The USA Overtakes India In Unpopularity!

Congratulations USA. You have just overtaken us Indians as the most unpopular nation on earth. I quote from The New York times – “Polling in Pakistan shows that a majority of Pakistanis blame America for the country’s internal violence. India comes in second place, and al-Qaeda and the militancy comes in third place. Any time that you are outpolling India as the bad guy in Pakistan, you’re in deep, deep trouble.”

This is by Bruce O. Riedel, an expert on South Asia, who has worked for the CIA, Pentagon, and The National Security Council. I strongly urge my readers to read the full interview.

Along with it comes another very interesting news item from a completely different source, high up within the Pakistani establishment. This is about the Pakistani resolve to flush out the Taliban from the Swat valley. I do not wish to elaborate and leave my readers to judge for themselves the seriousness of the problem from this news article.

The possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of the Taliban and by extension, Al Queida has been a worrying thought for the West for quite some time. It does worry me too, but other, possibly more influential brains are perhaps already worrying over that possibility. Heavens help us all, if they are not.

My concern in writing this post is to highlight a factor that has not received the attention that it deserves. In fact, no important leader has thought through the possibility that if Pakistan and Afghanistan, do come under the control of the Taliban, and I give it a fifty-fifty probability, both the USA and India will have a major problem. That will be the fleeing refugees from Pakistan. How the Indian state and the USA will react, is anybody’s guess. Indians will react very violently. I have no doubts whatsoever on that score.

I am not an alarmist. There is a significant, educated minority in Pakistan which will not accept the rule of the Taliban and they will seek refuge firstly in the USA and other Western countries and secondly in India. I dread that possibility for what can happen to the latter and consequently to Indian Muslims with familial ties in Pakistan, and as a fall out, many other uninvolved Indian Muslims. It will not all be one sided and Hindus of India will also be affected and we may well see another blood bath comparable to what happened at the time of partition in 1947. Here is a pictorial depiction.

I urge my readers to do whatever it is that they can do to influence policy, towards the elimination of the Taliban, Al Quida, Lashkar e Toiba etal. If we do not do so, the cost in human lives will be greater than anything that the world has ever seen before.

The Gaza Problem.

I quote Jim Belshaw from Australia who has an interesting take on the clash of civilizations.
“A key problem today is that the social forcing process has out-run our institutional capacities to respond. Time is required, and we don’t have it.” His blog when contains some non Australian related matters, are full of insight that is unusual and unique. I have given the link to his comment page on the post and urge my readers to visit his original post to understand the thread in the comments page.

I am intrigued with his observation that we don’t have the time required to make our institutions capable of responding to rapid changes taking place in our world.

I really wonder whether this is the problem, or whether our institutions are being managed and led by people who are capable of inspiring such rapid changes. With the ubiquitous availability of various methods of communication, very capable creative people in various fields available in plenty to participate, what stops our leaders from handling the problems faced by us differently from the way that they are currently doing?

What kind of world will we be leaving for our future generations, if the drift and shooting from the hip responses that we see everywhere, are allowed to continue to dominate our times?

I Am Truly Blessed.

Today is Dussera. It is an important festival, celebrated throughout India. The festival is the culmination of ten days of fasting, praying and fellowship. It symbolizes the victory of Good over Evil.

In our home, we are not religious and apart from my one daily ritual of a post shower short prayer and meditation, there are no other practices followed. My wife, my son and I, all three however are spiritual.

We moved into the present home in which we live in 1990. It has been 18 years that we have lived here. From the very beginning, we had a handyman/gardener who has been looking after our little garden, washing all the vehicles at home, and carry out all other odd jobs at need. He only comes part time, but has been part of our lives since the beginning. His wife also used to come to work as a housemaid till they lived close by. A few years ago, they built their own little cottage about five kilometers away from here, and since then, she has stopped coming. Their two sons used to spend a lot of time with us when they were little lads. Now both have grown up and work at full time jobs. All three keep dropping in whenever possible. Yakob, (For Jacob) comes every day as he also holds a caretaker’s job in a nearby school.

They are second generation Roman Catholic Christians. All of them however have Indian names and their surname is a common enough Hindu name.

Every year, without fail, Yakob, will come the evening before Dussera and wash and clean up all the vehicles at home. Currently, there are only two, one car and a motor cycle, but till a couple of years ago, there used to be three cars, a scooter and a motorcycle. On the following day, as is the Indian custom, he performs a ritual to request the Gods to keep the vehicles in good working order and without causing harm to their users. This ritual is common throughout the country and all machines, tools and implements are given this special treatment.

For Yakob, they generate income. Despite being something that his church frowns upon, he insists on doing this and this morning too, he did it. In his opinion, that I as the head of the household, and being a Hindu, do not perform this ritual is not acceptable. He has therefore taken it on himself to do so, once a year. I simply indulge him.

That is not all. Every Christmas, one huge hamper of all goodies made in their home is brought over for us to share among our friends and family members too.

We have a lady, Mangal who works with us for six hours a day, seven days a week. She too has been with us for many years and is part of the family for all practical purposes. She is a Hindu and observes all religious rituals and rites without fail. Normally, on days like this, important festivals, we do not expect our help to come to work. But come she did this morning and made a local specialty dish that is made on this particular day, so that the three of us could have it too. She too disapproves our casual approach to our religion and has taken upon herself to bring about some holiness in our lives! I indulge her too!

I suspect that this is God’s way of sending us the message that we cannot escape what tradition has imposed on us! I am truly blessed.

Am I indulging them, or are they indulging me?