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Friday, May 30, 2008

Star Wars is Here

I was just catching up on Star Wars. Apparently some of that tech is already here - no, not the laser guns, light saber, or the intergalactic travel.

Guess where these folks were? In case you don't see it...guys on the right and middle were in US and Cisco's John Chambers was in........? At the same time!!!! (via guykawasaki)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Landscape Of Vastitas Borealis

View of Mars North Pole Horizon

Close-up of a Polygon Resulting From Frozen Seasons

Approximate colour pictures from Phoenix Mars Lander, of NASA, which landed on May 25th, on the ice-capped North Pole of Mars, after traveling since of August 2007 from Earth. Location is called Vastitas Borealis - 68 degrees north latitude, 234 degrees east longitude. Scientists know there is ice just below the surface - those ploygons are formed even on Earth from seasonal freezing and thawing of surface ice. Among the many things that are planned for the Phoenix lander, there is a scoop on board to dig up soil, heat it, and analyze the vapours for carbon compounds to see if there is any type of life beneath the surface soil or in the sub-surface ice.

Here is full coverage of the 90-day (or longer) mission.

Secular Coverage Of Elections

Barberindian has a wonderful roundup of Karnataka election results as presented by the secular English media. The intellectuals, and a historian, would rather have the corrupt leftist Congress I or even a more corrupt and unethical JD(S) win that election.

Here is S.M.Krishna, decent former Congress I chief minister trying to explain, although he himself is probably sure why, the reasons for the defeat of dynastic and dictatorial Congress I. The answer seems obvious even to a politically lay reader.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On Freedom, Culture, Values, And, Of Course, Secularism - Part II

Here is the second part of my observations that coalesced after reading and commenting on the articles on political philosophies in an online magazine called Pragati.

McCauley's Children

I remember someone, a blogger, asking the question who are these McCauley's Children that Hindu Right refers to. Of course, the phrase McCauley children is dished out to almost anyone that some desi disagrees with. But to me McCauley's children are people, for whatever reason, but mainly because they can read English, sometimes only English, and enamored by the west, and even after they grow up, consider western philosophy, western way of living, and western history as the only significant point of reference, historically or currently. (Here I don't refer to hard sciences such as Maths or Astronomy which have only one nature derived answer to a physical problem.) And these people are perfectly happy to try and impose those understandings - they are not really experiences - of liberalism, of values, of culture, and, of course, of secularism on their fellow Bharatiya.

By calling some McCauley's children, I do not want to denigrate the west or the evolution of western philosophy on politics, culture, and value system. While they are important for the west and surely provide perspective for us and everyone else, I would argue, they are neither sufficient nor complete for understanding Bharatiya culture, value system, and, of course, way of life.

While I don't except everyone to read all the literature available before forming an opinion, especially if they want others to buy into it, I wonder if any of these authors read Bhagavat Gita - it is fairly short book; or read the complete stories of Mahabharata or Ramayana - not to study the plots, but to understand the interactions between people, groups of people, the politics of human nature, and the value system of those people; or the Puranas or the Vedas - not the entire volumes, but books on them to get an understanding of the moral code of people, the nature of relationship between government and its people, and, of course, the value system of the people; or any number of books, historic and current, that are based on the historic understanding of Bharatiya philosophy, on governance, on statehood, on honour, duty, and sacrifice. I can fairly confidently say that most Indians, even vast majority of Muslims - one thinks of an Indian version of Islam - and people of other faith, living in the subcontinent, live by these codes.

Flawed Answers

The western philosophy is interesting - which is by the way, to say the obvious, is based on Greek and Latin philosophical thought (there is an aside to this - hopefully I can blog on it someday), revived in the 15th through 18th centuries, after the dark ages, i.e. time of Christian orthodoxy and Islamic rule in Europe, and continues today - and surely must be studied. But to think that the solutions to Bharatiya social problems lie in an Italian historian definition of nations or the recently dead William Buckley, or in the western definition of liberalism, individualism, and, of course, secularism is to offer us flawed answers.

The answers are not flawed because the answers are wrong but because one did not ask all the questions. These authors (and other secularists) don't look at the experiences - historical and current values, and, more fundamentally, the way of life of Bharatiya before giving us answers to the perceived problems. In other words, the prescription is for the patient not diagnosed. Pushing the analogy further, the prescribing doctors, those McCauley's Children, should understand that the Bharatiya patient has a different physiology compared to a western patient.

It was the communists who did it before, take the other western philosophy at face value, since the turn of the century, and try to impose it on everyone. Ironically while the west recognized the destructive nature of communism and Marxism on western values and fought back, thanks in part to William Buckley, the east and most of the other world succumbed to it in one way or the other. The Chinese who took communism to heart at it's peak are working to purge communism from their lives while reviving innate Chinese values, and Confucian and Buddhist philosophies and way of life. India succumbed to it partially via socialism - partially only because Bharatiya value system was able to push back on it even though it was hoisted on them by giants like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi and their communists allies at home and aboard.

Now it seems, it's the turn of the self-proclaimed liberals and secularists to take western philosophy at face value and impose those values on Bharatiya people. This time the allure to impose them, by McCauley's Children, on Bharat is as strong or even stronger, than communists and Marxists. It seems Bharatiya people have to sum up courage, once again, for another push back.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On Freedom, Culture, Values, And, Of Course, Secularism - Part I

A site called Indian National Interest publishes a monthly e-zine called Pragati - a collection of blogs or other writings mainly by bloggers. I usually read selective topics on foreign policy mainly because most others topics don't interest me or because they are written by non-practitioners who have little to add to my understanding on a subject.

Three Articles

The latest Pragati had a section, which I happen to read, on political philosophy - three disparate and divergent ones. But of course there was a common theme, rather a common enemy - Hindus or rather thinking nationalist Hindus who want to live according to Hindu code of live and morality based on their own history and philosophical heritage. Perhaps it's not as shocking as it should be because the authors were writing about freedom, culture, values, and, of course, secularism.

Of course, the ideas, in two of the articles, are borrowed (from the west, where else) and are deemed applicable to Bharatiya people, except of course to those irreconcilable Hindus. One article is fairly straight forward with which one can hardly disagree with, except the author's portrayal of thinking Hindus towards the end.

The Critic

Let's look at each one separately and may be say something on the theme itself at the end. The first article, by Ravikiran Rao, supporting cultural nationalism reads well until the end when he says strong cultural nationalism is not possible because those who propose and endorse such as view are "a movement feeding further on the same politics of victimhood." And so he proposes cultural nationalism lite - based on "cricket, films, or festivals." The dismissal of strong cultural nationalists seems hurried. One wonders why Ravikiran thinks Hindu nationalists - those Hindu-tatva proponents - play victimhood. I can think of two reasons.

One: Because they demand that history not be covered up by Marxists historians. Because the eminent historians want to impose their brand of secularism and treat thinking Hindus as children from whom the past, especially the tyranny of and atrocities on Hindus by Islamic rulers since the 8th century, has to be kept under wraps? One can hardly say thinking Hindus, Hindu-tatva proponents, play victimhood when all they want to know their own history instead of garbage dished out as history by official historians in the name of secularism.

And two: Because they want equal treatment for all citizens of Bharat and take a dim view of appeasement policies of leftist Congress I and it's predecessor Congress Party under Nehru. Unless one thinks separate and unequal laws are in the best interest of the nation and useful in promoting nationalism, it's a hard case to make that Hindu nationalists play victimhood and that their version of strong cultural nationalism should be dismissed so easily.

The third article is bit self-contradictory - at the same time Gautam Bastian is a proponent and opponent of nationalism, but promotes individual freedom at all cost. Why? His main offer is because the west said so and because an Italian was wrong in a defining nation state along with a wonderful, and often repeated by others, tit-bit that liberalism came to Bharat because of western Enlightenment - implying the illiberal nature of our history, specifically of Hindus, I would think.

Gautam seem to want freedom at all cost - a varying theme of global citizen type philosophy with the notion that country and nationalism be damned. He seems to come this to conclusion without ever wondering who would actually provide and sustain that freedom - apparently each individual is an army of one. But the most incendiary part goes to, who else, Hindu-tatva proponents. There is only one type of nationalism and it is "the ugly, aggressive and sectarian Hindu nationalism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)."

How can a sangh that begins its shakha with "Namaste Sada Vatsale Matrubhoome..." be ugly? How can an organization that proposes a contiguous nation from Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari be aggressive? And how can an idea based on self-sacrifice and devotion - those tenants based on historic Bharatiya tradition of honour, duty, code - towards matrubhoome be sectarian? Perhaps one can quote a single instance when Hindu nationalists as a matter of policy wanted Hindu dictatorship and called for quarantining non-Hindus into ghettos?

Gautam wants freedom without a nation. Freedom to do what? Who will provide that freedom? I was looking for the word such as duty or honour in the article to no avail. What exactly is his reference point when he calls for freedom? One wonders who the greedy and ugly coterie is? The unfortunate part is Gautam is the national co-ordinator of the Liberal Youth Forum of India. The direction of future liberalism in India is surely a dire one.

And finally, the second article, by Raj Cherubal, was a bit humorous, for lack of a better word. I think the recently dead William Buckley, who Raj uses as his inspiration, would find it so. Bill Buckley probably never saw his ideas used to propose a merger between left wingers and capitalists, who apparently are all secular right, to create what can only be called as socialism lite - although Raj thinks it would be capitalism with all the virtues of socialism, i.e. a welfare society. Bill Buckley would be bemused by the idea.

But the reason Raj proposes that the Bharatiya version of capitalism should find shelter under left wing politics, and of course purge the leftists and communists from their own tent, is because "India is a nation with deep pockets of religious animosity and resultant resentments. The secular right has nothing to offer voters who crave sectarian competition and promise of a better afterlife. They cannot out-Hindutva or out-Jihad any practitioner of such politics. Add centuries-old caste prejudices to the equation and you get a fortress impenetrable to the secular right."

In order words, run away from the challenges the society and join the communists. This is the easy route any number of self-proclaimed liberals and secularists have taken, unfortunately, to their own peril and that of the country. The whole article was amusing because Bill Buckley would have purged Raj along with the anti-semites and anti-trade self proclaimed right wingers from conservatism because he took a dim view of secularism, at least as practiced by the appeasement politics of current Bharatiya secular crowd, and multiculturalism of the American left. He was solidly grounded in Catholicism, western philosophy, western moral and cultural values and the apparent inherent superiority of those beliefs and values. A Hindu-tatva proponent would be at home with a Bill Buckley of Bharat.

Underlying Theme

There is a strange underlying theme to the second two articles beyond the hatred towards thinking Hindus - the virtue and superiority of historic current western moral and cultural values over their own Bharatiya historic and current moral and cultural values. This western superiority phenomena is the apparent secular and liberal breast milk that feeds most of our young people. Most thinking people, Hindus and non-Hindus, grow out of such thought process and try to find out more about their own historic and current value system. Increasingly many seem not to. One can see that in the debate over the supremacy of free speech, in what ever form, because the current west says so.

Few more thoughts on the importing of western ideas to supplant original thought based on historic and current Bharatiya experiences - unfortunately at an increasing rate - soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Communal Mindset Shows

One can guess from the support Shivraj Patil is getting from the leftist Congress I, that the leaders of that party looks at the issue of putting to death a murderous terrorist, who brazenly attacked the Parliament building, when it was in full session, as part of their Muslim appeasement policy.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has drawn a curious parallel between Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, an Indian in an Indian jail, and Sarabjit Singh, an Indian in a Pakistani jail. Calling for Afzal Guru’s death, he said, doesn’t go with demanding clemency for Sarbajit.

The taxi driver for the maharani (one called her "Great White Queen"!), whose other job is to be the Home Minister of the country, says he was misquoted. But he doesn't say what he actually meant.

If ever there was a case where Congress I can claim it does not have policy of Muslim appeasement, hanging Afzal Guru could have been it. He had the best ultra-left wingers and terrorist sympathizers defending him at every level of the judicial process. But the case was too tight and Supreme Court won't have any of the bogus arguments of the leftists. The terrorist could have be hung years ago, for good reason, and non-Muslims who always wanted to give the dynastic party the benefit of doubt would have been satisfied.

But the Muslim appeasement agenda is intertwined into communal Congress I DNA. It never could calculate what the downside of hanging a Islamic terrorist would be - doing the right thing was, of course, far from its mind. What would vocal left-wingers, it's core base, say; what would desi Muslims think? It's better to keep the hanging in suspension and let the BJP take the rap for it at a later time, when they hang the terrorist. It probably never occurred to the appeasing party that may be the vast majority of desi Muslims won't care if a terrorist is hanged, as long as he had the due process of justice. May be it's too much to expect that desi Muslims, just like any other group in the country, as the recent OBC reservation debate has revealed, would actually be offended that the appeasing party would be calculating the impacting of punishing a terrorist on its pro-Muslim agenda.

So there is no outcry, by the media or left-wing intellectuals, that the communal Congress I considers all desi Muslims as, apparently, Pakistani Muslims and somehow action on a Muslim has to be compensated by a similar action on a Hindu. But one can imagine the venom of the media, and their brothers in arms - those so called human rights activists, that would be spewed on BJP if it were to suggest the same in reverse.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Humour: Discriminating Money

It Discriminates Against Poor People, Too
"Court Says Money Discriminates Against Blind People" reads an Associated Press headline. The trouble, the AP reports, is that there is no way of telling a dollar bill from a hundred without looking at it:
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholds a decision by a lower court in 2006. It could force the Treasury Department to redesign its money. Suggested changes have ranged from making bills different sizes to printing them with raised markings. . . .

The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.

The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there's no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.
Asked by a reporter what he thought of the ruling, the plaintiff said, "I haven't seen it."

From online.wsj.com

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mistry Lets It Rip

In a wonderfully column in Business Standard, Sri Percy Mistry, who enabled the MIFC report - a plan to convert Mumbai into an international financial center on par with New York City, London, and Tokyo - which is now gather dust, of course, lets it rip. On the meddlesome nature of Indian babucracies, especially those dinosaurs called chief economic advisers, who seem to populate a dinosaur institution, the Planning Commission, which is currently blocking, among many things, the building and deployment of international airports in Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai, because, get this, they are too large (sic), despite the go head by the Ministry of Aviation, which actually did a study on the growth airline passengers, and the politicians mostly steeped in doctrine of socialism, including the apparently brilliant people like P. Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh.

Apparently, primitivism protects India from financial crises. Hence proper insurance, risk management, and derivatives markets are not allowed to develop. Banning futures markets is believed to reduce commodity prices! That is like the Aztec belief that daily blood sacrifice is necessary for the sun to rise every morning!...

The belief prevails that attempting to manage risk will exacerbate it because the tools involved are double-edged. To be sure, a sharp knife can be used to murder people. So should it be banned? We could always cut onions with our fingers, toes or teeth! That is the practical equivalent of what we are doing now in the world of Indian finance. If the thermometer gives you a reading you don't like (like prices being signalled by futures markets), then break or discard it!...

Goaded by commentaries of retired CEAs and RBI executives also living in the past, but unfamiliar with the problems of today (or of how similar problems are addressed elsewhere) the counterproductive beliefs of our ignorant leaders are bolstered. There seems to be a fundamental reluctance to accept a self-evident (inconvenient?) truth in 21st century India, that is, the socialist mixed-economy paradigm they have grown up with is bankrupt. It does not work. It never did; not at macro-, meso- or micro-levels. It was rooted in bad theory and good intention — the same combination and dynamic that paved the road to hell. [Paying the price of ignorance - BS]

The entire article is a gem. Please read it to understand how badly the country economy continued to be badly managed. (The article via Ajay Shah's blog.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

That Email Is Serious

Despite official and unofficial analysts trying to poke holes into the email that became public soon after Jaipur terror attacks, claiming to be the perpetrators of those attacks, Praveen Swami says we should take it seriously. Bad spellings and unrefined English language should not distract the email for what it is - a declaration of war on Hindus and the country. The authors of the email already claim responsibility for three terror attacks - none of them suicide bombings and each one performed with simple mechanism with local devices with deadly consequences.

It would be misleading, though, to understand the e-mail only as a claim of responsibility. Like a similar document issued by the Indian Mujahideen after the bombings of three trial-court buildings in Uttar Pradesh last year, the e-mail is — despite its crude style and poor spelling — a political manifesto.

According to the authors of the e-mail, the bombings were carried out to meet two purposes: first, to “blow part your tourism structure” and, second, to “demolish your faith in the dirty mud, in the name of Hanuman, Sita [and] Ram”.

Could there be more clearer message?

In a previous post, I said that the terrorists apparently didn't listen to recent Deobandi call for stopping terrorism. They did and had this to say to them:

Describing the clerics as “dogs,” a “bunch of cowards”, “puppets of Hinduism” and “ullema-e-Kuffar”, or the disbeliever’s clergy, the e-mail interrogates “what terrorism is all about and who is a terrorist”. Who, it asks, are the terrorists: the “Hindus who killed the Muslims in Gujarat [and] Maharashtra or us who took revenge [qisas] through serial blast in Mumbai local trains?”

Citing from the Koran and the Hadith, or traditions of the Prophet, the Indian Mujahideen argues its actions have theological legitimacy. Scriptural calls for forgiveness relied on by the Deoband clerics, it says, are only relevant after a decisive military victory. Dialogue, it continues, is futile: “there is no existence of compromise between a believer and a non-believer.”

Sri Swami speculates the organization could be the banned terror supporting group SIMI.

It's in our interest and in the interest of the people who died in these horrible terror attacks to take the message in the email seriously and act upon it - track down, kill or bring justice the perpetrators of terror on ordinary people.

China Appeasement Not Working So Well

Two unofficial reasons can usually be parsed out from India's refusal to take a tough stand when Chinese claim Arunachal Pradesh or when they go back and forth on border pronouncements or when they don't negotiate on Siachen that Chinese continue to occupy: one, a more immediate need for Chinese support to U.S.-India nuclear deal, especially during the NSG approval stage; and, two, to a Chinese nod to India claim to the U.N. permanent Security Council seat with veto power, whenever that may happen.

Of course, the official reason for not standing up the aggressive Chinese is avoiding disruption of the booming bilateral trade - nothing should be done slow the growth of trade. As though trade is more important than national security. It could also be just the people at the helm currently - weaklings with hazy idea of what national interest is and with a delusion that appeasement actually work!

It appears that appeasement is not working.

YEKATERINBURG: China blocked Russia’s proposal to express support for India and Brazil’s U.N. Security Council bids in the joint communiqué adopted by the BRIC Foreign Ministers here on Friday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jechi dug in his heels against the Russian initiative, informed sources said. Crisis talks continued till Friday morning and the compromise formula made no reference to the Security Council.

“The Ministers of Russia and China reiterated that their countries attach importance to the status of India and Brazil in international affairs, and understand and support India’s and Brazil’s aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations,” the communiqué said.

China has therefore backtracked on its earlier support for India’s membership in the Security Council that was articulated during a bilateral summit in Beijing. [China backtracks on U.N. Council issue - The Hindu]

Knowing the Chinese history for the past seventy years, why is this a surprise to anyone (except perhaps to The Hindu editorial)?

Getting together as a BRIC group itself is great idea, although the group may not work out in the long run, because the Chinese sees themselves as an alternative superpower (to the U.S.) and the rest as secondary nations.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tap Of Official LoP Terror Already On?

There were two attempts by terrorists to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir within a week, especially under the cover of Land of Pure's army. Our own normally clue less prime minister says he is worried about unprovoked LoP army firing across POK border.

We were told by practically everyone, including the official and unofficial pundits, in the east (mainly because the west said so) and the west, that somehow elections and democracy in LoP will be cure all at removing the fountain head of terrorism in that land. Apparently not.

Praveen Swami reports in The Hindu that that apparent secular, pro-U.S. replacement of Gen. Musharraf, Chief of Army Gen. Kayani is working to patch up any ill will with the jihadis working on the east front fighting Bharatiya Army and, apparently the western front fighting the Afghan, U.S., and NATO Armies. As the so called national collation of parties and government breaks up in LoP, keeping those newly elected democrats busy, from fighting terror of course, we should be bracing for more terror attacks on our side of the border.

By reopening lines of communication with jihadists, General Kayani is signalling to his rank and file that he is responsive to these concerns — and placating Islamist officers hostile to President Musharraf.

So now we are back to the old days of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif leadership. Two power centers in LoP, each pointing at each other and not stopping terror infiltration and jihadi groups operating within its border. Desi negotiators will deal with elected, but powerless, democrates and nothing will happen until another coup, may in another decade in the LoP to put down jihadis.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Can We Expect A Dozen This Year?

Yes, it's already May, but the prime terror season hasn't started yet based on recent attacks pattern. This time seven bombs, all near temples, with the eight defused near Hanuman Temple in Jaipur - a city I was in just last month, along with my family, walking around the tall, slender, and beautiful Hawa Mahal and shopping in the old pink city streets. At the moment 80 killed, with more to succumb - mostly because they were Hindus.

The terrorists apparently want Hindu-Muslim clashes - our news media and politicians speculate. Apparently simply killing people does not suffice as an explanation and necessary cause for action. One more intelligence failure - everyone being surprised adds nothing new to the mystery of terrorism. Apparently this was an intelligence failure where as killings from multiple bombs terror in Hyderabad, about an year ago, was not. While I am sure many terror plots were foiled or averted, the intelligence system, as it exists, is simply not working. And then we have Muslim appeasement, mainly to keep their leaders happy, to consider - as though Muslims don't die in terror attacks.

Looks like the terrorists didn't listen to the recent call by Deobandis, widely praised by our media, of course, to stop terror attacks - apparently they didn't specify who the terrorists were. The terrorists were probably thinking of those Hindu terrorists. After all, the equally dumb, English media seems to be confused too.

Coming to the pattern of terror attacks, they have been raising since 2005 (source PTI):

2008, Jan 1: The year started with an attack by LeT militants on a CRPF training centre at Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. Seven CRPF personnel and a civilian killed. Militants escape under cover of darkness.

2007, Nov 23: Simultaneous blasts rock three Uttar Pradesh cities of Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow. 15 people killed.

Oct 13: Blast in Ludhiana’s Shingar cinema hall leaves six dead.

Oct 11: Ajmer Dargah targeted by militants. Two persons killed.

Aug 25: Twin explosions rock Hyderabad. 44 people killed.

May 18: Bomb blast at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad kills 11 people.

Feb 19: Indo-Pak Samjhauta Express hit by terror blasts. 68 people including Pakistani nationals killed.

2006, Sept 8: Twin blasts at a mosque in Malegaon. 30 dead and 100 hurt.

July 11: Seven bombs on Mumbai’s trains kill over 200 and injure 700 others.

March 7: Twin bombings at a train station and a temple in Varanasi kill 20.

2005, Oct 29: Three bombs placed in busy New Delhi markets a day before Diwali kill 62 and injure hundreds.[What was left was smoke, blood all around - IE]

One in 2005; four in 2006; six in 2007; I would say 10-12 in 2008. The terror season seems to be concentrated in the second half of each year.

The utterly incompetent left-wing UPA apparently will still be in charge, with the support of their anti-nationalists Communist allies - who seem to be able milk the UPA goat dry and still keep going. Expect no terror relieve until a new government comes in and make changes to the way intelligence is gathered, terrorism is fought and kept under control, sometime in 2009.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Time For Bush To Give LoP Pat On The Back?

In the late 90s, when it emerged, in public, of course, that China was behind Pakistan nuclear weapons, the then American president Bill Clinton gave China a clean chit and said its non-proliferation history was impeccable much to the dismay of Bharatiya policy wonks.

Now apparently we are finding out, if it already needs confirmation, that the recently slain Benazir Bhutto, that paragon of peace - she did go to Oxford and can speak English that the west can understand - actually took the nuclear weapon design plans to North Korea personally, in her own coat pocket!

Pakistan gave uranium enrichment technology to North Korea in return for missiles, says the biography of the slain PPP leader authored by her close friend Shyam Bhatia.

The 'enrichment for missiles' barter took place in 1993, says the book Goodbye Shahzadi whose author cites the information revealed by Bhutto herself during a conversation with him.

As secret services of India, Russia and some western countries were closely monitoring every move on Pakistan's military research, Bhutto had decided to herself carry the sensitive material to Pyongyang to avoid detection, the book says.

"As she (Bhutto) was due to visit North Korea at the end of 1993, she was asked and readily agreed to carry critical nuclear data on her person and hand it over on arrival in Pyongyang," the book claims.

"...before leaving Islamabad, she shopped for an overcoat with the 'deepest possible pockets' into which she transferred CDs containing the scientific data about uranium enrichment that the North Koreans wanted," it says.

"She (Benazir) did not tell me how many CDs were given to her to carry, or who they were given to when she arrived in Pyongyang, but she implied with a glint in her eye that she had acted as a two-way courier, bringing North Korea's missile information on CDs back with her on the return journey," the author writes.

Bhutto got back not only the designs but also disassembled parts of an entire Nodong missile for Pakistani scientists to study part by part in the security of their own laboratories, the book suggests.['Benazir personally gave N-technology to N.Korea' - IE]

I suppose now is the time for Bush to stand at the White House and give the Land of Pure a pat on the back and talk about its impeccable non-proliferation record. But hush - the western press, and hence Bharatiya press, hasn't made a big deal out of it. Also we don't talk ill of the dead, especially of a newly minted person of peace.

Comparison Between Personalities Falls Short

Sri K. Subrahmanyam writes in IE that BJP should join Congress I to get the nuclear deal passed.

Three parties will decide India’s nuclear future — the Congress, the BJP and the communists. The Congress and the BJP have a continuity in policy since Rajiv Gandhi initiated weaponisation in March 1989. The Pokharan II testing of Atal Bihari Vajpayee is a continuation of P.V. Narasimha Rao’s attempt to test in 1995. The Indo-US nuclear deal is a continuation and further enlargement by the Congress of the BJP initiative of Next Steps in Strategic Partnership with the United States. Both the Congress and the BJP are committed to seeing India as one of the major balancers of power in the international system and to developing the self-reliant three-stage nuclear programme that Homi J. Bhabha envisioned. The communists are not in favour of Indian nuclear weapons, India’s nuclear future and India as a major balancer of power with an independent foreign policy. As faithful members of the communist ummah they want China to dominate Asia, and the world ultimately, and they would like India to play a subordinate role.

While Sri Subrahmanyam is right on the ummah of communists, he seems to miss the tree for the forest.

Sri Vajpayee continued lot of policies of Sri P.V. Narashima Rao - not just the nuclear policy of testing weapons. Prime Minister Vajpayee kept the economy rolling, reducing the role of government in Bharatiya economic lives, moving away from costly socialist welfare policies that were the norm since Nehru days - a continuation of Prime Minister Narashima Rao's initiation of economic reforms lifting the heavy burden on the Bharatiya state on its people. Sri Vajpayee also kept the continuation of Ram Janmabhoomi policy that Sri Narashima Rao initiated, post-destruction of Babri Masjid, that courts would deal with the issue. The list can go on. And the close friendship between Narashima Rao and Vajpayee - wherein Vajpayee could represent Bharat at UN and gave a major foreign policy speech on UN floor when Narashima Rao's Congress I was in power - meaning the partisanship ended at the border.

One can't say the same thing about Manmohan Singh and Sri Vajpayee. If anything Manmohan Singh makes a clear break from former prime minster's policies on most major issues except US-India nuclear deal and making peace with terror sponsoring Land of Pure. Even as Manmohan continued the two major foreign policies initiated by Sri Vajpayee, he does not have the same relationship with any BJP leaders. In fact Manmohan Singh took it up himself from the day Congress I took power to humiliate Sri Vajpayee and Sri Advani - the two leaders who currently matter in BJP. Manmohan almost never consults with opposition on any foreign policy issue - on peace talks with LoP, on negotiation with US on the nuclear deal, or on UN issues.

Only after finding out that Congress I's bed fellows, those communists, will not agree to the nuclear deal, did Manmohan started approaching BJP with an off-again, on-again consultations. As recently as few months ago, even as Manmohan was calling Sri Vajpayee Petamaha, he was cussing Sri Advani.

There is no continuation of policies whether strategic or economic after the Congress I took over. Under Manmohan the state reverted to it's socialist welfare past with expensive and corrupting schemes to Congress I party men happy with little privatization of state businesses. Nor is there a decent relationship between BJP and Congress I. And it's a hard case to make BJP does not seek continued strength in strategic assets or desire close relationship with US. But consultation mechanism on foreign policy is a two ways street in national politics. Unfortunately Sri Subrahmanyam seems to have forgotten the basic issue of lack of decorum between Mahmohan and Advani, precipitated almost entirely by Manmohan.

Irrespective of the merits of the decision, BJP seems to at peace with its decision on the nuclear deal. One would hope analysts pushing for the BJP-Congress I love fest on this deal would take note.