Monday, May 27, 2013

Village



Arikuzha is a relatively small village in Kerala.  It is the village in which I was born and brought up.  The lush green that undulates in the rolling landscape is not unique to this village.  Kerala is blessed with the bounty of nature in many ways.  Hills and valleys, rivers and backwaters, and the whole coastal area on the west make the state a palette of variegated offering.

Here are a few pictures from Arikuzha. 

Road through the village


River through the village


Temple on the river bank

Yesterday while I was walking along the village road I met an elderly person (74 years) who asked me whether I had any problem in my leg.  I was limping slightly due to the fracture I had suffered in my foot three months back.  I explained the matter to him.  In the afternoon he came to my home with a herbal medicine he prepared himself.  He advised me how to apply it on the foot and assured me that in 5 days time or even before that my limping would vanish.  He wouldn’t accept any payment for the medicine.  He told me that he gave medicines only to his friends and it was not a business for him.  It was an act of love, of friendship.  Such attitudes themselves can be very healing.  And such attitudes have not vanished from many villages of Kerala yet. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Organic Food

I'm continuing with more pictures from my home where much of the food is prepared in the backyard plots. It's all organic food; no artificial fertilisers or insecticides used.


Yam

Tapioca
Tapioca was the staple food of Keralites in the bygone days, the era before McDonald, KFC, etc.

Cattle feed

Rain
Kerala depends much on the monsoon for its water supply and even electricity supply.  The monsoon seems to have marked its beginning this year.

May the showers bring a lot of blessings to the plants, animals, people... Let there be joy all around.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Holiday

Some pictures from my home in Kerala where I'm on a month-long vacation...

My Home

Some innocent friends

More friends

So many more...


More pictures and friends to follow...



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kingdom of Evil



Sreesanth has a lot of fans in his home state of Kerala.  Some of his fans took out a procession to show their support as well as to solicit others’ sympathy.  A few of them seem to think that the cricketer is innocent.  The thinking of quite many of them,however, may deserve a serious scrutiny.

That thinking was reflected in a TV programme presented by the Malayalam channel, Asianet, yesterday.  The crux of the programme’s argument is: There is rampant corruption in India.  There are politicians as well as others who make crores of rupees through fraudulent means.  Why single out Sreesanth? 

There’s a similar issue being discussed in Kerala these days.  A Malayalam actor, Kalabhavan Mani, was involved in a drunken brawl with some forest guards.  Mani beat up some of the guards and is now absconding.  Yesterday the ADGP of Kerala’s Intelligence Bureau, T P Senkumar, came out with an interesting argument.  He asked whether the police would have dealt in the same way with actors like Mammootty or Mohan Lal.  What he implied was that the police chose to be stern with Mani because the latter belonged to a low caste and hailed from an economically poor background.  Senkumar said that the Kerala police was following the colonial habit of seeing dark skinned people as inferior!  [Fair & Lovely and Fair & Handsome can hope to sell more in the state and save people from discrimination.]

Both the instances reveal a highly flowed thinking.  The thinking implies that we can mitigate one evil by comparing it with another bigger evil. 

This is lethal thinking.  Because such thinking eventually can justify any evil.  You trivialise one evil by comparing it with a bigger one which in turn can be trivialised by further comparison, and it can go on ad infinitum.  No evil is serious enough.  Even Hitler can be exonerated.  You only need to find the right comparison, the right arguments.

If there is much corruption in India, that corruption also has to be dealt with in the right way instead of using that for mitigating apparently lesser evils.  If there is discrimination in the name of caste or class, that evil has to be dealt with instead of using it for justifying other evils. The moment we start this sort of justification of evils by comparing their degrees, we are perpetuating a system of evils.  Perhaps we have already done that: perpetuated a system of evils.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Good Life



I introduced A C Grayling’s book, The God Argument, in two earlier posts.  This post presents the professor’s views on good life. 

Grayling posits seven characteristics of a good life. 

The first characteristic is that a good life is a meaningful one.  Meaning is “a set of values and their associated goals that give a life its shape and direction.”  Having children to look after or achieving success in one’s profession or any other very ordinary goal can make life meaningful.  But Grayling says quoting Oscar Wilde that everyone’s map of the world should have a Utopia on it.  That is, everyone should dream of a better world and strive to materialise that dream, if life is to be truly meaningful. 

Ability to form relationships with other people is the second characteristic.  Intimacy with at least one other person is an important feature of a meaningful life.  “Good relationships make better people,” says Grayling.  Broken relationships are one’s own making, though others might have contributed to the failure.

Activity is the third characteristic.  It is about doing, making or learning something.  Life would be a big bore without its inevitable demands and obligations.  Activity is about meeting those demands and obligations.  “We are animals who thrive when engaged, and suffer from idleness,” says Grayling.  The normal human occupations can take the place of activity.  But Grayling recommends another important occupation: express one’s ideas and invite others to test them and criticise them.  This is similar to what science does.  Science invites others to test and challenge its inventions and discoveries.  Our ideas mature when we do this.  We become fuller human beings in the process.

A good life is consistently marked by honesty or authenticity.  This is the fourth characteristic.  This is about a “directness, emotional honesty, a refusal to escape into pieties, nonsense or comforting illusions, but above all an ability to ‘see things steadily and see them whole’...”  We live in a world of compromises and pretences and bald untruths which enslave us.  Authenticity gives us freedom.  Autonomy is a better word.  Autonomy means “being one’s own lawmaker at the core of one’s moral being.”  It is the inner freedom one achieves in spite of the constraints imposed on one by one’s upbringing, society, and other external factors or forces. 

The last three characteristics are highly inter-related and Grayling discusses them together.  They are:
Fifth: Manifestation of one’s autonomy: This means that the individual accepts responsibility for the choices that shape the course of his/her life.  Contrast this with what the fundamentalist does.  The fundamentalist puts the blame for all evils on others and goes on to impose his narrow truths on others.  The fundamentalist is one of the least autonomous individuals.

Sixth: A felt quality of life: A person who lives a good life (in Grayling’s sense) feels the richness of his/her life.  Obviously this richness is absolutely different from the riches that most people run after.

Seventh: Integrity:  This is a feeling of inner wholeness or completeness.  The individual good consists in harmony between the different elements of the soul, said Plato.  That harmony is what is meant by integrity. 

Grayling presents this system in the beginning of the second part of his book.  The first part is a criticism of religion and theism.  The second part proposes humanism as a viable alternative to religion.  Humanism is based on the simple assertion that human beings are rational enough to understand themselves and their positions in the world and hence make responsible and meaningful choices which in turn will make life much more beautiful and meaningful than any religion or belief in god(s) can. 

When religions have done so much harm in the world, it is a good idea to think of an alternative.



The two earlier posts inspired by Grayling:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Uncomfortable People




It’s when I went to buy some dress for the month-long holiday I’m planning that I realised the stupidity of what’s called fashion.  I couldn’t get a single readymade pair of trousers which made me feel comfortable.  Fashion has got rid of pleats from trousers altogether.  Get into the showrooms of Pantaloons or Raymond or even my usual, humble Big Bazaar and you will realise how uncomfortable they want us to feel in the trousers they are offering. 

I asked the Pantaloons boy whether they had any pair of trousers with pleats.  And which were fairly loose.  He looked at me as if I was some creature descended from another planet.  I explained to him that pleats were invented in order to make the wearer feel comfortable around the loins with a lot of air circulation.  Thank my stars, he didn’t ask me what my profession was.  Instead he asked me whether I had heard of anything called Payback cards.  He said he could offer me one which would entitle me to some reward points for shopping with them.  When I tried to fish out my Payback card from among my other similar cards including the driving license, he understood that I was a damn fool who didn’t deserve more attention from a dealer in wares. 

I ventured to tell him, however, what a psychiatrist told us, teachers of a public school, in a workshop.  “I asked my teenage daughter who was wearing a tight T-shirt and even tighter Jeans whether she was feeling comfortable in that dress.  She said, ‘What’s comfort got to do with it?  It’s the dress code for today, decided by friends.’”  I told the Pantaloons boy that I had passed the age for dress codes and peer pressure and wanted to feel comfortable wearing whatever dress I wore.  And I love loose clothes for summer.  Any season, for that matter.

“What’s comfort beyond the fashion of the time?” he asked me.  Not in the same words, of course. 

I couldn’t get a single pair of trousers of my choice from any of the stylish, fashionable, branded outlets.  So I got them stitched. 

There are a few old-fashioned businessmen still selling readymade shirts which are comfortable to wear.  Most sell shirts which look like straitjackets.  And most youngsters wear them.  Any wonder why we find around us so many people who are uncomfortable with themselves?






Friday, May 17, 2013

The Banality of Sreesanth



The Hindu editorial [May 17, 2013] invokes Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase, ‘the banality of evil,’ in order to underscore the corruption that has infiltrated Indian cricket, particularly the IPL. 

In simple words what Arendt meant by the phrase was that monstrous evils are not usually perpetrated by fanatics or psychopaths but by ordinary people who fail to think deeply or seriously enough.

Failure to think seriously enough is a very common trait of our contemporary civilisation.  Ours is a civilisation which has nearly killed philosophy and serious literature.  It is a civilisation built up on the single premise of materialism and propagated assiduously by the United States of America using institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.  It is a civilisation which encourages consumerism and superficial pleasures of life.  It is a civilisation whose singular password is commerce.

Trade greases the wheels of our civilisation.  And everything is a commodity which can be bought or sold.  Everything has a price.  Sreesanth’s price was Rs 4 million this time.  With that money Sreesanth was making himself more empowered in the world of purchases.

The more things you can buy and the more things you show off, the greater your worth in the society.  If there is nothing more to be bought because you have more than what you need of everything, then you can think of changing the colours of your hair or laptop or your car every day.  You can think of even changing your bed mate every day. 

You are encouraged to be a butterfly going from flower to flower savouring different flavours of honey.  Nothing matters other than the savours and their enjoyment. 

Even people become mere objects of sensual enjoyment. Sensualism has become the new religion. Its heights and depths have no bounds.  Even the father-daughter relationship is transubstantiated on the altar of the consumerist temple.  

Sreesanth is one such butterfly savouring the honey in ways which were taboo in earlier civilisations, but not in the contemporary one.  Wealth creation is a professed objective of the honey-sucking civilisation.  The only objective, in fact. How you create it is not the question, but how much you create is the only thing that matters.  And there are too many role model butterflies, the variegated sheen of whose wings is a mere veneer that conceals much filth.

That variegated sheen is the real banality of evil.  It is that sheen which lured Sreesanth too.  Of course, the cricketer’s evil remains unmitigated the social reality that engendered it notwithstanding. 



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Origins of Religion

Shades of gods


Every normal human being desires to understand and have a control over his environment or surroundings.  Science and technology are the tools that help us achieve that understanding and control.  Religion was the earliest science and ritual was its technology.

I’m continuing with my reading and interpretation of Grayling’s book introduced in my last post.  Grayling argues that the earliest science and technology were “stories, myths and supernaturalistic beliefs.” The stories, myths and beliefs gave purpose and meaning to life’s experiences.  For example, the Ramayana gave us the meaning and purpose behind the battle between good and evil.  Krishna of the Gita taught us to kill irrespective of our personal relationships so long as our duty mandates the killing.  Let’s forget for now that the same religion which evolved out of these scriptures later taught us the superiority of vegetarianism over killings of human beings.

We are discussing the origins of religion.  Grayling argues that understanding the reality around us, explaining it to others and controlling it are the original purposes of religion.  We would call such things science and technology today.  Science is about understanding the phenomena around us.  Technology is about controlling the phenomena.  What religion did was just that in the early days of mankind.  It tried to make sense of the phenomena around.

And it used technologies such as prayers, rituals and taboos.

But people’s understanding improves with greater knowledge about their environment and the phenomena in it.  Then the gods receded from friendly neighbourhoods to hostile distances like Mont Olympus or the Himalayas.  The water nymphs, wind gods and fertility goddesses receded from the Vedas to the more abstract gods of the Upanishads in India.  Similar distances were adopted by gods in other civilisations too. 

Who created such distances, however?  Gods themselves could not have done it since they were only products of human imagination or desires.  The ordinary people wouldn’t have created that distance since they would have been happy to have familiar gods at ever-ready service. 

The priests wanted the distancing between gods and the people.  Religion became a powerful tool for social control, in other words.  Priests became the rulers of people. 

Isn’t religion a powerful instrument of social control even today?  Maybe, the priests have put on new garbs.  Of politicians, for example?  Or even businessmen?  Is the politician wearing the garb of the priest and the businessman that of the politician and ...?

I’m still learning about that from Grayling.  More will follow.


[I have taken much liberty in interpreting what Grayling has written in his book, The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism, while writing this blog post.  This is not a review.  These are my reflections as I go ahead reading the book.]



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Religion: Do we need it?



Just moved from one to the other

Religion has never ceased to fascinate me.  Probably because I have often been a victim of religion and the attitudes it breeds among people with whom I have been condemned to live.

It’s no wonder then that I placed a pre-publication order for A C Grayling’s latest book, The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism. The book was delivered promptly yesterday.  I have just started reading it.  And here are some of the thoughts that the book provoked in me.

“Religion is a pervasive fact of history, and has to be addressed as such,” says the author right on the first page. I loved that.  We can’t ignore religion, whether we are religious, agnostic or atheistic.  By the way, Grayling is a professor of philosophy at the New College of the Humanities, London, and author of many books.

In the introduction to his latest book Grayling argues that religion has contributed much to the suffering in the world.  Individuals have been left struggling with their sinfulness because of religion.  Nations and civilisations have been engulfed in war and atrocity because of religion. Inhuman acts of cruelty have been perpetrated on mankind by religions.  Burning of witches and heretics are not confined to the medieval darkness of human history.  “(H)omosexuals are hanged in Iran, adulterous women are beheaded in Afghanistan and stoned to death in Saudi Arabia, women and children are subordinated in fundamentalist households in the Bible Belt of the United States and in many parts of the Islamic world,” says Grayling. “Throughout history the religion-inspired suppression of women has robbed humanity of at least half its potential creativity and genius.” (Emphasis added unless otherwise stated)

Religion does provide much consolation to sincere believers.  I know many individuals for whom life would have been an unbearable misery were it not for the consolations provided by religion.  Karl Marx was right: religion is a good drug.  But Grayling says that “Whereas the consolations of religion are mainly personal, the burdens are social and political as well as personal.”  And therein lies the problem with religion.

Grayling goes on argue that religion belongs to “mankind’s less educated and knowledgeable” realms like magic and astrology.  He won’t agree with those who argue that it is not religion that is at fault for the atrocities committed in its name but those who misuse it.  Grayling rightly argues that if religion is misused so much then it is high time that we went beyond it.

The first half of Grayling’s book is a critique of religion while the second half offers a viable alternative.  The alternative is clear from the title of the book: Humanism. 

I have just started reading the book and I am delving passionately into it.  More will surely follow.

[I’m still fighting my case with connectindia.in.  I sincerely look forward to a world that allows me to indulge myself more fruitfully.]

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gulmohar in Bloom

The entrance

A school usually looks like a haunted place when there are no students on the campus.  It's all the more so when it comes to a residential school with a fairly big campus.

My students have left for their summer vacation.  And I work in a residential school.  With a fairly large campus.  In the capital of the largest democracy in the world.

Drive along
I used to consider myself lucky to be working in such a school.  But can such a school continue in NCR (National Capital Region)?  As a school?

Isn't the land worth much more than the returns to be gained from a school?  Even the parking lot in the city gives much more returns in terms of money!  What else matters?  So why not convert the campus into a parking lot, for example?

Or a star hotel?  Or something equivalent to that for the people who matter?  If an entrepreneur is tempted by this campus, no one would be surprised.

What about an ashram?  Wow!  A swami would be tempted too.

It's a tempting campus.  I'm not advertising my school, by the way.  Just recording something. For posterity.

Home of the Parrots

I have always been fascinated by the greenery on the campus.  And now the gulmohars are in bloom.  The green parrots used to sing in them till a few weeks back.  Where did they go?

Did they go on a vacation too?

But the red of the gulmohars keep fascinating me.

I was recording them this morning.

For memory's sake.

For posterity's sake.

Destined to be mere echoes of hollowness?

Some things have to be recorded.  Because they are going to be history.  They may be going to give way to parking lots.  Or to echoes of hollow words resounding in man-made wildernesses.

When I was clicking these photos, one of the sweepers who has not lost his job yet asked me, "Why didn't you come a few minutes ago?  You would have seen the dogs weeping."

I didn't understand him.  I'm no fan of Maneka Gandhi.  I don't love animals except from far.

"The dogs were weeping," he said.  "For those people whose jobs were terminated when the school closed yesterday..."

I understood what he wanted to say.  I can afford to admire the beauty of the gulmohars.  Do I know the meaning of their red flowers?





Leap of Faith



A friend sent me the other day two articles on Soren Kierkegaard which reminded me of the bicentenary of the Danish philosopher’s birth.  Philosophers, probably, belong to a species that’s becoming extinct.  Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile, if not necessary, to take a glance at some of the old philosophies. 

Kierkegaard’s most famous phrase is “leap into faith.”  The philosopher argued that there is a profound insecurity in human life.  Life is one contingency after another.  The only certainty is death.  The other certainties or truths have to be created by each one of us as we move through life. What is required in the process is the willingness to risk a leap of faith. 

Becoming human is a project, argued Kierkegaard.  Our task is not so much to discover who we are but to create ourselves at every moment. 

Kierkegaard identified 3 stages of life experience.

1.       The aesthetic: This is the stage at which we search for fulfilment in activities such as romance, career building and pleasure-seeking.  This is, however, not ultimately satisfying.  It eventually leads to boredom.
2.       The ethical: This is a remedy for the aesthetic despair. This is a commitment to some arbitrary absolute.  For example, when Mahatma Gandhi committed himself to non-violence, he was choosing this remedy. Similarly Mother Teresa chose compassion.
3.       The religious: Kierkegaard thought that man could find his final contentment only in God.  Kierkegaard would have agreed with Augustine of Hippo that “our hearts are restless until they rest in (God).”

But Kierkegaard’s God would not have been a simplistic god provided by some organised religion.  The philosopher was of the view that most worthwhile truths are subjective rather than objective. There are plenty of objective truths in the world like water boils at 100 degree Celsius under normal conditions, etc.  In human life, however, subjective truths assume a greater significance.  “Truth is subjectivity,” Kierkegaard dared to assert.  “Unless one believes something subjectively and passionately he does not possess the truth,” Norman Geisler and Paul Feinberg paraphrased Kierkegaard. 

This subjective truth is found in the concrete, not in the abstract; in the existential, not in the rational.  One places oneself in that truth, even as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa did, by a leap of faith.  This truth is not arrived at logically but chosen by the individual’s will.

I think Kierkegaard’s philosophy deserves attention in a world where people are encouraged, if not forced, to be satisfied with superficial delights and contentment.  People refuse to go beyond what Kierkegaard labelled the aesthetic stage.  Our civilisation encourages us to stick like barnacles to the rock of superficiality. Kierkegaard invites us to leap out of that superficiality and commit ourselves to some higher, more profound truth. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Connect India Thieves



There’s a website called connectindia which describes itself as “India’s biggest mobile and internet plans destination.”  They provide various services related to mobile phones and the internet connection.  I am one of the hundreds of victims of their fraud.

A certain problem in my foot had made me partly immobile when I ordered a Tata Photon Plus data card from connectindia, not suspecting in the least that it was a fraudulent company. Within a minute of entering my name and phone number in the relevant rectangles on their website I received a call from them.  They promised to deliver the data card at my residence within a couple of hours.  I thought that was what one would call excellence in service and efficiency.  I paid them instantly using my credit card. 

A couple of hours later, one connectindia thief (I find no other word for them) came to my residence and handed over the data card and a receipt.  He promised me that the card would be activated within a couple of days. 

A couple of weeks have now passed.  I have made more than 30 complaints in various forms, through their website, through email and by making them call me by placing pseudo orders at their website.  Why pseudo orders?  They never answer any phone call or email.  There’s no other way of contacting them except the single phone number they have provided in the bill and the contact form at the website.  They won’t ever answer any of these complaints. 

I googled “contactindia complaints” and found that there were about 500 complaints against this company at various portals like consumercourt.in.  Anyone can google the phrase and verify what I’m saying.

I went to a Tata Photon outlet.  They said that only connectindia could solve my problem since it is they who took the payment.  “Aren’t they mere frauds?” was my spontaneous question when the Tata man mentioned connectindia.  He looked at me indifferently and said nothing.  “So they are frauds,” I repeated.  “No,” he said indifferently again.  And too tersely to be taken seriously.

Not receiving any response to any of my complaints, I started placing pseudo orders at their website.  Their call would come within minutes.  I would narrate my complaint.  They would listen for half a minute and say something like, “It’s not my department,” and snap the call. 

One person, however, cared to promise that she would do something about it.  More than 24 hours after her promise, I’m becoming convinced that she is just another helpless cog in a big wheel of consummate fraud.

Why do hundreds of people get cheated by this company in spite of the many complaints against them?  This is the mystery that really baffles me.  Why is no action taken against this company?  How can they go on cheating people endlessly and with apparent impunity?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The NaMo Story



Book Review
Author: Kingshuk Nag
Pblisher: Roli Books, Delhi (2013)
Pages: 188       Price: Rs 295

Politics, like administration, is much about managing people.  While an administrator usually has to deal with people of a particular kind or profession, a politician has to deal with people of all kinds.  Dealing with people of all kinds requires a special art or skill.  Can that skill be described as ‘a criminal mind controlled by a superficial legal framework’?

This was the first thought that struck me as I put aside Kinshuk Nag’s biography of Narendra Modi which I borrowed from a student of mine.  Nag does not describe Modi as a self-controlled criminal.  He quotes an anonymous officer who had served in Modi’s intelligence set-up, “He (Modi) is well versed in Chanakya niti and the techniques of saam, daam, dand, bhed (equality, enticement, punishment, and sowing dissension) and uses them to good effect.”

It is precisely such people who become successful political leaders.  Especially in a state whose people are predominantly merchants.  Every Gujarati wants to be a trader.  No Gujarati wants to be in the police or the army.  Gujaratis are not a martial race.  The mercantile classes have a superficial approach to relationships.  They can smile at the devil or their own potential killer provided the latter are good customers.  Such people, however, suffer from a sense of insecurity.  Hence they need some henchmen at their side equipped with a machine gun.  Narendra Modi emerged as that henchman of the mercantile Gujarati.

But people of other states don’t suffer from such insecurity problems.  Hence NaMo’s machine guns won’t be popular in those states.  That’s why Modi had to change his image as the Hindu warrior to “Mahatma Modi” in the recent years when Prime Ministerial ambitions raised their natural heads in his genes.  He conducted sadbhavana yatras and fasts in order to woo the minority communities, particularly the Muslims.  But people are not as foolish as Modi imagines them to be.  Hence his histrionic yatras and fasts didn’t yield much political harvest.  Moreover, he realised the dilemma whose horns he had embraced unwittingly:  If he goes out of his way to woo the minorities, he may lose his popularity in Gujarat.  If he doesn’t, he may never sit on the chair occupied for long by a “Maun Mohan Singh”.

Nag’s book ends with Modi’s voyage to China (Nov 2011) where he was welcomed in the National Hall of People “where heads of states of national government are normally received.”   Modi is also trying to establish strong links with Canada and the USA.  In the final chapter we are reminded that NaMo’s new mask will be that of the Mahatma. 

The book is interesting to read.  But it remains a mere journalistic approach to biography.  Nag is a journalist with the Times of India.  The Times of India has a unique way of trivialising anything and also commercialising anything.  Nag has not commercialised NaMo’s biography though he has approached it in a very superficial way.  Is it because Mr Modi has nothing deep within him?  It can’t be.  Because he wouldn’t have become what he is unless there is something within even if that something be diabolic.  Nag has not explored that something.  Nag also doesn’t tell us much about Modi’s childhood and family background except that he was born in a low caste family as the son of a tea vendor at Vadnagar railway station.

The book does not inspire us in any way.  Maybe Narendra Modi cannot inspire anyone much.  But I’m sure even the devil can be made inspiring by a good writer.  Read Milton’s Paradise Lost, if you don’t believe me.  I think Nag should have probed the depths of Modi’s psyche instead of merely presenting the history of the man and his work from a journalist’s point of view.  


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chinese Games



China is at its usual games once again with India.  I have written so much about that country earlier that I don’t feel like saying anything more.  So let me only give two relevant links here from my earlier writing.

In this blog written more than 2 years ago, I argued that China had betrayed India a number of times in the past.  Right from 1962 when India lost Aksai Chin up to now when a part of Laddakh is being swallowed up, China has stabbed India from the back.  I have given a brief history of those backstabs in the above-mentioned post.

In this Sep 2009 post, I argued that China was practising a new kind of imperialism – based on economic domination.  I took examples from Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.  I also wrote:

“In accordance with the String of Pearls doctrine, China has already encircled India technically by forging military ties with Sri Lanka and persuading the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar to give it surveillance posts.  Moreover, China is making strategic ties with Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  It is also well-known that China has links with the militant groups in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.   In addition to all that is the tri-nation road link between China, Myanmar and Bangladesh.”

The conclusion to that post seems to be valid today too: “Perhaps it’s high time that India took Chinese gestures more seriously.  When the Chinese appear to be cocking a snook, they may actually be rolling out their battle tanks or at least cocking their eyes on our wallets.”

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