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We have heard of the sprinkling of reports about stores named Hitler, and the utter surprise that generates in Western observers. India, after all, is a diverse multicultural democracy. Hitler goes as well with it as sushi goes with curry.

At least on the surface.

Hitler has had a long and chequered posthumous life in India. Even during the second World War, the thinkers in the Indian National Congress (Party) sought to distance themselves from the Allies (Quit India movement messed up the British pretty good.) The doers, however, wanted to go further. They wanted an open alliance with Axis. Driver of this train of thought was Netaji (Dear Leader) Subhash Bose. He fled British imposed house arrest to Germany and sought a tete a tete with the Fuhrer. The Fuhrer however was not very impressed by this darker Aryan, but agreed to ship submarine him off to Japan. Subhash had better luck in Japan in persuading the imperial government to free British-Indian soldiers under his command to fight the British.

He led his `Indian National Army’ to push the British Army back from Burma to eastern borders of India and wrested the Andaman and Nicober Island from the British. Then Japan became too stretched to supply him. Nobody knows what happened to him.

Subhash is still hailed as a hero in India. He is quite a hot-potato in higher echelons of power- they have to maintain friendly relations with the former Allied powers but disowning him is political suicide.

The recently deceased Bal Thakerey, whose death brought Mumbai to standstill (complaining about it could land you in Jail, as Shaheen Dhada found out) and whose funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands, said to Time magazine- “There is nothing wrong, if Muslims are treated as Jews were in Nazi Germany.”

He would say such a thing. His ideological background- the Hindutva movement- is laced with Nazi influence. Savarkar, one of the founding fathers of the movement, wrote of his admiration of Hitler- how Hitler gave the Germans a sense of identity and pride. Savarkar even defended his treatment of Jews. Savarkar’s followers, now ardent admirers of Israel1, defend him by saying that he didn’t know what actually was being done to the Jews. Then they will go on to prescribe nuking Mecca. There are quite a few of such prescriptions on youtube.

Dilip D’Souza writes for The Daily Beast2-

Of 25 students in the class, 9 picked Adolf Hitler, making him easily the highest vote-getter in this particular exercise [to name an admirable person]; a certain Mohandas Gandhi was the choice of precisely one student. Discussing the idea of courage with other students once, my wife was startled by the contempt they had for Gandhi. “He was a coward!” they said. And as far back as 2002, the Times of India reported a survey that found that 17 percent of students in elite Indian colleges “favored Adolf Hitler as the kind of leader India ought to have.”

Indeed, Hindutva inspired Bharatiya Janata Party is the second largest party in India. Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, widely believed to have overseen killing of nearly two thousand Muslims and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, is the leading candidate for the BJP. In BJP ruled state of Orissa Christian converts who seek to escape the caste system are marauded like clockwork every year during Christmas.

If the West remains oblivious to the menace this (possibly the most successful proto-fascist movement of modern times according to University of Chicago professor Martha Nussbaum) poses, it is headed for a surprise

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GDP of a country gives some idea about how well it is doing in terms of production. In the last two centuries, Western economies overwhelmed others by far.

In the 1950s, US and Europe combined made up 60% of world economy. That’s not counting Canada, Mexico and Australia.

If we look at the fractional share of US+major European countries over the last four decades:

GDP of the US and Europe as fraction of world GDP

We see that their share has been falling over the years. From 62% in the early ’70s, to about 47% now.

So who’s gaining?

There’s a lot of talk about the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. These countries are supposedly rising stars in the world economy- and have seen unprecedented economic rise. Let’s see if that’s true.

Here is BRIC’s share of world economy over the years:

Fraction of world GDP controlled by the BRIC countries

So it did indeed go up from about 8% of world economy to about 16% now. Impressive.

However, it’s not the whole picture. Let’s examine each of the countries separately. First, Brazil-

Brazil’s GDP divided by the GDP of the world

Brazil has seen a steady rise in the last decade in it’s share of world economy. It now commands about 2.7% of world economy, not very unlike it’s share in 1996 (2.9%), 1982 (2.7%), and 1976 (2.6%). So its position now is by no means “unprecedented.”

Next, Russia:

Russia’s share of world GDP

Russia saw a steady decline in it’s share of world economy through the ’90s. It has recovered it’s strength of the early ’90s now. It had 2.5% of world economy in 1990, now it has about 2.7% too.

What about India?

Indian economy as a Fraction of world GDP

We can see that India has seen a steady rise in it’s share of world economy from the ’90s from about 1% to 2.2% now. But it’s nowhere near it’s best days in the early ’60s share of 3.5%. (Note that we fought two major wars right around that time- with China and Pakistan, and focus shifted from development to armament.)

So, as you’ve guessed, among the BRIC countries only one that has seen real unprecedented rise is China. Here is how it’s share of world economy have changed over the years from a mere 2% to about 7% over the last two decades. It is interesting to note that it had a share of world economy similar to India in the ’60s. Now China’s economy is four times that of India’s.

China’s GDP/world GDP.

But that’s not all. Here is the total share of the major Muslim economies in the world (Turkey + Indonesia + Malaysia + Saudi Arabia + UAE + Qatar + Pakistan + Bangladesh + Libya + Algeria + Kazakhstan).

Fractional share of Muslim economies in the world (total gdp of Muslim countries/world gdp)

That goes up from a baseline of approximately 2.7% in the ’90s to 5% (and rising) now.

This list includes Kazakhstan (became free only in 1991) and Bangladesh (created in 1971). Excluding Kazakhstan, and Bangladesh we see the following:

Fractional share of Muslim economies in the world (Excl. Kazakhstan and Bangladesh)

Therefore, Muslim economies have yet to reach the share they had in the ’80s, in spite of their rise in the last decade. I can only hope and pray that their growth will not be stifled this time. Ameen.

It would be good to know the causes and be able to make some predictions.

Data is from Wolfram Alpha.

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We have waited for 18 years for a verdict. I don’t remember the day the Mosque was brought down. But my mother tells me the whole town spent the night on their rooftops- looking for early warning of trouble. It was tense time in an otherwise idyllic little town.

A judgment is now around the corner. And I presume (and I hope) it will conclude that the Mosque was, well, a Mosque.

The lingering question is what do we do with the land afterwards? Provided we win the case.

Let us consider the facts. VHP has convinced a large number of poor, Hindu villagers that that was where Ram was born. They sincerely believe in that story, because that story gives them purpose, and something to hang on to in their misery.

We certainly have a right to rebuild the Masjid there. However, it will only strengthen the VHP.

Poor low caste Hindus are justifiably angry at their misery, and the VHP is looking for opportunity to turn their anger against other poor, marginalized communities in India.

Rebuilding the Masjid will only strengthen their (VHP’s) ranks.

Then, who will use that Masjid? The surrounding lands have been bought by VHP’s temple trust (or whatever it is called), and the city is bustling with their cadres. A Masjid there will be an easy target- the desecration of a Masjid may escalate. (they will love that.) It is almost certain that a)  the masjid will be desecrated, b) it will help the VHP. In this scenario, I dare say it may not even be permissible to build a Mosque at the location.

I am, therefore, in favour of building something else in that location. What about building a Hospital there?

Just imagine bearded doctors treating Hindus and Muslims in “Shifa Hospital.”

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Sad Week

ASAK,

It has been a sad week for me. The massacre of peace activists by Israel, the massacre at the Ahmadiya mosque in Pakistan, and the ongoing strifes in tribal India.

Israel is committing double the crimes by passing the blame on the victims. They forget that Allah is with the oppressed. They forget in their arrogance of false sense of power.

The attitude of many Muslims towards Ahmadiyas and others is also a source of pain and anger for me. It saddens me to think that it’s never going to go away.

So is the trouble in India. The majority, urban population do not seem to consider the tribals to be human beings.

And it’s not a new thing. It has always been like this. It always will be.

Audubillah.

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I am out of words.

But somebody has some, fortunately-

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There has been a flurry of suicide attacks in Pakistan in recent months.

Suspicions that it is CIA that’s behind all these suicide attacks in Pakistan have been making rounds.

The reason, they say, that it is highly unlikely that a religious group, no matter how fundamentalist, will never target Muslims for the fear of hellfire. Two, that the targets are tactically wrong. They de-legitimize them. Mosques, Muslims, markets. Apart from ISI headquarters, which, they argue is curiously accused of collaborating with the Tehreek. They argue that these attacks are to rile up Pakistani population so that they consent to fight against their own people, destabilize the country and then take out the nuclear weapons. US has now allied with India, they say. Thirdly, that it is impossible for the ISI to do anything independent of the CIA, given the history of the two organization in the last three decades. Whereas it is possible for CIA and other covert organizations to work independently of the ISI.

All that are valid arguments. I see no tactical reason why US would not engage in such actions. (Plenty immoral, but makes tactical sense.)

However, to have credibility, these will have to be proved and not just thrown into the air.

One might also ask- why is it that we mostly complain, and not do anything to mitigate the more deeper cause? Even if the CIA is doing all this, they are able to find people poor/desparate enough that they will do what they are doing.

Whoever is doing this (CIA or no CIA) are doing their part. But the larger, more important question is- are we doing our part?

60% of Pakistani population are born stunted. There is a tremendous gap- monetary as well as social- between the rich and the poor. Whereas it is for the service of the poor that we are given our excess provisions for.

It is not merely a Pakistani problem, although it is the most acutely affecting their society at the moment.

I hope that there is a serious push towards universal education, ennglish as a second language and stronger and better local public schools in the districts.

Having seen quite some of the world, I can say with some confidence that it is better for the entire society if there is equal opportunity for everyone. The elite may think that it is not in their interest. But it is. Not only in the other-worldly sense. In this-worldy sense as well. A community, where the power and wealth is accumulated is singularly weak and vulnerable. All one has to do is to take out the few powerful guys, and there you have it. The society loses all it’s power. And trust me on this one, the have-nots will not come to aid the havs. Perhaps justly so. (Unless, perhaps, it is the poor who take out the greedy rich criminal leaders among them- obedience is only in good, according to one Hadith.)

Whereas in an equal opportunity society, everyone has a stake in the well-being of the entire society. It’s one that’s much harder for anyone to take down.

I wish somebody takes this seriously, and starts empowering their own society. We are as strong as our societies are, by the Will of Allah.

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From Wikipedia:

The Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) disaster – also known as the Bhopal disaster or the Bhopal gas tragedy – was an industrial catastrophe that took place at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on December 3, 1984. Around 12 AM, the plant released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins, resulting in the exposure of over 500,000 people. Estimates vary on the death toll – the official immediate death toll was 2,259, which rose greatly over time. The government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release.[1] Another source says that a few days later the death toll had doubled. Over the next few years, the lingering effects of the poison nearly doubled the toll again, to about 15,000, according to government estimates.[2] Local activists say the real numbers are almost twice that. Others estimate 8,000-10,000 died within 72 hours and 25,000 have since died from gas-related diseases.[3][4]

Some 25 years after the gas leak, 390 tonnes of toxic chemicals abandoned at the Union Carbide plant continue to leak and pollute the ground water in the region and affect thousands of Bhopal residents who depend on it [5][6][7][8][9][10], though there is some dispute as to whether the chemicals still stored at the site pose any continuing health hazard.[2] There are currently civil and criminal cases related to the disaster ongoing in the United States District Court, Manhattan and the District Court of Bhopal, India against Union Carbide, now owned by Dow Chemical Company, with arrest warrants pending against Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide at the time of the disaster[11][12]. No one has yet been prosecuted.

Please do something today.

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