Saturday, February 18, 2017

Deep State and Democracy: Something wrong in the way US Democracy is functioning

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

One of the fundamental attributes of a mature democracy is the civilian control over the Military and Intelligence Services. In USA, it is quite clear that President Donald Trump is the elected President. However, what is surprising is that within less than a month of his assumption of the Office of President, he is being dragged into a unholy mess in which the Media, the Academia and the Intelligence Community all seem to be working in tandem. His popularity or unpopularity is not the issue. The viciousness with which he is being attacked and the studies and co ordinated manner in which he is being undermined in less than a month in Office leads me to suspect that there is something more than mere political posturing.

Donald Trump is certainly an obnoxious man. But that does not disqualify him from holding an elected post. President Barack Obama, had poetry on his lips and blood on his hands and the American public was quite exited over him. Perhaps, the fact of being black and sophisticated had something to do with his popularity. Obama was ruthless in his pursuit of the American objectives or where they American objectives. He sustained the Sunni USA Alliance against Iran even though he made a fairly good deal to restrict Iran's nuclear ambitions. He created the ISIS and set it loose against the last progressive state in the Middle East, Syria and turned a blind eye to the atrocities against the Christian and other sectarian populations in Syria. His policy of undermining the fledgling Democracy in Egypt was sold to his subject population by demonising the Muslim Brotherhood and this organization is certainly less of a problem than ISIS. Obama came to India as a guest of the Prime Minister of India, and had the temerity to say some scathing things about Narendra Modi and his Government. Trump has not had the time even to put together his policy platform and all hell is breaking loose.

Russia is not at war with USA and so having conversations over any diplomatic or strategic issue with Russia is not a crime and certainly not any act of treason. Robert Flynn the National Security Advisor, The alleged involvement of Russia in the hacking of the Democratic Party Server is a ruse to create a cloud of illegitimacy over the election of Trump. In fact what the hacked emails of Podesta brought to light was the systematic rigging of the primaries against Bernie Sanders who if nominated would have defeated Donald Trump. Instead, foreign involvement in the political affairs of USA has become the war cry which is being used to hammer the Presidency of Trump. The American Media went along with the Bush Administration when he used it to create a cloud of suspicion over the Weapons of Mass Destruction allegedly held by Saddam Hussein. We in India were clear that it was a just a ploy. But the Deep State created such a miasma of war and terror over this issue that questioning the narrative from the White House and the theatrics of Colin Powell was considered un American and suspicious. Something similar is happening now. The Deep State is unhappy with Trump and is trying to create hurdles for him and his policies.

Trump has said that he would like to have Russian support in the war against ISIS and why is the Deep State afraid of this. It is now quite certain that ISIS cannot be defeated militarily. It has to be dealt with politically by forging an alliance of like minded countries. USA and its Deep State is willing to allow terrorism to flourish and American security threatened all over the world than to take the logical step toward stability. The ban against immigration from 7 countries is not a Muslim ban as there are 40 muslim countries and this policy was initiated by Barack Obama. Further, it was Barack Obama's policy of wanton and sustained bombing that led to the collapse of these countries. Trump rightly want this "American Carnage" to stop. Why is the Deep State not allowing the American Carnage to be checked if not totally halted.

There are wheels within wheels. One need not be a conspiracy advocate to connect the dots. Obams's record of ruthless and wanton bloodshed is not questioned at all and the cries for revoking the Nobel Peace Prize are still muted. Trump has incurred the hostility of the nebulous and faceless cluster of financial, strategic, academic and military interests whose face, at least in public is the elected President. Trup is the first American President who has confronted what Eisenhower had long feared, "the Military Industrial Complex". At this rate I suspect that he will not be allowed to complete his terms and physical removal is also a possibility as the Intelligence Community has gone rogue.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sasikala Convicted and Punished? Nemesis or Retribution

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The ancient Greeks believed that the jealous gods are ever vigilant to catch an ordinary mortal strutting about as though he was a god himself. Hubris, the quality of immense pride and overweening lust for power, inevitably led to Nemesis, the very destruction of pride and a divine retribution for competing with the Gods. This belief entered western ethical praxis through Christianity with its emphasis on strict separation between the world of God and the World of Mortals, at least since the biblical Fall of Man. Hindu religion, unfortunately, lacks a well defined ethical universe and consequently the religion invariably becomes a web of transactions between human beings and the realm of gods. This lack of an ethical foundation is the real reason for the huge and egregious instances of corruption that crops up from time to time. The idea is share the loot with God and everything is fine. USA has a powerful judiciary and a strong state which is capable of enforcing a modicum of accountability on its public/political class. In India, the election of 2014 is the turning point with the State showing zero tolerance towards corruption and the Judiciary displaying the strength to pronounce harsh judgements.

The "Disproportionate Assets" Case against Jayalalithaa and Sasikala and her extended kin is an instance of the sort of wanton corruption that thrives in the kleptocracy called the Indian state. While Jayalalithaa herself came from a well to do background and she herself had a thriving career as a film star, Sasikala came from a lower middle class with a deep sense of insecurity and a lust for property that was not quelled even after 20 years of prosecution for corruption. She has now been found guilty of amassing wealth using her proximity to the then Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa. The later made the huge mistake of allowing this corrupt semi literate woman to live in her house and therefore became a party to all the property deals that transpired during the first term of Jayalalithaa's Chief Ministership. The Supreme Court inits unprecedented 570 page Judgement indicted the late Chief Minister as the Ist accused stating that since her residence was used for making the deals she ought to have known what was happening under her own roof. Jayalalithaa herself may not have been corrupt,but she paid the price for bring this semi literate woman called Sasikala into her household and allowing her the freedom to interfere in official matters. A house maid got transformed into "chinnamma" and even claimed the mantle of Chief Ministership as the anointed successor of Jayalalithaa until nemesis caught up with her in the form of the Supreme Court Judgement.

There are swirling rumours of the possibility of Sasikala being involved in the death of Jayalalithaa. A doctor at Apollo Hospital has made the sensational disclosure that the late Chief Minister was brought to the hospital dead on September 22nd 2016. If this is the case, then the members of Jayalaithaa's household and the authorities of Apollo have a lot of explaining to do do. Ignoring her own dubious role, Sasikala decided to stake her claim to the Chief Ministership barely a week before the Supreme Court was to pronounce the verdict. Inducing all her loyalists to seek refuge in a Holiday Resort at Kuvathur on the East Coast Road, Sasikala unleashed a full blown factional war forcing a reluctant Governor to order a floor test in the Assembly.

With the conviction of Sasikala upheld by the Supreme Court it is curtains for the political future of this woman. The AIADMK will sputter on till the mid tern polls are held and it is quite unlikely that the party will return to power. Hubris led to a huge Nemesis.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tamil Nadu Politics: Sashikala, Paneerselvam and the Ghost of things past

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The death of Jayalalithaa has created a real storm in Tamil politics. The AIADMK with 134 MLAs in the house is poised to split between the two warring factions:Sasikala and O Paneerselvam. The fact is that the Party and its higher leadership has lost all credibility will make the task of polituical recoverry extremely difficult. Added to the political turmoil unleashed by the death of Jayalalithaa is the mass protest on the issue of jallikkattu. The crowds of young people who protested on the beach of Marina were not displaying their love for the sport of bull taming. They were expressing their anguish at the sudden and disastrous turn in the politics of Tamil Nadu. In fact the restoration of the sport following the promulgation of an Ordinance by the Chief Minister, O Pannerslvam hardly caused a ripple in Chennai, the ground zero of the protests.

O Paneersevam, the acting Chief Minister, was the choice of Jayalalithaa whenever she had to vacte the position due to frequent conviction in corruption cases. In fact, in all the cases in which the late CM was procecuted, the real beneficiary was Sashikala Natrajan and her extended family which goes under the sobriquet, Managudi Mafia. The strangle hold acquired by Sashkala over the party can be gauged from the fact that 129 MLAs have come out in open suppport of her. While O Pannerselvam has the support of a small handful of MLAs, there is no doubt that the rank and file, the cadres of the AIADMK are solidly behind him. The corruption cases against Sashikala are not the only rerasons for her unpopularity in the AIADMK. The real reason is that Jayalalithaa herself had expelled Sashikala from the Party for anti party activities and threw her out of the Poes Garden Residence in 2011 and was admitted back in favor only after giving an abject letter of apology in which Sashikala shook off all ties with her family. Indeed one of the factors that contributed to the defeat of the AIADMK in the 1996 election was the excesses committed during the wedding of Dinakaran, the nephew of Sasikala. The vulgar display of ill gotten wealth was so revolting that AIADMK paid a political price for that mistake. It is rather surprising that even with this legacy, Sashikala was able to seize control over the Party and have herself declared the General Secretary of the AIADMK. In fact her agrteement with Paneerselvam was that he would not be disturbed in his position as Chiel Minister.

The successful manner in which Paneerselvam handles the Jallikkattu crisis and earlier in overseeing the relief work following the Vardha Cyscle that hit Chennai in December 2016 alarmed the Sasikala faction. It became clear as daylight that if he is allowed a free hand, he would get the mandate of the people. From that point onwards effort was made to destabalize Paneerselvam. A section of the senior leaders began asking for the installation of their "Chinamma" as the Chief Minister. And an unlikely rebel was born.

Paneerselvan made a dramtic appearance before the grave of Jayalalithaa on the Marina Beach and "meditated" near her grave for 40 minutes and  announced to the waiting crowd that he had always been the choice of Jayalalithaa to fill her post whenever vacancy arose. It is now clear thta sensing popular anger at the manner in which Sasikala had usurped the post of General Secretary of the AIADMK and her shamless occupation of the poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa, Paneerselvan raised the banner of revolt. The Governor Vidyasagar Rao did not exactly cover himself in glory by completely neglecting his constitutional duties during the 72 says Jayalalithaa was kept in Apppollo Hospital. Now questions are being asked about the manner of Jayalalithaa's death and the possible involvement of Sasikala in it. Appollo has not come out clean and still there are questions. The rumours that the late Chief Minister was pushed down the stairs in her residence and was brought dead to the hospital on September 22 are making rounds, O Paneerselvam raised this issue in his press conference and speculated about constituting a Judicial Inquiry. It is now quite obvious that Jayalalithaas death has become a controversy due to the mutual recriminations between the rival factions.

As Paneerselavam hardened his stand and Vidyasagar Rao the Governor not showing any haste is settiling the issues stemming from the resignation of O Paneerselvam, Sasikala took all her MLAs hered them in three luxury buses and sequestered them in an exclisive resort on the East Coast Road near Mahabalipuram.

I venture to speculate that the corruption cases against Sashikala will come back to haunt her. Her faction thought that having the position of Chief Minister will protect her. This is very unlikely. Paneerslevam though much weakened as he rebelled only after his own position had become untenable may continue for some time more. Tamil Nadu is heading for a mid term poll.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Modi's Financial Gamble: Did Demonetization Succeed or was it a Failure

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

On November 8th 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi  announced a slew of measures which amounted to a drastic overhaul of the existing financial structure: The demonetization of the 500 and 1000 rupee notes. The legal basis for this policy is certainly questionable as macro economic policy comes squarely under the jurisdiction of the Reserve Bank of India and the RBI may have been consulted. However, the suddenness of the policy and effective manner in which it was implemented took everyone by surprise. What were the objectives of this measure:

First and foremost the unaccounted wealth, called Black Money in India, was becoming alarming huge. Some estimate that the parallel unaccounted economy was almost as large as the legitimate economy and was getting interfaced with high crime, political crime. Since unaccounted wealth was increasing and the tax paying population of India was extremely small, the Central Government had to find new sources of revenue. The upcoming Seventh Pay Commission would impose a huge financial burden on the economy and the One Rank One Pension introduced by the Modi Government would need a huge outlay. With tax revenue constant and expenditure increasing, the Government had necessarily to widen the tax net. The Finance Ministry under Arun Jaitley had imposed a number of measure, including amnesty for tax dodgers, but very little black money was disgorged. With one fell swoop the parallel economy was laid waste and this is a huge gain for India.

Second, the infrastructure projects needed investments and the flow of investment into India by way of foreign investment is not all that encouraging. A number of important projects like the High Speed Railway projects, the Sagar mala por project, the National Highway Scheme need funds and one way of freeing funds for infrastructural investment is to tap into the huge hordes of illegal wealth trapped within the country. It has been estimated that more than 250 lakh crores has now been freed and has flowed into the banking system. The Government wisely allowed hoarders of black money to deposit their illegal wealth in the banks and many did so thinking that once the banks have received the cash, black money is converted to white. Such financial alchemy was not on Modi's mind. The accounts in which monies have been deposited will now be investigated andit is hoped that with the GST rolling out from April this year, the tax base of the Government will also increase as the Government of India has to compensate the loss incurred by the states for a period of 5 years. Therefore, the objective of identifying potential tax payers has also been met.

There has been some criticism, especially the corrupt and criminal dynastic fascist party, the Congress about the demonetization policy. There was a major disruption in the financial sector in the wake of Modi's demonetization. The cash crunch caused a paralysis in the economy. Banks were restricted to a maximum payment of 2,000 rupees per individual. ATMs ran out of cash and many, nearly 59% of the cash machines have not been calibrated  to handle the new 500 and 2000 notes. Even till today cash withdrawal is restricted to 24,000 per account per week. This restriction was sold as an incentive to migrate to a digital economy with e payments and non material payments through credit/debit cards ect. However, the migration to a cashless economy is proving very difficult as internet access and literacy is limited.

The long queues at the banks did lead to needless suffering and at least 140 persons died while standing in bank queues. The opposition raised a hue and cry over this as though the corrupt dynastic fascists have ever been interested in the welfare of people. However, the situation ahs eased and now the queues in the banks is almost nonexistent.

Will this policy yield the desired political benefits. Though there was considerable difficulties, the ordinary India who is tired of the corruption and the venality have applauded the policy of Modi. It is no exaggeration to say that demonetization, though of limited economic success is a resounding political victory

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tamil Nadu after Jayalalitaa: Politcs of uncertainity and despair

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

December 6th 2016 witnessed a political funeral  in Chennai, the like of which remains unprecedented. Jayalalithaa was laid to rest on the sands of Marina Beach along aside her political mentor, M G Ramachandran. A Brahmin woman being buried and not being cremated raised eyebrows and the large presence of the Manargudi Mafia in the ceremonies pertaining to the funeral of the Chief Minister did not go down well with the public. However, the treatment given to Deepa, the daughter of the brother of Ms Jajalalithaa was deplorable. She was made to wait a few hours in the rain outside Apollo Hospital to catch a glimpse of her aunt and was turned away by the security. Funerals are very revealing. The present one has already shown that the ruling didpensation in the AIADMK does not want to share the space with the family of the late Chief Minister.

Jayalalithaa was a cinematic icon before she left the arc lights to join politics under the mentorship of MGR. In the Madurai Conference of the AIADMK in 1983, MGR symbolically handed the torch to Jayalalithaa there by indicating that after him the leadership would pass on to his leading lady. Both had acted in nearly 60 films together and the chemistry between them sizzled on the screen. In 1984, Jaylalithaa was elected to the Rajya Sabha and she spent a full term there. This exposure to National politics stood her in good stead as she acquired a national visibility even before she became the leader of the Party in Tamil Nadu after the death of MGR in December 1987.

Jayalalithaa became Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 when she swept into power on the wave created by the revulsion towards the DMK for its alleged proximity to the LTTE. The DMK has not been able to shke off the perception that it allowed the LTTE to take root in Tamil Nadu and the massacre in Kodambakkam only reinforced that opnion. The subsequent death of Durai who was the DGP at the time of the LTTE killings created an aura of suspicion. Her first term was marred by large scale corruption and disregard to the political consequences flowing from her decisions. The sacking of Government servants who participated in a strike was very unpopular and it ensured the total defeat of the AIADMK in the Lok Sabha elections. Being a consummate politician she made tactical alliances even with inveterate opponents like Vai Gopalaswami (Vai Ko) as he is known today, Vijay Kant and others.

In 2011 Jayalalithaa came back to power with a huge majority and in 2016 she was returned to power. And she in the only Tamil politician after MGR who has managed this feat. This term was marked by populist schemes like the AMMA branded schemes, AMMA Canteens, AMMA Cement, Amma Pharmacy, AMMA Water etc., These schemes were hugfely popular and cemented her alliance with the electorate in a manner that had not happened before. In 2014, she was convicted and I believe wrongly, in a dis  proportionate assets case in the trial court at Banglore and spent 21 days in jail. Her health strted taking a tailspin since then and Jayalalithaa never recovered for the treatment meted out to her in Bangalore Jail. It is likely that her health issues were deliberately neglected by the jail authorities at the behest of certain political lobbies. In any event having the Chief Minister of a State being prosecuted by another state government is hardly constitutional.

Jayalalithaa will be remembered as a politician who had a link with the elctorate a magical bond that transcended caste, religion and language.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Revolt of the "Deplorables": Trump's Electoral Victory Analysed

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Hilary Clinton famously describes Donald Trump's supporters as a "basket of deplorables". A few years back, in more politically incorrect and honest times the phrase may have been a lot more colourful" Poor White Trash. Surprisingly Trump's supporters took that label as a badge of honour and wore it on their bumper stickers and hats. Unfortunately the irony was lost on Hilary Clinton and her self righteous crew. Donal Trump triumphed not only against the Democratic Party nominee, Hilary Clinton but also against a whole slew of vested interests and institutions arrayed against him. He fought against his own party establishment which did not take kindly to an interloper gate crashing into the Nomination process. He fought against 16 other rivals and except for the elegant and honourable Dr Ben Carson, none of his rivals wholeheartedly endorse or support his candidature. Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, was constantly carping about the rise and rise of Donald J Trump. He fought against the White dominated corporate media which projected such a negative image of him, that Donal Trump appeared a caricature to the rest of the world. His statements were viciously torn apart and the debate was more on the language and rhetoric rather than the substance of what he said. The Media in the USA, both Print and Electronic, has not covered itself in glory as the rest of the world sees it as a handmaiden of American political and strategic interests. The complicity of the US media in the Iraq WMD scandal to a large extent dented the image of USA as having a free and fearless press. Negative propaganda, character assassination, innuendo, exaggerated and distorted projection of Donald Trump's alleged character flaws were all dished out and we were expected to lap this up as wisdom from the high table. And it is here that the Revolt of the Deprorables is important.

Hilary Clinton took American Exceptionalism as given. Her public utterances revolved around the messianic goal of USA to transform the whole world after its own image. It is less important to her that the rest of the world does not want to be a split image of USA. Her own incompetence in the chosen arena of foreign policy was apparent in the monumental mishandling of the Libyan Crisis. A prosperous, stable and fairly progressive state was brought to the brink of barbarism by USA and its surrogates operating under the shadow of the Arab League. Her use of the private E mail server even as she worked as Secretary of State violated American Law and in all probability Obama will protect her by issuing a Presidential pardon before he leaves office. Her association  with Clinton Foundation and the contribution raised from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Easter tyrant states shws that she was not above board as all the monies raised were when she was heading Foggy Bottom. a clear case of conflict of interest. Yet the media kept quiet and even when the FBI director told the Press that she was under investigation, the corporate media framed the issue as though the Secret Police was interfering with the democratic process. At the end of the day the "deplorables' saw trough all this and did not endorse her.

Donal Trump on the other hand was faced with an uphill task. He was caricatured from the very start. His business deals were paraded in public as though he had made money the wrong way and his reluctance to open his tax returns to scrutiny was made out as a sinister confirmation of fraud. The rather sad and unpleasant episode of Trump University was given a great deal of play. The Whitewate scandal and the large number of people who were killed investigating Hilary and Bill Clinton was not talked about. Even the sexual escapades of Bill, Clinton's husband, were ignored. Worse, the fact that WikiLeaks clearly exposed the underhand manner in which the candidature of Bernie Sanders was subverted, was not discussed in the press at all. It is now clear as daylight that had Bernie Sanders won the nomination, there was a possibility   of victory. Covert means were used to undermine the democratic process and Julian Assange had exposed the entire tranche of emails from the DNC.

All the problems afflicting the Clinton campaign were laid at the door step of Russia. Instead of asking Hilary Clinton why she was cheating, the Press went after Putin as if he was the cause of the problem. Shooting the messenger has always been the medicine of failed tyrants.

Why did Donald Trump win? The USA of today is tired of wars and foreign adventurism . US intervention in the Middle East has resulted in the destruction of an entire region and more than a million deaths can be attributed directly to US invasion of the region. Trump did address the issue of Islamic Terrorism and he wants to insulate USA from the backlash of American Invasion. Maybe his methods and strategies have not been articulated in a meaningful way but to brand his approach as Islamophobic is suicidal. Islamic Terrorism is a fact of life and USA cannot ignore the elephant in the room. And Hilary Clinon's astute use of Identity Politics also came a cropper. Dividing the entire population into demographic groups, ethnic groups, color coded groups may have been OK thirty years ago. But now with the decline in US economy and  the growing ill effects of globalization on the American Working class, the Economy is in shambles.

Donald Trump was able to connect with the American people because he had his finger on the pulse of America. Jobs, Security and Social Welfare were the main concerns.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Search for the Bones of Queen Ketevan

TheA look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The Ruins of the Agustinian Church

On September 22, 1624, Shah Abbas I, the Safavid ruler of Persia had Queen Ketevan killed and subjecting her to horrific unspeakable torture. She died firm in her belief in her faith, and she was canonized  by the Roman Catholic Church in 1824. Her life and, more importantly, her afterlife is stirring and evokes a sense of awe/ Was her apparent "martyrdom" a political act designed to strengthen her son.s tenuous hold on the throne of Kekhetia, one of the warring principalities of medieval Georgia. Or was it an act of supreme defiance a la Antigone: whose law is supreme--the Law of one Conscience or the Dictates of an earthly ruler. We will never know the answer and probably, the Queen herself may not have been able to answer this question. The fact is that several centuries after her terrible death,an apotheosis is underway and the Queen is emerging as a symbol of Georgian Nation and her death is now being appropriated to push forward a national identity.
The Belfry of the Church
The Tower
Medieval Georgia was a shimmering mirage of quarreling "little kings"and politically ambitious monks and priests. Ketevan herself seems to have been instrumental in using her family to have the reigning king of Kakhetia, Konstantine assasinated and this led to her son Teimuraz I ascending the throne. King Teimuraz I (1589-1663)wrote a poem on his mother.s martyrdom, ThePassion of Queen Ketevanwhich is generally regarded as a National Epic of Georgia. His turbulent reign saw the killing of his two sons at the hands of Shah Abbas I (1587-1629) and the execution of his mother and in a sudden unexpected efflorescence of poetic inspiration composed the poem which recounts in great detail and feeling the treatment meted out to his mother. Interestingly, the tone and persona adopted by the King-Poet was one of irony and he does not condemn either the Governor of Shiraz, theImam Quli Khan who carried out the order of the Shah or the Safavid ruler himself. And this absence of rancour has raised this poem to the ranks on one of the great poetical compositions of medieval world literature.

The Tower that I have illustrated on the left is the only standing structure of the Augustinian Church which was constructed in the early seventeenth century in Goa. The last few years of her life, Queen Ketevan  had tqo Augustinian friars who acted as her confessors. It is certain that after her execution these two priests smuggled her relics to Goa and had them interred in the transept next to the Altar on what was referred to as the Epistle side of the Altar.
Goa State and Central Library

The Augustinan Church and its associated complex of buildings were regarded asthe most magnificent buildings in Goa. They were constructed atop the Holy Hill, close to the Office of the Grand Inquisitor who carried out his nefarious work from the Se Cathedral. After the religious orders were disbanded in Goa, the building was abandoned and by 1850 it lay in ruin. The Altar was overlaid with vegetation and the whole building covered with bushes, rubble and fallen masonry. Locating the Altar, the Transept and the Window to the right of the Altar was not easy as there was no plan of the structure. The original building plan and other documents were destroyed in the Great Fire of Lisbon in 1755 after the Earthquake which devastated the Kingdom.

Fortunately a historian called Antonio da Silva Rego had made detailed record of the tombstones in the Cathedral based on two earlier chronicles of the Augustinian Church. The complete set of documents are preserved with great care in the Goa State and Central Library. The Curator of the Portuguese Collection, Dr Carlos Fernandes is a man of great erudition and dedication and he shared the collection with me. In volume XII pg 92, this chronicler of the Salarzarist regime has faiffully recorded that the bones of "Reino Ghatiavanda" were located on the second window to the right of the Altar.

In 1998 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and when Georgia became independent, the then Government approached the Government of India for help in locating the bones of Queen Ketevan. The Archaelogical Survey of India, Goa Circle, under Mohammad Taher conducted the excavations and close to the exact spot mentioned in the records of Sila Rego were found the bones of a woman. A long femur wasuncovered and DNA analysis has shown that the bones belonged to a woman from Central Asia. The exact DNA is shared by less than one percent of the Indian population and more than 35% of the Georgian Population. Of course there can be no 100% identication unless the DNA is matched with that of a living descendant of the Queen.