to renew currency notes, known as “demonetization”, without any serious attention to the consequences it may have for poor people. This move serves no clear purpose and is a major attack on the right to food and the right to life.

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A Well-Kept Open Secret: Washington Is Behind India’s Brutal Demonetization Project

By Norbert Haering

Who are the institutions behind this decisive attack on cash? According to USAID: “Over 35 key Indian, American and international organizations have partnered with the Ministry of Finance and USAID on this initiative.”

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“Demonetization”: Beware of the Digital Money Dictatorship

By Dr. Vandana Shiva

As 2017 begins and we flounder in our mad rush to force all of India into a digital economy overnight, it is worth pausing and reflecting on what the digital economy is, who controls the platforms and lines as well as some basic concepts about money and technology which have moulded our lives and freedoms, based on patented systems that are failing the people of “West”. Obsolete systems are moulding our patterns of work and our wellbeing — as a very large country, and as an ancient civilisation — into a cast that is observably too small.

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India, From the Destabilization of Agriculture to Demonetization, “Made in America”

By Colin Todhunter

Emerging evidence indicates that demonetisation was not done to curb corruption, ‘black money’ or terrorism, the reasons originally given. That was a smokescreen. Modi was acting on behalf of powerful Wall Street financial interests. Demonetisation has caused massive hardship, inconvenience and chaos. It has affected everyone and has impacted the poor and those who reside in rural areas (i.e. most of the population) significantly. Who does Modi (along with other strategically placed figures) serve primarily: ordinary people and the ‘national interest’ or the interests of the US?

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A Well-Kept Open Secret: Washington Is Behind India’s Brutal Demonetization Project


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In early November, without warning, the Indian government declared the two largest denomination bills invalid, abolishing over 80 percent of circulating cash by value. Amidst all the commotion and outrage this caused, nobody seems to have taken note of the decisive role that Washington played in this. That is surprising, as Washington’s role has been disguised only very superficially.

US-President Barack Obama has declared the strategic partnership with India a priority of his foreign policy. China needs to be reined in. In the context of this partnership, the US government’s development agency USAID has negotiated cooperation agreements with the Indian ministry of finance. One of these has the declared goal to push back the use of cash in favor of digital payments in India and globally.

On November 8, Indian prime minster Narendra Modi announced that the two largest denominations of banknotes could not be used for payments any more with almost immediate effect. Owners could only recoup their value by putting them into a bank account before the short grace period expired. The amount of cash that banks were allowed to pay out to individual customers was severely restricted. Almost half of Indians have no bank account and many do not even have a bank nearby. The economy is largely cash based. Thus, a severe shortage of cash ensued. Those who suffered the most were the poorest and most vulnerable. They had additional difficulty earning their meager living in the informal sector or paying for essential goods and services like food, medicine or hospitals. Chaos and fraud reigned well into December.

Four weeks earlier

Not even four weeks before this assault on Indians, USAID had announced the establishment of „Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership“, with the goal of effecting a quantum leap in cashless payment in India. The press statement of October 14 says that Catalyst “marks the next phase of partnership between USAID and Ministry of Finance to facilitate universal financial inclusion”. The statement does not show up in the list of press statements on the website of USAID (anymore?). Not even filtering statements with the word “India” would bring it up. To find it, you seem to have to know it exists, or stumble upon it in a web search. Indeed, this and other statements, which seemed rather boring before, have become a lot more interesting and revealing after November 8.

Reading the statements with hindsight it becomes obvious, that Catalyst and the partnership of USAID and the Indian Ministry of Finance, from which Catalyst originated, are little more than fronts which were used to be able to prepare the assault on all Indians using cash without arousing undue suspicion. Even the name Catalyst sounds a lot more ominous, once you know what happened on November 9.

Catalyst’s Director of Project Incubation is Alok Gupta, who used to be Chief Operating Officer of the World Resources Institute in Washington, which has USAID as one of its main sponsors. He was also an original member of the team that developed Aadhaar, the Big-Brother-like biometric identification system.

According to a report of the Indian Economic Times, USAID has committed to finance Catalyst for three years. Amounts are kept secret.

Badal Malick was Vice President of India’s most important online marketplace Snapdeal, before he was appointed as CEO of Catalyst. He commented:

 Catalyst’s mission is to solve multiple coordination problems that have blocked the penetration of digital payments among merchants and low-income consumers. We look forward to creating a sustainable and replicable model. (…) While there has been (…) a concerted push for digital payments by the government, there is still a last mile gap when it comes to merchant acceptance and coordination issues. We want to bring a holistic ecosystem approach to these problems.

Ten months earlier

The multiple coordination problem and the cash-ecosystem-issue that Malick mentions had been analysed in a report that USAID commissioned in 2015 and presented in January 2016, in the context of the anti-cash partnership with the Indian Ministry of Finance. The press release on this presentation is also not in USAID’s list of press statements (anymore?). The title of the study was “Beyond Cash”.

“Merchants, like consumers, are trapped in cash ecosystems, which inhibits their interest” in digital payment it said in the report. Since few traders accept digital payments, few consumers have an interest in it, and since few consumers use digital payments, few traders have an interest in it. Given that banks and payment providers charge fees for equipment to use or even just try out digital payment, a strong external impulse is needed to achieve a level of card penetration that would create mutual interest of both sides in digital payment options.

It turned out in November that the declared “holistic ecosystem approach” to create this impulse consisted in destroying the cash-ecosystem for a limited time and to slowly dry it up later, by limiting the availability of cash from banks for individual customers. Since the assault had to be a surprise to achieve its full catalyst-results, the published Beyond-Cash-Study and the protagonists of Catalyst could not openly describe their plans. They used a clever trick to disguise them and still be able to openly do the necessary preparations, even including expert hearings. They consistently talked of a regional field experiment that they were ostensibly planning.

“The goal is to take one city and increase the digital payments 10x in six to 12 months,” said Malick less than four weeks before most cash was abolished in the whole of India. To not be limited in their preparation on one city alone, the Beyond-Cash-report and Catalyst kept talking about a range of regions they were examining, ostensibly in order to later decide which was the best city or region for the field experiment. Only in November did it became clear that the whole of India should be the guinea-pig-region for a global drive to end the reliance on cash. Reading a statement of Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, USAID Mission Director to India, with hindsight, it becomes clear that he stealthily announced that, when he said four weeks earlier:

India is at the forefront of global efforts to digitize economies and create new economic opportunities that extend to hard-to-reach populations. Catalyst will support these efforts by focusing on the challenge of making everyday purchases cashless.

Veterans of the war on cash in action

Who are the institutions behind this decisive attack on cash? Upon the presentation of the Beyond-Cash-report, USAID declared: “Over 35 key Indian, American and international organizations have partnered with the Ministry of Finance and USAID on this initiative.” On the website catalyst.org one can see that they are mostly IT- and payment service providers who want to make money from digital payments or from the associated data generation on users. Many are veterans of,what a high-ranking official of Deutsche Bundesbank called the “war of interested financial institutions on cash” (in German). They include the Better Than Cash Alliance, the Gates Foundation (Microsoft), Omidyar Network (eBay), the Dell Foundation Mastercard, Visa, Metlife Foundation.

The Better Than Cash Alliance

The Better Than Cash Alliance, which includes USAID as a member, is mentioned first for a reason. It was founded in 2012 to push back cash on a global scale. The secretariat is housed at the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDP) in New York, which might have its reason in the fact that this rather poor small UN-organization was glad to have the Gates-Foundation in one of the two preceding years and the Master-Card-Foundation in the other as its most generous donors.

The members of the Alliance are large US-Institutions which would benefit most from pushing back cash, i.e. credit card companies Mastercard and Visa, and also some US-institutions whose names come up a lot in books on the history of the United States intelligence services, namely Ford Foundation and USAID. A prominent member is also the Gates-Foundation. Omidyar Network of eBay-founder Pierre Omidyar and Citi are important contributors. Almost all of these are individually also partners in the current USAID-India-Initiative to end the reliance on cash in India and beyond. The initiative and the Catalyst-program seem little more than an extended Better Than Cash Alliance, augmented by Indian and Asian organizations with a strong business interest in a much decreased use of cash.

Reserve Bank of India’s IMF-Chicago Boy

The partnership to prepare the temporary banning of most cash in India coincides roughly with the tenure of Raghuram Rajan at the helm of Reserve Bank of India from September 2013 to September 2016. Rajan (53) had been, and is now again, economics professor at the University of Chicago. From 2003 to 2006 he had been Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. (This is a cv-item he shares with another important warrior against cash, Ken Rogoff.) He is a member of the Group of Thirty, a rather shady organization, where high ranking representatives of the world major commercial financial institutions share their thoughts and plans with the presidents of the most important central banks, behind closed doors and with no minutes taken. It becomes increasingly clear that the Group of Thirty is one of the major coordination centers of the worldwide war on cash. Its membership includes other key warriers like Rogoff, Larry Summers and others.

Raghuram Rajan has ample reason to expect to climb further to the highest rungs in international finance and thus had good reason to play Washington’s game well. He already was a President of the American Finance Association and inaugural recipient of its Fisher-Black-Prize in financial research. He won the handsomely endowed prizes of Infosys for economic research and of Deutsche Bank for financial economics as well as the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Prize for best economics book. He was declared Indian of the year by NASSCOM and Central Banker of the year by Euromoney and by The Banker. He is considered a possible successor of Christine Lagard at the helm of the IMF, but can certainly also expect to be considered for other top jobs in international finance.

As a Central Bank Governor, Rajan was liked and well respected by the financial sector, but very much disliked by company people from the real (producing) sector, despite his penchant for deregulation and economic reform. The main reason was the restrictive monetary policy he introduced and staunchly defended. After he was viciously criticized from the ranks of the governing party, he declared in June that he would not seek a second term in September. Later he told the New York Times that he had wanted to stay on, but not for a whole term, and that premier Modi would not have that. A former commerce and law Minister, Mr. Swamy, said on the occasion of Rajan’s  departure that it would make Indian industrialists happy:

I certainly wanted him out, and I made it clear to the prime minister, as clear as possible. (…) His audience was essentially Western, and his audience in India was transplanted westernized society. People used to come in delegations to my house to urge me to do something about it.

A disaster that had to happen

If Rajan was involved in the preparation of this assault to declare most of Indians’ banknotes illegal – and there should be little doubt about that, given his personal and institutional links and the importance of Reserve Bank of India in the provision of cash – he had ample reason to stay in the background. After all, it cannot have surprised anyone closely involved in the matter, that this would result in chaos and extreme hardship, especially for the majority of poor and rural Indians, who were flagged as the supposed beneficiaries of the badly misnamed “financial-inclusion”-drive. USAID and partners had analysed the situation extensively and found in the Beyond-Cash-report that 97% of transactions were done in cash and that only 55% of Indians had a bank account. They also found that even of these bank accounts, “only 29% have been used in the last three months“.

All this was well known and made it a certainty that suddenly abolishing most cash would cause severe and even existential problems to many small traders and producers and to many people in remote regions without banks. When it did, it became obvious, how false the promise of financial inclusion by digitalization of payments and pushing back cash has always been. There simply is no other means of payment that can compete with cash in allowing everybody with such low hurdles to participate in the market economy.

However, for Visa, Mastercard and the other payment service providers, who were not affected by these existential problems of the huddled masses, the assault on cash will most likely turn out a big success, “scaling up” digital payments in the “trial region”. After this chaos and with all the losses that they had to suffer, all business people who can afford it, are likely to make sure they can accept digital payments in the future. And consumers, who are restricted in the amount of cash they can get from banks now, will use opportunities to pay with cards, much to the benefit of Visa, Mastercard and the other members of the extended Better Than Cash Alliance.

Why Washington is waging a global war on cash

The business interests of the US-companies that dominate the gobal IT business and payment systems are an important reason for the zeal of the US-government in its push to reduce cash use worldwide, but it is not the only one and might not be the most important one. Another motive is surveillance power that goes with increased use of digital payment. US-intelligence organizations and IT-companies together can survey all international payments done through banks and can monitor most of the general stream of digital data. Financial data tends to be the most important and valuable.

Even more importantly, the status of the dollar as the worlds currency of reference and the dominance of US companies in international finance provide the US government with tremendous power over all participants in the formal non-cash financial system. It can make everybody conform to American law rather than to their local or international rules. German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has recently run a chilling story describing how that works (German). Employees of a Geran factoring firm doing completely legal business with Iran were put on a US terror list, which meant that they were shut off most of the financial system and even some logistics companies would not transport their furniture any more. A major German bank was forced to fire several employees upon US request, who had not done anything improper or unlawful.

There are many more such examples. Every internationally active bank can be blackmailed by the US government into following their orders, since revoking their license to do business in the US or in dollars basically amounts to shutting them down. Just think about Deutsche Bank, which had to negotiate with the US treasury for months whether they would have to pay a fne of 14 billion dollars and most likely go broke, or get away with seven billion and survive. If you have the power to bankrupt the largest banks even of large countries, you have power over their governments, too. This power through dominance over the financial system and the associated data is already there. The less cash there is in use, the more extensive and secure it is, as the use of cash is a major avenue for evading this power.

Posted in USA, IndiaComments Off on A Well-Kept Open Secret: Washington Is Behind India’s Brutal Demonetization Project

India Activates Dangerous Arms Race in South Asia


NOVANEWS

Image result for INDIAN LEADER CARTOON

By Sajjad Shaukat

It is most regrettable that by ignoring the modern global trends like renunciation of war, peaceful

settlement of disputes and economic development, India has activated dangerous arms race in

South Asia.

In this respect, India test-fired its longest range surface-to-surface nuclear ballistic missile Agni-

5 from the Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha on December 26, this year.

Agni-5 is capable of striking a target of more than 5,000 km away. The missile can carry a

nuclear warhead of more than one tone. It can target almost all of Asia including Pakistan and

China and Europe.

While, the Agni-6 is reported to be in early stages of development and the most advanced

version, with a strike-range of 8,000-10,000 km.

New Delhi already has in its arsenal—the Agni 1, 2, 3 and 4 missile systems and supersonic

cruise missiles like Brahmos.

According to Times of India, “Once the Agni-V is inducted, India will join the super exclusive

club of countries with ICBMs (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500km) alongside the US,

Russia, China, France and the UK.”

It is notable that in its report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) had

disclosed on February 22, 2015 that India is the world’s largest recipient of arms—“India (14

percent of global arms imports), China (4.7 per cent), Australia (3.6 per cent) and Pakistan (3.3

per cent).” In its report of 2016 also SIPRI pointed out India’s arms-import.

New Delhi’s military is acquiring a slew of new equipments from combat aircraft to submarines

and artillery. It is currently finalising a deal with France’s Dassault Aviation to buy 126 Rafale

fighter jets in a contract worth an estimated $12 billion.

Although peace and brinksmanship cannot co-exist in the modern era, yet India seeks to

destabilize Asia through its aggressive designs, activated with new arms race.

And as part of the double standard, America brushed aside the Indian poor record regarding the

safety of nuclear weapons and materials. And despite, Indian violations of various international

agreements and its refusal to sign Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban

Treaty (CTBT) and Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),

Washington signed a pact of nuclear civil technology with New Delhi in 2008. During American

President Barack Obama’s visit to India, on January 25, 2016, the US and India announced a

breakthrough on the pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with

civilian nuclear technology.

On November 2, 2010, US agreed to sell India the most expensive—the new F-35 fighter jets

including US F-16 and F-18 fighters, C-17 and C-130 aircraft, radar systems, Harpoon weapons

etc. Besides acquisition of arms and weapons from other western countries—especially Israel,

America is a potential military supplier to India. US also pressurized IAEA and the Nuclear

Suppliers Group to grant a waiver to New Delhi for obtaining civil nuclear trade on larger scale.

In fact, US wants New Delhi to continue anti-China and anti-Pakistan role. Beijing is

apprehensive about the emerging threat, as during the last visit of Obama to New Delhi, the

intent of President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quite clear, while

mentioning about free sea lanes and air passages in the South China Sea.

In this connection, tension arose between India and China in the recent past, when Indian army

erected a military camp in Chumar Sector of Ladakh at the Line of Actual Control (LAC)-

disputed border, situated between the two countries. Similarly, tension remains over the Line of

Control (LoC) in Kashmir, as India keeps on violating the ceasefire-agreement in wake of the

unresolved issue of Kashmir.

It is mentionable that under the Pak-China pretext, Indian ex-Army Chief, General Deepak

Kapoor disclosed on December 29, 2010 that the Indian army “is now revising its five-year old

doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.”

It is noteworthy that after 9/11, both India and Israel which had openly jumped on Bush’s anti-

terrorism enterprise are acting upon a secret diplomacy, targeting Pakistan and China. It could be

assessed from the interview of Israel’s ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, published in the Indian

weekly Outlook on February 18, 2008. Regarding India’s defense arrangements with Tel Aviv,

Sofer had surprisingly revealed, “We do have a defense relationship with India, and “with all due

respect, the secret part will remain a secret.” In fact, with the support of Israel, New Delhi has

been acquiring an element of strategic depth by setting up logistical bases in the Indian Ocean for

its navy.

Particularly, fast growing economic power of China coupled with her rising strategic relationship

with the Third World, and especially Pakistan—after signing of agreement, “China-Pakistan

Economic Corridor” which is, though for the benefit of South Asia, but, has irked the eyes of

Americans, Indians and Israelis. Owing to jealousy, America desires to make India a major

power to counterbalance China in Asia.

Notably, on July 20, 2011, while hinting towards Pak-China ties, the then US Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton urged India to be more assertive in Asia, saying that as American ally, the

country should play more of a leadership role. She explained, “India has the potential to

positively shape the future of the Asia-Pacific.”

It is owing to the US dual policy that New Delhi openly follows threatening diplomacy in South

Asia. In this context, in May 1998 when India detonated five nuclear tests, it also compelled

Pakistan to follow the suit. The then Defense Minister George Fernandes had also declared

publicly that “China is India’s potential threat No. 1.” Now, by setting aside peace-offers of

Beijing and Islamabad, New Delhi has entangled the latter in a deadly arms race.

While, international community has been making strenuous efforts for world peace in wake of

global financial crisis and war against terrorism, but India has particularly initiated deadly

nuclear arms race in South Asia where people are already facing multiple problems of grave

nature. Majority of South Asian people are living below the poverty level, lacking basic facilities

like fresh food and clean water. Yielding to acute poverty, every day, some persons commit

suicide.

Even, Indian civil society organizations, while complaining of excessive defense spending,

recently, pointed out that the government spends very little amount for the betterment of people.

Indian defense analyst Ravinder Pal Singh, while indicating New Delhi’s unending defense

expenditures at the cost of poverty-alleviation, calls it guns-versus- butter question.

Nevertheless, by ignoring regional problems and especially resolution of Indo-Pak issues,

particularly the Kashmir dispute which remains a nuclear flashpoint, Indian rulers state that they

do not have any belligerent policy. But, it becomes a big joke of the 21st century, reminding a

maxim, “armed to the teeth, but no enemy”, if we take cognizance of India’s increasing defense

purchases and her aggressive designs. Nonetheless, if India continues activating dangerous arms

race in South Asia, it can occlude in a nuclear war.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in IndiaComments Off on India Activates Dangerous Arms Race in South Asia

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