Not the End of Afzal Guru: Politicians as hangmen:

“I only asked for pardon to stop millions of Kashmiri people hitting the streets. If I am hanged, I would take it as a sacrifice towards the people of Kashmir.”

 – Afzal Guru in 2008

The state has imposed curfew in the Valley. Early this morning, Afzal Guru was hanged to death.  It was a silent operation. He will be buried in Tihar Jail. This is to ensure that there is no backlash.

This is probably the worst mistake the UPA has made. If it wants ‘peace’, it should not have announced it at all. This is a government of hangmen. Of course, there are political compulsions. I wonder whether our Congress Prince also wants the blessings of some seers at the Kumbh Mela.  

Some might say that Afzal’s plea for clemency was already rejected, so it was only a matter of time. For this, we need to revisit several important events, including the crucial fact that his case was never a watertight one.

  • The prosecution produced 80 witnesses. None of them even mentioned that the four persons accused of conspiring to attack the Parliament have any link to any illegal or banned organisation. All of them were acquitted of charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

  • If Afzal was a surrendered militant how would the Pak-based JeM use him?

  • His confessions were made under conditions of torture and the police made him implicate himself before the media.

  • One of the other accused, Prof. S.A.R. Geelani, was framed on the basis of forged documents and fabricated evidence. After his acquittal, he has been speaking out and giving details about the conditions under which prisoners in the high risk cells are kept. The National Human Rights Commission instead of investigating the allegations closed the case filed by Mr Geelani on the ground that the jail authorities have denied the charges.

In 2001, the NDA government was in power; they did nothing. Now, the BJP is gloating and complaining about the delay in the hanging.

The history

They entered Parliament. They managed to get a sneak look into the House (watch the TV pictures of the terrorist taken from inside Parliament). Mr. L.K.Advani said it was a fidayeen attack - if they could do this in the USA, then why not us? But, there were air strikes on the Pentagon and Twin Towers – here you had these fellows driving in, coming out of their vehicles and managing to get close to three gates. And they were just five men. Anyone who has visited Parliament, and I have, knows that there is a huge security cordon at all times and more so when Parliament is in session.

Yet, in 2008, Afzal had said, “I really wish LK Advani becomes India's next prime minister as he is the only one who can take a decision and hang me. At least my pain and daily suffering would ease then…I have also requested that till the time they (government) take a decision, they shift me to a Kashmir jail.”

He did not consider the undertrials, little kids, old men, who have been arrested on fake charges (sometimes not even that courtesy was extended; they were just hauled up) who waiting for justice for years. At that time, he was reading India wins freedom by Maulana Azad about the country's independence movement. The Kashmiris would not quite get it, the Kashmiris who he was fighting for.

There is too much politics, and even terrorists were forced to play it.

The politics

Every few months the Afzal Guru mercy petition was brought out for airing. In 2011, the government advised the President to reject his plea. Everybody likes a nice linear structure, and no one better than the media. The Times of India had written:

“Guru, along with some others, was accused of plotting the audacious attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001 in which a group of jihadis came very close to wiping out India’s political brass. The aggression almost provoked an Indo-Pak war, with India mobilizing troops along the border to force Pakistan to cut its support to terror groups.”

This is plain over-the-top dramatic. Where are the points about how a group can enter Parliament? Let us also not forget that Professor S.A.R. Geelani was arrested for being part of the “group of jihadis” but had to be released.

And here is the precious sanctimonious ‘TIMES VIEW’ that ends in a typically foolish manner:

“As a philosophy, this paper is opposed to the death penalty. One of the very few exceptions we make is with terrorists—when guilt is beyond the shadow of a doubt. Guru execution will take weight off Cong back.”

It will be interesting to see some turncoat behaviour now. I am particularly curious about Dr Farooque Abdullah’s stand. Back in 2006 he had said:

“You want to hang him? Go ahead and hang him. But the consequences of hanging him must also be remembered. One of the consequences will be... we have paid the price of Maqbool Butt’s hanging by the judge who was shot in Kashmir. Those judges will need to be protected like anything.”

Judges have been shot at in courtrooms by goondas and the underworld too. And people in the public eye in controversial cases are always at risk. That is the reason our country has Z or is it “Zzzzz” security.

He also said the nation would go up in flames. This was the language Bal Thackeray used all the time, and of course everyone just indulged him; some even felt he was right.

What now?

Omar Abdullah has no choice but to be calm, call for calm.

In September 2011, he was trapped between the BJP and the Hurriyat. At any other time it would have been a wonderful place to be in, berated by two extremist groups. Unfortunately for him, their reasons for putting him on the mat were vastly different.

The chief minister was quoted from Twitter as saying: "If the J&K assembly had passed a resolution similar to the one in Tamil Nadu on Afzal Guru would the reaction have been as muted? I think not."

The death penalty for Rajiv Gandhi's killers has been delayed by state intervention. This is unusual.

Omar is right in that there are different standards. Interestingly, the muted reaction he was complaining about has agitated people and 'unmuted' them. The BJP is going hoarse with sudden concern for Rajiv Gandhi. (They are quiet over the acquittal of Haren Pandya's killers. Pandya was a BJP man who later had a fallout with Modi.)

The BJP uses the phrase "sovereignty of the nation" rather loosely. Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, unfortunate as it was, had its own dynamics that had to do with policy. The LTTE is not an Indian organisation, although it has its supporters. Such support results in huge electoral gains.

The BJP is worried about this aspect. After all, Priyanka Gandhi had met Nalini, one of her father's killers, in Vellore jail in 2008. The death verdict was given 11 years ago. Why did the BJP not put pressure to expedite it as they have done on a regular basis in the case of Afzal Guru, an Indian?

Omar Abdullah was pointing out the double standards, and one should see this as part of a thriving democracy that we are so chuffed about, with people out in the street.

However, the Hurriyat's Mirwaiz Omar Farooq had wondered why if he was so concerned about Afzal did he not resign. Again, this was missing the wood for the trees situation.

Omar Abdullah was in fact speaking as a political leader and expressing the helpless predicament of dealing with Kashmir. He chose the wrong forum to do so.

A few 'other' questions too need to be asked:

1. Would he raise the issue in the J&K assembly?

2. If so, would it mean he is doing so on humanitarian grounds or on a legal/factual basis?

3. If the latter, then would he risk providing possible loopholes?

4. How often do fake encounters figure in the assembly?

5. Does exposing political hypocrisy - I am assuming the muted reference was to politicians - enough?

This is a question for all parties. We do live in times when terrorists too have a vote bank, that is those who are not behind establishment-buffered terror.

Answers need to be sought in the right place, unless the 'people's movement' has seeped into the system's bones. In that case, stone-pelters should be excused.

(c) Farzana Versey 


Much of these are sourced from my previous articles/posts


  1. FV,

    1. I will let you know if there is a vacancy for a judge's chair in Supreme Court. Alternatively, would you be interested in a similar chair in Allah's court on Judgment Day?

    2. There is nothing to either rejoice or lament in the hanging of Afzal Guru. Firstly, he got his just desserts. Secondly, Congress proved that all they worry about is votes and that they have no principles, ideals or scruples. If Ram Mandir got them votes, the Prince and the Queen would lead the Kar Sewa. Thirdly, the virulent Jihadi Hindu-hating mentality is alive and kicking. Afzal's end will in no way affect the sick minds that approve killing in the name of Islam.

    3. The 'consequences' of Guru's execution, if any, is a price that India must be prepared to pay. We have been scaring people with this bogey for too long.

  2. One down finally . Good job Mr. President., but still a lot more standing in the line. Let's hurry up.

    1. Why to start with those who are mere suspects

  3. The death verdict was given 11 years ago. Why did the BJP not put pressure to expedite it as they have done on a regular basis in the case of Afzal Guru, an Indian?

    a point well taken, but what is the gain for BJP, they always think they need to be very strong against the terrorist but when the going gets tough they would not hesitate to escort them personally to Kandahar - the illusion of principal is so deluded for this party

  4. I feel Farzana's pain. Commiserations and sincere condolences.

  5. +1 on Raghav above.

    Somehow this case does not "feel right" anymore.

    The much delayed & non procedural(?), secret execution, makes it even more doubtful. WTF "The family was informed by speed post" ? Seems completely asnine.

    Some of the more direct evidence folks who are on death row may still manage to get away due to political backing. Worse characters have escaped the death row. Wish this one was commuted to life...
    Anjali Mody's article is a scary one for a democracy. This could happen to anybody. : http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/unanswered-questions-are-the-remains-of-the-day/article4397789.ece

    I think it was President Abdul Kalam who said that " In India only the poorest get hung". So darn sad and true...

    P.S Full confession: I "used to be" one of those who believed that Afzal must go to the gallows.

  6. Does everything have to be related to politics of vote bank , Can someone tell me what about the people who have died when parliament was attacked . if Kashmir wanted independence let hem fight in Kashmir , and not in other states ,

  7. FV,

    Interesting quote from the now dead terrorist.

    “I only asked for pardon to stop millions of Kashmiri people hitting the streets. If I am hanged, I would take it as a sacrifice towards the people of Kashmir.”

    How touching that a fellow who consorted with armed terrorists that tried to make a statement by attacking the Republic (even if a Banana repulic in reality) speaks of the people of kashmir, as if they are one monolithic entity.

    I call India a Banana republic, because, as you point out, the political party in power has executed this person to win brownie points in the next election, even if this decision is to the overall detriment of the republic...not much different from the banana republic that Robert Mugabe controls, among many others of his ilk.

    The question really is, which is the audience in J&K that this terrorist was addressing. One man's terrorist is another man's inspiration etc., but this terrorist used every chance he got to inspire others to "take to the streets" to commit violence.

    ....but hard to feel any empathy for the religious bigots in J&K that have driven their own neighbours and friends out to live in refugee camps, and then speak of "injustice from state forces" etc. Bigots need to feel the pain of their bigotry for everyone to move away from bigotry of any kind in the long term.

    The one good thing is that keep AG around is a recipe for another Kandahar type hijacking in the making down the line to release him, putting the Indian govt. in a worse situation than it is now after committing the execution, so maybe executing him now does some good, even if for all the wrong reasons.


  8. Al

    AG was a "turned militant". One could argue that.

    Death for holding a different view alone is a bit too much in a democracy. There are so many F***ed up politicians who do far more damaging speeches & activities against the Indian entity , all of them coast clear.

    But the way the trial/ mercy plea was delayed and the secret execution without the procedural chance to appeal is scary and plain wrong.

    Selective application of death penalty is wrong.

    Banana Republic I dont know, but this is not different from a Talibani execution ....give or take a few .

    And as an Indian, I dont like this one bit for any half decent democratic governance.

    The PS person above..who has a changed view on AG

  9. Anon: "AG was a "turned militant". One could argue that."

    Seems More like a multiple U-turned militant, given his complicity in terrorism after he allegedly "turned" out of terrorism.

    Surely he had "turned" -- the question is how many times and what was the angle of the final direction relative to his initial direction of being a terrorist. The correct answer seems to be 360 degrees.

    The Indian State has every right to use the monopoly on violence it has been endowed with, as are all constitutional republics.

    It is not so much the selective application of death penalty, as it is the selective application of law enforcement that only protects the privileged politicians and bureaucrats, and not the average citizen.

    I am against the death penalty in India, maybe not in this instance, but in general, especially given the monstrous incompetence of the police forces in investigating crimes and the absolute lack of forensic labs and skills to prove the guilt of persons in prison for all sorts of crimes, including death row, beyond a reasonable doubt.

    In India, the laws are enforced mostly to protect the criminals and bureaucracy from the state, and also the harass the average citizen as a means of extortion by employees of the state. This we can see from the way CBI and IB are used for political ends by the ruling party of the day.

    Institutions meant to protect the public interest have long been destroyed by the criminals in politics and bureaucracy in New Delhi and all the state capitals -- we can thank Indira Gandhi for releasing an undertrial murderer from prison against all constitutional norms for the start of this downward slide.

    Lamenting about "injustice in the death row process" is a futile/mostly useless lament, when there are far larger issues that compromise justice to the average citizen on a daily basis. Serious crimes such as murder and slavery persist right under the nose of the Republic with willing assistance from those in politics.


  10. Anon: "Banana Republic I dont know, but this is not different from a Talibani execution ....give or take a few . "

    That is just horse manure, with apologies to horses everywhere. This false equivalence lends credibility to the whimsical and arbitrary violence that the taliban indulges in, while proclaiming that a religious text from a thousand years ago is their constitution, to justify their barbarism and psychopathic behaviour. No, India not quite like the Taliban for executing a person convicted by the Supreme Court of actively aiding and abetting terrorists.

    There is no equivalence between a state that operates in a manner not consonant with a document (constitution) that was arrived at by the consensus of representatives of the people, which provided the state with a monopoly on violence....and a random bunch of violent psychopaths that shoot young girls in the head or slice their noses off for daring to think for themselves.

    So anyone who compared the terrorists in Taliban to the Indian govt. can go shove it -- false equivalences of this sort are exactly the kind of language used by terrorist groups to gain sympathizers for their cause.

    If India was not such a Banana republic where the ruling party abuses the constitution for its political ends, like those in power today, the rules allow for changing the constitution via consensus of a majority of the people's representatives....are you telling me that the Taliban operates in a similar manner....ignorant nonsense that would be.


  11. FV,

    This is the headline in today's news, as if on cue from Afzal Guru from beyond the grave, i.e., the quote you have in your post with AG speaking to exactly these people to commit violence in case he was executed by the state. You have an eye for the inconspicuously relevant, truly.

    "Three men have lost their lives and 70 others, including 40 policemen, have been injured in the violence that has erupted in different parts of Kashmir in the wake of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru."

    All of these "kashmiris" sympathizing with the terrorist who was convicted and sentenced to death, are no different in mindset from the terrorist they are sympathizing with. Violence is unacceptable from anyone for any reason, when there exists systems and processes, albeit severely broken and inefficient, for resolving disputes and protecting rights. The alternative to a broken system is no system at all -- if people want a taste of what no system, i.e., anarchy, looks like, they should visit the lawless bad lands of Somalia or Ethiopia. It is all about making the least worst of many, many bad choices.


  12. Al

    Agree with all you say. I am just as fed up with our state of affairs. And I too would like the death penalty to be abolished.

    Document was not followed. They disregarded the constitution. Thats the problem. Secret executions dodging laid down procedures is not democratic..hence for me ..it is Taliban style....or barbaric..or whimsical ..or tribal..or call it by any name.

    Do read this one ...http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/unlocking-the-secrets-of-a-secret-execution/article4400820.ece

    Regardless..person on death row, his family informed on speed post..and they get the letter after the deed is done. That alone is a big blotch on our system. Completely , absolutely unacceptable, AG or anyone else be the person on the gallows. Who said this is not Taliban style ? The detainment of the Kashmiri journo and family Gestapo style in Delhi even though for a few hours...all f***ing Taliban style.

    This is not the India I want. I am sure you dont as well.

  13. FV,

    All of this bigotry and generalizing about various groups (which I seem to have indulged in re: kashmiris), makes me want to quote this song from a little know brit band called Freak power titled "what it is?"

    "If you what you wear makes you a man,
    And what you eat says who you are,
    And what you see is all you gonna get,
    Can you tell me what is what you is?

    You got to stand back, and take a look,
    You don't have to live your life by the book,
    Look underneath the skin, see what is in,
    Look out for the man.

    If where you're coming from,
    Is where you've already been,
    And What's happening brother has happened,
    And why am I is the reason why I am,
    somebody please tell me what it is.
    Please tell me what you is? "


    Being an outsider, outside of pretty much everything...I "get" this song.

    Cheers to freaks everywhere. :)


  14. FV,

    Apologies.Looks like the lyrics site is wrong: the actual first stanza to the song is:

    "If you what you wear make you who you are,
    And what you eat says a lot about you,
    And where you are coming from is where you have already been.
    And what you see is all you gonna get,
    Can't you tell me what is what you is?"


  15. Anon:"hence for me ..it is Taliban style.."

    This insistence of a stupid and ignorant comparison to the Taliban reminds me of the old saying about the universal and equanimous existence of opinions and orifices, and the universality of possession of them both. So you are entitled to compare the Indian government to the Taliban as I am entitled to compare them to a squishy yellow fruit with a strong flavour.

    The Law currently allows for the execution of people who are found guilty, and one of the characteristics of a constitutional republic is that the law is to be followed at all times, until it is no longer law. So if the death penalty were not law today, and AG was executed, then the comparison may have some validity. As it stands, the law was followed when AG was executed for his crime against the State.

    Abolishing the death penalty can be done if there is enough public support for it, and that is the only way to avoid the execution of people found guilty of violent crimes punishable by death -- attacking the Indian Parliament, a core symbol of the republic is one such act.

    Kashmirs, Tamilians, Maharashtrians, and Kannadigas, and all Indians need to understand that there are consequences for violent actions when the justice system works -- commit violent acts against persons and the republic and you will face the consequences for it, as Afzal Guru did with his life. So all those weeping for this dead terrorist can shove it and get a clue.

    Afzal Guru was caught on camera confessing to a crime that is punishable by death -- the link is available on youtube if one searches for it. That amount to a confession to a crime punishable by death on camera -- so the editors of Hindu and Kashmiri youth claiming AG did not get any just need to get a clue as a start.

    The Indian govt., for its part, needs to stop behaving like a Banana Republic before their incompetence and criminality in governance blows up in their face in the coming years, as it surely will.

    After the Hindu and Praveen Swami's report of an unarmed grandmother that managed to cross the LoC, when many armed infiltrators have a died in such attempts, that news paper carries no credibility as far as I am concerned. The Hindu publishes utter trash that does not pass elementary smell tests of common sense.


  16. Al
    ......Squishy yellow is just fine..Ty

    Hard line against terrorists, completely agree.

    I've seen the confession....I am not sure how legal that is or there were other pressures that were imposed for AG to say what he did

    Seems Surprising to me for you to accept things at face value, especially someone who comes across as having a thinking mind.

    Anyway, I used to have a similar opinion as you, but now I feel AG was more a scapegoat of whatever and his sentence should have been commuted to life term and hit the bigger fish. Cheers

  17. Anon:"Seems Surprising to me for you to accept things at face value.."

    I don't accept anything at face value, but I think I know enough to understand that Afzal Guru is not innocent of the crimes he was charged with, and unlike Arundhati Roy and her ilk, I cannot arrogate myself to second guess the judgement of the supreme court which has even more information at its disposal to make its judgement.


    AG accepting culpability of his crime is sufficient for me to make up my mind on whether his execution was illegal or not. He was guilty of a crime where the laws demand his execution -- it is all according to the book. We can disagree with the book, but not with the process that was followed to culminate in his execution.


  18. This is an interesting discussion, and doing well without my intrusion.

    Re. the YouTube interview, do read this interview of Afzal Guru...esp page 10.



    Oh, well. Hang in there...

  19. Al:

    Nice song...I 'get it', too. But why is I to tell you who is I, if what I wear and share does that?!

    Many thanks to you and Anon. But here I'm with the convert.

    A small interjection re. Al's response to Anon:

    "We can disagree with the book, but not with the process that was followed to culminate in his execution"

    I'd say it's the contrary. The problem is that the process itself was flawed and did not go by the book.


  20. FV, I see that Mufti Sayeed has called the Indian govt. a banana republic like I did. This useless hypocrite actually used his position as home minister of India to secure the release of his daughter from terrorists back in 1990, in violation of constitutional norms.

    Mufti sayeed was one of the first ones to set the standard banana republic behavior. But I guess this is all normal since he is a another politician, after all. I will get back to chasing squirrels instead of being bothered by all this.


  21. "But why is I to tell you who is I, if what I wear and share does that?!"

    Well, then, maybe reinforcing a stereotype is not just the fault of the stereotyper, and also the fault of the stereotypee. I mean, the reason why bigots stereotype groups that they dislike is that they don't really care to know the details of individuals in the groups.

    Social groups that stereotype themselves end up setting themselves up to be treated as stereotypes by the rest of the populace. But when things go south and these stereotypes end up hurting the social groups that stereotyped themselves into a corner, the tendency seems to be for these groups blame everyone but themselves and and their own tendency as a group to stereotype themselves. This applies readily to the extremely conservative groups in any religion, but is also true for many non-religious groups.

    FV "I'd say it's the contrary. The problem is that the process itself was flawed and did not go by the book. "

    FV, I can't really comment on the authenticity of presented evidence to the public, since I am not in a position to evaluate it (given that I only get all this information second hand).

    Evidence such as cell phone call records to claim complicity with the terrorists seems pretty circumstantial to me, but then again I am not aware of all the evidence the Supreme court got to look at, and so don't feel like second guessing them. I mean, If I had to second guess the court on AG, then I would also have to second guess the same courts on them releasing his other associate Geelani.

    It is not enough to complain that the law is inconsistently applied, if the public and the media second guess the courts and their decisions. A trial decisions that rests on Media opinions or public pressure seems to be way worse than what currently exists. If you recall, India had to move away from a jury system for this very reason after the Nanavati case in the 1950s.

    In general, I would agree with your view that police work is mostly shoddy and criminals (and their lawyers) know the law better than them in many cases and get acquitted, but that's how it is all supposed to work anyway.

    Either AG had a terrible lawyer that failed to take advantage of shoddy police works, or AG had a competent lawyer who was unable to present a solid case to demolish the Public prosecutor's case.

    I think AG was represented by competent lawyers,
    ND Pancholi and Nandita Haksar, both of whom are strong advocates for civil liberties and are likely to have taken the defense of AG seriously.


  22. Anon: " I feel AG was more a scapegoat of whatever and his sentence should have been commuted to life term and hit the bigger fish. "

    I have no doubt that there is a non-zero probability that he was a scapegoat who was done to death due to shoddy police work, which is why I am against the death penalty, as I mentioned earlier.

    The problem I have with such attitudes is that this only reinforces arguments in the government and the state that overarching powers to spy on private conversations of "persons of interest" (who have broken no law) is the only way to secure a conviction in such cases.

    Granted, this government seems to want to block twitter handles and blog posts just because they have opinions that the govt. doesn't like, under Section 66A of the IT act. Of course, we all know that providing such powers of censorship to the state only makes the ruling political party of the day to abuse such powers for their own political benefit.

    There are basically no easy solutions here, except to force all state governments to reform their police force, and before that, barring anyone with a criminal record from participating in elections. Currently there are a lot of criminals that are actually making the laws in this country -- why is it even reasonable to expect a working justice system when the laws are made by the criminal class? The power of the vote really must translate to electing competent people to fix the problems of the public without resorting to keeping the public stupid in order to remain in power for ever, which is the current strategy of all political parties.


  23. This is the AG interview FV mentioned


    FV , Al also see this post by B Raman, He used to head Indian Intelligence earlier...


    Al: Personal thanks for a very nice discussion. Respect.
    FV: Thanks for initiating a dialog :-)

  24. FV above Links again here below

    Afzal Guru Interview

    B Raman's Strategic Affairs Blog

    Hope the links now show up as clickable.

  25. Anon, B. Raman in an obnoxious pimple on the face of mankind and the kind of slimy losers that have destroyed institutions in India for political reasons. It is people like him that have made me change my once positive view of Indian bureaucracy. He is also writing utter bilge for the past few years, so thanks but no thanks.

    As for afzal guru, while I find circumstantial evidence is not sufficient for convicting people, It is pretty clear from his confession, the statement against him given by Geelani, and multiple witness corroboration that AG was trying to cover his tracks. So I take his words with a bucket of salt -- speaking honestly and not lying is not the strong point of terrorists and criminals.

    Thank you, FV and Anon, for the nice and sane conversation.


  26. The reason why I find B. Raman a disgusting human being is that he actually gloated that the ruling party has performed "great political strategy" by executing AG. Much as I might dislike AG's deeds, I find people like that the think playing politics to win elections by executing people on death row, to be the scum of the earth, like B. Raman.


  27. I agree on Raman overall. He has made some asinine statements on some other issues . A lot of our s**t has to do with an f**ed up bureaucracy.

    Your usage of "bilge" brought up a smile :) ..not heard that term in a while !

  28. Al:

    Nandita Haksar came very late into the picture because no one was willing to represent AG.

    Off-track, I'd like to respond to this comment (I might add that what I said in passing only meant 'if you judge a person by what s/he wears':

    Social groups that stereotype themselves end up setting themselves up to be treated as stereotypes by the rest of the populace. But when things go south and these stereotypes end up hurting the social groups that stereotyped themselves into a corner, the tendency seems to be for these groups blame everyone but themselves..."

    1. What we call stereotypes could well be identities that mark people out - based on culture, habitat, group behaviour.

    2. Judging them and being partisan towards them for such reveals our prejudices in equal measure.

    3. If they are baited for 'being', then the blame lies with the baiters. However, if they've used such stereotypes to gain mileage outside of the norms circumscribed by those stereotypes, then they are equally at fault.

    4. It is quite natural for such groups to feel victimised only due to an identity they are either born with or inculcated into, and have opted to stay with.

    5. If we wish these groups to accept the blame for how some among them behave, then are we willing to take the responsibility for the few among us who might judge all of them harshly because of a stereotype?

    I understand that we are not limiting ourselves to religion. We are the p-secs, remember?!

  29. Anon:

    Stay around a bit...we do a lot of 'bilge' here!

    Also, a request. If you do comment, try and use a name/nick. Makes it easier to separate Brie from Camembert :)

    And you and Al, B.Raman has a history of boo-boos to his credit. He is more politician than bureaucrat, although quite 'learned'...small mercies...

  30. FV:

    "1. What we call stereotypes could well be identities that mark people out - based on culture, habitat, group behaviour. "

    I think these ideas can be pushed to the extreme, as is done by some groups. It is okay to wear different clothes but when
    that concept is extended to religious schooling and banking based on religious concepts, then this stereotyping is being
    pushed by the stereotypees and not the stereotypers. If you pretend that your meat is edible only if your priest waves a
    stick at it, or if the animal dies in a specific way, then you are basically working against existing standards of common sense
    and science. I am of course referring Judaism and Islam in this example. In such cases, these groups are to blame for
    existing attitudes and stereotypes of them, and it is their responsibility to move away from such self-defeating behavior.

    While it is all well and good to quote songs asking one to "look underneath the skin" like I did, the reality is that the
    human brain operates on generalizations unless it finds sufficient reason to move away from it due to cognitive
    dissonance created by those generalizations.

    "2. Judging them and being partisan towards them for such reveals our prejudices in equal measure. "

    I depends. If muslims, like those in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, start pretending that they only eat
    muslim food, wear muslim clothes, invest in islamic banks, and breath islamic air, the rest of the
    populace can hardly be blamed for being prejudiced against stereotypes that these groups have
    created for themselves, willfully and deliberately. It does not good to pretend that people who
    take these stereotypes for granted not due to their own prejudices, but because of the attitude
    of the group in question to be called islamophobes. That is just utter dishonesty that indicates
    a cover for bigotry in the group that pretends it is being prejudiced against.

    "3. If they are baited for 'being', then the blame lies with the baiters. However, if they've used such stereotypes to gain mileage outside of the norms circumscribed by those stereotypes, then they are equally at fault. "

    Exactly. You managed to make this this point in one sentence and I took two paragraphs above to do the same.

    "4. It is quite natural for such groups to feel victimised only due to an identity they are either born with or inculcated into, and have opted to stay with. "

    It is also natural to change with the reality around you. To consider an example I am familiar with, muslims in Tamilnadu, until recently anyway,
    saw themselves closer in identity to other citizens of the state, but retained their own unique identity and practices.

    Nowadays, the fashion seems to be to pretend that they have more in common with people in Saudi Arabia than they have with other tamilians.
    In such cases, where these groups deliberately bring on a false identity on themselves which intends to create a schism between themselves and their
    environment, it is not the fault of the environment if it reacts to such insular attitudes that operate on a mentality of "we are different from (and better than)
    you, and we demand you treat us that way".

    Opting to stay with the identity is ok, but insulating this identity from any change whatsoever is their own fault and not the fault of the people
    who start to view such identities in generalities, which, over time, ends up resulting in social prejudices against the groups that are pushing such identities.


  31. (contd..) I seem to have gone over some word limit per comment.

    "5. If we wish these groups to accept the blame for how some among them behave, then are we willing to take the responsibility for the few among us who might judge all of them harshly because of a stereotype? "

    If the stereotype exists because the group in question wants to stereotype themselves, why should anyone else take responsibility for viewing this group in stereotypes?
    That is untenable. The primary responsibility here is on the shoulders of the people who perpetrate the stereotypes -- these people may belong to the group itself
    or may be members outside this group, or a mixture of both (which is the eventual outcome over time).

    In the case where the members of the group that are pushing the envelope to separate their identities and insulating themselves from other groups, it is the fault
    of the people in the group. If the stereotypes are being perpetrated by groups outside these groups in question, then it is the fault of the people outside the group
    to view them in stereotypes.

    However, wearing one's identity on one's sleeve beyond certain limits is detrimental to the person in question -- there will be resistance from the rest of
    the populace to this attitude, especially if enforcing this identity also rubbishes other identities as being false or worthless. Two-faced and duplicitous
    behavior that speaks of respect for everyone else, to gain acceptance of such identities, is not likely to work, especially when words and actions do not match.

    People are not stupid when it comes to such things and can see through such duplicity, given enough time. We see every religious nut case in pakistan carry banners
    about his religion being one of peace and love, and then show up in a march the next day to execute all shias and ahmedis. Such behavior does not
    go unnoticed by all observers.

    "I understand that we are not limiting ourselves to religion. We are the p-secs, remember?!"

    But of course, how can I forget :-)

    Your comrade in pseudosecularity,

  32. FV, Anon, just to be clear. I used examples of Islam and judaism in pushing identities beyond certain limits, but it goes without saying that extremely religious christians and hindus do the same too, but in many instances, choose to not wear it on their sleeve for pragmatic reasons. For example, if you want to be a successful businesswoman, you are unlikely to sell your wares to the broadest audience if you wear your identity on your sleeve -- so pragmatism has a moderating effect on such extreme wearing of identities on sleeve. It is the absence of pragmatism and an actual sense of entitlement and superiority that makes people wear identities on their sleeve.

    "Can't you see I am pious and HOW DARE you question my piety by making me to tone it down?"


  33. FV, Anon, As suspected, this execution of AG was a political decision allegedly engineered by the despicable Digvijaya Singh who provided counsel to the ruling party's leaders...those who listened to such counsel and took a man's life, or think that such behaviour is acceptable and "brilliant"...all of them are equally sickening.


    If these people in politics can hang someone to win elections, no depraved act is beyond them. Truly disgusted by all this, but this is not/will not be the first or last time, people will lose their lives thanks to unethical politics...seems to happen every day of the year In India. :-/ This has to stop.


  34. FV, Anon,

    But then again, I read stuff like this, and find it hard to believe that any injustice was committed against AG. The man deserved his death, and doubly so for playing the victim, when he was instigating mass murder and violence.



  35. TOI link above is something if not corroborated maybe incorrect. It could be correct but we do not have a confirmation if it at least in this article. Possible but low certainty . So many others having such thoughts , not necessarily Kashmir, execute them all on hearsay...TOI is worse than poop.

    Regardless , procedural lapse for someone on death row is not acceptable.


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