sacrificial lambs for a yaagam

kcr doesn't plan any major action without seeking any divine endorsement. he has to attend many pujas, visit several temples and perform a yaagam or two before he can step up to the cameras and announce his plans.

the students and agitators who were beaten up by the police yesterday were mostly from the always-good-to-be-lathi-charged lower castes. and the teachers and activists exhorting them to believe in the 'sacred' cause of telangana mostly represented assorted progressive streams of thought. what were they thinking? that a movement led by upper caste believers in irrational mumbo jumbo could bring about anything remotely resembling concrete social change?


how the bjp finances the congress or vice versa

The rise of the mining business of the Reddy brothers is a saga of crony capitalism and the close nexus established with politicians and pliant bureaucrats. By bending laws, getting new regulations and enactments to favour them and by blatant violation of forest and environmental rules, the Reddy brothers became a major beneficiary of the Rs 4,000-crore annual profits being reaped through the export of iron ore, taking advantage of the boom in the international iron ore prices due to the huge demand for it in China (the price of a tonne of iron ore shot up from Rs 200 to Rs 2,000).

This plunder, connived with the state, saw the government getting a royalty of only Rs 27 per tonne when the price it was being sold at was Rs 2,000. In 2005-06 alone, 35 mine owners got Rs 3,600 crore in profit. It is this ill-gotten wealth and assets which the Reddy brothers deployed effectively for the BJP. The Reddy brothers have not been shy of flaunting their wealth and influence. One of them is reported to have said during a heated exchange in the assembly last year: "People say we are worth Rs 100 crore. I want to correct it…. we are worth Rs 1,000 crore."

what mr.karat fails to mention is that the so-called reddy brothers funded or financed the congress party too in andhra pradesh. now it's gradually dawning on mr.karat's party which had been a part of an all party fact finding committee which had visited the mines leased out to the brothers in anantapur district of andhra pradesh sometime during 2004-05. his party members from andhra pradesh had not found anything irregular in the company's activities back then- was it because the congress was an ally? now it turns out ysr was one of the gaali or reddy brothers' biggest sponsors and also a major partner, perhaps.

crony capitalism is too poor a description. the same robber barons supporting the bjp in karnataka and the congress in andhra pradesh: we should let sonia gandhi or l.k.advani, both of whom have benefitted from their partymen's association with the reddy brothers, decide on a better phrase. i don't find anything particularly incongruous in the fact that the reddy brothers financed both parties: they both represent the same braminized classes, or hindutva family, if you like, in my view.

this recent turn of events has a lesson or two for both those politicians: the next time sonia gandhi decides to unleash a battery of spokesmen and crony mediamen to target mayawati's extravagant spending on statuary it'd do her a lot of good to check how many dozen times more her favourite chief ministers are stealing (not spending publicly, subject to all public checks, like mayawati) from the public in their own states. and l.k.advani has to admit gaali janardhan reddy is much more of an 'iron man' than he ever will be.


of unspeakable crimes

from the website of The Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (or simply, Claims Conference):
The mission of the Claims Conference over its 50-year history has always been to secure what we consider a small measure of justice for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. We have pursued this goal since 1951 through a combination of negotiations, disbursing funds to individuals and organizations, and seeking the return of Jewish property lost during the Holocaust. [...]

As a result of negotiations with the Claims Conference since 1952, the German government has paid more than $60 billion in indemnification for suffering and losses resulting from Nazi persecution
. Claims Conference negotiations have also resulted in the creation of funds from German and Austrian industry, as well as the Austrian government.
[emphasis mine].
the process began in 1951 when the claims conference was formed:

The Claims Conference had the task of negotiating with the German government a program of indemnification for the material damages to Jewish individuals and to the Jewish people caused by Germany through the Holocaust.

On September 10, 1952, after six months of negotiations, the Claims Conference and the West German federal government signed an agreement embodied in two protocols. Protocol No. 1 called for the enactment of laws that would compensate Nazi victims directly for indemnification and restitution claims arising from Nazi persecution. Under Protocol No. 2, the West German government provided the Claims Conference with DM 450 million for the relief, rehabilitation and resettlement of Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, according to the urgency of their need as determined by the Conference. Agreements were also signed with the State of Israel.

The agreements were at the time unique in human history. All three entities involved—the Claims Conference, West Germany, and Israel—had not existed at the time of World War II, and yet all entered into an agreement for compensation for crimes committed during that time. [emphasis mine].

wikipedia has some related information on the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany page.

will india, like west germany, ever acknowledge that …unspeakable crimes have been committed..(against the dalits)...calling for moral and material indemnity?


lame excuses

the brahminized classes have such short memories. wasn't it almost yesterday that they were objecting to reservations based on population numbers collected as far back as 1931? now a.m.shah, former professor of sociology at the delhi school of economics (yes, yet another institution of learning, like the jnu etc., which depends on the unclean sweat and taxes of people like me to pursue 'clean' knowledge), is objecting to the collection of fresh data on castes through the 2011 census- look at some of his arguments:
It is true that caste boundaries are clear in a village, which is a small community, but the census has to count the members of every caste as they are spread in every village and town in a state and often more than one state. The population of small castes may be counted easily, but most are not so small. The Kolis in Gujarat, the Marathas in Maharashtra, the Jats and Yadavas in north India, the Kammas and Reddis in Andhra, and the Okkaligas and Lingayats in Karnataka are huge castes, with unclear boundaries.
counting the population of large castes is a problem? count me in if you need any volunteers. and what does he mean by unclear boundaries? very unclear.
To whom in a village or town would the census enumerator ask the caste question? Would it be every individual in a household or its head? Do we assume that all members of a household belong to the same caste? In which language would the caste question be asked? In Indian languages the English word ‘caste’ has more than one equivalent. In Gujarati, for example, there are five words for caste: jat, jati, jnati, nat, varna, kaum. Each has more than one meaning.
don't worry mr.shah, even if the enumerator uses gujarati in orissa or tamil in assam, i am sure every indian citizen would understand clearly what he's talking about.
How will the caste question be framed? Let us assume it is framed as follows: “What is the jati of your household?” The respondent is likely to give a name keeping in mind anyone of the meanings of jati mentioned above. There would therefore be confusion in collating responses.
confusion? really? most state governments have already compiled enough data on castes/sub-castes/sub-sub-castes to identify clearly the parent sub-castes or castes. check the central lists of dalit/adivasi/obc castes/communities.
It is well known that frequently members of a caste claim to belong to a caste higher than their own, and therefore different members of a caste use different names for themselves. Caste names are also used contextually: one in the context of marriage, another in the context of religion, and a third in the context of claiming a privilege from the state. There is rarely a straight answer to the question: “What is your caste?”
if some people want to give themselves a higher rank in the caste hierarchy, why do you wish to stop them, mr.shah? that'll kill caste a little (for the short duration of the process of enumeration). also reduce demands for more reservations, something people like you, the brahminized classes, would like a lot, i'm sure. or, if some people wish to give themselves a lower rank, to avail of some meager benefits doled out by the state, i think we can definitely depend on some youthful equality-seeking organization to soon find out the truth about them.
The definition of caste as an endogamous unit is questionable. Social scientists have known widespread practice of inter-caste hypergamy, i.e., a lower caste gets its girls married into a higher caste but the latter does not give its girls in return. The Rajputs are known to have received brides from a large number of castes all over western and northern India. A caste which appears to be strictly endogamous at the top of its internal hierarchy may be loose at its bottom. Anthropologists have also known tribe-caste hypergamy in many parts of India. Where hypergamous marriages take place, many members of the bride-giver caste or tribe use for themselves the bride-taker caste’s name as a mark of higher status. Hypergamy has been a long established negation of caste endogamy.
ah..that's a silly objection. if this hypergamy fad was anything more than a mere esoteric fad, caste would've died long ago. if it was really, truly statistically significant (in terms of the numbers of people indulging in it) our media would be talking about it almost every time the issue of caste or reservations crops up, to point out how caste is dead/dying.
Caste endogamy is negated by modern inter-caste, inter-religious, inter-regional and international marriages which have increased rapidly after independence. In an inter-caste marriage the husband and wife belong to different castes. To which caste do their children belong? A child of one inter-caste marriage may marry a child of another such marriage. Since such cosmopolitan marriages have been taking place for the last several generations, a large new class has emerged which is caste-less. What will be its fate in the census?
if inter-caste, inter-regional international marriages have become so rampant, why are you still talking about caste? do you watch a lot of bollywood, mr.shah? your surname somehow reminds me of gujarat and babu bajrangi and his valiant attempts to save the purity of patel-ness. perhaps, he'd agree with you. how large is this 'large new class that is caste-less'? shouldn't we all be happy to find out how large (or again, statistically significant) it actually is? maybe that'll drive some sense into those ignorant folks who practise 'honour killings' even in faraway lands?

i really should stop wasting my sweat and taxes on these elite institutions and their casteist teachers.


the heart of india

what's that? or, where's that? chhattisgarh, according to ramachandra guha and arundhati roy. and you thought they represented radically different points of view?

there's no evidence to suggest, not even in the most creative of hindu myths and legends which are considered the most authentic repositories of history by large sections of the brahminized classes, that hindus, in their 2,000 or 4,000 or 40,000 year history, ever treated the adivasis decently, euphemistically speaking. then how and when did they become indians? or the heart of india?

someone needs to seriously look into the sordid history of how adivasis were conned into becoming a part of independent india. but that's another issue, and what interests me right now is how all participants in the mainstream discourse on the 'heart of india' seem to know it's the 'heart of india'. none of them are questioning that premise. india owns chhattisgarh, the adivasis, their land. and reserves the right to deal with chhattisgarh, the adivasis and their land. the only difference of opinion is on the ways to go about it (some prefer 'democratic' methods, others suggest 'development' and so on), not on india's right to deal with chhattisgarh, the adivasis, their land.
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