Thursday, June 28, 2012
A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and booksThe Indian outsourcing Industry has already become a hot subject of debate in the American presidential elections. Obama keeps screaming that the Indians are taking away jobs from Americans and US comapnies are getting tax breaks for shipping "jobs" overseas. I do not know whether there is truth in this argument but I do know that the Indian "soft ware" industry is becoming too intense a space for some of the young people from backward social and economic classes to handle. Let me explain. Companies like the famous INFOSYS, Cognizant, TCS among others are all doing bit jobs for the US service sector; and ofcourse it earns India nearly 169 billion US dollars every year. Young Indians straight out of college, most of them first generation educated from small towns study courses tailor msde for this sector: in Indian Universities we offer courses like MCA (Masters in Computer Applications) MS in Information Technology and B Tech Electrical and Electronic Engeneering. All these courses are all body shop courses tailor made to qualify young Indians to work in the only growth sector in the indian economy viz. the service sector more specifically the soft ware sector. The young men and women who enter the job market find themselves in secure jobs and they earn by Indian standards lots of money:cars, fast track life, pubs, night life are all part and parcel of the social life of a young Indian. In conservative India where marriages are still "arranged" with parents consent, the soft ware professionals are pioneers in "living together" and recently ther Domestic Violence Bill was amended by the indian parliament to ensure a semblance of legality to such live in relationships should they fracture and end in domestic abuse and violence. I am saying all this to drive home the argument that the ready and steady cash together with the target oriented stressed filled lives has resulted in "soft ware' professionals both men and women taking drugs and alcholol as stress busters. Add to this is the attraction of foreigh travel and assignments. In my younger days we could dream of seeing the USA only if we went there for the Ph D program as I did. Nowadays "software" professionals travel quite easily to several locations during the course of the year. Stressed work atmosphere, fairly comfortable disposable income, limited education (by education I do not mean a degree from self financing institutions) and first generation up ward mobility particularly from ths SC segment of the Indian population and the Backward sections has resulted in creating a personality which is driven vy violence. Software professionals kill in the most brutal and calculaterd manner. An employee of INFOSYS killed his wife when she was expecting thieir first child, another killed his wife and hid her body in a freezer for nearly 7 months another drove his car to the outskrits of Mysore and tried to burn his wifes body in the car itself. Such examples can be multipled. Young semi-literate Indian men possessing MCA and such technical qualifications fill the high tech cubicles of the soft ware segment. From this benighted class we have one particular individual: Pawan Kumar Anjaiah an employee of Cognizant one of the several bodyshops of the Indian software industry. He was sent to New Jersey in March 2012 from Bangalore, Karnataka. Yes the very palce that gave a new verb to American English "banglored" meaning losing ther job because of out sourcing. This young man seems to have come from the typical lower middle class which is upwardly mobile has the right caste credentials to get Education loans, bank guarntees and socially engineered admission to Engeneering Colleges. This man men a young American woman Danielle Melhalm who was a teacher in a schooland thr mother of a 4 year old boy. Apparently he was either infactuated with her or caught the wrong signals from this man. Pawan Kumar took her to a motel in Delaware and killed her in the most brutal manner. Hert bbody bearing more than 30 stab injuries. This man bought s lsrge meat cleaver from the local department store in the morning which clearly proves his intention to kill. He took her to the motel killed her and fled. The CCTV both in the Motel and in the Deparment Store caught his picture and soon the US law enorcement was on his trail. In India he would have called up a politicallyn powerful MP from his OBC caste and thr police would just ignore the crime. Probably he was used to this tradition of law enorcemnet. In anycase when he heard from the local Television channel that the police had traked him down he killed himself by consuming sleeping pills. This is the real story. The Indian media, as usual tried to black out the fact that Pawn was a criminal who had killed a woman. The media tried to make it appear as if an innocent Indian who had met an unfortunate death in the USA was being hounded by the authorities even after death. I am writing this blog to educate all my readers about the truth. My suggestions: US Embassy must do the background check on soft ware professionals. This particular boy has had a reputation of violence even in his college days. Comapnies sending their employees overseas must teach them the fundamentals of US culture. Americans interact in a different manner and semi-literate Indians might get the wrong cues.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books Pakistan at best is a state trying to imitate the protocols of democracy with all the external trappings: it has a written constitution, a bi-cameral legislature, a senate, a cabinet and a supreme court. In the history of Pakistan the Judiciary has at best played a passive role and has not stood up to the Army which is breathing down the necks of people. During the 1970s we saw the ugly spectacle of Shri Zulfikar Ali Bhutto being sentenced to death and hanged on ther most flimsy of grounds. The Pakistani Judiciary was nand in glove with Zia-ul-Naq's regime and carried out a judicial assasination. Till this day there are doubts about the legality of the process and until the Supreme Court overturns the Bhutto judgement it cannot be called "supreme". President Asaf Ali Zardari, the beneficiary of his wife's brutal killing is known to be corrupt and like our criminal politicians has stashed away money in Swiss banks. There is no doubt about that. However as President of Pakistan he does enjoy immunity from procecution and this principle of immunity is a well known aspect of political and legal theory. In fact the history of this principle goes back to the English Civil War when Cromwell decided to have Charles I executed for treason, high crimes and misdemenours. "Cut off his head with the crown on it" Cromwell is said to have remarked when his attention was drawn to the "immunity" enjoyed by the Crown. Now thew Prime Minister of Pakistan is responsible to Parliament and not to the Supreme Court. The chief Justice of Pakistan, Iktihar Choudhary is no stranger to factional and institutional squabbles. The same PPP which today has fallen victim to the judicial coup of the chief Justice supported the agitation for ther reinstatement of this Judge when he was sacked by the former Presideny thr wise and sagacious Parvez Musharaf, the best Presideny Pakistan has ever had. Now the PPP must be rueing its own stupidity when it is hoist on its own petard. Of course, action must be taken to bring back the ill gotten wealth and Pakistan could learn a lesson or two from India. Here we have a Mahatma called Baba Ramdev who is inspiring the people to fight corruption. In Pakistan the mad mullahs who run the country will not let any civil society movement take root. So you will only have army coups, judicial coups and palace coups in Pakistan. The removal of the Prime Minister Yousaf Ali Gelani will certainly weaken the roots of an already withering Democracy. The USA is launching drone strikes by the dozens against targets in Pakistan killing a large number of militants and scores of civilians. This judicial coup will only make matters worse for the political class.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books In most parts of the world children learn the alphabet by association letter A with "Apple" or something innocent. In parts of the world children learn the alphabet by reciting A is for AK-47 and D is for "Drone". USA has emerged as the world largest and most determined practitioner of "play station warfare" in which operators sitting in gaming consoles in Fairfax, Virginia, determine who should live and who should die in parts of the non-white world--particularly Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. While George W Bush started using drones to target al-Qaeda operatives, it was the present President Barack Obama who expanded the scope and intensity of drone attacks. Not a week passes without a drone attack and in each strike scores of civilians are killed and USA has no answer for the large scale destruction of human lives it is causing in parts of the non-White world. The rhetoric of Islamic Terrorism is sometimes deployed to obscure the fact that the victims of the drone attacks are non-white, non-combatants for the most part. Now there are people who argue that drone attacks are a variant of "targetted assasinations" and Israel is known to have used this method. In the case of Israel we can say that there are mitigating circumastances and even targetted assasinations are launched only after the identity of the chosen victim has been firmly identified. In the case of Israel there has been only one case of mistaken identity so far and Israel uses its field operatives to carry out the strikes. To the best of my knowledge Israel has not used drones though it drops bomb on Gaza whenever its airforce needs target practice. So I ma making out a distiction between targetted killings ordered by the State and massive, extensive and non discriminatory killing by drones. The US constitution does not empower its Commander-in-chief to order the killing of human beings on the presumption that they are "Islamic terrorists". In fact pre-emptive attack is explicitly outlawer by International law. So far nearly 3,000 persons have been killed by drone attacks and over 80% of the victims were civilain non combatants. USA has a term for such casualities" Collateral damage. USA has been less than honest in its public statements about the casualities of drone warfare. All males from 1 year to 100 years are counted as "terrorists" and by this ingenous calculation declares to the rest of the world that its drones have largely killed terrorists. In fact if USA kills terrorists by the truck load no one will complain, least of all this blogger. However, the vast majority of those killed happen to be combatnats. In fact, George W Bush was far more circumspect in his use of drones and he ordered during the course of 8 years less than a dozen strikes. Now Barack Obama has extended the definition of drone warfare to include suspicious pattern of activity. This expansion in the definition of the policy has resulted in several social gatherings being targetted. The mountain people of Waziristan and Afghanistan being a rumbustious lot often fire their weapons in the air as a sign ofsocial acceptance. This kind of exuberance has often led to the wedding celebrations being targetted. The result large scale death and a devastated society. And Barack Obama had critisised precisely the drone strikes of President Bush during his campaign and now it appears that Obama is Bush on steriods as David Miller observed. Drone warfare has extended the powers of the US president to each and every part of the world and no one is safe. The lack of accountability in the execution of drone warfare is another disturbing feature. A group of middle level NIA operatives prepare a list of potential targets and there is absolutely no Congressional or political scrutiny over the entire process. I request the US Congress to hold special hearings on Drone Warfare and let the Obama Administration explain to the American people the guidelines on the basis of which targets are delected and the political oversight, if any on the actual process of carrying out the attacks. The drone warfare has turned into a publicity bonanza for the al-qaeds and its affiliates because with each strike the number of potential recruits keeps rising.