News meeows - 20

Are the attacks in various cities of Pakistan a holocaust?

Pakistan Human Rights Commission chairperson Asma Jehangir said the government failed to get its act together despite an intelligence report about an impending terror strike. “People of Pakistan are going through a holocaust. They are suffering high levels of trauma and stress due to sheer helplessness. Deep down they know they are in for a long haul,” Jehangir said.

What are these intelligence reports? Our subcontinent is known for intelligence reports that are either vague or come out in the open after such attacks. Media reports are careless, to say the least:

The Frankenstein’s monster unleashed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence struck back at its creator as suspected Taliban terrorists detonated a car bomb near the ISI office in Lahore, and gunmen opened fire at the guards.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the authorities said it was in retaliation to the anti-Taliban offensive in the country’s northwest. “This is a reprisal from the Taliban after their defeat in Swat,’’ interior minister Rehman Malik said. “Baitullah Mehsud (Pakistani Taliban chief) had threatened to attack major cities after the Swat operation.’’ He said the militants were on the run and had no option but to lay down arms.

Does Mr. Malik not realise that if militants are on the run and so scared of the government, how could they target a part of its own organisation? The Taliban is the creation of the ISI? If this is a certainty, then the government can disband it, right? And nothing will happen? I do not understand how the current regime is managing to get away with so much credit for its “anti-Taliban offensive” when it has destabilised the country.

Voluntary agencies have a propensity for playing along when the powers involved are so-called democratic forces.

Now, we are told that media reports think it was probably an attempt to free Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, who is under house arrest after the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai and was to be produced before a local court not far from the attack site.

Do you see how completely confusing these messages are? The Taliban was not involved in the Mumbai attacks. These are just tactics to deflect from the main issue – the Pakistan government had created this monster and is answerable to its masters elsewhere.

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The Slumdog Millionaire actors are getting on my nerves. Every other day there is some story. One thing is for sure. The film will remain in the public eye for longer than it deserves to be. No one ever bothered about what happened to the kids who acted in Salaam Bombay. The producers had also started a trust but its main actor got nothing and is now, I believe, an autorickshaw driver.

Mohammed Azharuddin and Rubina Qureshi have been endorsing products, are being feted by political leaders, the state government has given them some property, and a voluntary organisation is giving them Rs. 6,500 for monthly expenses. And what happened to that Qatar businessman who came to sponsor Rubina’s education?

What is going on? If at all, the film’s producers should have paid the kids a proper amount and been done with it. Why the tamasha of a trust, homes? What happened to the tale about Rubina’s father willing to ‘sell off’ his daughter? I think that was a plant to get sympathy and maybe prop up the film. You think Danny Boyle has returned to Mumbai to save these kids? From what?

And then our government and people will feel all so sad. Damn. Has anyone realised that when the Garib Nagar slums were bulldozed there were other families there too? Did anyone read the report of the Sanjay Gandhi Nagar slumdwellers who were given housing and sold those flats? That was a huge racket and it is fairly common. What is actor Gerard Butler doing visiting them? If Hollywood is so concerned, someone can just take them there. They are the business of their employers, not of the Government of India or the state or NGOs.

If the establishment wants to help them then they will have to help all slumdwellers. The GOI has not produced the film. The GOI has not benefitted from it. The GOI is not in the business of selective choices. There are no reservations yet for those who star in international films. The GOI has responsibilities towards all citizens.

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The Dalai Lama has offered $100,000 and his help fundraising to prevent the planned closure of an imperilled religion department at a Florida university after receiving an emailed plea for a letter of support from a longtime acquaintance on the faculty.

Great. One more international personality that makes the headlines always. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual head of a community based in a specific location. His people have been fighting for the right to a homeland. They are refugees in India. He has got his own shop set up in Dharamsala and until recently pretty much decided how much bhai-bhai we could do with China.
He is pretty cut off from many of his own as this piece I wrote shows.

Why is he trying to save a department of religion? What is so great about it? Obviously, no one cares enough for it. So what are they trying to prevent from folding up? What is the source of the Dalai Lama’s funds? Is it his job to help in fund-raising drives when Tibetans have to go on strike and suffer huge losses whenever they need to protest against something or the other by the Chinese authorities?

Where are all those Hollywood followers who embraced Buddhism? They are closer to Florida or is the clinch only for convenience when they can show off their robes and their beatific expressions and make those mandatory gestures to claim His Holiness as their superstar?


  1. I feel sorry for the men in the lives of Asma Jahangir and Medha Patkar and Arundhati roy ....they all seem to be missing a chill bone

  2. Manish:

    We have disagreed in the past and we will disagree now. I am most certainly critical of two of these women at certain times and you may be at all times for different reasons. Yet, I don't see why you have to reduce them to just their gender. I have been through worse comments in the foulest language and I find it completely unfair, to use a polite word. You have heard about these women and not the men in their lives. That should tell you something about their qualifications, whatever be the merits of them.

    Do you feel sorry for the women in the lives of Advani, Modi, Rushdie or whoever gets your hackles up?

    Think about it.

    Who knows? These women might also prove to be better drinking buddies than these bozos

  3. Hellos .....
    I didnt think thru Gender prespective at all ....agreed ...should have thought thru a lil deeper ....I seriously feel sorry for women in the lives of Modia nd Rishdie ...but that being said ...there are zillions of babas and thaila wala social workers ...who miss the basic point of evolution thru change ...good or bad is just incidental ....

    On difference of opinion ...I quote prof ManiMala at IIMB ...Talented People think alike and genuises always have unique points of view :)

  4. Haanji, theek hai...it came across that way and I had to bring it to your notice!

    I am no fan of thailewallas/waalis; many are plain hypocrites.

    Talented People think alike and genuises always have unique points of view :)What if you are a talented genius?


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